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Is condensed milk the same as sweetened condensed milk? I have a Fudge Recipe that calls for condensed milk and I can not find strictly condensed milk only sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk.

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4 Answers 4

Technically no, it is not the same thing. Sweetened condensed milk has a very high sugar content, something like 40%, while just condensed milk has no sugar at all.

But this still doesn't tell us what the recipe author meant. The availability of different types of condensed and evaporated milks seem to differ a lot in different parts of the world. This being a fudge recipe, I can imagine that it is an American one, because fudge is not as common in other places. If unsweetened condensed milk is unusual in the States, I can also imagine that the recipe author was not aware of the difference and just shortened it to "condensed milk" without knowing that it has a difference in meaning.

Your best strategy is finding a different recipe, which uses a different dairy product. Not only will be there no doubt what the author meant, it will also be much easier for you to make it as it is, instead of having to mess around with substitutes. Candy recipes are generally sensitive when it comes to small differences in ingredients.

If you hang to your recipe very much, you can try looking online for non-sweetened condensed milk, it is possible that you will find products your brick and mortar stores don't carry.

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Both products are common here; the unsweetened variety is actually somewhat harder to find sometimes, outside the holidays, but not that hard. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 30 '13 at 13:25
    
So what's the difference between unsweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk? –  Marti Mar 19 at 23:07
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No, the two products are different. As the names imply:

  • Condensed milk is strictly reduced milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk is reduced milk with considerable sugar added

See Can evaporated milk be converted to sweetened condensed? You can easily modify the condensed milk with additional sugar.

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In my experience, "condensed" milk refers to the sweetened product, and "evaporated" milk refers to the unsweetened product. People will often say "sweetened condensed" for clarity, but this is not strictly necessary: if your recipe calls for condensed milk, use the syrupy stuff.

However, if this is an older recipe, all bets are off: older casual usage had "condensed" for both meanings. (Hence using the "sweetened condensed" phrasing, even though it's a bit of a tautology.)

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Thanks Marti ... I made white maraschino fudge for the first time and it was the only fudge batch of 8 this season that did not turn out, thought maybe there was just condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk as to why it never hardened....well NOW I will blame it on the cherries (not drained enough) will try again but will drain cherries for a couple weeks first LOL Thanks again for your help! –  Jennie B Jan 1 at 11:18
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I've found when I run across the phrase "condensed milk" vs. the more specific "sweetened condensed milk," the recipe has its origins in the UK, such as in this recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Banoffee-Pie-Classic. First, look for clues in the recipe: it's not likely 1/2 cup of brown sugar would create a sufficiently sweet toffee layer, although I'm sure that could be argued by people with a less sweet tooth than mine. Next, look up similar recipes. I looked up other banoffee pie recipes and each US based site referenced sweetened condensed milk. Finally, this UK site for the Carnation brand product seems to verify it is indeed what we (in the US) call sweetened condensed milk. Check this out: http://www.carnation.co.uk/recipes/8/Classic-Banoffee-Pie.

Hope that helps.

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