Worth it or Not – Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

This Thanksgiving, I decided to be a little ambitious. I was prepared with the perfect pumpkin pie. However, I forgot to account for one small detail. My biggest fault in the kitchen is that I don’t read through recipes or read them carefully. I forget and make some of my best cooking mistakes which normally turn out alright in the end. It’s amazing how much you can learn when you combine the ingredients in the wrong order or need substitutes.

Being true to my own habits, Thanksgiving morning arrived and I realized that I needed a can of sweetened condensed milk. I have run into this problem before which didn’t turn out well. I was not hopeful. This time I found a recipe that I actually made sense. You take milk and sugar and simmer it for a very long time. At the last minute, you add butter and vanilla extract. So far, so good.

I had caught my mistake early in the morning, so I started the simmering process. I decided to double the original recipe and let it lightly simmer for 1-2 hours. When I became impatient with the consistency not being thick enough, I turned up the heat and got to stirring. It turned out beautifully. I had exactly 14 ounces for my pie. I combined all of my ingredients, in the proper order, and created an amazing pumpkin pie.

So, why do you care? Here’s the story with sweetened condensed milk. Just like everything else purchased in a can, in order for it to last on a shelf it has preservatives. Have you noticed a theme yet? Preservatives = bad. Enough said? No. There are plenty of recipes out there that use evaporated milk. I’m not really a fan of the product and don’t keep it in my pantry. I’d much rather stick with milk, however to each their own. There are cans of sweetened condensed milk made without preservatives or evaporated milk. You just have to read the label before buying it.

The big question you’re all waiting to have answered: was it worth it? Considering it spared me a trip to the grocery store Thanksgiving morning it was completely worth it. Next time when I read my recipe more carefully, I’m not sure if I’ll buy or make the sweetened condensed milk. I guess it depends on time constraints. It had to simmer it for a long time before it was finished. However, it was a really low maintenance recipe. I was able to simmer it on low and forget about it. If I started at a higher heat it might have taken a lot less time all around. The product tasted really good and it was a little cheaper than what you pay at the grocery store. I am still on the fence though. If I have the time, I would make the homemade version. If I have no other choice, I’ll buy the can.

Ready to give it a try? Here’s the recipe thanks to Kitchen Stewardship.

As promised, here is the recipe for the perfect pumpkin pie. Thank you Darlene for sharing this with me. For those of you who already have a pumpkin pie recipe you love, try this. It isn’t called an Autumn Dream Pie because it’s average. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

Autumn Dream Pie

  • 1 can organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp freshly ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk (or make your own)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Gently mix pumpkin and spices. Add remaining ingredients. Mix gradually until thoroughly blended. Pour into two pie shells. Bake at 425 for fifteen minutes, then reduce temp. to 350 for an additional 35 to 40 minutes. Cool pie a little before serving with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

  • small container of organic whipping cream
  • sugar to taste

Blend whipping cream until almost to density desired, then add sugar before completing the whipping process.

pumpkin pie


5 thoughts on “Worth it or Not – Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

  1. Pingback: Homemade Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream | Creative Campbell

  2. I just found a homemade ice cream recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk. I’m thinking it might pay to make it from scratch if I end up liking the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Let me know how it turns out. I’ve been meaning to try to make my own ice cream and am always curious about the different combinations. Sometimes homemade is best and other times you need the store bought item. Happy churning!

  3. Pingback: Homemade Dragon Eggs | Creative Campbell

  4. Pingback: Easy Tips to Make Your Thanksgiving Less Stressful | Creative Campbell

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