This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.
Hi Bold Bakers!
Dulce de leche (pronounced “DOOL-se de LE-che”) is a creamy caramel sauce that is used in many desserts like my Ice Cream, Banoffee Pie, 10-Minute Microwave Banana Pudding, cheesecakes and more. My dulce de leche recipe includes two simple methods.
What is Dulce De Leche?
Dulce de Leche is similar to caramel and comes from sweetened milk, such as condensed milk. When heated, the sugar in the milk becomes caramelized and transforms into that sweet golden-brown color with deeply decadent flavor.
How to Make Dulce De Leche: Method One
My homemade dulce de leche can be made in two ways. The first uses sugar, milk and a touch of vanilla. These ingredients are combined in a saucepan, brought to a boil and then simmered. This process thickens the mixture after 1 hour and thirty minutes to 1 hour and forty-five minutes. Once past this point, stir the mixture often to avoid burning the milk. Be careful and watch your pan.
How to Make Dulce de Leche
- 4 cups (32oz/1000ml) milk
- 1 ¼ cups ((10oz/300g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Stir together milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat.
- Once all the sugar has dissolved, bring it up to a simmer. Then reduce heat and simmer uncovered at a low and controlled heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and thickened, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. (skim away any foam that forms during simmering)
- After about an hour, stir more often as milk caramelizes, to avoid burning.
- Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Transfer to a bowl to cool. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
How to Make Dulce De Leche: Method Two
With time and a watchful eye, you can make dulce de leche with condensed milk. First, remove the label from your can so you don’t have a watery paper situation in your pot. Place a rag in your pot and beneath your can of condensed milk to keep it from rattling throughout the next two and a half hours. Fill your pot with cold water, making sure it comes up to one inch from the top of the pot. Keep in mind that water will evaporate so it is highly important to watch your water levels and replenish the water when needed.
On medium-high heat, bring your water to a simmer then lower the temperature to maintain that simmer for 2 and a half hours. You’ll yield a beautiful and smooth dulce de leche.
Be very careful not to burn yourself when you remove your cans! Safety is paramount. Use tongs or an oven mitt to remove your can (or cans). Your dulce de leche will store for up to a year once done and will be great on a variety of treats.
How to Make Dulce de Leche
- Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. It is no longer needed! If you leave it on, you'll get a papery mess in the water.
- Place the can in a small pot and fill it with enough water to come up to one inch (2.5cm) from the top of the can. You will need to add more water during the cooking process to make sure water doesn't go below this level as it evaporates. Don't let the water come higher than 1/2 inch (1.25cm) from the top of can, though, as you don't want any getting on the top of the can and going into the holes you pierced.
- To prevent the can from rattling in the water (which can be annoying when you consider that it'll need to be in there for several hours) put a rag under the can.
- Place the pot on your stove and turn it on to medium-high heat.
- Watch the water closely until you see the water come to a simmer.
- Lower the heat to hold the water at a simmer. A soft Dulce de leche takes about 2 1/2 hours.
- Remove the can with tongs or an oven mitt and place on a rack to cool. Be careful when emptying the contents, as you can get burned.
- Open the can carefully with a can opener and pour into a bowl. The top will be more fluid, and there will be thicker, darker chunks at the bottom which will need to be scraped out. When everything is in the bowl, whisk together to make it homogeneous.
Find dulce de leche in my other recipes:
Watch The Recipe Video!
This Recipe Made By Bold Bakers
Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.