Introduction: Dulce De Leche

Picture of Dulce De Leche

Dulce de leche is a delicious caramel-like candy made from milk and sugar that's popular in many South American countries. It's called confiture de lait in French, and doce de leite in Portuguese, No matter what your language, this is a tasty treat to spread on toast, layer into pies and ice cream, or eat straight, one spoonful at at time.

Flavor heaven is as easy as cooking a can! The following instructions will teach you how to make your own.

Please note that there's a small possibility of explosion when you cook a can. This risk can be greatly reduced by making sure that the can is covered with water at all times.

Step 1: Ingredients

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You'll need:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

That's it. Don't use evaporated milk, it's totally different. Has to be sweetened & condensed.

Step 2: Remove Label

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Peel the paper label off the can.

Step 3: Admire Can

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The can is so shiny, so silver, so not like anything else you have ever cooked.

Step 4: Fill Pot With Water

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Fill a large pot with water.

Step 5: Place Can in Pot

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Put the can into the pot of water. The water should totally cover the can at all times.

Step 6: Boil Water

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Bring the water to a nice rolling boil.

Step 7: Simmer 4 Hours

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Cover and simmer over low heat for 4 hours. The can should always be covered with water, so add more as needed.

If you like your dulce de leche a little runny then maybe 3 hours will do the trick.

Step 8: Remove Can

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After 4 hours of boiling a can, it gets blazing hot. Use tongs to remove the can from the water, and place on a rack to cool completely.

Note that that can may bulge because it is under pressure. Do not open the can while it is still hot.

Step 9: Open Cooled Can

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When the can is totally cooled off, it's finally time to open it. It may take an hour or more for the can to cool down, but the wait is worth it.

Step 10: Eat and Enjoy!

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Everyone loves dulce de leche! Eat it with a spoon or try with vanilla ice cream.

It's good to cook a can!


men lahak (author)2013-06-01

so great and easy to make, i am from mexico and this "dulce de leche" we call it "cajeta" and is Goat Milk prepared in cupper frying pan, if you prefer you can try with a mexican product "La Lechera"

SamanthaS48 (author)men lahak2015-12-16

I was wondering if LA Lechera would work.

cwbrown379 (author)2015-02-15

I made two cans the other day, but using the crockpot. Made sure the cans were covered put the lid on the crockpot, and cooked it for 11 hours over night. Turned off the crckpot, and let the cans cool in the crockpot with the lids off for a while and then on a cooling rack until room temperature, and into the fridge. I'm so addicted!

CraftyZA made it! (author)2014-10-09

I'm no longer allowed to make this...regardless of how much I crave it.
Was a childhood favourite of mine. Wife banned me. Reason:
Note how @faludi said to never let it run dry... top up with water and all that.... That's kind of important!
I had to remove the lid of the pot that was stuck in the ceiling. My walls was covered with dulce de leche. From the pot there was a dense almost 90 degree degree "V" shape, widening to the roof of burned dolce de leche agains the wall that eventually covered the entire ceiling with burned caramel as it widened. thank god no one was in the kitchen at the time of the "explosion". Every single wall in the kitchen was covered!

Heed the rules. And somebody, please make me some.

mima.pen (author)CraftyZA2015-01-31

Thank you, you gave me the best laugh I've had since 1979. My ex MIL and I were canning tomato sauce. Her husband who was a stroke patient came by the stove and turned it on high, while my mil and I had gone into feed the chickens real quick...Well, we heard this big BOOM and ran to the house. The pressure cooker exploded, looked as if someone had been murdered in the kitchen, dining room, hall way and part of the living room. Lid was stuck solid in the ceiling. We never did do tomato sauce again though.

michele.wojcicki (author)2014-12-14

A small can was ready in just over 2.5 hrs. I needed to use it so I cooled it down by putting the pot (containing the hot water and the can) in the sink and running cold water into it ... and left it there, with a moderate trickle of water running, for about 10 minutes.

dhardy13 (author)2014-10-01

can i make this inadvance or dose it need to be used strate away?

luisjaquez88 (author)dhardy132014-10-19

i don't know

CraftyZA (author)dhardy132014-10-09

You can make it and store it for long. As long as you dont open the can. Once opened consume within a few days. It goes very sticky and thick if you let it stand for too long when opened. Still tasty, but more toffee texture.

luisjaquez88 (author)2014-10-19

hmm. now that was delicous

Osquar made it! (author)2014-08-25

This tasted absolutely great! Tasted even greater when I added it to vanila ice cream!

gracels (author)2014-06-14

mi mamita made it just like this in Argentina 70 years ago, and her mother before her. So, yes, I think this method is an Argentine invention. I'm making it right now.

contessa10 (author)2013-06-10

I've made dulce de leche dozens of times using this same method, with one small difference. I usually start this process about 3 hours before bedtime. Then I shut the heat off as I go to bed. By the time I get up in the morning, the pan, water and can are all completely cooled. And I have dulce de leche all ready and waiting to spread on my toast!

ClayOgre (author)2013-02-03

I usually lay the can on its side. You can also save a buncha time making it in a pressure cooker (and no, it won't explode), plus you don't have to monitor the water level like you do just boiling it. I did some for 45 minutes in a pressure cooker and it came out pretty thick. Next time, I think I will go for perhaps 35 or 40 minutes and see what happens.

tudgeanator (author)2012-07-31

My parents taught me to do this to use it in banoffee pie - it's delicious! Never thought about putting it on toast or anything else though... Cheers

rataman77 (author)2009-04-28

invented on argentina ARGENTINA RULES! :P

JediKhalel (author)rataman772012-01-22

so say we all. :-P

notingkool (author)2009-07-02

Yes, a invent from argentina. Other way to prepare it is with a can of condensed milk, boiling arround 2hs. in a pot with water (baño maria). Im from argentina too, this is a quick method but the method of rimar2000 is better. All the people of Argentina plese raise their hands!!

