Prepare yourself for a life changing recipe: a new staple in your kitchen, that you’ll make again and again! This is, hands down, the best low-carb, sugar-free and keto friendly sweetened condensed milk recipe on the internet – which doubles as dulce de leche! As from the moment I’m posting this, there’s no other recipe in the internet as half as good as this one.
I know, because I painstakingly tried them all – look for low-carb or keto condensed milk online and you’ll find variations galore of the exact same recipe: a mix of whipping or heavy cream, butter and sweetener, with the occasional appearance of vanilla. None of these recipes, with pictures as incredible as they are, come even close to taste like true condensed milk.
Call me a purist, but condensed milk MUST taste like milk. Whipping cream and butter are great for keto, sure, but for a sweetened condensed milk taste? It doesn’t even compare. And adding vanilla in doesn’t help.
All recipes I tried (and you probably did, as well) taste like sweetened fat, and that’s it. Sorry, but I had to say. These keto “condensed milk” recipes have brought me only disgust. After the internet let me down, I took it personally: I needed to embark on a quest for a keto friendly recipe. It was hard, but I did not give up.
Life without condensed milk is just not the same. My Brazilian mother must surely have used to dip my pacifier in it.
In Brazil, sweetened condensed milk is used for everything. There’s not a home in the country where you won’t find condensed milk, and most of the times there will be an open can in the fridge, just in case. 99.9% of Brazilian sweets and dessert recipes take condensed milk, dulce de leche or even both.
What’s the difference between dulce de leche and condensed milk
I could be writing two recipe posts here, but I won’t, because I’d feel silly. See, condensed milk and dulce de leche are EXACTLY THE SAME THING. The difference between them is only one: the amount of time they are cooked.
Dulce de leche is sweetened condensed milk that has been further cooked, until it caramelizes. A popular way of making dulce de leche is just putting a whole (sealed) can of condensed milk inside a pressure cooker with some water, and cook it until it turns into dulce de leche. This was, by the way, my favorite!
The color of dulce de leche deepens to a light brown, and the consistency is much thicker than the original condensed milk. You can easily eat dulce de leche out of a spoon, like you’d do Nutella, for example. Condensed milk has more of a drizzling quality, unless you leave it on the fridge to harden. Which is great, too, please try.
What’s the best keto sweetener for sugar-free condensed milk and dulce de leche
I don’t recommend using pure erythritol for this keto recipe (or any erythritol plus stevia or monk fruit blend) because erythritol does not dissolve well. Even using finely powdered erythritol, I could feel the crunchy texture, like fine grains of sand in the condensed milk. The overall consistency is still good, but the crystallization issue is a huge turn off.
So I recommend using xylitol or allulose for the smoothest possible low-carb condensed milk and dulce the leche results.
What are the 3 ingredients for the best sugar-free condensed milk and dulce de leche
- Whipping cream or heavy cream
- Keto sweetener – preferably xylitol or allulose
- And evaporated milk – for true condensed milk flavor!
Is evaporated milk keto
No, evaporated milk isn’t a “keto ingredient”. Evaporated milk is actual milk which has been boiled out of some water, which increases its shelf life to Fallout vault worthiness and concentrates the milky flavor – as well as the carbs. It ends up with about double the carbs than the same amount of regular cow’s milk. Did the hairs on your keto arms just stood up? Well then, why did I choose evaporated milk for this recipe?
Because I just love and respect condensed milk and there’s no way to get that sweet, lovely milk flavor without real cow’s milk. The amount I used is only the necessary to provide maximum flavor with the smallest possible number of carbs – which will be only 2 per tablespoon!
The amount of carbs in a tablespoon of regular store bought condensed milk is about 14 – all from sugar, both from the added sugar and from the milk itself. In comparison, I believe this low-carb homemade version can also be considered keto friendly, if had in moderation. For me, it’s worth every single carb!
Another reason to use evaporated milk, instead of straight regular cow’s milk, is that this easy condensed milk recipe is basically evaporating the water from the ingredients while mixing over heat until it thickens. The less water we put in, the quickest it gets ready!
How to make low-carb condensed milk
Add all ingredients to a non-stick flat bottomed, big pan – can be a skillet or a tall pan, the important thing is that it is as wide as possible. The wider the pan is, the faster the water evaporates and the faster your keto condensed milk or dulce de leche gets ready!
Keep mixing the milk, cream and sweetener over medium heat until it’s simmering, then go on for about 10 minutes (depending on the size of your pan or recipe). The condensed milk is ready when the mixture gets thicker, just enough to coat the back of the spatula.
The consistency of the sugar-free condensed milk will be similar to gravy, only slightly runnier. You can turn off the heat at this point. Give it a quick stir a couple more times while it cools down, to disturb the surface and avoid the formation of a skin on top. After the keto condensed milk is fully cooled, you can bottle it.
How to make low-carb dulce de leche
Start the same way as you did with the keto condensed milk: add the evaporated milk, cream and xylitol or allulose to the pan, and mix over heat. Just cook everything for a longer time!
Continue to stir and cook while simmering after you reach the condensed milk stage, described above. For dulce de leche, it will take about double the time from the start of simmering – 15 to 20 minutes. The cooking time decreases the wider is the pan you use, as the rate of evaporation is faster.
When you keep on cooking your keto condensed milk, notice the caramel fragrance and that the color starts deepening. When you lift the spatula, the mixture will fall down in thin ribbons. Crossing the spatula across the bottom of the pan, you can see the bottom surface for some time before the thickened milk closes in. This is how you know you’ve reached the dulce de leche stage.
Now, let’s go on to some recipe troubleshooting:
If the condensed milk is too runny or too hard
If your sugar-free condensed milk is too runny after cooled, it’s really easy to fix, just boil it for some more time. If it’s too hard, then, well – you can eat it as is because it will be incredibly delicious, or, if you need a specific consistency (say, for use in a recipe) you can add a little more liquid to thin it out while cold – a little bit more of whipping cream and evaporated milk, and mix it really well until it’s fully combined. If needed, heat it up again while mixing to homogenize.
I’ll say that, it does require some practice to find the perfect moment to switch off the stove. It isn’t easy because you’ll just find out how hard the condensed milk or dulce de leche will set after it’s completely cooled down.
But don’t fret. Even if you go way beyond the cooking time – which I’ve done, when I was trying to learn how to get to the dulce de leche texture – you will be presented with some sort of hard caramel candy after it cools down. So, I’d say there’s no way to screw this recipe!
How to avoid lumpy condensed milk
Depending on the pan non-stick surface and distribution of heat from your stove burner, there might be spots where the milk cooks faster and sticks to the bottom, turning into lumps. When you pass the spatula across the bottom of the pan, these lumps of cooked milk will dislodge and they will probably melt again into the condensed milk if you mix it well while still hot.
These lumps of cooked milk pieces still taste really good (if they didn’t burn) and are just an aesthetic annoyance. They really aren’t gross like lumps in custard, for example. In any case, to prevent them from forming at all, you just need to keep mixing throughout the whole time the condensed milk or dulce de leche is boiling – which can be from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and recipe.
The best technique for mixing the keto condensed milk is to use a large silicone spatula and make figure 8s across the bottom and sides of the pan. Change the position of the spatula or rotate the pan a bit to cover the whole area. Be gentle when mixing, specially in the beginning when is too liquid, to avoid forming waves or splashing the hot condensed milk out or on yourself!
How sweet is our homemade keto condensed milk or dulce de leche
This recipe makes for a sugar-free sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche that is about half as sweet than your traditional sugary store bought versions. Which should be a perfect level of sweetness for most on keto and anyone that has taken sugar out of their diet.
Still, you can increase the amount of sweetener if needed, or, better yet, add and mix in liquid sweetener drops of stevia or monk fruit to the low-carb condensed milk or dulce de leche after is ready, until you find the best level of sweetness for you.
- 240 grams heavy whipping cream or heavy cream
- 160 grams evaporated milk
- 80 grams allulose or xylitol
- Add all ingredients to a non-stick saucepan, and over to medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer, mixing with a silicone spatula or whisk.
- Mix while simmering until it achieves the desired consistency: for condensed milk, it should coat the back of a spoon (similar to gravy) in about 10 minutes. For dulce de leche, the color will deepen and the bottom of the pan should show for a moment when bringing the spatula across (similar to custard), taking around 15 to 20 minutes.
- Mix a couple of times while it cools to prevent the formation of a skin on the surface. The mixture will thicken a lot as it cools, and more after refrigerated.
This recipe makes for a low-carb condensed milk or dulce de leche that's about half as sweet as the store bought version. You can increase the amount of sweetener if you prefer, or add in liquid sweetener to taste (like stevia drops) after ready and mix if you need it sweeter.
The wider is your choice of pan, the faster the water evaporates and the quicker the recipe will be ready. The times as shown are for a 30 cm wide skillet.
Constant mixing in not entirely necessary, but it prevents any pieces from sticking to the bottom and makes for a much smoother final result.
Recipe amounts to about 300 grams (about 1 1/4 cup) of condensed milk, somewhat less for dulce de leche - near 250 grams (due to longer cooking time).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gNet Carbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Different brands of ingredients may have different nutrition facts. If tracking macros, remake the calculations using the nutrition facts from the labels of the ingredients you selected. Net carbs calculated exclude carbs from insoluble fiber and sugar alcohols.