Milk Jam (Middle Eastern Style)

milk jam

If you are ever looking for a wonderful addition to a dessert, then milk jam is what you are after.

Said to have originated in South America, it has different names in different parts of the world.

A type of condensed milk, milk jam can be eaten as a dessert by itself, and often is in Latin countries.

It can even be made by boiling a can of condensed milk for a few hours in a pot of water.

The danger of course is that if the pot boils dry the can can explode.

Better just to make your own from scratch, it’s easy enough..

Enjoy wherever, and on whatever you want to add a little sweetness to!

What is Milk Jam?

milk jam

Milk Jam is a wonderfully sweet sauce made from milk and sugar, and is very often flavored with vanilla.

It is usually served as an addition to dessert, or even to cheese in some countries, bringing out more flavor in the food. 

Normally a beautiful dark rich caramel color, which can be made into a jammy consistency, or into a thick pourable liquid.

Through a simple chemical reaction, the milk turns to its signature brown caramel color when heated and the excess water evaporates.

It is easy and simple to make with very basic ingredients that transform and become a luscious form of sweetness.

In South America it is referred to as dulce de leche meaning sweet made of milk or caramel.

Dulce de leche is considered a very popular flavor and is used to flavor other confectionaries. 

The difference between the two is that Milk Jam is made with milk and dulce de leche is made from condensed milk.

What’s In It?

To make this milk mixture you will need full fat milk, vanilla beans, sugar, and a bit of baking soda.

The baking soda is not necessary but if added it keeps the milk proteins from concentrating together, making it smoother.

The milk jam will quickly develop a light brown color that will get darker the longer it is cooked.

Cooking from 30 minutes to an hour, it will gradually darken and thicken with time.

How to Make Milk Jam

Mix full fat milk with sugar and baking soda and some kind of flavoring, very often vanilla.

I use cardamom pods as the flavoring for my milk jam because I think it gives it a somewhat unique flavor.

Place the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot and cook over medium high heat.

Stirring constantly to get the sugar to dissolve.

Once you bring the milk mixture to a boil turn it down immediately.

Keep it on a very low simmer stirring every once in a while, and you will notice it getting darker, and thicker as the excess liquid boils off.

Once it reaches your desired consistency, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

What Do I Eat Milk Jam With?

milk jam

Lots of things! 

Ice cream comes to mind! 

Topping ice cream as you would a hot fudge sundae is certainly a good use for milk jam.

Desserts of all kinds, like cheesecake, rice pudding, cake, pecan pie, just to name a few.

Savory foods work well too.

So things like cheese, toast, or even as a topping for salted popcorn.

Can I Make It Dairy Free?

milk jam

Yes you can, by using coconut milk.

No need to include the baking soda since there are no milk solids.

Flavoring will be up to you, but know that coconut milk will taste very coconutty. 

In this form it is suitable for vegans, and vegan recipes.

What About Adding Different Flavors?

milk jam

Yes, I would definitely encourage you to try different flavors for your different desserts.

I like to use cardamom pods to flavor my milk jam, especially when I pour it over Arabic booza ice cream.

But the flavors you can use are endless.

You can try cinnamon sticks, or cloves, and maybe even nutmeg for something unusual.

Or try something different like lemon or almond extract, or you can use some rose water, or orange blossom water.

Tips for Making

  • The biggest tip for making this recipe is to be sure you use a deep enough pot so that the mixture does not boil over.
  • The baking soda will make the milk froth up when it boils so it is easy for it to come out of the pot.
  • Make sure you stir constantly as you bring it to a boil so it doesn’t burn over higher heat.
  • Cook slowly and on a low heat, give it the time that it needs to go through the stages.
  • The longer and slower the more flavorful and jammy it will become.

Milk Jam Recipe

If you are ever looking for a wonderful addition to a dessert, then milk jam is what you are after.
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Course: Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 710kcal


  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cup Sugar + 2 tbsp
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 4 Cardamom pods


  • Pour the milk into a deep cooking pot with a heavy bottom. Add the sugar, and baking powder. Stir to dissolve.
  • Add cardamom pods.
  • Place the pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  • Turn down to a simmer as soon as it boils.
  • Allow it so simmer for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the consistency desired.
  • Fish out cardamom pods and discard.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.



Calories: 710kcal | Carbohydrates: 129g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 759mg | Potassium: 734mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 124g | Vitamin A: 791IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 582mg | Iron: 1mg

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