JediKhalel (author)notingkool2012-01-22

(raising hands here) ;-)

guiks (author)notingkool2009-07-18

Actually, it´s origin is unclear. There is a legend that it´s from argentina, but it´s no more than a legend.

notingkool (author)guiks2009-07-20

no, no is a legend. im from argentina. was invented in argentina, we are the first in produce it. its a part of our history.

emkayach (author)2011-12-01

Has anyone tried to start the boil on a stove top then transfer the can of milk to an already hot slow cooking crock?

BobMarleyFan (author)2011-06-11

my grandmother used to make this for me and my sister and we would put it on toast, I loved it!

deqwer (author)2011-06-11

cool,it's simple to make and very tasty

iminthebathroom (author)2011-06-11

bizaRRe, gonna try it

tool box (author)2011-06-10

I live in Argentina if you go, there are a lot of dulce de leche in the shops

suayres (author)2011-05-31

Nestle DOES make a canned dulce de Leche--is this as good as home-made, or is your recipe superior?

felixcanis11 (author)2011-02-12

You left out something that's incredibly important. If the can has any dents at all, it can explode in the water (because the pressure isn't evenly distributed). So it's really important to check your can for dents--both when you buy it and before you boil it.

cooking_gurl96 (author)2009-09-09

that dosent seem like a good way 2 mak carmel. y not just mix butter and brown sugar like some people? and what if i dont like "condensed milk?" its a great recipe but ill stik 2 butter and brown sugar.

Well this isn't caramel. It's dulce de leche, which, if you don't know what it is, is similar to caramel, but very, very different. So, no, if you want to make caramel, then obviously this is the wrong recipe.

Its not Carmel. Its Carmel like.

Tomas (author)2007-02-09

also is called MANJAR... in europe they doesn't know of its exsitence... very nice sweet by the way

pyogazel (author)Tomas2011-01-06

Well, considering France is in Eyrope, and considering we've known about "confiture de lait" for quite a while now, I have to disagree with you...

zachninme (author)2007-03-13

Just pointing out, sweetened condensed milk = evaporated milk + sweet;
I don't know why they call it something else, they just do. But, for this, you need the former.

akahn (author)zachninme2007-04-17

Do you suppose one could do this with a can of evaporated milk and then sweeten it at the end? I ask because I have a can of evaporated milk leftover from a housemate that moved out. I have no use for the milk, and would love to make dulce de leche. Any creative ideas?

zachninme (author)akahn2007-04-19

I doubt it, as I would assume the sugars would carmalize, something you can't just add at the end. Condensed milk is what, $1.30? Thats less than a bottle of chocolate syrup.

akahn (author)zachninme2007-04-19

Of course, but now I have absolutely no use for this evaporated milk!

pyogazel (author)akahn2011-01-06

You can refrigerate it for a couple of hours, and then beat it into a nice fluffy low-fat whip cream :o)

aiden120000 (author)akahn2007-07-29

use it instead of custard, if you have that in the usa.

binnie (author)akahn2007-04-26

feed teh starving little kids in africa then or just bin it

PKM (author)zachninme2008-03-10

Really? I thought evaporated milk was like cream and condensed milk was more like this toffee-esque stuff. I believe this (boiled condensed milk or confiture de lait or whatever you call it) is the eponymous -offee from banoffee pie.. at least it is the way I've always seen it made. Anyway- it's de leche us! Sorry, couldn't resist.

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-08-04

now why did he show me this? oh right, I WANT SOME!!!! but I don't have condensed milk :( when I get some I'll make this straight away and play a game while I'm waiting for my recipe of utter indulgence for it lol.

GeekyGirl1103 (author)2010-03-29

Ooh, very delicious! It was definitely worth the wait. It was also very good with fruit, such as strawberries and bananas. YUM! <3

cas6767 (author)2008-11-24

Wow tasty and explosive, nice. I was expecting a cake but then I realized that's tres leches which is also delicious. You should put dulce de leche on tres leches and invent the quad leches.

Mirth Krafter (author)cas67672010-03-04

I just got a sugar rush at the idea of your quad leches.

chomerics (author)2010-02-07

Oh my girlfriend is going to hate you!!!!  She LOVES Dulce de leche!!  It will go great for valentines day!  I'll cover some strawberries in it for her!

quakecountry (author)2010-02-02

I was taught how to make Dulce de Leche in Spain this very same way over 36 years ago. Thank you for taking the time to post the instructions for everyone.

Biglion (author)2010-01-28

Making "dulce de leche" the way you show in this instructable will give us a can with a nice dulce de leche but NOT the one that is usually bought in Argentina, Uruguay and other countries. The recipe is more complex and requires a lot of time so when you want some candy and you have a can of sweetened condensed milk... well...  go for this! 

The darkest variations of dulce de leche are so good! Homemade dulce de leche is the way to try it.

_mattb (author)2009-12-23

this came out really great, thanks so much!

TheMonkeysamurai (author)2009-11-08

The fact that you can cook it in the can is amazing! this looks so cool!

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