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Sweetened Condensed Milk - Nestle or Eagle Brand?

I'm planning to make a Key Lime Pie. I noticed both Nestle and Borden - Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk at the store with the Borden - Eagle Brand at least 0.50 cents more.

...Money is absolutely no issue. Though is there a discernible difference between the two brands taste-wise, quality, or other?

(The Regular/Full-Fat Kind if it matters)

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  1. I use Eagle Brand. I could drink that stuff straight from the tin. Honestly haven't tried nestles though but I think the ingredients are the same between the two.

    1. There's also Magnolia brand, which I buy frequently because it's price is generally lower than Borden, Nestle or Goya; I haven't noticed a flavor or quality difference in any of the brands, though, my feeling is that condensed milk is pretty much the same from brand to brand. Borden tends to be the priciest condensed milk in my area.

      8 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        When I was shopping for ingredients to make fudge at Christmas, I noticed that the Magnolia brand was significantly cheaper than the Borden brand. I compared labels and it seemed that Borden make the Magnolia brand (perhaps for the Hispanic market??) I went with the Magnolia and noticed no discernible difference in taste or quality.

        1. re: MysticYoYo

          "for the Hispanic market" True, it is, and I normally find it as stores catering to that segment of the population. I have to say I hadn't noticed Magnolia was made by Borden, maybe they purchased it recently, as Magnolia was a private company that's been around since the 30's. I have read that the SCM made for the Hispanic market is slightly sweeter than the other brands, but that difference is difficult to perceive in a product that's already right there.

          I think the sqeeze bottle is a great innovation for ease of access; getting SCM out of the can has always been a bit messy.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Borden must have purchased Magnolia at one time. Smart of them to keep the labels separate to keep their Hispanic customers purchasing their product.
            It seems as if there are many items geared toward the Hispanic market that are less expensive but just as good. Yesterday I bought a can of "Conchita" brand pinto beans for a Chipolte Tamale Pie and the brand was considerably cheaper than the name brands or even Goya, but quite good. I buy Badia spices for what is sometimes a fraction of the price of, say, McCormick's. Also, Badia packages some of their product in little plastic ziplock bags which is a better buy for me because I live in the subtropics where the shelf life of spices can be shortened significantly due to the heat and humidity and it makes sense to buy smaller amounts.

            1. re: MysticYoYo

              Obviously Borden is paying attention to the purchasing power of the Hispanic consumer.

              We have Badia and La Flor spice brands here, both good inexpensive spices, although one has to be cautious about where you buy them, as some bodegas don't have a rapid spice turnover. Supermarkets are a better source.

              I just bought a bottle of about 8 La Flor nutmegs at my local, for $1.89. Nutmeg in whole form lasts forever, which is probably close to how long I'll have these.

              1. re: MysticYoYo

                sometimes, the goods geared to the hispanic market are more expensive. maybe it is not a situation where one parent owns both brands, though. so maybe i'll put it like this -- sometimes the hispanic section's goods are higher in price than comparable items in other parts of the grocery store. i'm thinking of shoppers food warehouse, safeway, and giant.

                i've noticed this with some canned beans, iirc. but usually i've noticed that the higher priced brands have hispanic-sounding names as manufacturers.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I've always found it to be the opposite: the products in the "Mexican" section are cheaper than their counterparts on the "regular" shelves, perhaps because they packaging is usually more "downscale" (cans or cellophane instead of jars, etc.).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Noticed the same thing here in South Carolina, where the Hispanic population has boomed in the past 10 years. Publix has definitely been way ahead of the smaller supermarket chains. One time I was looking for a decent cheap olive oil (not EV) amongst the "oils" area. An employee nearby asked me if I needed help looking for something... I told her what I was looking for. She asked what I planned to use it for, then recommended Badia in the "Ethnic" aisle because it was cheaper and better. Another time, I was looking for some chili powder in the spice aisle, and another employee directed me to the much cheaper and better-quality bagged spices!

                2. re: MysticYoYo

                  Here's a rundown of prices from a local Publix here in Miami for sweetened condensed milk:

                  Iberia $1.59
                  Publix store-brand $1.69
                  Nela $1.69
                  Borden Magnolia $1.79
                  Goya $1.99
                  Nestle La Lechera $1.99
                  Borden Eagle $2.27
                  Nestle Carnation $2.39

                  and the priciest
                  Nestle Moça $2.59

          2. i can tell no difference between nestlé and bordon brands od sweetened condensed milk.

            nestlé makes another one for the latin market (but available in u.s. areas with significant latin populations, like in s.w. florida), called "la lechera." it is typically even cheaper than the "american" labels -- and the exact same product inside. http://www.nestleusa.com/pubourbrands... (oooh mercy, i see that they are offering a *squeeze bottle* of the stuff. look out!!!).

            publix sometimes has it on sale buy one-get one.

