Dulce de leche is a product from Latin America and is made by slowly heating sweetened milk. During this process the color changes. Dulce de leche is Spanish for “sweet made from milk” and is great for flavoring sweet foods like cakes, churros, cookies, waffles and ice cream or as a topping for crêpes and toast.
Homemade dulce de leche is easy to make, but time-consuming. Furthermore you have to keep an eye on the pot all the time. It needs 2-3 hours cooking time and then has to cool down completely before you can open the can. No worries to use store-bought dulce de leche if you don’t want to make it from scratch.
Tools & Equipment
- Can Opener
- Large pot
- Pair of tongs
- Wire rack
Color of Caramel: let the can simmer for about 2 hours if you want a lighter caramel and up to 3 hours if you want a darker caramel.
Open the Cans: do not try to open a can while it is still hot, as this can cause dangerous splashes of pressurized hot caramel.
How to Make Dulce de Leche
Depending on your pot size, you should put a maximum of 3 cans into the pot at the same time. Make sure there is enough space between the cans.
Remove the label from the can and place in a large pot with its side on the bottom of the pot. Fill the pot with room temperature water, at least 5cm / 2-inches above the can(s). Set over high heat and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat and let the can(s) simmer in the water for 2 – 3 hours. Check the water level every 30 minutes to make sure it stays above the can(s) and add boiling water if necessary.
Use a pair of tongs to remove the can(s) from the water and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
Open a can when it has cooled and scoop it out. Reheat it to soften the dulce de leche to a spreadable consistency.
Storage: transfer leftovers into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Unopened cans can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months.
My Summary for Dulce de Leche
Taste: dulce de leche tastes sweet and obviously like caramel.
Texture: when you open the can, it is more or less firm. Take as much as you need, heat it briefly in the microwave and it gets a spreadable consistency.
PROS: if you like caramel, you can use it for so many recipes. As a filling, but also to drizzle on cakes, cookies or over a fruit salad. The possibilities are endless. You can also heat up to 3 cans at the same time in a large pot. Usually you only need 1 can for a recipe, then you have 2 cans on stock.
CONS: making Dulce de leche is time-consuming and you should check the water level at least every 30 minutes. Otherwise the can might explode…no joke!
- 1 can (400ml) of sweetened condensed milk, label removed
- Use a large pot and place the can with its side on the bottom of the pot.
- Fill the pot with room temperature water, make sure that the water level is at least 5cm / 2-inches above the can.
- Set the pot over high heat and bring the water to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and let the cans simmer in the water for 2 - 3 hours
- Check the water level every 30 minutes to make sure it stays above the can and add boiling water if necessary.
- Use a pair of tongs to remove the can from the water and place it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature, for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Open the can when it has cooled and scoop it out. Reheat it to soften the dulce de leche to a spreadable consistency.