“Easy-Peasy” Dulce de Leche

Here’s the thing. I heart my Honey. And when you heart someone AND you love to cook/bake, you usually try to find ways to make things that they heart eating.

And one of the things that he loves is caramel……in fact, all things caramel-like. In the past, I’ve made him caramel candy, caramel cupcakes, flan with TONS of caramelized sugar, etc., etc. I was running out of ideas until I stumbled upon the Cupcake Project’s post a few weeks ago on Dulce de Leche.

True, Dulce de Leche differs from Caramel. Caramel is typically sugar cooked down (with or without a tad of water, depending on your preferred method). Often it’s “stopped” with cream or butter if you’re using it as a sauce. Dulce de Leche is a heavily sweetened milk that is slowly cooked down. Different in approach but both have very similar flavor profiles. And I knew the BF would love either I made.

But what caught my eye was the cooking method described by the Cupcake Project. Usually recipes for Dulce de Leche are extremely time intensive, cooking large amounts of milk and sugar down—while needing to carefully keep an eye out to not scorch or burn the mixture. All this method required was a can of condensed milk and a crock pot. Seriously…it was a Set It–And–Forget It situation. Heck–I can do that! And BAM–8 hours later, I was opening a decadent and luscious can of Dulce de Leche. And the options are limitless for what one can do with Dulce de Leche. This particular can was going towards some cupcakes I was working on.

Do I recommend people trying it? Heck Yes! It was SO easy! I will definitely be doing it again. Placed in an airtight container, the Dulce de Leche can be stored in your fridge for up to a month. But trust me….it won’t make it past a few days. But then again, I live with a “Love All Things Caramel” monster 🙂

Take a can (or two, or three) of condensed milk. Remove the label and COMPLETELY submerge under water in a crock pot. Set on low heat.

8 hours later…and it’s ready!

Carefully remove from the crock pot.

Wipe can clean.

Slowly open the can and watch the ooey-gooey goodness creep out 🙂

Carefully stir to eliminate any accumulated lumps and you’re all set!!!

Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than that 🙂


23 thoughts on ““Easy-Peasy” Dulce de Leche

  1. how funny. i, on the other hand, do NOT like caramel in particular. but, you’ve piqued my curiosity and this simple chemistry-like-science project is something i’d like to try! things that make you go hmmmm….and, in this case, i’m willing to bet, yummmmm…..

    1. It really was like a science project 🙂 Even if you aren’t a huge fan of caramel, this Dulce de Leche has been quite tasty in a variety of capacities….ie: Drizzled over mocha ice cream or sandwiched between two cookies 🙂

  2. I’ve been meaning to try this with some fat-free condensed milk (yes, it’s still high in sugar, whatever, at least you save on some things haha) but never got around to it. Thanks for the post – now I know it works!

  3. hi! i am just curious, i really wanted to make this, but i do not have a crock pot. or can i just improvise? if so, what are your suggestions? i am sorry for the ignorance, and thank you in advance for the answer!

    btw, is 8 hours of cooking, gas friendly? 🙂 thanks!

    1. Hi Mel-

      I haven’t tried it myself but I also think you can use a similar method with a pressure cooker. I’ve also seen folks cook it on a stove in a large pot but there have been many cautions on this bc it’s known to explode (it has to cook really low and slow).

      And although I’m not an expert on this, I believe 8 hours of low cooking uses as much electricity as having other appliances plugged in (ie. Alarm Radio, TV, etc.)

      Much luck to you!

      1. Hello. I tried it and something went wrong. It’ was still liquid. What do u think went wrong? Now it didn’t look like you had the lid on the crock pot so I didn’t do it? Help

    2. Hi, new to your blog, great job! I have made this by submerging the can in a pan of simmering water for 3 hours. You have to watch the water level and add water every once & a while to make sure the can is always under water, or else you may have big problems with the can exploding. I am excited to try the crock pot method; much less stress! 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

    3. I just read this from a chef who said to bring it to a boil (can submerged completely in water), then simmer over moderately low heat for at least 2 hours. Replenish water as it reduces to keep it covered completely the entire time.

  4. This is so amazing. Your cupcakes look great–how talented you are. The only thing I worry about is the BPA in the lining of the can. If you are cooking in it especially, all of the toxic BPA is released into the caramel. I am making some today the old fashioned way and it sure is labor intensive though. Neat idea.

  5. I made this recipe, but I used sweetened condensed milk is that ok ? Mine was really thick should I whip it with my mixer

    1. Hi There! I also used Sweetened Condensed Milk. I’m unfamiliar with an Unsweetened Condensed Milk in the states—I think they refer that to Evaporated Milk.

      The Dulce de Leche is fairly thick once it’s done but should be still pliable. If you like a lighter consistency, whipping it would be a great method.


  6. I have to admit I wasn’t so sure this would actually work… (even though you had pictures to prove it)… BUT it turned out amazing! Good thing I used 2 cans, I will probably eat a good portion of it before it actually makes it to the cupcakes. Thank you for sharing!

  7. My mom uses a big pot and cooks the cans in boiling water. but I like your idea better, set it on high and leave it go without worrying about water evaporating and causing a fire.

  8. you can pour the condensed milk in a pan and set on low-med heat. you have to stir it nonstop so it doesn’t burn but you just keep cooking it until it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. once it cools it will be very thick. if you don’t want it as thick just cook it a shorter amount of time.

  9. Hi! This was such a great idea I had to try it. I had somewhat different experiences that might help someone else. I have a 6.5 quart crockpot, so I put 3 cans in. Covered them completely with water, and cooked them on low for 8.5 hours. They weren’t really “done”- the milk was still about the same consistency as before cooking, and it was just about a shade darker. So, the next day, I put 2 different cans in (got a different brand this time, just in case), and cooked on low for 12 hours. The finished product was very good- thick and caramel colored. Maybe a “tad” too thick, so when I try it again (and I will), I may see how 10 to 10.5 hours does. So, maybe if you have a larger crock pot, or maybe if you’re cooking more than one can, the times may have to be adjusted? And I’m sure temps vary a little from appliance to appliance. 🙂 All the products were delicious, no complaints, just wanted to share my results. BTW, when she says remove the labels from the cans “completely”, do remove them completely, including the glue-y stuff if you can. 🙂 Thanks for a fun idea to try!

  10. Is this safe? I live in Switzerland and they sell evaporated milk in tubes. Can you do this in a pot of simmering water with a tube of evaporated milk?

  11. Olá, aqui no Brasil, nós cozinhamos na panela de pressão (até 4 latas) se couberem deitadas com agua cobrindo as latas. Quando começar a fazer chiiii, contar 10 a 15 minutos, desligar o fogo e deixar na panela sem mecher até o dia seguinte ou abrir somente após 6 horas. Economiza gás. Não pode abrir antes. Não tirar o vapor da lata. Eu gosto de fazer a noite e abrir só no dia seguinte.

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