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Monday, October 14, 2019

Frugal Holiday Baking: Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

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With holiday baking right around the corner, this recipe may be useful to some of us. Homemade sweetened condensed milk works in those bar cookie recipes (like Magic Bars) where ingredients are layered then the milk is poured over all, Tres Leche cake, homemade ice cream (very quick and easy ice cream if you have some of this in the fridge), to make your own seasonal coffee creamers, candy-making (such as fudge), or caramel sauce. 

Making your own sweetened condensed milk uses just milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla (if desired.) While this recipe yields just over 3/4 cup of finished product (about 8 to 9 ounces), larger batches can be made to keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days and use in many different baking/cooking recipes.

The savings -- less than half the cost of commercial 
For a price comparison, Walmart's Great value brand of SCM is $1.64 at my local store, or 11.7 cents per ounce. I may find it on sale during holiday baking sales for about $1.50 for a 14-oz can, or 10.7 cents per ounce. My homemade version cost me about 26 to 30 cents in ingredients, and about 5 cents for the gas stove, for a total of about 30 to 35 cents, or 3.5 to 4 cents per ounce. I buy my milk, sugar, and butter at very low prices, so your cost may differ.


I use a heat diffuser on my stove-top when cooking heat-sensitive items such as caramels or this condensed milk. My diffuser came with my range, but there are many on the market, at a wide range in price points. Diffusers lift the pan up very slightly and spread the heat over a larger surface of the pan's bottom. Some are suitable for all stove-types (gas, electric coil, glass top), while others appear to work best on one or two types of surfaces. Obviously, reading the comments/reviews by consumers is always a help to see if the product will work for your needs and requirements.

Here's one that I like because it has a handle that is removable, meaning it has a smaller storage footprint with the benefit of a handle when you want one. You could even leave the handle in a drawer most of the time and "store" this right on one of the back burners of your stove. That's what I do. The diffuser is handy for when I want it but out of the way most of the time.
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You'll find this post, and many others like it, just a click away on this page -- a compilation of my recipes, shopping lists, and menu plans that illustrates how I feed my family of 4 adults on $125 to $135 per month.


  1. This is a great recipe to have on hand, Lili. Thank you. It'll be good in peanut butter cookies which calls for one can of sweetened condensed milk, one cup of flour, and one cup of peanut butter. Bake as usual.

  2. Hi Belinda,
    Oh those cookies sound so yummy. And lucky me -- I have a large stockpile of peanut butter than needs using. I see some cookies in my near future. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Have a wonderful day, Belinda.

  3. Thank you for this. I'm going to give the recipe a try.


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