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Homemade Dulce de Leche made in a can

If you’re a fan of sweet, creamy, and decadent desserts, then this easy Homemade dulce de leche recipe is a must-try! With just one ingredient and one simple step, you can have the most delicious dulce de leche you’ve ever tasted.

And let’s not forget how easy this recipe is. With just one ingredient and one step, even beginner bakers can make this delicious treat with ease. Plus, since it’s made with only sweetened condensed milk, there are no complicated ingredients to worry about.

In conclusion, this easy dulce de leche recipe is a winner in every way. It’s delicious, versatile, and incredibly simple to make. So the next time you’re in the mood for something sweet and indulgent, give this recipe a try and see just how easy it is to make.

Dulce de Leche

Ingredients you’ll need to make this homemade caramel

To make this delicious and easy dulce de leche recipe, all you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk. This can be easily found in your local supermarket or grocery store.

Sweetened condensed milk is a staple ingredient that’s widely available and often used in baking and dessert recipes.

Is Caramel the same as Dulce de leche?

Many people may assume that caramel and dulce de leche are interchangeable, but that’s simply not the case. Caramel is made by cooking sugar and water together until it reaches a certain temperature. Dulce de leche is made by slowly simmering sweetened milk until it caramelizes and thickens.

The difference in ingredients may seem small, but it makes a big difference in the final flavor and texture. Caramel has a more intense sweetness and a slightly bitter edge. Dulce de leche is milder and creamier, with a distinctive caramelized flavor.

Traditionally, dulce de leche is made by heating milk and sugar together over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and turns a rich caramel color. This can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, requiring constant attention and patience to avoid scorching or burning the milk.

But thanks to the invention of sweetened condensed milk, making dulce de leche at home has never been easier. By simply boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for a few hours, you can achieve the same delicious results without any of the hassle.

If you use goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk, it would be called Cajeta, which is commonly found in Mexico.

How do you make Dulce de Leche with condensed milk?

There are different ways and alternate methods to make Dulce de Leche with sweetened condensed milk:

Stovetop method:

To get started, you’ll need a can of sweetened condensed milk. Remove the label from the can and make sure it’s completely clean and free from any scratches or dents. You don’t want any water to seep into the can during the boiling process, as this can be dangerous.

Next, fill a deep pot or saucepan with plenty of water, enough to completely submerge the can of sweetened condensed milk. 

Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat, then carefully place the can in the pot, making sure it’s fully submerged. It’s important that the can is completely covered in water at all times to prevent any accidents.

Once the can is in the large pot, reduce the heat to low until a gentle simmer, for 2-3 hours. During this time, the sweetened condensed milk will transform into a thick and caramelized sauce, known as dulce de leche. Different simmer times indicate different consistencies. You can let it boil for a little longer if you prefer a thicker consistency, but be careful not to let the water level drop too low.


The general recommendation is to have at least 1-2 inches of water above the can to prevent it from overheating or boiling dry, which can cause the can to burst or explode.

It’s also important to check the water level periodically during the cooking process and add more hot water as needed to ensure that the can remain fully submerged at all times. This will help ensure that the dulce de leche cooks evenly and safely, without any risk of injury or damage.

After the 2-3 hours are up, carefully remove the can from the pot using a pair of tongs. Be careful not to burn yourself, as you will have a very hot can and very hot caramel. Let the can cool down completely at room temperature before opening it with a can opener. This will take a few hours, so be patient.

Once the can is cool, you can open it up and enjoy your homemade dulce de leche. The result will be a homemade version of a caramel sauce. Thick caramel, very creamy, and rich in flavor, with a caramel-like sweetness that’s hard to resist.

Be careful!!! Because of the pressure that’s forming with the heat and the closed can, it is possible that the can explodes, sending hot liquid and metal flying. This is why the can should have enough water and be covered at all times with water.

Take a look at the recipe card at the end of this post for the complete recipe!

Oven Method:

If you’re not a fan of boiling cans on the stove, don’t worry! there’s another method for making dulce de leche that’s just as easy and just as delicious. All you need is an oven, a baking dish, and a can of sweetened condensed milk.

To start, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, open the can of sweetened condensed milk and pour it into a glass baking dish. Any size or shape will work, as long as it’s oven-safe and can hold the entire contents of the can.

Next, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. This will help prevent any water from getting inside and keep the dulce de leche from forming a skin on top. Then, place the baking dish inside a larger pan. Fill the pan with hot water until it reaches about an inch up the sides of the baking dish.

Now it’s time to bake! Put the whole setup in the middle rack of oven and let it cook for 1-2 hours, depending on how thick and dark you want your dulce de leche to be. Keep checking it periodically to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated and refill as necessary.

Once the desired color and consistency are reached, carefully remove the baking dish from the larger pan and let it cool completely. Don’t be alarmed if the dulce de leche looks a bit lumpy or grainy at first! just give it a good whisking and it will smooth out beautifully.

