DIY Dulce de Leche
An amazing one ingredient recipe that tastes like heaven- this slow cooker DIY dulce de leche will make all of your dessert dreams come true!
Update: Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker version of this recipe HERE!
DIY Dulce de Leche.
Did you just shiver in excited anticipation? Because you should. I have been living in a dulce de leche dream world since stumbling upon this foolproof and non-explosive method of making dulce de leche.
I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve made a batch of this about every other day for the last week because I can’t stop myself from a) eating it by the spoonful and b) giving it away so I can win the friend-of-the-year award.
Listen, I’m not above bribing people to be my friends. Glad we got that out of the way.
Let me back up a bit. A week or so ago, a friend I’ve made through blogging, Amy M. (who has fantastic, impeccable food taste), emailed me to tell me she had boiled a can of sweetened condensed milk in water, stirred in a bit of vanilla, and made the best dulce de leche ever. I emailed her back and said I’d heard of this method, but like pressure cookers in general, it scared the bejeebers out of me to try it. I mean, I don’t know about you but the risk of exploding cans of hot sugar make me nervous. Amy assured me it wasn’t that big of a deal (probably rolling her eyes all the while) especially if you keep an eye on the water level and add water as necessary.
But I was still scared. So I did a little research and in doing so found I wasn’t so crazy about boiling the can for another reason – the possible (or real, whose to say for sure) risk of BPA toxins from lined cans leaching into the milk while boiling. Enter the canning jar theory. I have a ton of canning jars sitting in my basement so I decided to try it out in the slow cooker.
Toxin risk eliminated.
Explosion risk eliminated.
Now I just had to decide if it really was the stuff dreams are made of. So I opened up two cans of sweetened condensed milk, poured them equally into 3 (1/2-pint) canning jars. Capped them with lids and rings and set them in my slow cooker, covered with water by an inch and cooked the magical jars for 8 1/2 hours (another overnight solution, baby). And oh yes, my friends, the golden, glorious dulce de leche that was pulled from my slow cooker (with a bit of vanilla stirred in) truly is life-changing.
For a week or so now, we’ve been dipping apples like crazy into the silky, smooth dulce de leche, not to mention drizzling it slightly warmed over ice cream and…as I sheepishly admitted earlier…simply eating it by the spoonful (my husband insists I mention right here and right now how divine this is on bananas, also).
So what are you waiting for? Make some! It’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and I’m left wondering how I’ve managed to live without a constant supply of dulce de leche in my kitchen before now.
Thanks, Amy, for getting the wheels spinning for some fantastic, homemade dulce de leche!
How can you resist a one (possibly two if you add the vanilla) ingredient recipe that tastes like heaven? Plus, you’ll want to have some of this on hand thanks to the dessert recipe I’ll be posting next week that utilizes the dreamy stuff.
DIY Dulce de Leche
- 2 cans (14-ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
- 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste, optional
- 3 1/2 pint each canning jars with lids and rings
- Open the cans of sweetened condensed milk and portion them equally into the three canning jars. Wipe the tops and sides of the canning jars, if needed, in case any of the sweetened condensed milk spilled down the sides. Place a lid and ring on the canning jar and screw tightly to seal. Put the three canning jars in a slow cooker and cover with water by one inch. It doesn’t matter whether the jars are laying on their side or standing up straight – do what works best for the size of slow cooker you have. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to low for 8-9 hours, until the dulce de leche is deep golden brown. Carefully remove the jars from the hot water and let them cool. If desired, open the jars and stir in 1/2 – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into each jar. Replace the lids and rings and store in the refrigerator. Supposedly it keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month – good luck getting it to last that long!
- The dulce de leche can be warmed up on low heat in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pan of water to be drizzled over ice cream, used as dip for apples, spread over crepes etc. We also enjoy it cold or at room temperature for a spread on bananas, apples, sweet breads (like banana or zucchini). The options are endless!
Recipe Source: inspired by this post after Amy M. sent me an email regarding dulce de leche
148 Comments on “DIY Dulce de Leche”
I saw this recipe many moons ago, but for some reason or another never got around to giving it a try. Then apple season happened a few weeks ago and honestly, what’s more delicious than a fresh crisp cortland apple slice smothered in caramel? So I searched through Mel’s site and Eureeka! I found it. Oh. My. Gosh. Why oh why did I procrastinate in making this delectable dulce de leche?!? It’s seriously a miracle of nature. You throw sweetened condensed milk into a jar and let it hang out in the slow cooker over night and the next day you can scoop and swirl caramel sauce to your hearts delight!
I did add a small splash of vanilla to each jar, but seriously make this recipe!
