This dense, ductile mass that hardens over time has a smooth, spreadable consistency and toffee-like flavor. It may look like caramel but it’s not. Unlike caramel, which is boiled water with sugar with adding cream and butter, dulce de leche is made by gently simmering milk and sugar together for over an hour until it’s thickened and golden.

In comparison to slightly bitter and toasty caramel, the dulce de leche got more rounded, mild dairy flavour. A finishing splash of vanilla extract brings warmth and depth to the dessert sauce.

TIP! You can keep dulce de leche in the fridge for couple of weeks so you will have plenty of time to use it for cookies, you can spread it on toast or crepes. Warm it up and drizzled over brownies, cheesecake or even an ice cream, or simply stirred into coffee or cocoa.

Two methods of Dulce de Leche recipe

There are two methods of making Dulce de Leche. Personally I prefer the traditional method as I can keep my eye on the consistency and prepare the sauce as thick as I need it to be. But you can do that in extremely easy way – recipe for hands-off dulce de leche made from nothing more then a can of sweetened condensed milk, baked in a water bath (bain-marie) for 45 minutes, and nothing else.

Classic method ingredients:

  • 1L milk
  • 250g sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda – optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

How to make Dulce de Leche with classic method

Mix milk, sugar and baking soda in a heavy saucepan. Keep in mind that the saucepan should be able to hold at least 3 litres of liquid. You don’t want to have hot sugar splashing all over your kitchen.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer. Do not cover it and stir occasionally.

After an hour it will begin to thicken. From now on it will be more prone to burning, so stir more often for the next 30-45min, before turning it off. It will depend on how thick consistency you want to achieve.

Finally, mix the vanilla in. Transfer to the bowl to cool down and enjoy.

The baking soda is optional, but helps prevent the milk proteins from coagulating, ensuring a smoother end result.


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Condensed milk method to make Dulce de Leche

For this method you will need two baking dishes. One larger than another so you are able to put one into each other with decent amount of space in between. I will use roasting tray and 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

First heat oven to 220°C / 425°F with rack in middle.

Pour the entire contents of the condensed milk can into the pie dish, cover tightly with foil and set plate in a roasting dish.

Pour hot water into the roasting dish. There must be enough water to reach halfway up pie plate.

Bake milk in middle of oven for 45 minutes. Check water level and add more if needed. Continue to bake until milk is thick and brown.

Take out the dish from the oven and water bath, uncover and cool down.

TIP! There are several issue with oven method you may come across.

First one is scorching – you may try to stir the mixture occasionally and keep an eye on the water level. Add more water if needed as it evaporates.

Lumps in the mixure – the Oven recipe tends to make a lumps in dulce de leche. If you have a lumps you can use the food processor or blender, once it is at room temperature.

And the last is a thickness. Like I already mentioned I like my dulce de leche to be the ‘proper’ consistency. The stove method gives me the possibility to monitor much closely and easily the consistency of the mixture. With oven method it’s hard to obtain a really thick dulce de leche. To achieve it you will have to bake the mixture for a really long time, which will cause a lot of scorching and burning bits of condensed milk inside. So if you would like really thick dulce de leche, I recommend stove method.

Actually there is one more way of making this recipe – at least some may say. Simply throw the can into a pot, pour water, so that the can is completely covered. Cook, covered, for about 2-2.5 hours on a slow fire. We can open the can only after it cools down. Simple, isn’t it? Yes, but…. Actually there is several reasons why we do not recommend this method.

In overall It’s not safe to heat canned food in the can. By heating the steel, cans could release chromium and nickel which will end up in your food. You think the lining inside the can will help you? Not necessarily as you could be exposed to BPAs. And if your health is not overall concern of yours right now – an unopened can might explode.

So as you can see there is several factors why you may like to try one of our two Dulce de Leche recipe.

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