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-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. You can download the recipe and free printable labels at the end of this post.
Watch the step-by-step instructions in our video tutorial!
One ingredient, many uses
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 caramalises 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.
Cook Dulce de Leche
This is the easiest way to create delicious, ooey-gooey caramel!
Prep Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 2 – 3 hrs
Cooling Time: at least 5 hrs
Servings: 1 tin makes about 400g (14 oz) Dulce de Leche.
- 3 to 4 tins (cans) of sweetened condensed milk. 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.
- printable label
- large (stock) pot
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 centimetre – 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 caramelises 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.
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 caramelise.
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 flavour.
We prepared a little chart that shows how the colour, flavour and consistency changes the longer you cook it.
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 our printable labels.
Free Printable Recipe & Label
Click on the button to download the free printable recipe and labels.
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