3 Best Vegan Substitutes for Sweetened Condensed Milk

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Sweetened condensed milk is a staple of so many traditional baking recipes, which can be problematic if you’re following a vegan or plant-based lifestyle.

Luckily, we’ve found three vegan substitutes for sweetened condensed milk that worked amazingly well in a wide variety of recipes. We even created our own unique substitute recipe that we think is worth a try, as well.

The Best Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitutions

These sweetened condensed milk vegan recipe alternatives are easy to throw together and use ingredients that are likely already in your pantry.

1. Full Fat Coconut Milk

The best substitute for sweetened condensed milk is full fat coconut milk with a sweetener. With only two ingredients, it’s one of the simplest recipes we tried and makes a very convincing condensed milk recipe alternative. This recipe has a bit of a coconutty flavor, but this is not overly noticeable when used in most baked good recipes.

When used in more straightforward applications, such as for dessert frostings or as a coffee additive, the taste is much more apparent, but not at all off-putting.

For this recipe, all you’ll need is:

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ c maple syrup, sugar, or coconut sugar

How to make full-fat coconut milk vegan sweetened condensed milk:

  1. Stir together the coconut milk and maple syrup (or sugar) into a small pot or saucepan.
Woman's hand pouring maple syrup into a pot of coconut milk on a white counter
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 45 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. The liquid should reduce by about half and turn from white to beige-ish (it will be darker if you use coconut sugar or maple syrup).

Overhead photo of vegan condensed milk in a small pot after cooking
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

It’s important to whisk the liquid frequently, about every five minutes. This will prevent the mixture from bubbling over.

3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Vegan condensed milk dripping off of a spoon into a small glass bowl on a white counter
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Once set, this sweetened condensed milk will keep in the fridge for about 10 days.

This recipe yields about ¾ cup of product. View the printable recipe card for this version below.

2. Soy Milk Powder

This version of vegan sweetened condensed milk requires a few more ingredients but takes a fraction of the time to prepare.

It also has more of a traditional condensed milk taste to it. But it does require soy milk powder, which can be a bit tough to find and is not suitable for those with soy allergies. (If this is the case, you can replace the soy powder with rice milk powder and get similar results.)

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 ¼ c soy milk powder
  • ¾ c white sugar
  • ½ c hot water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp salt

How to make soy milk powder vegan sweetened condensed milk:

  1. In a blender, mix the soy powder and sugar.
  2. In a bowl, stir in the hot water, coconut oil, and salt.
  3. Add the liquid mix into the blender.
  4. Blend for about 1 minute until well combined.
  5. Pour into a container immediately and allow to cool.

Once cooled, this mixture will thicken to the perfect consistency to use in any recipe you would use dairy-based sweetened condensed milk.

This recipe yields about 1 ½ cups.

3. Nut Milk and Cashews

If you are looking for a healthier take on sweetened condensed milk, you’ll love this vegan alternative. Not only is it made using better-for-you ingredients, but it utilizes natural sweeteners rather than processed sugar.

The taste of this milk recipe is similar to the real thing but with earthier undertones. But if you are used to naturally sweetened baked goods, you probably won’t even notice.

For those with coconut allergies, this recipe is perfect. It does not utilize coconut milk or oil.

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • About ½ cup almond or other nut milk
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ c sea salt

How to make nut milk and cashew vegan sweetened condensed milk:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender. (NOTE: If not using a high-speed blender, then you should soak the cashews overnight first.)
  2. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a pot or saucepan and simmer over medium-low for about 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
  4. Adjust the thickness by stirring in more milk or syrup as needed.
  5. Allow to cool.

This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for months.

Expert Tip: Whisk Frequently to Achieve the Perfect Texture

The best vegan substitute for sweetened condensed milk is coconut milk and maple syrup. But for this substitute to perfectly emulate the real thing, you need to stir it frequently. 

Once the ingredients have reached a boil, reduce the heat until you achieve a light simmer. From here, you must whisk the mixture at least once every five minutes. This is important to keep the bottom from burning, prevent it from boiling over, and to get that perfect consistency.

It will take about 45 minutes for the mixture to fully reduce. You’ll know you’ve hit that magic texture once the mixture has turned tan or beige and is thick enough to really stick to the whisk when you pull it out.

Condensed Milk vs Evaporated Milk

If you do a lot of baking, you’ve probably noticed that some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk while others call for evaporated milk. It’s important to note that these are similar but entirely different ingredients.

Both are created by exposing whole milk to heat to reduce it to a thick liquid. This is technically evaporated milk. Once sugar is added to the mixture, it becomes sweetened condensed milk.

If your recipe calls for the latter, the options above and below are perfect for creating a vegan substitute. But if the recipe calls for the former, you’ll want to reference our article on vegan substitutes for evaporated milk.

FAQ

Is sweetened condensed milk vegan?

No, condensed milk is not vegan. Condensed milk is made by taking whole dairy milk and exposing it to heat to remove 60% of the water. Sugar is then added to the thickened product to it sweet.

Can you buy dairy-free condensed milk?

Yes, there are a few commercial vegan condensed milk products you can buy. You can typically find them at natural grocery stores. My favorite brand is Nature’s Charm, which offers a coconut milk version and an oat milk version.

Does vegan condensed milk taste the same?

Yes, vegan sweetened condensed milk can taste very similar to traditional sweetened condensed milk. In my experience, the coconut milk and maple syrup substitute is the most authentic-tasting option, though it does have a bit of a coconutty aftertaste. In most recipes though, this won’t be noticeable.

Best Sweetened Condensed Milk-Free Recipes

Sweetened condensed milk is used in a variety of recipes, especially desserts, homemade ice cream, and pies. Here are a few of our favorite vegan alternatives to these recipes that don’t require sweetened condensed milk.

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What’s the Best Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute?

Hands down, my favorite vegan substitute for sweetened condensed milk is coconut milk and maple syrup. While it takes a little time to make, it only requires two ingredients and does the best job of emulating the texture of the real thing. 

You can find a printable version of this substitute recipe below. If you’ve tried it, let us know what you think by posting in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

 

Vegan/Dairy-free sweetened condensed milk substitute pouring off of a spoon into a bowl

Vegan Condensed Milk Substitute

Learn how to make dairy-free vegan condensed milk with just two simple ingredients. Add it to coffee or tea, drizzle it over fresh fruit, or use it as an ingredient in your plant-based recipes for baked goods, pies, fudge, pudding, and more.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
56 Ratings
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: condensed milk substitute, dairy free condensed milk, substitute for condensed milk, vegan condensed milk
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 130kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk about 13.5 ounces
  • cup maple syrup or granulated sugar

Instructions

  • To a small pot, add the coconut milk and maple syrup or sugar.
  • Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 45 minutes, whisking every five minutes. The liquid will reduce by about half and develop a beige color.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool. Store leftover condensed milk in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

It’s important to whisk the liquid frequently, about every five minutes. This will prevent the mixture from bubbling over.

Recommended Tools & Products

Stock Pot
Glass jars with lids

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 135mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!
Sara Seitz

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