            9 Replies
            1. re: alkapal

              Squeeze tubes of sweetened condensed milk are quite popular in Japan. People squirt it on fresh strawberries. Quite good, really. I find it also good for really hot curries -- the sweet balances the heat while the condensed milk softens the rough edges of the curry.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I've also never heard of it in curry. But in Indian restaurants in the UK it's fairly common to get it in place of milk for coffee. When I was camping in Kenya in the late 70s in the bush, the cook used to make us tea (chai) at about 4.30am boiled with SCM - it's a taste I will never forget waking up at dawn in Masai Mara with that steaming mug of Chai.

                2. re: Tripeler

                  Squeeze tubes would be very useful if we had them here.

                  I usually punch two holes in the top of the can with a can-opener to be able to pour some scm out for oatmeal or Thai ice tea, but when I then put the can in the refrigerator, the stuff becomes so viscous that it's practically impossible to pour out any the next time I need to use it.

                  Any ideas, short of having a squeeze tube?

                  1. re: racer x

                    Nestle packages SCM in a squeeze bottle; I've seen it at various stores (even Walmart I think). But it is more expensive than the cans.

                    I just open the can with a can opener, and pour the contents into a suitable jar, and keep that in the fridge. Then I can scoop out a tablespoon for my evening dessert coffee. I've also reused squeeze bottles of various sorts.

                    1. re: paulj

                      just don't put it in an old squeezable mayonnaise bottle... that could lead to a rude awakening

                3. re: alkapal

                  Speaking of squeezable bottles, I was having my annual craving for pina coladas... Went to the "cocktail mixers" section to get a can of Coco Lopez, and next to that I found a new one - Coco Real squeezable cream of coconut! I figured, what the hell, so I bought it! Not bad, but not as good as the can of Coco Lopez.

                  I could see the convenience if you used cream of coconut for something else, but pina coladas require a blender, so you really can't make one drink at a time anyway!

                  Well, I guess you could make one pina colada at a time if you had a Magic Bullet or 12, just like Mick and Mimi, you could make individual frozen daiquirs & whip up some nacho-cheese alfredo sauce for Berman & Hazel in seconds.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I had to use 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk once and opened up a can of Borden's Eagle Brand and Nestle's La Lachera. The taste was very similar, but I did notice that the Nestle's was smoother and slightly less grainy. Both are really good, and it should not have much affect on most almost any recipe, but eating it straight out of the can, Nestle's was my preference. It is also cheaper so that is what I always buy Nestle's now.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I often buy the La Lechera--same quality and usually cheaper.

                    2. Growing up, my mom always used Eagle Brand and so I do too. Never tried any other brand.

                      1. I've never detected a difference. I just go by what's on sale.

                        1. I was wondering the same thing a while back when shopping at Walmart. Walmart has their own full-fat brand which was less expensive than the full-fat name brand and had the same ingredients, so I bought both kinds and did my own taste test. I boiled both cans for a couple of hours and then let them cool. The result - absolutely no difference whatsoever between the less expensive Walmart brand versus the name brand. If I was making a Key Lime pie, I'd definitely choose the less expensive one.

                          1. Eagle Brand is better than the Publix store brand condensed milk. However I can't tell a difference between Nestle and Eagle Brand.

                            1. I think the La Lechera is sweetened with sugar, while the Nestle/Eagle brands are HFCS.

                              13 Replies
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I got a bunch of cans of La Lechera on sale a few months back.
                                  Recently I made a couple of ice box cream cheese pies with them, same recipe as I've been using for years and that my father used to use when I was a kid (cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, bottled lemon juice from concentrate). The only thing I changed was that I used La Lechera instead of Eagle or Magnolia.

                                  In both of the pies, made a few weeks apart, the cream cheese-sweetened condensed milk mixture never quite gelled right. It stayed a thick viscous liquid. With Eagle or Magnolia, this recipe always gels after you refrigerate it for more than about 5 hours.

                                2. re: coney with everything

                                  La Lechera is a Nestle brand, imported from Chile.

                                  Are you sure about the HFCS? I don't think I have ever seen a SCM with HFCS on the label. A possible except would be the 'filled' versions. These use skim milk, nonfat dry milk and vegetable fats. Most often I've seen 'filled' SCM at Asian groceries. Often they have good prices on regular SCM, but I read the labels carefully to make sure the ingredients are just milk and sugar. Keep in mind that SCM is an essential ingredient in Vietnamese (and Thai) coffee.

                                  As to prices of Hispanic brands or labels, they may be higher in the Mexican aisle of a regular grocery. A small hispanic store might also have high prices because they don't handle the volume. The small hispanic food section of a regular Walmart has good prices on La Lechera items, and Nido full-fat dry milk.

                                  I've seen Borden SCM at Grocery Outlet.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    i doubt that the la lechera i bought in a fort myers publix is imported from chile. is this first-hand knowledge, paul?

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      The label on the Dulce de Leche can reads 'PRODUCTO DE CHILE'. I think the non-carmelized version says that as well, but I don't have a can on hand. I pretty sure the squeeze bottle also says Chile.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        hmm. i'll look for it. thanks. i think it is odd that they're importing from chile, but i guess that it must make economic sense for nestlé.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I think some of the Asian labeled cans come from Holland.