I was thinking to make this for my neighbor gifts this year, with 2 apples, and wrapped in plastic. Do you think you could put it in smaller jelly jars that are 4 oz? Maybe just cook it for less time?
Sure, but I’d cook it the same amount of time.
Hello Mel, since your husband likes this with bananas I will share with you what I have been doing for years with my dulce de lecherous and bananas. Make a graham cracker crust or Oreo cookie crust in a pie plate and mix your dulce de leche with sliced bananas (I use about 7 or 8 bananas) once mixed place in the crust and top with fresh whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
That is called “Banoffee Pie” so yummy! I have also used Nestle Carnation Carmel 🙂
Hi! I came upon the link for this older thread, & I’m so excited to try this! My husband has been telling me for years about the delicious Dulce de Leche that he loved while living in South America.
My only question is, what temperature of the crock pot do you cook yours on? I saw where it said not on high, but I want to be sure I cook it well enough.
Thanks so much for all of the wonderful recipes you share, Mel!
I cook it on low. 🙂
Can you cook it with the vanilla in so that you don’t have to open the jars? Or will that ruin its ability to set up?
I tried that once and it gave an off-taste to the dulce de leche from the vanilla cooking too long – but that could have just been me. Might be worth a try to see how you like it.
This looked perfect till I added the vanilla. I added it right after I took it out of the hot water. It was smooth and creamy. I did not taste it and unfortunately I added the vanilla to all three jars before i saw that mixing it in made it lumpy ? curdled. I had cooked it for 8h and the color is exactly the same as the picture. It is lumpy and I don’t know if it tastes right because i have never tasted dulce de leche before.
That’s strange, Robin – I’ve never had it curdle when adding the vanilla. It’s an extra step but you might try scraping it into a blender or food processor to get it smooth again.
I saw on your new pressure cooker Dulce De Leche that you commented that it curdles if you mix it while it is hot. I think that is what happened. I stirred in the vanilla immediately out of the water bath.
Have you ever made this in pint size jars?
Yes. As long as the water covers the jars all the way, it should work just fine.
Are you submerging the jars in water with an inch on top or are you only covering the bottom inch of the jar?
Yes, I submerge the jars in water covered by at least an inch.
Hey, I’ve made dulce de leche in my pressure cooker before in the can the milk came in.. i’m wanting to make it in mason jars, seal the jars and use them as christmas gifts. I’ve read through the comments and I should refrigerate it after making it? .. When I make it in the can it came in I cooked it for 20 minutes. Would the time be the same for making it in the mason jars?
I don’t dare give a recommendation for making it in mason jars in the pressure cooker. Any way you make it using jars it should be refrigerated.
How full do you fill the jars, 1/2, 3/4, full? I’m wanting to make up a bunch of these for Christmas gifts.
I usually fill them within an inch of the top.
Duhhhh ! Why didn’t I think of that! I was also fearful of boiling cans. I normally make dulce for a cake filling in a double boiler for 3 hours. Can we say trapped?Can we say only if I love you ,special occasion cake ? I was going to try a slow cooker double boiler type method, but your method sounds easier and will result in a higher yeild . Can’t wait to try !
So I’m dying to make this as we head into fall again! But I live in China and canning jars just don’t exist here (and neither does dulce de leche for that matter). Do you think I could use an old jam jar that’s been cleaned out along with its lid? Or would that somehow mess something up?
I think as long as the jar is sealed pretty well, it should work. Make sure if you have to lay it on its side in the crockpot that it doesn’t leak. Definitely worth a try!
Do you think this would work with homemade sweetened condensed milk?
Leah – I haven’t tried it but it’s definitely worth experimenting or doing a google search to see if anyone else has tried it. Good luck!
So I just tired to make this, and after 8 hours I pulled it out and was so excited. Only to find that it was chunky! It tasted ok but it wasn’t smooth like the picture. Did I burn it? Or should I have left it in longer? Has this happened to anyone else?
I’ve made this a couple of times now and haven’t had any problems so I was raking my brain to figure out why yours would go lumpy. The only things I could come up with are maybe there was residue of something in your jar that caused the sweetened condensed milk to react funny. Or the other was did you cook it on high or low?
stacy – I had that happen one time and it was because I cooked it too long – it was a noticeable difference between smooth and like you said, kind of chunky. I’d suggest decreasing the cooking time just a bit (was it overly dark?).
It happened to me the second time I made it and after rereading her directions I realized I had my settings on the crock pot to high instead of low and still cooked it a little longer to get it a little thicker, might have worked if I had it on low instead of high…..trying again today.
Do you need to sterilize the jar before using them ?
Priscilla McCambry – Not as long as they are well cleaned. But it isn’t shelf stable; it needs to be refrigerated after.
Thank you for this recipe! I did this overnight last night and the results are amazing! I’ve been itching to try to make dulce de leche for awhile now, but the horror stories of exploding cans and chemical leakage from the tin liners has kept me away till now. So thank you again for coming up with this simple solution!
hola…tambien puedes hacer dulce de leche ( quitando antes las etiquetas de las latas si son de papel ) colocando la lata en una olla de presion con agua, q el agua pase la altura de la lata durante una hora o hora y media. Si no tienes olla a presion puede ser en cualquier olla normal, colocando en el fondo un pañito y despues la lata y agua suficiente que tape la lata la cocina por 2 horas…..espero q te sirva de mucho
Ella ya lo sabe, pero nos enseño esta forma/método en particular porque las latas tienen BPA un químico malísimo. Conociéndolo en jarros de vidrio elimina la posibilidad the contaminar el cuerpo.
Hi, why do you add the vanilla after the cooking period, rather than before? Cheers
Good question, Ian. To be honest, I’m not sure…its just always how I’ve done it but its worth trying the other way. I wonder if it has something to do with the long cooking time; sometimes vanilla can get a chemically taste if burned or cooked too long.
Can you do this with a large crock pot instead of a slow cooker?
Lindsey – I use crockpot and slow cooker (the terms) interchangeably. So yes!
I don’t know what I did wrong. 🙁 Mine started leaking out of the top of the kids. I don’t think water got back into it, but when I went to check it, there was milk in the water. I used 1 can each in 2 pt sized jars. They weren’t full when I did it. Was that the problem? They were about half full.
Angela – To be honest, I’m not sure. It might be that the jars were only half full so you might try with full jars. Sorry it didn’t work out!
Can you can this?
Teri – Not sure, I haven’t tried but it keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator.
nope! milk and it’s products are not safe for canning, according to the NCHFP. I sure wish it were though! Then I could make my Christmas gifts right now instead of the day before.
The method Mel uses for this Dulce de leche is perfectly safe for storing in the Refrigerator , Not in the pantry . Store in refrigerator for up to 1 month . I always pour mine in canning jars as well . Dulce de leche makes wonderful gifts , lable for refrigerator storage only and ( us by ) 1 month out from the date you made it . Happy gift giving !
SO YUMMY! The only problem I have with this recipe, when I get a craving for dulce de leche, like I have right now, I can’t wait 8 hours!
Thanks for posting this! I have known about this recipe for several years, but was too afraid to boil the can for fear of an explosion. What a mess to clean up that would be! Anyway, you solved the problem and it works great! I cooked mine for 6 hours in my slow cooker on high and it worked just fine.
You can also do it stove top in a thick pot. You can use the jars it comes in or glass jars. Place either method in the pot I usually use a tall pit and fill it full so I don’t have to worrie about it boiling down below lid line. If u use a small pot make sure you keep water an nice or so above the submersed jars. So you have to keep another pot boiling to add to the pot withies in it. You can not add cold water to the milk pot once it boils. Boil for 3 hours . I don’t add vanilla but you may. I use this method to make my Carmel for my homemade turtles, they are fantablouse, also you can add creme or milk to it to thin the mixture down I do this for a cheese cake topping. It’s to die for. But I’m glad to find the slow cooker method. Thank you
Is this any better than what you can buy? President’s Choice makes dulce de leche and it tastes quite good. I haven’t tried any other prepared ones, so nothing to compare it to.
So does it have to be stored in the Fridge all the time or just after you open it?
I will share an even easier way. Leave it in the can, take the pop top off (at least the kind of milk we buy at our Latin grocer has a poptop), put rest it back on the top of the can. Fill crock pot with water to within 1 inch of the top of the can,cook on slow for about 3-4 hours. You’ll know it’s done as you’ll see the brown caramel color rise to the top. Spoon it out, if too thick add a table or so of milk to make it smooth to your liking. I am married to a Latin man, and checked with some of my Latin cook friends, and they never heard of adding vanilla so I’m guessing that’s a preference thing.
Can you add the vanilla to the condensed milk before you boil/can it ? I would love make some as a thank you for our daughters wedding….she loves dulce de leche!
Hi Barbara – definitely worth a try. I’ve only added it at the end so you’ll have to experiment but I think it should work – I’d err on the side of adding less vanilla so the flavor isn’t too strong by the end of the cooking time.
Yesterday I made home made sweetened condensed milk again after many recipes that I found not to taste quite right, I ended up by making my own recipe to my families delight. Yesterday I decided to see if it will turn into the lush caramel (dulce de leche). I was pleasantly surprised when it turned into the best dulce de leche I have ever had.
Homemade condensed milk: 1/4 cup milk powder, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup milk (Cook on low heat till sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened. It will thicken more once cooled.) To make the dulce de leche, place in slow cooker on high for 9 hours. End result pure delight.
I’m just wondering if you are going to publish a cookbook anytime soon? I am not known to buy cookbooks but I would be first in line to buy yours!
Kim, I made this for all the family get togethers we had over the Holiday season and it is excellent. When my girlfriend stayed overnight to help get ready for our large Thanksgiving, she told me that she grew up with her mom doing the same thing, only in a deep pot on top of the stove. She doesn’t even open the cans. The unopened cans are immersed in water with 1-2 inches above the tops of the cans, then simmered for 4 hours. You MUST watch the water level. You do not want these under pressure from uneven heat! Our grocer carries the cans with flip tops which I wouldn’t trust to this particular method, but I am going to try it the next time I run across an “old-fashioned” can of sweetened condensed milk! Hope this helps.
Do you think I could transfer the sweetened condensed milk to a glass jar and then just cook on my stove top the standard way versus cooking it in the crockpot? I wanna use it tonight for a dessert but I am getting started a little late.
Kim, I’ve never tried it that way but if you keep a close eye on it, it should probably work. Also, I’ve seen it baked in a shallow pie plate in the oven too so a Google search may help with that. Good luck!
Hi Katie – sounds like you might need to keep it in the slow cooker for longer, maybe even 9-10 hours. Each slow cooker varies slightly in temperature and perhaps yours cooks on the cooler side of things. That’s the only reason I could guess for why it didn’t thicken (just to be sure, though, you might try switching brands of condensed milk for next time and make sure it isn’t fat-free or reduced fat). Good luck!
I made this the other day, and although super tasty, it was not as thick as yours. When I used it in your Banoffe pie and cut into it, the carmel oozed all out. I had it in the crockpot for over 8 hours and after refrigerating…. it was thick but still pourable. I tried to put it back in the crockpot for a few hours but it didn’t get any thicker….any ideas why? Thanks so much
Thanks, Mel. That’s what I thought and how I’ve treated the batch. But then I thought, “What if I’m wrong.” Thanks for your answer.
Stef – just to clarify, even though the dulce de leche cooks in canning jars, it isn’t considered shelf stable after it comes out of the slow cooker. It still needs to be stored in the refrigerator. My jars sometimes leak, too. I just give them a good wipe down and put them in the refrigerator so you should be good to go!
I made this yesterday, but was way too tired to try it out last night before going to bed. And woke up thinking about what was waiting for me. Amazing! Dulce de Leche is one of my favorite things, mostly because it’s yummy but not TOO sweet. Now, I can make it at home!
I do have a question. I wiped the tops and sides of drips, but must have left something because while it was slow cooking, one of the jars leaked milk out into the water bath. I’ve never canned (quite honestly, it scares me), but it seems like this is ok as long as I’m not trying to keep these indefinitely on the shelf (it won’t last that long, anyway!) Any canners out there that can give me some advice on cause and safety for this particular recipe? Thanks!
I made this the other day and a jar of it is already gone! Simply wonderful!! I followed the procedure almost exactly as you described, only, I used the wide mouth half pint canning jars so only 2 fit in my crock pot at a time. My time was a similar 8.5 hrs give or take 15 minutes or so. The only hiccup I experienced occurred when I removed the jars and opened them to stir in the vanilla. I felt as though the consistency was not very smooth and a bit more lumpy than it should be, but after some stirring and then further stirring in of the vanilla (and letting the second jar settle in the fridge overnight) the lumps are pretty much gone. Thank you so much for sharing your idea! This is great!!
I have a question (insert drooling sound). This sounds so yummy. I had heard of people boiling the condensed milk can but I saw the mess it made in my friend’s kitchen when it exploded so I never tried it. Oh, right, my question. Has anyone tried stacking the jars in the slow cooker? I’d like to make a bigger batch by stacking them and setting them to cook. I’d like to use smaller jars so i can use them as party favors. Thanks for the yums! 🙂
Yeah, I think it was overlooked! It was darker brown than the pictures here. Will try again 🙂
Kerry – what color was the dulce de leche when you pulled it out? It does sound like it was overcooked – if it was darker brown that’s probably what happened. If you think your crockpot cooks on the warm side, I’d decrease the time by 30 minutes to an hour to see how that works out.
I was so excited to try this. I put mine in the canning jar and set on low overnight-figured I’d leave it in a bit longer since it was a 14 oz can in one jar. It’s not quite right though. It is lumpy and smells slightly of spoiled milk. Do you think i cooked it too long or not long enough? Temp too high? I do think my crock pot does cook a bit hotter than others I ave used. I will be trying this again and perfecting it, so tips would be great! 🙂
Thank you for the tip. I have wondered about the can but as you say how do you stop a good thing. We also put this on a good french bread!
Ive made this a few times and love it! Now I’m thinking that I’d like to can it if possible. Anyone know if it’s possible… My idea is to mix it with some Starbucks via packets and can it, to give away as gifts. Then you can have instant caramel coffee!
I’ve boiled the milk in the can before and had no problems. Used in for a cookie called caramel tassies or better yet mix a little Kailua in for Kailua Carmel tassies. You will die!!!
Do you have your heat on high or low? I want to do this tonight.
Oh Thank God I found this!!! I came across a recipe last week that instructed you to boil the sealed can and I thought “NO WAY” can I do this. I would definitely get distracted and have a huge mess on my hands. I can’t wait to try this….I’m salivating! THANK YOU for doing the research!
I’m so excited to try this! I actually want to make several jars of this to give away as baby shower favors…..does anyone know how long this will last in the refrigerator?
Okay, just made the recipe for the 2nd time this week (it was a BIG hit with my friends & family!). Decided to experiment again, and added some unsweetened dark chocolate once the caramel was done cooking. I added 2 squares or so (amount is entirely TT), but first chopped it up into smallish-chunks to help it melt more easily). It took a bit of stirring, but the results were well worth the effort. I used ghirardelli, but I imagine that any decent quality baking chocolate would work. Question: What makes dulche de leche even better? Answer: Why chocolate does, of course!
I experimented with both fat free & regular sweetened condensed milk. The verdict? The fat free was basically inedible. As a comment above noted, it seemed to “curdle” and the consistency was completely wrong. I also tried one version where I mixed the two kinds together before cooking. Also terrible. Conclusion? I will make this recipe for my family & friends again and again. However, I’ll skip the fat free & go for the regular — the results of the latter were utterly delicious (my 3 taste testers agreed that is was hands-down the winner).
I am so glad I found this recipe. I saw a post on pinterest of someone boiling it in the can and I was like OMG are you freaking crazy. There literally hundreds of posts from people saying this is amazing, I am going to do this. I mean what if the can explodes and burning caramel gets all over your face! Or like you said about the toxins leaching in from the can.
Thank You for giving us a safe and non toxic way to make this.
I tried this using homemade sweetened condensed milk and it turned out fabulous! I have not made it from the canned stuff so I can’t compare tastes but I thought this version was great. After reading some comments I was also happy that straight out of the fridge it was thick enough to not be able to really pour out of the jar but it was soft enough to easily spread on brownies or cake. So far I have tried it on cake, apples, and cinnamon french toast….oh my! Tasty! The recipe I used was 1/2 C hot water, 1 C dry powdered milk, 1 C sugar, 1 Tbsp butter. Blend VERY WELL in a blender. (recipe from http://www.everydayfoodstorage.net) I did a half batch since I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I need to try the canned version to compare tastes but this will not be the last time I make it from scratch!!
Jodee – I’m so excited to know this worked with homemade sweetened condensed milk. You are a gem for checking back in to post! You better believe I’ll be trying it. Thanks!
Hi! I was so excited to try this as my whole family are dolce-de-leche-aholics! I put it in (3) 1/2 pint jars, covered them with water, and set the timer for 8 hours on LOW. When I checked it after 7 1/2 hours, the water inside was bubbling— is it supposed to? and I cooked it for another hour, to make it the 8 1/2 hours!– It looked scrumptuous through the jar, all golden, I couldn’t wait! visions of apple slices, cupcake fillers, bananas, spoonfuls of this delicacy were dancing through my head! I cooled them a bit, opened one to put in the 1/2 tsp of vanilla– the top seemed to have a film on it and when I stirred in the vanilla it was all curdled— didn’t look a thing like your picture. I think it’s overcooked? and I must confess, I used one regular and one low fat can of sweetened condensed milk— I stirred them together before putting in the jars! HELP!! what did I do wrong!
Martha – the lowfat sweetened condensed milk may have been a factor but I can’t be sure since I haven’t tried it. I was just talking to my sister the other day and trying to convince her to try it with fat-free or lowfat sweetened condensed milk. My guess is that it was overcooked which could simply be a matter of your slow cooker cooking at a higher temperature than mine (the can vary in temperature just like an oven). My water was never bubbly hot so that makes me think the temp of your slow cooker was higher. I’d definitely try it again if you dare, using regular sweetened condensed milk (just until it turns out perfectly – then experiment with lowfat!) and cook it as low as 7 hours to see if the results are better. Good luck!
