Purchased condensed milk (so expensive!) to make mango ice cream as per this recipe.
After mixing up everything, the mixture seemed a bit softer in texture as compared to my Mom's way of simply mixing mango puree, milk and sugar to make mango ice cream.

Mom saw me making it and said that it's un-necessary to use condensed milk. I couldn't explain to her why it's necessary either, because the recipe doesn't mention it. I thought it was required to prevent crystals from forming in the ice-cream, but Mom says that crystals will form anyway. Even if I take the mixture out of the fridge and whisk it.

So what exactly is the purpose of condensed milk, and how can I prevent those crystals from forming so that my ice-cream is smooth and soft?

2 Answers 2


The ultimate goal of ice cream is a creamy texture. You could take those same ingredients and freeze them in a paper cup and make a fantastic mango popsicle. Popsicles and slushies are not nearly as magical as ice cream.

Creaminess in ice cream is achieved by keeping the ice crystals as small as possible. The bigger the crystals the more grainy the texture.

There are two good ways to prevent large ice crystals from forming: Reducing the amount of available water and mechanically destroying the crystals. The ice crystals are reduced mechanically by churning or in your recipe by blending- but this is an answer for a different question.

Reduce the amount of available water.
Many ingredients in ice cream will tie up some of the water and prevent it from coalescing into monolithic crystals.

  • Alcohol and sugar are used in sorbets
  • Gums, such as carageenan and xanthan gum, are used in commercial ice cream
  • Egg custards are used in French style ice cream
  • Starch gels tie up free water in Italian Gelato
  • Large quantities of fat

Removing water from the recipe, and sometimes replacing it with fat, will go a long way towards making creamier ice cream.

The condensed milk in your recipe is a convenience. Using milk that has had a lot of the water removed means that there will be more fat and less water in your ice cream. This will make it much easier to make your ice cream creamy.

You could use regular milk but you would be relying on your blender to chop up the large crystals that would inevitably form. If the canned milk is too expensive, and if you have some time, you could reduce your milk yourself and get the same effect.

  • 1
    It's possible the OP is also using sweetened condensed milk, so there's more sugar too.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 20:13
  • Good explanation, however condensed milk != evaporated milk.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 22:37
  • @Aaronut- I was wondering about that. Does condensed milk == sweetened condensed milk then? Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 0:38
  • 1
    @Sobachatina It's always "sweetened condensed" here, too, but there are various places on the Internet (including here) where I've seen just "condensed." So far, condensed has always implied sweetened. Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 6:33
  • 1
    Yup, I've used sweetened condensed milk. Was surprised that even after keeping the icecream in the freezer for 24 hours, it didn't become hard as a rock. Mom was very surprised (and intrigued). I told her all of your explanations and she was satisfied. Thanks a lot! :) The ice cream was delicious, btw.
    – Nav
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 16:31

3 important ingredients why ice cream was creamy and smooth.

  1. It contains : reconstituded milk not evaporated milk.(but some contries incorporate eggyolk,starch, and other thickening agent to bond water and to avoid crytallazation.
  2. Lastly, cream or heavy cream and condensed milk. Condensed milk (means concentrated milk and sugar)in the other hand lesser concentration of water.

  3. cream (cream is a fat mixture)helps in aeration and gives body or stabilize the mixture.

My recipe: home made good for 1.5 gal ice cream :

  • 1 cn tall Alpine (available brnd
  • 1 cn condensed milk(larger 1)
  • 1 pouch nestle cream allp 250ml(chilled overnight)

variations:3 pcs cokies and cream, 1 puree mango and etc.

Simple lng ito whip ng hand mixer mo lng ang cold alpine sa mixing bowl with ice ibba nito amazing mag bubles and double na ang mixture. After you add mo ung cold condensed at chilled cream whip mo until (tremble?) creamy at double size. Color turns dirty white to pure whte means finish and you can add ur favorte flavor.

:I hope it helps..:) taste was the same with commercial ones.

  • Are you using an automated translator, or the garbage is there on purpose? Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 18:41
  • @belisarius : looks like bits of tagalog mixed in ... any filipinos who can translate to fix this?
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:07

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