Homemade Dulce De Leche

Jump to recipe
Homemade Dulce De Leche

This irresistibly rich and luscious Homemade Dulce De Leche goes well with many things. It is also so good just straight from the jar!

Homemade Dulce De Leche

Hello, my friends. Let’s don’t pretend. I do love dulce de leche. You know that. I know that. That’s probably my second favourite sweet thing after ice cream. In fact, I can (probably) easily live without any other sweets except ice cream and dulce de leche.

I am also not embarrassed to admit that I’m that person who doesn’t need a vessel to enjoy good dulce de leche. Of course, some dulce de leche on a toast or over pancakes is a good addition, but why spoil a good thing (Obviously, dulce de leche) with something else? Yes, I am that person who always gets two jars of dulce de leche when a recipe requires one. Does anyone need an explanation of why? I am also that person who sometimes buys a jar of dulce de leche just for any case. This “any case” could happen as soon as I get home.

In those rare situations when a jar of dulce de leche survives, I incorporate it into donuts, cookies, cheesecakes, ice cream, and many other things.

Certainly, you can buy a jar of dulce de leche at probably most grocery stores. Personally, I think dulce de leche produced in Argentina is the best (They know how to make the fabulous spread in South America). But why not make your own dulce de leche if you have between 2 and 4 hours? Trust me you won’t regret.

Before we discuss the process, let me clarify. Caramel and dulce de leche are not the same. Dulce de leche is the combination of milk and sugar (Hello, sweetened condensed milk! You can also combine fat milk and sugar and make dulce de leche in a pot, but that’s different way) while caramel is the combination of sugar, cream, and butter.

Homemade Dulce De Leche

Turning a can of sweetened condensed milk into scrumptious caramel spread is super easy; however, it requires following some important rules.

You have probably heard that a can of condensed milk could explode. Unfortunately, this is true. On the other hand, it will not happen if you control the process. Yes, this happened to me once. But in my excuse, I was 10 or so years old, and I might have felt asleep while watching a fascinating movie. Besides, my mom had been planning to paint the walls and silings in the kitchen anyway. I just helped her with the final decision. Being an honest person, I was also silly to share that story with Andrey who banned me from making dulce de leche at home for a while (That was an appropriate thing to do. You cannot punish a good person for an event happened many years ago, right?)

To start, you will need an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk. Grab the best quality you can find or your trusted brand (Have you ever had condensed milk with had a slightly strange starchy consistency? I believe that might be caused by using low quality dried milk powder. And while this might be fine with other things, you should avoid this quality for this recipe.)

Next, you need a pan, preferably very large.

It’s Absolutely Safe to Make!

The most important rule is to control the water level. The water level must constantly be at least 2-4 cm above the cans, and I normally keep it up to 10 cm. If water evaporates too much, well you might need to refresh your kitchen.

Also, although I’ve read that it’s fine to add cold water into boiling water, I always add either very warm or hot. I don’t know if there’s any scientific reason, but I think it’s better to avoid a drastic temperature contrast. Besides, adding hot water doesn’t slow down the cooking process as much as cold water will. That’s also the reason I allow the can to almost fully cool down in the water. Most recipes suggest that you can take out the cans right away, with the help of tongs, but I prefer to let the cans stay in the pot until easy to handle with your hands. Bonus: some extra caramelization while cooling down in the pot. And of course, don’t attempt opening a hot can as the pressure is high.

The great thing about Homemade Dulce De Leche is that you determine the desired consistency. Do you want a slightly thin and pale in colour spread which is perfect for pouring over pancakes? Cook for about two hours. Looking for a thick spread which can be spooned out? Three to four hours is your time. I honestly almost never cook milk for four hours, but you will get a fantastic deep-amber colour and the consistency like very soft caramels. A knife might be handy! The dulce de leche in these photos needed about 3 hours (As I was going to use it in a cake), but most often I cook it for 3.5 hours. By the way, a spoiler alert: in a week I’ll post another tasty cake from Russian cuisine with dulce de leche. Are you excited?

And before I let you go, there’s one optional but important suggestion: always make at least two (or better three) cans of Homemade Dulce De Leche. You will not notice how fast it disappears (I bet this is the Cookie Dulce de Leche Monster.) You can trust my words.

If you try this recipe, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share you photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen.


Homemade Dulce De Leche
Homemade Dulce De Leche

6 thoughts on “Homemade Dulce De Leche

  1. neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

    I’m going to have to try out that dulce de leche sometime soon Ben as you’re always going on about it and although my sweet tooth is more akin to cheesecakes I think Lynne would especially like dulce de leche so I’m going to have to try that on her. Although I’ll not be telling her the story of the the kitchen mess you made after the can of dulce de leche blue up everywhere though. She’ll probably ban me from making it too like Andrey did you! Ha ha! Thanks for this recipe.
    neil@neilshealthymeals.com recently posted…Pesto Chicken TagliatelleMy Profile

  2. Liz says:

    Oh, my! Funny story, but not so funny at the time!! Beautiful photos and now I’ve added dulce de leche to my must make at home list!

  3. David @ Spiced says:

    Haha! I’m imagining what that kitchen must have looked like after the can of dulce de leche blew up everywhere. Yikes! So I’ve heard of this technique before, but I’ve never actually made it…yet. I definitely want to try it out! After all, dulce de leche is amazing. What I want to know, though, is who was the first person who decided cooking a sealed can for 3 hours would actually work? Like if I tried that with a can of soup, would it turn into stew? I’m thinking I should go try this out today. I’m blaming you if I need to repaint my kitchen afterwards!

  4. Marie says:

    Oh no! You blew up a can of dulce de leche? Such a shame. Guess the kitchen needed a repaint anyway. I also am addicted to either caramel or dulce de leche (I’m not fussy, I’ll take it all). I can just imagine this drooling down the side of a cupcake.

  5. Laura says:

    Ben – you and I are kindred spirits here – dulce de leche (preferably salted in my case) is one of my all-time favorites – I could eat it anywhere, anytime, on top of just about anything! Love it! I try to make it once or twice a year, several cans at a time. Even have made it in the Instant Pot (takes an hour still.) so good, can’t wait to see what you’re making with it!

  6. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says:

    Oh my gosh Ben. I wish I could’ve seen the look on your mom’s face when she made that final decision to paint :). But I’m with you when it comes to loving dulce de leche. It makes everything taste better. I’d probably eat cardboard if it was smeared with some dulce de leche. Have a great week, my friend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge