How to Use Up the Rest of a Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

Other than spooning it straight from the can, of course.

November 19, 2020

My mornings these days start off with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a scoop of thick sweetened condensed milk. I skip the cream and sugar all together, since sweetened condensed milk—milk that's been concentrated and heavily sweetened; its viscosity is like molasses or honey and it moves just as slowly—gives creaminess and sweetness in one product.

My mother always had a can in the pantry at any given time. It was a staple in our home. We baked with it, sweetened Jamaican cornmeal porridge with it, and my mother used it in her tea. Once I've opened a can, I store the remaining milk (poured out of the can) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. (And if you want to met it yourself, Stephanie Le has a simple recipe for making a batch of sweetened condensed milk of your own.)

But what to do with an open can of it besides stir it into coffee? Here are a few practical uses for a leftover sweetened condensed milk:

  • Sweeten tea and coffee by scooping a dollop of sweetened condensed milk into your mug. Try it chilled in iced coffee or tea, too.

  • Drizzle over fresh fruit. It brightens up the tangy and sour flavor of grapefruit really well.

  • Substitute half of the milk needed in baking cornbread with condensed milk for an added subtle sweetness.

  • Anthony Myint's French Toast Crunch uses condensed milk to create a sweet chamomile custard for dunking the French toast into before baking it.

  • Sweetened condensed milk is one of the three milks in a tres leches cake, and this Coconut Tres Leches uses a full can of it.

  • Spread a thick coat of condensed milk butter on a slice of toast or make Darjeeling Tea Pain Perdu.

  • The filling of Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie is simply a can of condensed milk with beaten together with a few egg yolks and lemon juice (and then baked together on a crust of saltine crackers).

Additional suggestions from the Food52 Editors

  • Make dulce de leche! David Lebovitz’s genius recipe is as simple as 1) pouring sweetened condensed milk into a pie plate with a bit of salt, 2) setting the plate in a water bath, 3) covering with foil and baking until caramelized.
  • If you have Café Du Monde with chicory (or any dark roast coffee, really) and some sweetened condensed milk, you’re just a few steps away from Vietnamese iced coffee. The super-strong, sweet, and slightly nutty (if you’ve got the chicory additon!) drink is a killer way to beat any sleepiness.

  • A batch of Thai iced tea, the creamy drink of black tea seasoned with star anise, crushed tamarind, and cardamom, mixed with whole and sweetened condensed milk poured over ice is all I want on a hot afternoon.

  • Add a hefty splash of sweetened condensed milk to your favorite fruit smoothie, like this berry-banana-oat number. It will no longer be vegan, but it will be an ice cream-less fruity milkshake.

  • This dreamy Pakistani Firni, also known as ground rice pudding, made with cardamom, saffron, and rose water, gets its sweetness from sweetened condensed milk.

  • Super-simple, sweet-tart key lime pie wouldn’t be the same without sweetened condensed milk.

  • It doesn’t need to be Passover to make a batch of pillow-centered, craggy-edged macaroons, which call for ¾ cup of sweetened condensed milk. I like to dunk them in dark chocolate and finish with flaky salt.

  • Cocktail writer Erik Lombardo has a tip for eggnog fans: the Puerto Rican version known as Coquito, which is made with sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk.

What are the ways that you use condensed milk? Comment below to let us know!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • coachtfp
  • Regine
  • So sett
    So sett
  • Rach Lee
    Rach Lee
  • Bibi Marti
    Bibi Marti
Freelance Food Writer


coachtfp October 13, 2021
The simplest way to make dulce de leche is to simply place the unopened can into a pot of water ( don't immerse it completely because it will move when it reaches boiling point) reduce to a medium low boil. The longer you cook it, the darker it gets. Try 3-6 minutes. Cool to when the can is merely warm to the touch, because that is when it flows more easily. Store in a wide mouth, air tight container.* It makes a great filling/topping on a yellow layer cake. I mix it with freshly chopped, fully ripened, yellow (Manila ) mango for the topping. Make sure you mix it well or the mango will discolor.

