Can you use condensed milk to drink?

Quick Answers

Yes, you can drink condensed milk straight from the can, but it is very high in sugar and calories so should only be consumed in moderation. Condensed milk can be diluted with water or milk to make a sweetened drink. It’s often used to make sweetened milky drinks like Thai tea, coffee drinks, and fruit smoothies. Condensed milk should be consumed in small amounts due to its high saturated fat and calorie content.

What is Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk is cow’s milk that has been evaporated to remove around 60% of the water content. It is then sweetened with sugar before canning. The end result is an extremely thick, sweet, concentrated milk product. Condensed milk comes in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. Sweetened condensed milk has added sugar, which acts as a natural preservative, while unsweetened condensed milk relies on sterilization to prevent spoilage.

Sweetened condensed milk is commonly used in desserts, candies, and drinks where a very thick, rich, and sweet milk flavor is desired. Key lime pie, tres leches cake, and Vietnamese iced coffee are some popular foods made with sweetened condensed milk. Unsweetened condensed milk is not quite as commonly used, but can provide thickness and a mild caramelized milk flavor to savory dishes like chowders and curries.

Nutrition Facts

A 1⁄3 cup (80ml) serving of sweetened condensed milk contains:

  • Calories: 315
  • Total fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 135mg
  • Carbohydrates: 55g
  • Sugar: 55g
  • Protein: 9g

As you can see, even a small amount of condensed milk is high in calories, carbohydrates, and saturated fat. The high sugar content, accounting for over 70% of calories, is reason enough why condensed milk should be consumed in moderation.

Can You Drink Condensed Milk Straight?

Yes, you can drink condensed milk directly from the can, if you so desire. It has a thick, creamy, and very sweet flavor. Some people enjoy condensed milk’s taste and creamy mouthfeel as an occasional treat straight from the can.

However, drinking condensed milk in excess is not recommended. The high amount of added sugar makes it more of a dessert indulgence rather than a healthful beverage. Just 1⁄3 cup (80ml) contains 55g of sugar – nearly triple the recommended daily limit for added sugars.

Frequent consumption of high amounts of added sugars can contribute to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions. The saturated fat in condensed milk can also be problematic if intake is not moderated.

Health Risks of Too Much Condensed Milk

  • Weight gain – condensed milk is high in calories and sugar which can easily lead to excessive calorie intake, reduced dietary quality, and weight gain over time.
  • Increased blood sugar and insulin levels – the high sugar load of condensed milk can spike blood sugar and insulin levels which may worsen diabetes control.
  • Increased LDL and triglycerides – the saturated fat and sugar content can raise blood fats and worsen heart disease risk.
  • Increased risk for acne and skin inflammation – high glycemic foods like condensed milk can trigger breakouts.
  • Nutritional deficiencies – excessive intake of condensed milk may displace healthier whole foods resulting in deficiencies over time.
  • Dental cavities – the sugar content causes demineralization of tooth enamel increasing risk of cavities.

Is Diluted Condensed Milk Healthy?

Diluting condensed milk with water or regular milk makes it less concentrated and thus lower in calories. However, the high sugar content remains. Diluted condensed milk is lower in fat and calories than undiluted, but still very high in sugar. It should still be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

That being said, diluted condensed milk is a better option than drinking it straight from the can. Here are some general guidelines for diluting condensed milk to make it healthier for drinking:

  • Mix equal parts condensed milk and water/milk for a 50% reduction in calories and sugar
  • Use 1 part condensed milk to 3 parts water/milk for a 75% calorie and sugar reduction
  • Add just a splash of condensed milk to water, coffee, or tea for lightly sweetened drink
  • Focus on keeping portions small, such as 1-2 tbsp condensed milk per 8oz serving

Sticking to small amounts of diluted condensed milk can allow you to enjoy its sweet flavor without excessive sugar and calories.

Making Healthy Drinks with Condensed Milk

Here are some healthy ways to incorporate modest amounts of condensed milk into drink recipes:

Frappes/Blended Coffee Drinks

Add 1-2 tablespoons of condensed milk, milk, ice, and coffee to a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. For a fruit frappe, also add 1⁄4 cup fresh or frozen fruit.

Thai Iced Tea

Brew black tea with spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mix with chilled milk and 1-2 tbsp condensed milk. Pour over ice.

Hot Chocolate

Heat milk of choice on the stove or in the microwave. Add in 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon condensed milk. Mix well until hot and frothy.

Fruit Smoothies

Blend together 1 cup milk, 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1-2 tbsp condensed milk and ice. Keeps things sweet with a touch of richness.

Chai Latte

Brew chai tea concentrate. Mix concentrate with warm milk and 1 tbsp condensed milk. Froth milk for a foamy latte texture.