Why do you do this to me?? I love Dolce le Leche. (I love to use it in the Banana Caramel Pie recipie also.) I can’t just eat a little bit, so there goes any diet plans!! Thanks for the recipe!
Brooke – as long as your jar is big enough to fit the entire 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and your slow cooker is big enough to cover the jar with water, it should work fine. But yes, you’ll want to watch cooking time…at least 8 hours but it may take longer with a larger jar.
It sounds SO delicious and easy!! Do you think I could put one 14oz. can into a jar and just put that in the crockpot? I wonder if that would change the amount of time required?
Just made this last night! We can’t keep our spoons out of it. The boys and I ate it with bananas at lunch and I took one jar to a friend for her birthday. Thank you so much. This is really brilliant. Definitely a keeper.
Kati – gotcha. Yes, I think they would work just fine.
I mean that the lids are one solid lid. Not the lids that are two separate pieces.
Andrea – I’ve had that same thing happen a time or two when I’ve made this. In my case, I think I had some residual sweetened condensed milk on the outside of the jar and another jar I didn’t seal super well. I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong – my sister said the same thing happened to her. I just wiped down my finished dulce de leche jars really well and called it good.
Kati – I guess I’m not sure what type of jar you are referring to. I use flat lids and screw rings for my canning jars – are we talking about the same thing?
This intrigued me since my mother-in-law still boils the milk in the can to make her famous “Caramel Tart”. I knew my hubby would love it… So, I made it this weekend. It worked but even after screwing on the lids as tightly as I could, I got a bit of a milky mess in my crock pot. The milk was not watery so obviously the milk seeped out without water seeping in. Does this happen to anyone else? Is there anything that I’ve done wrong? It all cleaned up alright, so there was no harm done. Thanks! 🙂
I had to try this. Who can’t use a good excuse to eat sweetened condensed milk?! It was so easy! So far I’ve dipped apples in it, drizzled it on strawberries and bananas (especially complimentary) and cookie-ice cream sandwiches, and, of course, eaten it from the jar with a spoon! This afternoon I had to bring a fruit platter to a family dinner. As I was loading up I saw the jars in my fridge and thought of serving it along side the fruit. With that one act I upped my food offering from the level of ordinary to special.
I already own a bunch of jars, but they are screw lids. Will those still work?
This would make a great addition to housewarming baskets or holiday treat gift bags!!! I am so planning my Christmas cooking and crafts now!
I just HAVE to try this! I, too, heard of the pressure cooker method and was terrified for all of the reasons listed by everyone. This is a perfect solution. I made Dulche de Leche from whole milk once – it was super delicious, but did take almost an hour of constant stirring…but my husband thought it was worth it! 🙂
i’ll try it again! Thank you!
If your worried about spreading it on the brownie, I would suggest slightly under-cooking it so that the dulce de leche spreads easier. You could also warm it before layering it on the brownies.
Charlie – I’ve never made it in the microwave so I don’t know the timing/method but you can judge the color by the pictures above in the post – my goal is a light to medium brown color.
Mel- overcooked it?? I did it the microwave method : pour everything out on a shallow plate and microwave until it changes color… What color should i be looking for?
I totally forgot to add the vanilla but it was still tasty! I only had one can in the pantry (which has now been remedied), and I put it in a squat, widemouthed pint jar, cooking it for 10 hours. I’ll definitely try the suggestion of adding a bit of salt next time.
The timing of this article was amazing. I think I accidentally made some an even easier way. I was just cleaning out my pantry and found a jar of sweetened condensed milk that ‘expired’ in 2009. I had to spoon it out of the can, but it was the same golden color and consistency of your photos here. And it was amazing. I made Vietnamese coffee by adding a large spoonful of it plus a teaspoon of instant coffee to a cup of hot coffee.
Sarah – P.S. I’d use about 1 1/2 cups of dulce de leche in place of the caramel in the brownies.
Sarah – you could definitely try it. Kim (a commenter above) mentioned her favorite way to use dulce de leche is to drop it by spoonfuls over brownie batter, swirl it in and bake. The difference is that dulce de leche isn’t quite as chewy as caramel – it’s more smooth and creamy and unless it is fresh and warm, I don’t know that you’d be able to spread it on the brownies like you do the caramel. But you could definitely dollop it on and I think the results would be delicious.
