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Homemade Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche with Apples

I have been seeing dulce de leche around the food blogging sphere since I started food blogging and it has always looked and sounded so good! Unfortunately I have had problems finding it. I could not find it for a long time but after I had given up I did come across some and I picked up a jar right away. The dulce de leche was a lot like a caramel sauce and it was so good that it disappeared really quickly leaving me craving more. When I went back to get some, it was all gone and I never did run into it again. I finally got tired of waiting to find it and I just decided to make my own.

Luckily there are lot of articles around as to how to make your own dulce de leche! Dulce de leche is made by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk until it caramelizes and turns a golden brown. The easiest way to make dulce de leche it to simply simmer a can of sweetened condensed milk in water for several hours. The down side of this method, and the reason that I held off on making my own for so long, is that apparently there is a risk of the can exploding. (Who wants to be cleaning caramelized sweetened condensed milk from their ceiling?) One thing that I noticed about the instructions that I found was that different ones called for different cooking times. From what I could piece together, you want to simmer for 2 hours to get a light and mild dulce de leche and the longer you leave it in for after that the darker and more flavourful it gets.

I finally had enough incentive to make my own dulce de leche that I gave it a try. I used my old stock pot because I didn't want any possibility of rust touching my good pot and I made sure to keep the lid on and that the can of sweetened condensed milk was covered in water at all times. For the cooking duration I decided to leave mine in for 4 hours to get a nice dark rich tasting dulce de leche. Making the dulce de leche couldn't have been easier and I did not have any problems. I could barely wait for it to cool and when I cracked open the can, it was dulce de leche, and it was a nice deep brown and it smelled amazing. I could not resist putting a finger into it right away and I was rewarded with an amazing caramely flavour! It was so worth making! I will definitely be making my own dulce de leche from now on and I will probably be doing it frequently!

I had not planned to make the recipe that used the dulce de leche until the next day but I could not wait that long so I enjoyed some of the dulce de leche with sliced apples. The thick, creamy and caramely dulce de leche goes so well with crisp juicy apples! It was a real treat!

How to make dulce de leche:

Dulce de Leche

(makes 1 cup)
Printable Recipe

1 can sweetened condensed milk (label removed)

1. Place the can in a large pot and fill with water making sure to completely cover the can.
2. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2-4 hours depending on how dark you want it. Note: Make sure that the can is always completely covered in water.
3. Turn the heat off and let the can cool in the water.

Similar Recipes:
Caramel Sauce
Blueberry Caramel Sauce
Vanilla Bourbon Caramel Sauce


Melly said...

Do you think you could do more than one can at a time?

♥peachkins♥ said...

this is one of my favorite things to eat. Me and my sister could finish a can of condensed milk if its made into Dulce de Leche.

Pam said...

You've almost convinced me. But I'm too chicken of the exploding can.

Amy said...

This sounds like a really delicious and rich treat to serve at a holiday party (can you tell mine is in 3 weeks -- I'm on the look out for recipes). I'm not sure if you've ever tried the Haagen Das ice cream that's of the dulce de leche variety, but since we own an ice cream maker, I'm now tempted to try making my own. Thanks for sharing.

James said...

You could try those shortbread biscuits, topped with dulce de leche & coated in chocolate - biscuits don't better.

Christina said...

wow, very interesting! I'll have to give that a try!

Sri said...

Nice post about my favorite! In India, we make this regularly by heating milk on a low to medium flame until it reduces in size and then adding sugar to it, and continuing on low flame constantly stirring the milk to arrive at the desired consistency. Too laborious. The way we make it here is much simpler. I open the can of condensed sweet milk and pour the contents into a microwavable bowl, and microwave it for 5-10 minutes based on the consistency you need, pausing to stir it every minute nicely. And it's ready!

Kim said...

I bought a banana flavoured PC Brand one at No Frills - I imagine Loblaws carries it as well.

I've just been eating mine with a spoon :)

Christian said...

That's great. Straightforward and simple. :)

Susan Wensel said...

I wonder how it would do if you tried it in a double-boiler without the can? That way you wouldn't have any exploding because you wouldn't have any pressure. It might take longer, again because there's no pressure.

Or you could try it in a crock pot (I'd use a liner to make the clean-up a lot easier). Let it simmer all night long.

Either way, I'm now craving it.

WV:ablyntse - the craving for dulce de leche

Angi said...

how long can you save it? Would you then can it?

Sophie said...

That's how I make it too!

I so love it!! Can't get enough of it!

A lovely picture too!

Joanne said...

I adore dulce de leche. It is pretty widely available here but it's always so much more satisfying to make your own. I can't wait to see what you do with it!

marzipanmom said...

I was just thinking yesterday that I need to make some Dulce le Leche. I've never used this method but used Alton Brown's recipe by cooking milk and sugar down for what seems like hours...maybe I'll have to try this method, but I can't keep sweetened condensed milk in the pantry because I'll eat it straight from the can! I guess I'll have to buy a can a try this! It looks delicious!

Bellini Valli said...

Thanks for the recipe Kevin. You are a lifesaver:D

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I've always been afraid to make dulce de leche this way, so I make it in the microwave. Takes just a few minutes, and no chance of explosion.

WapaClau said...