Dulce de Leche pairings

This sweet spread is a versatile and delicious treat that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways to pair it with:

  1. Topping for pancakes or waffles. Drizzle a generous amount of creamy caramel spread on top of your favorite breakfast dishes for a decadent and sweet twist.
  2. Filling for macarons or other baked goods. Spread a layer of dulce de leche between two cookies or layers of cake for a rich and indulgent treat.
  3. Dip for fruit. Apples, strawberries, and bananas all pair perfectly with the sweet and creamy flavor of dulce de leche.
  4. Flavoring for coffee or hot chocolate. Add a spoonful of dulce de leche to your favorite hot beverages for a sweet and comforting treat.
  5. Topping for ice cream. Warm up some dulce de leche and drizzle it over a scoop (or two!) of your favorite ice cream flavors.
  6. Filling for crepes. Spread some dulce de leche inside a freshly made crepe for a rich and satisfying breakfast or dessert.
  7. Frosting for cupcakes. Whip dulce de leche into buttercream frosting for a caramel-flavored twist on a classic dessert.
  8. Spread for toast. Slather some dulce de leche onto toast for a sweet and satisfying breakfast or snack.
  9. Filling for donuts. Inject a dollop of dulce de leche into freshly made donuts for a decadent and indulgent treat.
  10. Flavoring for cocktails. Add a spoonful of dulce de leche to cocktails like espresso martinis or white Russians for a sweet and boozy twist.


Here are 4 common issues that you may encounter when making dulce de leche:

  1. The can is rattling or making noise while boiling. This is a sign that the water level in the pot is too low and the can is coming into contact with the bottom of the pot. Turn off the heat immediately and add more boiling water to the pot, making sure the can is completely submerged. Resume boiling once the water level is adequate.
  2. The dulce de leche has a grainy or lumpy texture. This can happen if the can is boiled for too long or if the water in the pot is allowed to evaporate, causing the milk to burn or scorch. Make sure to keep a close eye on the pot and add more boiling water as needed. Also, try to boil the can for no more than 3 hours. If the dulce de leche is already lumpy, you can try to smooth it out by stirring vigorously or passing it through a fine sieve.
  3. The dulce de leche is too thick or hard. This can happen if the can is boiled for too long or at too high a heat. Try reducing the heat to low and boiling the can for no more than 3 hours. If the dulce de leche is still too thick, you can try adding a small amount of milk or cream and heating it gently until it reaches the desired consistency.
  4. The can explodes or leaks while boiling. This can happen if the can is damaged or if the water level in the pot is too low. Make sure to use an undamaged can of sweetened condensed milk. Also, ensure that the can is completely submerged in boiling water.

How to store this easy Dulce de Leche

Storing homemade dulce de leche is simple and easy. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. First, make sure your dulce de leche has cooled completely before storing it. This will prevent condensation from forming in the container and keep your dulce de leche from spoiling.
  2. Transfer your dulce de leche to an airtight container. You can use mason jars or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Store your dulce de leche in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
  4. If you prefer to store your dulce de leche at room temperature, make sure it’s in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. It will keep for up to 1 week at room temperature.
  5. If your dulce de leche develops a thick layer on top, don’t worry. This is normal and can easily be fixed by stirring it back together.
  6. If you have leftover dulce de leche that you won’t be using right away, you can also freeze it. Simply transfer it to a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

You can also keep unopened cans of dulce de leche, stored at room temperature for several months, up to a year. This is because the canning process during production creates a sterile environment that prevents bacterial growth and spoilage.

If you’re looking for more recipes to use this homemade Dulce de leche with, follow the links below:

Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche filling

Dulce de Leche filled Cookies

No-Churn Dulce de Leche Coffee Ice Cream

Mexican Cheesecake Recipe with lechera (aka pay de queso)

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If you make this recipe, please be sure to give it a rating and leave a comment!

Dulce de Leche
Print Recipe
4.84 from 6 votes

Homemade Dulce de Leche

The easiest, yummiest dulce de Leche you’ll ever make!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 5 minutes
Course: Treats, Jams & Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dulce de leche from scratch, Dulce de leche recipe, Homemade dulce de Leche, how to make Dulce de Leche
Servings: 1 can
Calories: 31kcal
Author: Maria


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk


  • Remove the label from an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk.
    1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Place the can in a large pot and cover it completely with water, making sure there is at least 2 inches of water above the can.
  • Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the can simmer for 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the water level stays above the can and add more boiling water as needed.
  • After 2-3 hours, turn off the heat and carefully remove the can from the pot using tongs.
  • Let the can cool completely at room temperature before opening it. Do not try to open the can while it's still hot, as it may explode.
  • Once the can is cool, open it and you should have thick, caramel-colored dulce de leche inside.


Note: It’s important to use an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for this method, as opening the can before boiling it can cause the milk to scorch or curdle. Additionally, make sure to use a large enough pot to completely submerge the can in water, as this helps to prevent the can from exploding.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 31kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 12mg | Sugar: 5g

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