I’ve been making vegan sweetened condensed milk for years to use in dessert bars, fudge, and the like. It simply never occurred to me until now to share my recipe with you. There are several other non-dairy condensed milk recipes online, but all of them seem to use coconut milk or coconut butter. Come on, vegans! We don’t have to put coconut in everything. With a little care, you can sweeten and condense homemade nut milk to get a thick, slightly caramelized mixture that’s perfect wherever regular sweetened condensed milk would be.
Pictured in these photographs is vegan sweetened condensed milk made with a batch of my homemade toasted macadamia nut milk. I am a macadamia nut fiend and I love the buttery flavor they give to this recipe. I think they’re really the best option if you’re able to find some at a reasonable price. Otherwise, this also works beautifully with almonds or cashews. Or, sigh, the dreaded coconut milk. I have not tried this out with soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk. I think soy milk would likely thicken nicely but might taste a little strongly of soy. I would worry about oat milk and rice milk thickening properly, but definitely tell me if you give it a try. No matter what, for the best results, start with a non-dairy milk that has minimal thickeners or stabilizers added. This is why I recommend homemade nut milk and include the steps to make it in the recipe instructions.
As you can see, I was playing around with some strawberries while taking these photos. Obviously I had to make a huge sacrifice and eat them afterward; and I honestly think strawberries + sweetened condensed macadamia nut milk might be a perfect dessert in itself. SUCH a good combo.
I didn’t stop with just the strawberries, though 🙂 I have a dessert recipe I’ll be sharing very soon that makes beautiful use of this vegan sweetened condensed milk. Until then, may I suggest making a batch just to keep in the fridge and put on absolutely everything?
Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 cup roasted macadamia nuts (or use raw or roasted cashews or almonds)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Nut milk bag or cheesecloth
- Add the macadamia nuts and water to a blender. (My usual food processor cannot accommodate this amount of liquid, so I have to use a blender for this - if you have a high end food processor you may be able to use it). Blend the mixture as smooth as you can get it.
- Prepare either a nut milk bag (or 4 layers of cheesecloth) positioned over a bowl or small pitcher. Carefully pour the mixture from the blender into the nut milk bag (or layered cheesecloth). Gather the edges together and then squeeze as much liquid out of the bag as you possibly can. Put some muscle into it! *Pulp can be saved and stirred into oatmeal, quick breads, energy bars, etc.*
- Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of the milk into a saucepan (preferably one with a thick bottom); reserve the pulp and excess milk for another use. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the sugar. Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally (and taking care to scrape around the bottom of the pan when you do), until the mixture is reduced by half; about 60 minutes. (See the notes for more detailed information about this step). Stir in the vanilla, if using.
- The sweetened condensed milk will thicken further as it cools. Let it come to room temperature, then store it in the fridge for up to a week or so.
Used plain Planet Oat milk since that’s what I had and it worked perfectly. Turned the stove to a high simmer, sat next to it with my morning oatmeal, and was able to stir often with no inconvenience. It was done cooking in about 20 minutes that way. Placed the pan on a heat sink and it cooled in no time. A quick note for others: My milk didn’t seem like it was going to thicken, but the last minute or so it suddenly came together. And now I’m off to enjoy a Vietnamese iced coffee with my new condensed milk!
If I use cashews, do I need to soak them
Can you freeze this? How long does it last what is best way to store it?
Kirsten Sevig says
This is awesome sauce, quite literally! I followed this recipe, doubled it actually, using raw macadamia nuts because when I started making the milk it made enough so that I could have two portions for two of your Tres Leches cakes. They were was such a hit! Thank you so much for these recipes!
I made this to usse for veganizing a magic bar recipe. My only real complaint is that it doesnt have that opaque “milky” color like regular sweetened condensed milk, but that doesn’t matter much otherwise, it’s a suitable vegan version!
Mine took around 45 minutes to reduce.