How Much Condensed Milk Per Day Is Safe?

According to nutrition experts, adults should limit added sugars to no more than 25g per day for women and 36g per day for men. This equals about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

Given that just 1⁄3 cup (80ml) of condensed milk contains 55g sugar, it’s best to keep portions small to avoid excess intake:

  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-30ml) condensed milk per day
  • 1⁄4-1⁄3 cup (60-80ml) diluted 50/50 with water or milk
  • No more than 1 small recipe serving with condensed milk per day

Consuming more than this amount on a regular basis may lead to unhealthy weight gain and other issues. Those with diabetes or blood sugar regulation issues should be especially mindful of portion sizes.

Should Babies or Toddlers Drink Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk is not recommended for babies under 12 months old. The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding or formula for the first 6 months, and cautions against added sugars before 1 year old.

For toddlers over 12 months, small amounts of condensed milk moderately diluted with water or milk can be occasionally added to their diet. However, it should not become a daily habit due to the high sugar content. No more than 2-4 tablespoons diluted condensed milk 2-3 times per week at most.

The AAP recommends toddlers between 1-2 years old consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25g) added sugar daily. Excess added sugars can displace healthier foods in a toddler’s diet leading to nutritional imbalances.

Is Condensed Milk Keto-Friendly?

Condensed milk is not generally considered keto-friendly due to its high carbohydrate and sugar content. Most keto diet plans recommend limiting carb intake to only 20-50g daily. Just 1⁄3 cup (80ml) condensed milk contains 55g carbs, almost entirely from sugar.

However, small amounts may fit into some more flexible keto diets. Using just 1-2 tbsp condensed milk to lightly sweeten coffee or tea can keep carbs minimal. But regular or large amounts of condensed milk would exceed keto carb limits.

Sugar-free and reduced-sugar versions of condensed milk are better options for keto diets. These provide the thick, creamy milk texture without the added sugars.

Does Condensed Milk Need to Be Refrigerated After Opening?

Once opened, both sweetened and unsweetened condensed milks should be refrigerated. The unopened cans are shelf-stable due to the heat processing used in manufacturing. However, refrigeration is needed to prevent spoilage once exposed to air.

An opened can of condensed milk will usually remain fresh in the fridge for 5-7 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Look for any signs of mold and discard if the milk smells or tastes sour.

For longer storage, condensed milk can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Can Condensed Milk Curdle in Coffee?

Yes, condensed milk can potentially curdle when added to hot coffee. Curdling happens when the milk proteins coagulate due to exposure to high heat, acidic environments, or both. Coffee is acidic with a pH around 4.5-5.0, which can cause curdling.

To help prevent curdling:

  • Mix the condensed milk well into the coffee immediately after adding
  • Start with hot rather than boiling water when making the coffee
  • Add just small amounts, 1-2 tbsp condensed milk per cup
  • Choose a less acidic coffee bean roast, like a medium roast

If curdling does occur, the taste won’t be greatly affected. However, the appearance may be less appealing. Try stirring vigorously to redistribute the curdled bits evenly.

Does Condensed Milk Have Lactose?

Yes, both sweetened and unsweetened condensed milk contains lactose since it is made from cow’s milk. The lactose content is reduced by about 40% due to the removal of water during processing. But there is still measurable lactose present.

One 1⁄3 cup (80ml) serving of condensed milk has about 9-10g lactose compared to around 15g in regular milk. The amount may vary slightly between brands.

Those with lactose intolerance can likely tolerate small servings of condensed milk diluted in coffee, tea, or recipes. Larger amounts may cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea in those sensitive to lactose.

Is Sweetened Condensed Milk Dairy-Free?

No, traditional sweetened condensed milk is not dairy-free as it is made from cow’s milk. However, dairy-free condensed milk alternatives made from plant milks are available. Popular varieties include:

  • Coconut milk: Provides richness and easy, dairy-free sweetening
  • Soy milk: Closer in protein content to dairy milk
  • Almond milk: Mild flavor adapts well to sweetening
  • Rice milk: Neutral flavor good for sweetening

Check the label to confirm these condensed milk alternatives are made without any dairy ingredients. Those with milk allergies or vegan diets may find these useful for making dairy-free desserts, drinks, and sauces.


Drinking condensed milk straight from the can is not recommended due to its very high sugar and calorie content. However, it can be safely enjoyed in moderation as part of recipes or diluted into drinks like coffee, tea, or milk. Serving sizes of just 1-2 tablespoons diluted is best for limiting excess calories, carbs, and saturated fat intake. Pregnant women, children, and those with diabetes or lactose intolerance should be especially mindful of how much condensed milk they consume.

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