I’m wondering if you think this could replace the caramel in your Caramel Brownies recipe? If so, how much would you use?
I added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon to each can of milk. The salt gave it more of a salted caramel taste and cut some of the sweetness. This is a great recipe!
so i tried this before I read your post about how to do it in a water bath. The pie plate in the over covered w/ foil and set in another pan filled w/ water was a flop. Just wasted two cans of milk I am now trying to rescue. Seems the steam goes up under the foil and I ended up w/ twice as much as I started w/ because it filled up w/ steam which then turned to water. I sucked about two cups of water out of my dulce de leche, and now have it in a jar w/ no lid in a water bath trying to heat the rest of the moisture out of it. the milky water I took off the top was very sweet and milky but since hubby does not take anything in his coffee I just dumped that part. Next time I will deff. do the water bath method. wish I had found your page sooner. Thanks for the great info.
Made your sweet and sour chicken twice in the last week, it is our new family favorite!! Even the grand kids were talking about it and cannot wait to have it again ! Thanks so much for sharing , we all truly loved it .
The bonus with this method (besides the non exploding, lol) is that you can stir in the vanilla before and cook it together!
I’ve made this before by just boiling the sweetened condensed can of milk for 4 hours..you have to keep adding water, and then after the can has boiled for 4 hours, open and serve with fruit or bread or a spoon. =) I’ll have to try your recipe, anything with sweetened condensed milk is amazing.
I used this recipe last month to make the best caramel pie you could ever ask for! Just pour the caramel into a graham cracker crust, top with whipped cream and chopped pecans. You might want to hide it from the rest of your family, because once they find it, good luck getting a slice!
YUM!!! I love sweetened condensed milk in anything or just by itself from the can! 🙂 I lived in Portugal and they call this “baba de camelo” which translates to “camel spit”. Nice, eh? I have done the boil-the-can method, but now I’ll try it this way. Thanks for all the great recipes!!!
Tracey – I’ve only ever used the regular (read: full fat) sweetened condensed milk. I guess my mentality is go big or go home, right? 🙂 But hey, it’s worth a try with the fat-free…I just can’t guarantee the results since I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do!
Laurie – to be honest, I have no idea since I haven’t tried it. Looks like an experiment waiting to happen. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!
Luda – yes, canning jars/mason jars – same thing. I use the smaller jelly/jam jars (they are 1/2-pint in size) but any canning-safe jar will work here.
I tried this last night and, um, had to taste a little when I cut up some pears for breakfast. It was delicious. This is like alchemy in a crockpot!
You’ve opened up a whole new world of recipes for me with this one, as I’ve ignored Dulce recipes because it’s hard to find or too expensive. Now I’m just going to be looking for excuses to make some more of this . . .
I am so glad you tried and liked this! I never even thought of the scary BPA toxin possibility so I’ll be using your method going forward for sure. Your method is easier anyway….I’ve got better things to do than to watch a pot of boiling water for three hours. I can’t wait to see what kind of recipe you’ve come up with that utlizes this stuff!
This looks fantastic! I love the idea of using the slow cooker – hands-off and little chance of screwing it up. Yum! I’ll be trying this one soon…
I’ve also seen this idea on Pinterest, and wanted to try it. It looks positively heavenly! I am wondering though if you have been using regular sweetened condensed milk or the fat free kind. Do you think it would make a difference?
tried this first thing after reading it yesterday and it turned out delicious! I have tried the boil the can version in the past, and although it took pretty much all day, it was nicer to not have to sit over the stove while worrying it will blow up.
Turned out delicious!!!
Thanks for the idea!
LOVE your blog, btw!!
I don´t know how the condensed milk version works, but the regular supermarket ddl behaves pretty much like honey when it´s refrigerated. Only that it´s consistency is denser. Once it´s out of the fridge it should come back to a normal spreading consistency. And it takes a long time to get rock hard; that´s due to the enormous amount of sugar that crystallizes. And while it´s getting harder it´s like eating chewy ddl caramels. I particularly like that to happen!
Mel-I have never canned anything, so when you say canning jars, do you mean mason jars? I am assuming they are the same thing based on your picture, but just want to double check.
I’ve stopped buying canned sweetened condensed milk and making my own in a blender with powdered dry milk and hot water. Do you think I could have success using that type of sub with this recipe?
Charlie – I think if the dulce de leche becomes rock hard it may have been overcooked. When I make it in the slow cooker like this, it is spoonable from the refrigerator (not pourable, but it can be easily spooned out). I reheat it on low by either microwaving the jar on low in the microwave or setting the jar in a pan of simmering water (kind of like warming up honey).
