This yummy condensed milk bread pudding sauce is so easy to make, with only 4 ingredients (including water). Perfect for bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, and any desserts, it’s smooth, silky, rich, and oh so creamy!
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Condensed milk sauce for bread pudding
I love bread pudding and want to have it for dessert all the time. But my husband? Not so much. But then I discovered that he will eat just about anything as long as he can drench it in sweet vanilla sauce.
And this condensed milk bread pudding sauce recipe fits that bill perfectly. It’s creamy, silky, and smooth… perfectly thick and sweet. I’ll promise not to judge you if you just enjoy it with a spoon.
The recipe makes a fantastic sauce for bread pudding. Of course, it’s also amazing with pancakes, French toast, and waffles. Try drizzling it over desserts and puddings. Or serve it as a dip for fruits or cake topping. The simple vanilla sauce goes with about anything that calls for a dessert sauce.
The best part is you can have it ready in less than 10 minutes. Plus, you can also customize the flavor and turn the simple vanilla sauce with condensed milk into a bourbon sauce, chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce.
It’s insanely delicious, I hope you give it a try!
You likely have most, if not all, of these ingredients already in your pantry. And if you combine them all together, they make this delicious condensed milk bread pudding sauce. See specific measurements listed below in the recipe card.
- Sweetened condensed milk: You’ll need 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, which is 14 oz or 400 g. Any type will work; I usually buy Eagle Brand or Carnation. You cannot substitute evaporated milk (see more tips in the FAQ section below).
- Butter infuses the sauce with a delicious buttery aroma. I like to use salted butter to balance out the sweetness of the condensed milk. You can also use unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp salt, or skip the salt. Up to you!
- Vanilla: We love the tiny vanilla specks, so I used vanilla bean paste. Of course, vanilla extract is perfectly fine, too. Just stick to real vanilla and skip the imitation stuff.
- Water is needed to thin the sauce out. You could omit it for an extra thick sauce.
How to make condensed milk bread pudding sauce
It really doesn’t get much easier than this sweetened condensed milk sauce. Give it a try! I doubt you’ll ever go back to store-bought sauce again. Here’s how to make a tasty bread pudding sauce with sweetened condensed milk:
- Cook sauce. Add the sweetened condensed milk, butter, and hot water to a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted and everything is well combined. This step will take 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add vanilla. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
- Adjust consistency (optional). If you’d like to thin the sauce out, stir hot water into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the texture is to your liking.
- Serve. Enjoy the sauce warm and pour it over bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, French toast, ice cream, and any desserts your heart desires.
Tips for the best condensed milk sauce
Bring out the best in your condensed milk bread pudding sauce with these quick tips. Making this easy vanilla sauce for bread pudding is so simple, and my helpful tricks make it even simpler!
- Adjust the consistency. The condensed milk sauce has a lovely creamy and velvety texture. Depending on how long you cook the sauce, it might turn out quite thick, which we love. But if you’d prefer a lighter sauce, keep adding hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached.
- Warm it up. If you’re serving this with warm desserts like bread pudding or pancakes, try warming the bread pudding sauce recipe up a bit in the microwave. It’s also sublime to pour warm sauce over ice cream.
- If you notice the butter separating, reheat the sauce gently and stir until everything is combined again.
- In case your sauce forms a thin crust as it cools, mix it in with an immersion blender for a minute or reheat.
When it comes to serving, this bread pudding sauce recipe will elevate any dessert. Here are some ideas to try:
- bread pudding
- pancakes (e.g., condensed milk pancakes)
- French toast (like this condensed milk French toast)
- pies, crisps, cobblers, and crumbles (like this apple crumble)
- ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and other cold treats
- cakes and pound cakes
- dipping sauce for fruits or drizzle over fruit salad
This classic vanilla bread pudding sauce is good to pour over so many things. Best, you can switch it up and customize the flavor to your liking. Here are a few ideas how you can do that:
- Chocolate: Stir 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder to create a light chocolate sauce. For a rich chocolate aroma, add 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Caramel: For a caramel bread pudding sauce, check out my condensed milk caramel sauce (coming soon).
- Butterscotch: Swirl a tiny bit of molasses into the sauce until well dispersed. Molasses is super sticky and somewhat difficult to measure, but I’d say 1/8 teaspoon is a good starting point.
- Bourbon: To make bourbon bread pudding sauce, replace the water with 1/4 cup of bourbon, whiskey, or rum. For a festive touch, use spiced bourbon. Most of the alcohol should evaporate during cooking, but I’d still reserve this version for adults only.
- Spiced: Prepare the sweet dessert sauce as described. Then stir in 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Spiced bread pudding sauce is SO good for fall and the holidays.
Does the recipe work with low-fat or fat-free condensed milk?
During testing, I found using regular, full-fat condensed milk yielded the best flavor and texture. Of course, you’re welcome to experiment on your own and make the bread pudding sauce with low-fat or fat-free condensed milk.
Is condensed milk the same as evaporated milk?
No, evaporated milk and condensed milk are 2 different products and can’t be used interchangeably. Evaporated milk is more liquid and doesn’t have added sugar.
Can I make this with evaporated milk?
I only tested the recipe with sweetened condensed milk, and I don’t think it would work with evaporated milk, heavy cream, or half and half.
You would have to make many adjustments, such as including a sweetener and thickening the consistency. If possible, stick to sweetened condensed milk for this vanilla sauce.
How to store condensed milk bread pudding sauce
To store it, you’ll want to place the sauce in an airtight container or bottle and put it in your refrigerator. It will last about 2 weeks in the fridge. I recommend doubling the recipe, so you have more to use later.
Freezing sauce with condensed milk
You should have no issues freezing this sauce for longer-term storage. Allow the sauce to cool completely, then place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, let the sauce defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Making condensed milk sauce ahead of time
Even though this bread pudding sauce comes together quickly, you can prepare it entirely ahead of time. Be sure to store the vanilla dessert sauce in an airtight container or bottle and refrigerate it until it’s time to eat.