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Homemade Dulce de Leche

Learn how to make Dulce de Leche! The name of this treat is Spanish and means “sweet made of milk” or “milk sweet”. It’s a rich, amber-colored caramel spread that tastes delicious on its own, with ice cream or as a cupcake filling and also makes a great hostess gift or party favor. You can download the recipe and free printable labels at the end of this post.

Creamy homemade dulce de leche

How to make Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche is incredibly easy to prepare, and you only need one ingredient, sweetened condensed milk. It’s created by cooking sweetened condensed milk for several hours.

While cooking the sugar caramelizes and the milk starts to thicken. By adjusting the cooking time, you can create various consistencies. We discuss the different consistencies and give a few serving tips. Once you’ve opened the first tin of home cooked Dulce de Leche, you’ll come up with plenty of ideas how to use it.

Learn how to make homemade Dulce de Leche and get free printable labels | countryhillcottage.com

Adjust the cooking time to create different consistencies of Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche can be cooked anywhere from 30 minutes to over 3 hours. By adjusting the cooking time you can create various consistencies. The longer you cook the milk, the more it will caramelize.

Pourable: For a runny consistency, cook the milk no longer than 1.5 hours. The caramel is light and still pourable, making it the perfect accompaniment to ice cream or coffee.

Spreadable: Simmering the tins (cans) for 2 hours will result in a spreadable Dulce de Leche. It’s a little darker and you can use on toast or sandwich it between cookies.

Cuttable: Cooking Dulce de Leche for 3 hours will make it dark and firm, almost cuttable, and can be used as a filling for cakes and pies. This version has a strong caramel flavor.

I prepared a little chart that shows how the color, flavor and consistency changes the longer you cook it.

Learn how to make homemade Dulce de Leche and get free printable labels | countryhillcottage.com

Storage and shelf life of homemade Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche can be stored at room temperature and has the same shelf life as the uncooked condensed milk.

Tip: You can make a note of the best-before date on the printable labels.

Learn how to make homemade Dulce de Leche and get free printable labels | countryhillcottage.com
Homemade dulce d leche recipe

Dulce De Leche Recipe

Yield: 1 tin makes about 400g (14 oz) Dulce de Leche.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 2 seconds
Cooling time Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes 2 seconds

Learn how to make Dulce de Leche! The name of this treat is Spanish and means “sweet made of milk” or “milk sweet”. It’s a rich, amber-colored caramel spread that tastes delicious on its own, with ice cream or as a cupcake filling and also makes a great hostess gift or party favor. This is the easiest way to create delicious, ooey-gooey caramel!

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 tins (cans) of sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Remove the labels. Remove the labels and make a note of the best-before date.
  2. Prepare the pot. Place the tins (cans) in a large pot and pour in water. The water should be 2.5 to 5 centimeter – that’s 1 to 2 inches – above the top of the tins (cans).
  3. Cook the milk. Bring the water to a boil, then immediately turn it down to a low simmer. Let cook for 2 hours.
    It’s important to watch the water level. The water should never fall below the top of the tins (cans), so regularly fill up with additional water. It’s best to use hot or warm water to not slow down the cooking process.
  4. Turn the tins (cans). Using tongs, carefully turn the tins (cans) after 1 hour so the milk caramelizes evenly.
  5. Let cool. After 2 hours, take the pot of the oven and allow the tins (cans) to come to room temperature. Don’t open the cans while they’re still hot so you don’t burn yourself.
  6. Apply labels. When the tins (cans) are cool and dry, apply the labels and write down the best-before date so you know how long the Dulce de Leche can be stored.

Notes

It’s a good idea to work with several tins (cans) at a time. Ideally, use tins with a solid lid, as tab lids might open during the cooking process.

Learn how to make Dulce de Leche! It’s a rich, amber-coloured caramel spread that tastes delicious on its own, with ice cream or as a cupcake filling and also makes a great hostess gift or party favour. | countryhillcottage.com

Printable Label

Click on the button to download the free printable recipe and labels.

Dan

Tuesday 26th of September 2023

After cooking, are you allowing the cans the come to room temperature in the water? Or are you removing the cans from the water and allowing them to cool? My last run had some crystallized sugar clumps, and I'm unsure if it was due to cooling too quickly, or the way they were set in water bath.. I'm also only cooking for 60-90 minutes trying to find a balance between pourable with the right amount of caramelization, but the crystallized clumps threw me through a loop lol

Cyna | Country Hill Cottage

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Hi Dan! I'm sorry you have an issue.

I always take the cans out right after cooking and let them cool on the counter.

Usually, the sugar is already fully dissolved in the condensed milk, but it can happen that the lactose in condensed milk crystalizes. This has nothing to do with how you cook or cool the dulce de leche as it would be already present before.

Crystallization may indicate that the sugar hasn't fully melted. It's important to bring the water bath to a full rolling boil before you turn the heat down to a simmer. The sugar needs to melt in the early stages of cooking (before the caramelization process starts).

If you have, I would also cook the condensed milk cans in an aluminum pot or a stainless steel pot with an aluminum core because aluminum is an excellent heat conductor.

I hope this helps you out and please let me know in case you have more questions!

Noemi lisayen

Friday 13th of August 2021

If you make it as a business how many weeks does your dulce de leche last

Cyna | Country Hill Cottage

Friday 13th of August 2021

Hi Noemi! The Dulce De Leche will have the same shelf life as the condensed milk you're using. Simply check the best before date on the can. I hope this helps and happy making!

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