                                          My guess is that only the Chilean plant makes the Dulce, and uses the squeeze bottles. I don't know of Nestle has a plant in the USA that makes plain SCM. Anyways, Nestle is a big international firm (Swiss origin and base); USA is only part of its market. Nescafe is their coffee line, and likely to come from Mexico or Columbia (even their instant).

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            Just happen to purchase a can of La Lechera today in order to make a Flan Impossible. Definitely "producto de "Chile" and had 2 ingredients listed - leche (milk) and azucar (sugar). Tasted just like Bordens (and Magnolia for that matter)

                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              care to share the 'Flan Imposible' recipe?

                                              1. re: toodie jane

                                                The recipe is in Rick Bayless' new cookbook Fiestas at Rick's. It is on his web site, here's the link - http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/vie...

                                                I don't make it exactly like the recipe. First I'm not wild about all goat milk cajeta, so I make my own caramel for the flan portion. Second, the baking time in the recipe is seriously off. The first time I made it the cake went 20 minutes longer than the recipe time. The next time I made it I used the convection feature of my oven and it still needed an extra 8-10 mintues. It's a tasty cake

                                                Here are a couple of photos I took of the finished chocoflan. The dark center is due to a couple of factors. One the cake cratered a bit, which was probably my fault, and second, the caramel I use is a thinner than what RB recommends.

                                  2. re: coney with everything

                                    Not sure about the HFCS. Eagle Brand in Canada doesn't have HFCS. It's made with milk and cane sugar.

                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                      I don't think they use HFCS in sweetened condensed milk. That would affect the flavor and consistency and the way it reacts when cooked. I googled the ingredients for Eagle brand, and they are milk and sugar.

                                    2. Buy whichever has the later expiration date. This will make more of a difference than anything else.

                                      1. i normally never buy name brand condensed milk. usually store brand if we ran out of the cans that we get whenever we go to the vietnamese stores because we always stock up and buy like 5 or 6 cans and that usually last us a couple months since my dad loves to have it in his coffee.

                                        1. I made my grandmother's ice box coconut cake last night, and decided (I'm daring) to try the Aldi's brand of sweetened condensed milk. I opened the can, got a spoon (which is ritual - I always have to taste it first! :) and there was no difference in taste. None.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: librarianjen

                                            jen, you absolutely canNOT get off saying "my grandmother's ice box coconut cake" without providing a recipe and a photo, my dear. ok...just the recipe if you've already eaten the cake. or take a photo of the one slice left. we need to make that cake, or at least eat it with our eyes! please.

                                            i just bought a can of harris teeter brand SCM yesterday for $1.57 on sale. i need to use it in that cake recipe.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                LOL I should have taken a pic! Sorry I don't have one. :( This cake is so easy, and soooo good, that you will scream.

                                                Bake a white cake mix in a 9x13, according to directions - *except* use 1 whole egg instead of the 3 egg whites called for. Everything else is the same. When it comes out, poke holes all over it. Mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with about 1/2 cup of cream of coconut, and pour all over cake. Let cool *completely*.
                                                Mix a regular sized tub of Cool Whip (I think 8oz?) with about 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, and spread over cake. And you're done! Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

                                                Honestly, though, this cake gets better each day it's in the fridge. I normally make it 2 days ahead of when I need it. Then, if I've managed to hide a piece or two for leftovers, they're even better the next day. ;)

                                                Let me know if you like it!

                                                Forgot to add - I decided to be really crazy, and use all generic ingredients for the last one. No difference whatsoever.

                                                1. re: librarianjen

                                                  ah, bless ya gal! thank you for the recipe. sounds simple enough. now, please tell me that i can eat it and not absorb any calories. ;-).

                                                  do you use sweetened coconut flakes?

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    But of course it's low in calories, and fat free - it's the same color as cauliflower. Same calories.

                                                    You know, I don't know about the coconut! I'm assuming it's sweetened? I just get the bag of coconut in the grocery aisle (Baker's, I think??). I now probably have to turn in my chowhound card, since I didn't grate fresh coconut myself. :P

                                                    1. re: librarianjen

                                                      oh, believe me, these boards here on chowhound would be decimated if we had to resign for using some convenience foods.

                                                      i like the "white like cauliflower" concept. yeah, i'm gonna go with that!

                                            1. I'm glad to find this thread. I've been wondering how the taste differs between Magnolia brand and Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk, since both are made by Borden, and their ingredients list and nutritional info on the labels are exactly the same, but the prices are strikingly different (Eagle's much more expensive).

                                              After reading this, I think I'll be switching to the lower-cost option (and will try some of the other brands on the shelves).

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: racer x

                                                I found the Walmart brand to be thinner than the name brands I usually buy, Magnolia & Eagle.
                                                Probably wouldn't affect a recipe, tho.