Homemade Dulce de Leche {easy!}

As you all know by now, I fell in love with a lot of culinary-related things while living in Brazil.  Black beans, pressure cooking, limonada, mangoes, and churrasco to name a few.  Well add this to the list.  Sweetened condensed milk is used for a lot of things there.  While here in the US we use it more as a recipe ingredient, in most parts of South America it’s used more as a condiment, drizzled over fruit for dessert or stirred into lime juice for our favorite drink ever.   Dulce de Leche is just caramelized sweetened condensed milk (no wonder it’s so good, right?!)  and it’s super easy to make.  Oh ya, and it tastes like heaven.

Now, in Brazil people generally pop the sealed can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker.  You can also simmer the whole can in water for about 3 hours and let it cool completely.  Those methods work, and I’ve done them before but I’m telling you right now that it’s not recommended- got it?  I have to make that clear so that when someone tries it and it blows up in their face they don’t come throw cans of sweetened condensed milk in my windows late at night with angry notes attached.

Instead I’m going to show you a super easy (and pretty quick) method in the oven.  See my note at the end of this post about crock pot instructions as well.

The best part?  It only requires *one* ingredient:

Just pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a shallow dish- a pie plate works great.  You’ll need to make a water bath, so now set the dish inside of a larger dish.  I’m using a roasting pan.  Cover your pie plate tightly with aluminum foil.  If you fail to cover the dish, you’ll get a thick skin over your milk and it won’t caramelize.  I’ve forgot this step once- don’t make the same mistake!

Fill the larger pan (the roasting pan in my pictures) with water until it reaches about half way up the side of the pan containing the sweetened condensed milk.  Bake for about an hour and then carefully peek under the foil.  If it is not yet a caramely brown color, then let it bake a little longer.  It can sometimes take up to an hour and 20 minutes or so.

Use a spoon or whisk to stir until smooth.  Oh my deliciousness…

Now you can cool it and store in the fridge, where it will develop a thicker consistency, or use it warm.  One of my favorite things to do is dip fresh, crisp apples in it.

I actually love really cold apples with warm dulce de leche.  mmmm…

Or you can use it in any recipe that calls for dulce de leche.  If you want to simply eat it, try it as a fruit dip, spread on bread, crackers, or cookies, or on top of ice cream.




  1. This is wonderful! I live in Costa Rica and also enjoy dulce de leche very much (this kind more than the canned kind), but I don't have a pressure cooker… this is the perfect answer!

  2. Oh my word ….

    in the crockpot? really?

    I can't wait to try this!!!!!

    my mouth is truly drooling now…. yuuummmm

  3. I've done it on the stovetop, too. The annoying part about that is that you have to keep checking to make sure the cans are still covered by an inch of water so they don't explode. I can't wait to try the crockpot method.

  4. I did the cans in water last Christmas and made cute little scrapbook paper labels for them. I gave them to the neighbors as part of our goodie basket. I do have to admit that I wouldn't let ANYONE in the kitchen while they were simmering. Chicken, that's me.


  5. I've heard of doing this before but only the simmering the closed can method…and frankly I'm a little to chicken to try that! I envision having to dodge cans of exploding condensed milk! Now that I know there's a safe method that won't give me nightmares I'll have to give it a try. I'm thinking brownies with ice cream smothered in dulce de leche sounds so good.

  6. I really am almost in shock that it is only one ingredient and it's so easy to make… I <3 <3 <3 Dulce de leche but have a friend who always makes it for me when ever I want! Im trying it this weekend!

  7. I love your Brazilian inspired recipes! Especially since you "americanize" them so that it's easier to do it here… I've always been scared to making doce de leite in the pressure cooker… but I'll have to try it like this! It's also perfect mixed with a can of creme de leite (media crema) and some walnuts… we call it Stogonofe de Nozes and it's a classic christmas dessert in Brazil – and it's sooooooo good!

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