Two recipes in one: this homemade keto condensed milk AND dulce de leche is life changing! Simple and with only 3 ingredients, this is hands down the best low-carb, sugar-free and keto friendly sweetened condensed milk recipe you’ll ever try – and it even doubles as dulce de leche!
I know, because I painstakingly tried so many – look for low-carb or keto condensed milk and you’ll find variations galore of the exact same recipe: a mix of whipping or heavy cream, butter and sweeteners, with the occasional vanilla. None of the recipes I tried, with pictures as incredible as they are, come even close to taste like true condensed milk.
Table Of Contents
- Why this is the best recipe
- Difference between dulce de leche and condensed milk
- The only 3 ingredients you’ll need
- What is the best sweetener to use
- Is evaporated milk keto
- How to make low-carb condensed milk
- How to make low-carb dulce de leche
- How to get the consistency right
- How to avoid lumps
- How sweet is homemade condensed milk or dulce de leche
Why this is the best recipe
Call me a purist, but sweetened condensed milk must taste like milk. Whipping cream and butter are great for keto, sure, but for a true 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. A lot of wasted ingredients and time later, I took it personally: I needed to embark on a quest for the perfect keto condensed milk 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.
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.
The only 3 ingredients you’ll need
- Whipping cream or heavy cream
- Keto sweetener – preferably xylitol or allulose
- And evaporated milk – for true condensed milk flavor!
What is the best sweetener to use
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 when trying 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. If you have dogs are want to try xylitol, please be very careful as it is deadly poisonous to them!
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.
Evaporated milk actually 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 on Earth would I choose evaporated milk for a keto condensed milk recipe?
Because I 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! – and it’s all from sugar, both from the added sugar and from the milk itself (lactose). 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.
Running the spatula across 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:
How to get the consistency right
If your sugar-free condensed milk is too runny after cooling down, it’s really easy to fix: just take the pan back to the stove and continue cooking for some more time.
If it over thickened, 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.
Just add 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 better 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 find out how long until the dulce de leche stage – the worst is gonna happen is ending up with some sort of hard caramel candy. So, I’d say there’s no way to screw this recipe!
How to avoid lumps
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 clumps. 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 continue mixing.
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 it’s more runny, to avoid forming waves or splashing the hot condensed milk out or on yourself!
How sweet is homemade 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.
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