Everyone loves the taste of condensed milk mixed into some tea or coffee or added to desserts, but unfortunately, it’s not suitable for vegans because it contains milk.
Creating a dairy-free sweet, and creamy alternative to condensed milk is not complicated at all – all you need is to whip together a few pantry staples.
Learn more about condensed milk and how to make a vegan version for your dishes.
What’s in Condensed Milk?
Condensed milk consists of concentrated cow’s milk sweetened with refined sugar. About 60% of excess water is removed from the milk during heating, resulting in a thicker consistency and caramelized flavor. At this stage, it can be fortified to create evaporated milk or turned into condensed milk by adding sugar. Besides sweetening the product, the sugar thickens it, yielding a delicious condensed milky syrup.
Remember, condensed milk is entirely different from evaporated milk, despite both being reduced milk products. You cannot use evaporated milk when you want to use a vegan substitute for condensed milk.
Condensed Milk Uses
Typically, condensed milk is used in desserts, but you can also sweeten almost anything, including beverages, cocktails, milkshakes, sauces, gravies, and some salad dressings.
Desserts requiring condensed milk include baked cakes, simple cheesecakes, fudge, and pumpkin pie. It provides a cohesive or chewy texture, depending on the dessert.
How to Make Vegan Condensed Milk
You can use several vegan ingredients to substitute condensed milk in recipes, but you must choose carefully to create a similar texture called for by the recipe.
Some ingredients you can choose to make vegan condensed milk include coconut milk, almond milk, cashew cream, and plant-based milk powder. However, you can also find vegan condensed milk products in stores.
Substituting With Coconut Milk Condensed Milk
Coconut milk makes an excellent condensed milk substitute thanks to its rich texture and similar composition to cow’s milk. Always use full-fat coconut milk because you won’t get the desired result if it has a low-fat content.
Coconut has a distinct flavor so that it will come through in your desserts, but in most cases, it complements its taste.
Use coconut cream for a thicker consistency, but don’t buy cream of coconut if you prefer not to use white granulated sugar products.
Ingredients for Coconut Milk Condensed Milk:
1 Can (13.5 ounces) of full-fat coconut milk or cream of coconut or one and ⅔ cups of coconut milk from a carton
¼ cup Sweetener of your choice
Simmer the two ingredients over low heat for about half an hour to forty minutes. Stir frequently during cooking to prevent the mixture from sticking to your saucepan. The mixture will thicken and have a slightly caramelized color. Once it has cooled, the vegan condensed coconut milk is ready to use in your recipe. The ratio for replacing sweetened condensed milk in recipes is 1:1.
Substituting with Almond Milk Condensed Milk
Almond milk does not resemble cow’s milk in texture because it has a lower fat content, but you can use it to make vegan condensed milk. Almond milk has a more subtle flavor, so it won’t change the flavor of the beverages or dishes you use it in.
Ingredients for Almond Milk Condensed Milk:
You need 2 cups of almond milk and ½ cup of preferred sweetener to yield one cup of vegan condensed milk.
Place the required almond milk and sweetener in a saucepan and simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the mixture simmer until it reduces by half. Cool before using. The ratio for replacing almond milk condensed milk in your recipes is 1:1.
You can also make condensed milk in the microwave, but you will need cornstarch to thicken it. Here is a quick and easy recipe from Namely Marly.
Cashew Cream Condensed Milk
Cashews make an excellent dairy substitute because of their fat content and rich flavor. You can make a delicious condensed milk substitute with cashew cream, especially if you have someone with a coconut allergy or don’t want your food or dessert to have a strong coconut flavor.
Ingredients for Cashew Cream Condensed Milk:
1 cup raw cashews that you have soaked for at least eight hours in water
½ cup of any non-dairy milk
½ cup sweetener of your choice
Combine the cashews, non-dairy milk, and sweetener in a blender until it becomes a uniform paste. Place the paste in a small pot and cook for just under five minutes over medium-high heat until it has a syrupy consistency. Use at a ratio of 1:1 when it has cooled.
Plant-Based Milk Powder Condensed Milk
Another option for making vegan condensed milk is with plant-based milk powder. One of the reasons is that you can adjust the consistency according to your needs by adding more or less water.
Use your preferred milk powder, but soy milk powder is especially suitable. This recipe requires a few more ingredients, but no cooking time is necessary because it is instant.
Ingredients for Milk Powder Condensed Milk:
1 cup non-dairy milk powder
½ cup hot water
½ cup sweetener of choice
1 T coconut oil (you can also use vegan butter)
Whisk the non-dairy milk powder with the hot water. Next, whisk in the sweetener and coconut oil until the mixture comes together. If the ingredients don’t want to combine, heat briefly on your stovetop at a low temperature. Use the 1:1 applies for this vegan condensed milk.
Slow Cooker Vegan Condensed Milk
If you want to get on with other things while preparing your vegan condensed milk or want to prepare a larger batch to store, then this slow cooker recipe from Vegan in the Freezer is ideal. This vegan condensed milk recipe yields 14 ounces. You will need two hours to prepare it in your slow cooker, but remember to keep the lid off to allow for evaporation.
Replacing dairy condensed milk in recipes is easier than you thought. Now that you know how to make vegan condensed milk, you never need to rush out to the store again when you decide to create your favorite desserts or beverages.
What is vegan condensed milk?
Vegan condensed milk is made from plant-based ingredients like coconut milk, almond milk, cashew cream, or plant-based milk powder instead of cow’s milk. It can be used as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk in recipes and provides a similar texture to the original dairy product.
How do I make vegan condensed milk?
You can make vegan condensed milk using several ingredients, such as coconut milk, almond milk, cashew cream, or plant-based powdered milk. The ratio for replacing sweetened condensed milk in recipes is 1:1. You only need to simmer the two ingredients together over low heat for about half an hour to forty minutes, stirring frequently.
Does vegan condensed milk taste like dairy condensed milk?
Vegan condensed milk may not have the same flavor as dairy condensed milk. However, it will provide a similar texture and sweetness that can be added to desserts or beverages. The flavor of coconut or almond may come through depending on which ingredient you use, but in most cases, it complements its taste.
Does vegan condensed milk have the same consistency as dairy condensed milk?
Vegan condensed milk will generally have a similar texture to dairy condensed milk. However, you can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water if using plant-based milk powder. For a thicker consistency, you can also add coconut cream instead of cream of coconut.