Oh, boy this sounds too good to be true…guess I’ll have to try it!
i made this once before and i’m wondering how you keep it? When i made it, it was so yummy but then i hardened so so quickly. Then i put it in the fridge and it becomes rock hard and i couldn’t eat it and i had to throw the jar away with it because i couldn’t get it out. Also, microwaving wont work :/
Oops! Just read comments! Sorry!
Just checking. Are you filling the water PAST the jars by one inch? Or, are you only putting one inch of water in the crock?
Mel, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog.
I’ve made this, poured into graham cracker crust, topped with whipped cream and mini-chocolate chips. Tastes just like O’Charley’s Caramel Pie.
Your dulce de leche looks heavenly – I am yet to make it at home but you certainly are giving me incentive 😀
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I have made this before too using the method by boiling the can. Will do it this new .way from now on. I poured the finished product in an already baked pie shell, topped with homemade whip cream, and garnished with shaved butterscotch bark and called it butterscotch pie. Veeerrryyyy Rich, but much yummy
2 words…… Banoffee Pie 🙂
I’m terrified of baking a can, too! I might be able to try the jar method, but I’ve used David Lebovitz’s method (check his blog) in the past and it works well. You pour the sweetened condensed milk into a baking dish and then bake in a water bath. No stirring, super easy. Voila, no fear of exploding anything. 🙂
Your dulce de leche looks delicious, in any case!
I just saw this on pinterest the other day and was so intrigued–thanks for sharing your experience!!
Haha! Thanks! I’m glad I asked. I would have had a disaster! : )
I love to make dulce de leche using the microwave. It’s super fast and there are no worries about explosions or BPA.
Patti – it means completely cover the jars with water and continue to add water until there is 1-inch of water above the jars.
I haven’t even had breakfast yet but I am now certifiably, undeniably craving something with this poured all over it. Yum! Great recipe, Mel!
When you say “cover with water by 1 inch” do you mean put only 1″ of water in your crockpot or fill with water up leaving 1″ of the jar exposed?
I admit, it sounds a bit scary to me too. I might just live vicariously through your pictures 🙂
Trina and Jeni – a couple of times I’ve made this, I’ve used new canning lids and the other times, I’ve reused lids from another canning purpose. With the new lids, the jars did seal (obviously they didn’t with the reused lids); however, I still wouldn’t recommend them being “shelf-stable.” Canning relies on specific temperature (as you probably both know) and I didn’t test out the reliability of the sealed jars and how shelf-stable they are…so to be safe, I just keep them in the refrigerator. It might be worth looking around online to see if anyone has had luck actually “canning” the slow cooker dulce de leche.
OMG!! There goes my diet. I’ve wanted to try this for a long time, but just like you I was scared it would explode. This sounds like an easier and safer way. Thanks. (Although my hips aren’t saying thanks. he! he!)
Did u use new canning lids.?
Will definitely try this method. Looking forward to your Easter entries.
Ooohh, this sounds great! And dangerous! I can’t imagine having an entire batch chilling in my apartment..
I love, love, love dulce de Leche! I use it in so many recipes, but a favorite is to stir it into brownie batter before baking. OMG- you won’t believe what it does to brownies! Boiling cans of milk in a pot has always scared the bejeebers out of me, too, not to mention the BPA toxins. Making it in canning jars in the slow cooker is genius, Mel! Genius, I say! 🙂
Yes! I love this stuff! You’re right in that you wouldn’t be a good friend if you didn’t share this recipe with the world 🙂 My favorite is to sauté some apples and pecans (or any nut) in a teeny bit of butter, then stirring some dulce de Leche over it to warm and pouring this over vanilla bean ice cream…heaven!
I had never heard of cooking it in a glass jar – great point about the chemicals from the cans, I hadn’t thought of that. I’m definitely going to give this a try. I LOVE dulce de leche!!
Have made this dulce de leche before (although didn’t add the vanilla – that seems like it would take it to the next level!) and its WONDERFUL!! I actually made it this past fall, and sold it at my children’s fall fundraiser at their primary school. I placed a whole apple on top of the sealed jar, wrapped it in clear cellophane and tied with a raffia bow. Kind of like a “deconstructed caramel apple”. They flew off the “bake sale” table! Great for little gifts as well! Another great recipe!
I am OBSESSED with dulce de leche. The Girl Scout Dulce de Leche cookies are pretty good… but the creamy goodness of sweet, sweet heaven is unbeatable. Thanks for this recipe!
I’ve yet to make my own. Must do this soon!
I like this idea, as opposed to cooking the milk in the can. I was wondering…did the jars seal during the slow cooker process?