Brown Sugar Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

Would you like to know how many recipes I look at and think “OMG I WANT TO LICK THE SCREEN I NEED TO MAKE THAT!!!” then see that they call for sweetened condensed milk, decide they must be the most unhealthy thing in the world, and there is no way to modify it, so I click my little x and move on.

Too many. So, I made my own. Duh.

I have to say, I’m a little obsessed with the coconut in general right now. I love the sweet flakes for baking, the oil for practically anything, and the milk is proving to be everything I could ever want to use it for, and more!

It takes a little bit of time and attention on the stove top, but this thick, sweet, and almost syrupy (without being too sweet, if that makes sense?) sweetened condensed milk is nothing short of a cooking miracle! And ya know, it’s Chanukah (I will always and forever spell it the CH way, so that I can pronounce it as such), which is all about miracles, so I thought I’d share with you mine. It’s not quite as cool as a light that lasts for 8 days, but I mean, I really love food, so I found it pretty darn exciting.

Obviously, this is only the beginning for this coconut milk. You couldn’t possibly think I made just the coconut milk without special things to use it for, right??

Let’s just say, there’s lots of fun treats in store. 😉


Brown Sugar Sweetened Condensed Milk

adapted from Side of Sneakers

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar


  1. Heat coconut milk and brown sugar together in a medium sized pot over medium heat whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reduces to about 1/2-2/3 of original. This takes about 30 minutes. When milk is finished, it will coat the back of a spoon as seen in the above pictures. Let cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  1. says

    Yum. Definitely dangerous. Someone in my house (I couldn’t say who) just *might* have finished off a bowl of homemade date-caramel sauce simply by spooning it into her mouth… this condensed coconut milk looks equally in danger of getting spooned away :) ps- do you know if it will work with light coconut milk? just too thin maybe?

  2. Genevieve says

    I almost wept when I saw this! SOooooooo many of my pre-vegan baking treats call for sweetened condensed milk… Guess what I am making tomorrow? :)

  3. dee says

    i always get the coconut milks confused. did you use the milk from the can or the box?
    thanks for the help!
    this looks amazing!

  4. Jenny C says

    what about trying raw organic sugar with molasses ? since that is really what brown sugar is .. or better yet maple syrup & molasses .. or honey .. or cane sugar .. in lieu of refined processed bleached sugar …

  5. says

    Hallo there! I’m very keen to make a vegan condensed milk for a number of decadent goodies, but alas I am allergic to coconut milk and all its bits (except coconut oil, shockingly – apparently different parts are used.

    Could you recommend a substitute? Could something like a soy cream be a viable substitute?

    Thanks! 😀

    • Ari says

      Hi, unfortunately you really need the fat from the coconut milk. If you had a very thick and fattening soy milk it could be worth a try, but I’ve tried with almond milk, and I honestly would not recommend making any substitutions with this recipe.

    • Ari says

      Hi Lauren, I actually have never done any canning, and I don’t really know much about it, but I imagine it’s worth a try! I mean, since they can regular sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk, it seems like it would make sense. Let me know if you have any luck! :)

  6. Lauren says

    I love this idea, but mine didn’t turn out very well :( It never got to the consistency of yours. And it took an 1.5 hours on the stove to reduce to anything substantial, but never ooey-gooey, just thicker. After cooling and refrigeration, it came out more like a gritty paste. What went wrong? Here’s what I did:
    -2 cans of full fat coconut milk…no stabilizers or thickeners added, could that be the problem?
    1/3 c brown sugar
    Constantly whisked for 30 minutes on med heat, not much change in consistency.
    Whisked an additional 30 minutes, still no substational change, except for the discomfort in my arm.
    For the next 30 minutes, I tried whisking with my other arm and proved that, while still clumsy and awkward, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
    The concoction was finally thick, but did not behave like your pictures, more like puréed carrot soup (coats the spoon, but does not ooze).

    I’m sure part of my problem is that it is overcooked, but the question is, why did I never reach the desired consistency? What brand of coconut milk did you use?

    • Ari says

      Hi Lauren, I’m so sorry to hear it didn’t turn out! I have made this with multiple brands of coconut milk, so I don’t believe that is the issue. Condensed milk (like with a balsamic glaze) thickens a LOT during cooling. When I make this, I see that the liquid has reduced (by looking at the line in my pot) and use the half-two thirds ratio to know when to remove from heat. I wasn’t sure mind had worked the first time, but as it cooled, it began to thicken, and once I refrigerated it, it came out looking sticky and drippy like you see in these photographs. I believe you’re right that over cooking was the issue, and I hope you will try again! Make sure you keep an eye on the amount in the pan, and determine cook time by reduction rather than thickness. Thanks for the input, and I’m hoping that your comment will help other readers hoping to make this as well!


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