* Alternately you can leave it in the unopened can and store in the fridge for months.
Regine March 9, 2021
I drizzle condensed milk over cornflakes and mix it with 2 spoons into a sticky crunchy mess. So so good.
So S. November 22, 2020
I go through a few cans a month just on making hong kong style milk tea
For one mug:
boil .75 quart of water, dump in ~3 tablespoons of black looseleaf tea, turn the heat down to medium-low for 15-25 minutes (I just go about my day and when I can smell it in the air I'll turn it off). Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, cheese cloth, or a clean pantyhose. Add evaporated milk and condensed milk to taste--I add condensed milk until it tastes slightly sweet, and then evaporated milk until it tastes like actual milk tea. This tea is super strong tasting due to the long brew, but the milks should give it a nice balance. It is very delicious with sweets. Add coffee if you would like to make mixed, HK-style coffee tea.
Rach L. November 22, 2020
If you like Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches .... try Peanut Butter and Sweetened Condensed Milk sandwiches.
Bibi M. November 19, 2020
I suggest a spoon and a closet. No one will be the wiser
Jeninks June 15, 2019
Popsicles, just puree’ fresh fruit of choice and a bit of milk to thin and sweetened condensed milk for sweet and creaminess. Delicious!
Cassandra C. November 20, 2018
I made a batch of chicken penne and pumpkin alfredo and used condensed mix mixed with regular milk to make the alfredo bit sweeter which blended very nice with the pumpkin. Great for picky kids.
Rachel October 24, 2016
This soup uses a small amount and I make it every fall (of course that is how I ended up here, looking for uses of my left over can lol)
Rachel October 24, 2016
This soup uses a small amount and I make it every fall (of course that is how I ended up here, looking for uses of my left over can lol)
Rachel October 24, 2016
This soup uses a small amount and I make it every fall (of course that is how I ended up here, looking for uses of my left over can lol)
Marlene M. June 11, 2016
Awesome and authentic ways of using a not so old fashion staple from your cabinet. Good item yo havr around and for us West Indians/Caribbeans this is a major versatile item to have in our pantry
Marsha G. June 7, 2016
Ran across these recipes recently but haven't tried them so can't vouch: Something Swanky's Cheesecake Brownies and Spend with Pennies' Millionaire Pie. Both call for an entire can, but if you only have 2 T missing from a can as I currently do (that's all the recipe called for), then nearly an entire can should suffice for either recipe. Looking forward to trying my leftovers in hot and iced coffee and on a piece of toast.
AntoniaJames June 7, 2016
At Girl Scout camp eons ago, we toasted thickly sliced bread over a fire and then smeared sweetened condensed milk on it, which we ate for dessert while still warm. Heaven. ;o)
Briana R. June 7, 2016
Yes, that sounds divine! Adds to list of things to do with condensed milk!
AnniC November 22, 2020
The Camp Fire Girls camp I went to dipped cubes of bread in SCM first - and then coconut for those who liked it - then toasted them over our campfire. We called it mock angel food cake.
Aditi June 7, 2016
I like it as a sauce over coffee jelly (jello)
annabelle June 6, 2016
Flan's denser cousin Quesillo!
Also, as a kid in the Caribbean it was poured over a banana, for dessert
Briana R. June 7, 2016
My mom is Jamaican and she put it on everything!
nicole June 6, 2016
I never thought to add condensed milk into my coffee! We always have cans in the pantry too, from overstocking for commonly used recipes. It's good to know there are other ways of using what's leftover.
Briana R. June 7, 2016
It's so gooood! It is worth the try for morning coffee!
AntoniaJames June 6, 2016
Muesli: Maximilian Bircher-Benner, the inventor of muesli, used sweetened condensed milk, and so do I! Highly recommended. ;o)
HalfPint June 6, 2016
We (Vietnamese) make a snack of dipping fresh baked French bread (not sourdough) into sweetened condensed milk. The saltiness of the bread and the sweetness of the condensed milk is a great combination.
Briana R. June 7, 2016
The salty sweet combo is one of my favorites!
Sheila June 6, 2016
Vietnamese coffee popsicles:
Briana R. June 6, 2016
Thanks for the share! I love this recipe!