Condensed milk… or is it?

Hey everyone,

A few blogs and magazines have been running my recipes over the last few weeks (thanks to and others) and I’ve noticed some lively discussion about condensed milk in the comment boxes below. I wanted to clear a few things up for you, as I hate to think of anyone having difficulty with one of my recipes.

You’ll need to buy the right product to make the best caramel topping for my Salted Caramel Shortbread Bites (or good old Millionaire’s Shortbread if you leave out the salt), and also my Chocolate Fudge Cake frosting.

Millionaire's shortbread

Salted caramel shortbread bites


We only have two kinds of condensed milk here in the UK, ‘condensed milk’ and ‘light condensed milk’, the former being made with whole milk, the latter with skim. It’s all sweetened, and very sweet at that! It is perfect for making bars, fudge, some frostings and also no-churn ice creams.

I like to use regular condensed milk instead of the lighter version, as it’s more predictable for making caramel and frostings and thickens up more. I tend to pick up Carnation brand, but some supermarkets do make their own too. If you are cooking in the States, I understand Eagle is a great choice.

Unsweetened condensed milk, if it’s labelled as that in your store, is the same as evaporated milk. Do not use this in these recipes; it is much thinner and less sweet than condensed milk. We used to have evaporated milk poured over canned peaches when I was a kid, instead of cream!  (Should I admit that?)

Oh, and you’ll also need unsalted (sometimes called sweet) butter in any recipe that has been adapted from What to Bake and How to Bake It. This is of course listed in the front information at the start of the book, but when recipes are extracted for use elsewhere that level of detail is often missed out.

Happy baking, x Jane




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