December 7th, 2010

Homemade Dulce de Leche

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Can you believe this only has one ingredient? And that it’s so easy to make?  It does take time, of course, but once that pot of water is simmering, you can just walk away.  I suggest using an older pot if you have one.  If not, make sure to get all of the glue from the labels off the cans or you will end up with a ring of sticky goo in your pot.  Also, be sure that the cans are completely covered with water and stay covered throughout the simmering process.  Otherwise, there is a slight chance your cans could explode, and besides making a sticky mess in your kitchen, it could also be dangerous. Now, I hope I haven’t scared you off, because this stuff is so good! And it would make perfect holiday gifts for neighbors and teachers.  You can serve it on ice cream, cakes and all manner of desserts.  Some people like it on toast and muffins.  You can mix it into frosting . . . the possibilities are endless.  This will store in your refrigerator for a very long time.  Probably longer than it will take you to eat it all.  Just reheat it gently in the microwave if it becomes too thick.

Homemade Dulce de Leche

Homemade Dulce de Leche

Preparation 5 mins Cook Time 2-40 mins Total Time 4 hrs 5 mins
Serves 4     adjust servings


  • 4 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk


  1. Remove all the paper from cans of sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Put cans into a large dutch oven or stock pot. Fill pot with water, covering cans by at least one inch.
  3. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer.
  4. Cover slightly with a lid and let simmer for 2-4 hours. The longer it simmers, the thicker the caramel will be.
  5. Remove the cans from the water and let cool for one hour. Once cooled open the cans and transfer the caramel to a glass jar. Let cool completely before attaching lids.
  6. Keep dulce de leche stored in the refrigerator.
Who Dished It Up First: I spotted this over at The Urban Baker and couldn’t wait to give it a try.



  1. Get out!!! I have to try this!!!

  2. What a great gift idea!! I’m thinking this would be super cute in a basket with all sorts of yummy treats.

  3. that is amazing!!! who knew? thanks for sharing I will have to do this soon!

  4. Isn’t it awesome how easy that stuff is to make!? And to think its only one ingredient for something so delicious.

  5. so cooking it in the can doesnt give it a tin-e taste? could i empty the can into a glass jar and use that?

  6. Gofer, it does have a bit of tin-e taste straight out of the can after it’s been cooked, but after emptying it into a glass jar and storing it in the fridge over night, I didn’t notice a tin can taste any longer. I don’t know whether or not it would work to actually cook it in a glass jar. I’ve never tried that or seen it mentioned in a recipe. I suspect that even with a lid, some of the carmel would manage to escape, or water would get in. But please let me know if you try it and it works.

  7. So simple….this is amazing.

  8. wow! i have never seen anything so easy- it looks great! perfect for xmas gifts!

  9. I love dulce de leche! My mom used to make this all the time,and it wasn’t until recently that I figured out how simple it was. 🙂

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  11. In Brazil we do this all the time! We usually do it in a pressure cooker, though. It takes only 5 to 10 minutes after the cooker sizzles (depending on the condensed milk brand and whether you like your doce de leite lighter or darker), but you should not open the pan until 2 hours later… it shure saves energy.
    I love it!
    Also, here there are cans of condesed milk with no paper or glue on it – the drawings are straight on the can. ThatÂŽs much better!
    Great blog BTW!

  12. Oh… and as for the “Mexican” tag… I’d say Latino would be a better fit. Brazilians LOVE it, Argentinians LOVE it, and as far as I know it’s well spread through South American countries, and each of us claim to be the creators and to have the best dulce de leche (or Doce de Leite, in portuguese!).

  13. so when you say keep the water level same throughout the simmering process, do you keep adding water when it evaporates? is room temp water enough for that or do you add warm/hot water? just asking cuz adding regular water may bring down the temp of the water in the top temporarily right?

  14. Nags, I didn’t have to actually add any water to mine while it cooked. I started with it covering the cans by about 2 inches, so it wasn’t an issue. It’s just something to keep an eye on, but it might not even be an issue. But if I did need to add water, I would add hot water. I don’t think it would effect the outcome if the temperature dropped temporarily. Hope that helps.

  15. thanks for the quick reply 🙂 will try this out soon!

  16. I make this often! The first time, I admit to being a little nervous but now I’m a “can boiling machine”.

  17. Im sooooooo making this tonight for a bunch of holiday gifts!!!! Thank you!


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