Hi Kevin! Im from Chile and Dulce de Leche is an every day meal for child here! So we have at supermarkets 'dulce de leche' o 'manjar'(chilean name)Nestle sell the same that you can obtain boiling the cans! Anyway, if you can make 'manjar de leche condensada' folowing the traditional way, here we boil the condensed milk cans in a pressure cooker for 40 min, covered with water until 3/4 of the can, let the water cool before open the cooker to obtain a brown caramelized color and consistent 'dulce de leche' I make 3 cans at same time (sorry my english)
cook & enjoy!
greetings from Chile!

angela@spinachtiger said...

That's interesting and a bit scary. I wonder how one could make it from scratch. Years ago I looked at the calories of sweetened condensed milk and have been afraid to even look at a can ever since.:) I saw your apple pie post and have to say that must taste amazing.

Laura said...

I have a funny story about exploding cans...a few years ago, my mom went out of town, and my father decided to boil cans to make dulce de leche. My dad, brother, and I were upstairs and heard something explode downstairs. None of us knew what was going on except for my dad. We quickly ran downstairs, and at that moment a second can shot in the air and hit the ceiling. We had burnt dulce de leche ALL over the ceiling of the kitchen, covering the cabinets, and all over the floor. The smell was horrible! When my mom got back and saw the stains in her kitchen, she couldn't believe it! My dad had left the cans on too long without watching the water level. The trick is to make sure that water is completely covering the can(s) at all times, and you shouldn't have any problems!

Ambitious said...

I read that if you poke two holes on the cover with a nail, you eliminate the exploding cans!

Is it healthy to boil a metallic can for that long???

Kevin said...

Melly: Yes I actually had two cans in the pot at the same time and took one out a bit earlier to see what the difference would be.

Sri: I will have to try it in the microwave next time!

Kim: Sounds like I am making a trip to No Frills tomorrow! Thanks for the tip!

Rookie Bebe said...

Kevin, yesterday I made this and it is heaven on earth! Wow!!! I didn't know anything could taste this wonderful! And then the apple pie was even better.

My mom said the boyscouts in the 50's would throw a can of the milk in the fire and when they were done with dinner they would eat the dulce like pudding

Sri said...

Kevin, just keep your eye on it though, stirring it often, given the different strengths of the microwaves. It may just take you 5 minutes in your microwave as opposed to more. Thanks.

Michelle N said...

I love Dulce De Leche! I normally make this in the oven in a water bath. I pour the condensed milk in a casserole dish cover tightly in foil. Then put the dish in a water bath, same thing in the oven you must watch the water level. A couple of hours later and it's perfect!

Jessy said...

Thank you! Four hours, and many water level checks later I had a sweet, deep, rich brown dolce de leche! It was best warm and gooey on my finger - devine! Thanks for posting, I wouldn't have braved the "boiling a can" otherwise :)

Stephanie said...

My mom used to make this for us when we were kids =D I haven't had it homemade in YEARS... now that I'm living in my own closet-sized apartment, I'm going to have to try it out for myself!

Renata said...

dulce de leche is like the major sweet goodie here in uruguay, hahaha, you can find it anywhere and in every baked good too. Many uruguayans who emmigrate miss dulce de leche more than they miss their families!!

Do you know alfajores? Mmmm you should try that, filled with dulce de leche, of course... My mouth is watering right now... We have no cupcakes here but lots and lots of cookies and sweets with dulce de leche :P

Renata said...

oh and i forgot to say that here we wouldn't, like... ever!, eat dulce de leche with apples!!

wink: it goues VERY well with coconut ;) I LOVE that combination, just try it please... And if you will, look for alfajores de maizena recipe, that's the typical alfajor over here!

Kevin said...

Renata: Thanks for all the tips! I just did a quick search for alfajores and they look good!

Maida Torres said...

I've only known one person who's can exploded, because he didn't keep it completely covered in water. I always found if funny, living in the US, that the can explicitly said NOT to boil them... being a Chilean, I found it absurd, it's something that we have done since my mother was a young child.

Now, if you are really up for the challenge, you could try making manjar... it's the same idea as Dulce de Leche, but you start from milk, and the taste and texture is just wonderful, much more natural, although it is best when you get milk straight from the cow. You do have to be constantly stirring for a couple of hours though.

Kevin said...

Maida Torres: Making manjar straight from milk sounds like a fun a tasty challenge!

Varun said...

What are the exact instructions for making this in a pressure cooker?

I am assuming this is the procedure:

1. Put can in cooker.
2. Fill the cooker with water upto an inch over the can.
3. Place on stove at high heat.
4. Bring water to a boil.
5. Close the lid with the "steam release cap" on. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
6. Let it stay on the stove for 30-40 minutes.

I hope this is it. Any precautions I need to take?


Kevin said...

Varun: I have not tried using a pressure cooker for dulce de leche yet but that is how I would do it. Just make sure that the cans are completely covered in water and when they are done let them cool down before opening them.

Christi said...

I love your blog Kevin! I can't tell you how many recipes I've got in my list from here to try and how many I've already tried and love!

Anyway, I do this in the crock pot in the can... no worries about boil away liquid. Just put the can in the crock pot as you do on the stove, covered with water and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Perfect dulce de leche!

Kevin said...

Christi: Using the crockpot is a great idea! I will have to try it.

Anonymous said...

my wife has been boiling tins of condensed milk to make banoffi pie.but the pan ends up with stains that she cant get rid of,any suggestions

Priceless said...

I love dulce de leche but was always leary of making it my self for fear of the exploding can. I do like the comment about doing this in a crock pot over low setting. I may just have to take the plunge and try making dulce de leche myself.
thanks Kevin and everyone for all the sharing of ideas.
Cheers from Canada :0)

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