Quick & Easy Caramel Recipe - Heavenly Dulce De Leche

Caramel of the Gods

I first came across this by accident, and didn't know quite what I was sampling, but I knew it was good. Some cans of sweetened condensed milk had been unintentionally exposed to heat and when I at first opened them, I thought they were spoiled. After a cautious sniff or two, I realized they were not soured, even though the contents had turned an odd color for milk - a pale, brownish color.

The semi-solid mass slid out of the can with an unappetizing plop and quivered gently in the bottom of the bowl. Not an impressive beginning to our love affair, but, unwilling to judge a book by its cover, or a sweet by its plop, I decided to venture a small nibble.

One bite, and I was hooked! I have since come to know this wonderful caramel-flavored treat as Dulce de Leche. Literally translated, this means Sweetness of, or from Milk - Milk Candy - and is one of the most decadently divine caramel treats I have ever tasted.

Do It Yourself
Do It Yourself
Commercially Available
Commercially Available
Talk About Your "Lovin' Spoonful"
Talk About Your "Lovin' Spoonful"
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
Creme Brulee with Dulce de Leche
Creme Brulee with Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche Tartlets
Dulce de Leche Tartlets

How To Make Dulce De Leche (Milk Candy)

Stove Top Method:

  • Puncture the lids of two cans of sweetened condensed milk, but do not open them
  • Place the unopened cans into a pot large enough to hold them.
  • Add water to just under top of lids and simmer over medium-high heat
  • Reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 2 hours. Keep an extra pot of boiling water on the side to replenish the water that evaporates. The cans of condensed milk should always be almost covered by water.
  • When done, let the cans cool in the water bath. When cooled, remove the cans.
  • Open the cans, and serve.

Saucepan Method:

  • Empty the can of condensed milk (or the milk and sugar mixture) into a small saucepan.
  • Place on on medium-low heat, stirring continuously.
  • Remove from heat when you can turn a cooled tablespoon of it upside down without it falling off the spoon

Microwave Method:

  • Empty the sweetened condensed milk into a large microwave-safe bowl
  • Microwave on medium power for two minutes
  • Remove from microwave and stir with a wire whisk. Be careful as the mixture and bowl will be very hot and remain that way throughout the process.
  • Microwave on medium power for another two minutes
  • Remove and stir again.
    Microwave on medium-low power for 16 to 24 minutes or until milk turns thick and caramel color, stirring every few minutes

Do not over cook as it will turn into a solid mass of caramel – tasty, but solid

Oven Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C)
  • Pour the condensed milk or mixture into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish
  • Set the baking dish in a bain marie, or a water bath - a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, with add hot water added until it reaches halfway up the side of the baking dish
  • Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours
  • Check during baking and add more water to the roasting pan if needed
  • Remove baking dish from the bain marie and let cool

Whisk dulce de leche until smooth

Variations:

  • Cajeta - Mexican version of dulce de leche made of half goat's milk and half cow's milk - named after the small wooden boxes it in which it was packed
  • Dominican style - made by mixing equal parts of whole milk and brown sugar and simmering over medium heat to the consistency of thick yogurt, then poured into molds to set for several hours; texture similar to fudge
  • Cortada - common in Cuban cuisine, generally eaten alone; lumpy texture
  • Manjar Blanco - popular in Peru and Chile
  • Confiture de lait – a specialty of the Normandy region of France; mix whole milk with one half its weight in sugar; boil mixture briefly then cook over low heat for several hours
  • "Boiled Condensed Milk" - in Russia, it is very popular as a filling in nut-shaped cookies, to hold the two halves together in the shape of a round nut

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34 comments

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Oh my goodness I've died and gone to heaven! This is one I will DEFINITELY have to try :D


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Greetings, Enelle - you gotta try the Hagen Daas Ice Cream - now that is to die for ;)


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

you just made my mouth water. It has been ages since I had some manjar blanco -as we call it in peru-

we have a dessert that is called suspiro limeño, which is a glass filled with manjar blanco and topped with merengue, it is heavenly delicious!!!

Needless to say that I'll be trying your recipes for dulce de leche. Thanks for such a sweet morning :)


Patti Ann profile image

Patti Ann 7 years ago from Florida

I have never heard of Dulce De Leche before. I will try this right away - it sounds heavenly. Thanks for the recipes.


rsmallory profile image

rsmallory 7 years ago from Central Texas

Mmmmmm, sounds yummy! Thanks!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Good morning, Princessa - anything I can do to brighten your morning... ;) I love the sound of your desert. How do the words of its name translate, literally?

Enjoy, Patti Ann. Glad you liked them...it is heaven on toast, should you be so inclined, :)

Greetings, rs. You are most welcome. Thanks for the comment.


emohealer profile image

emohealer 7 years ago from South Carolina

Oh, this sounds absolutely divine! I have heard of Dulce De Leche and even tried, but to have these instructions..awesome. Something I will not be indulging in with my lactose thingy situation, must get another goody you have my taste buds fired up. Definitely something to share with others...Thanks!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Greetings, emohealer. I am lactose intolerant, but am able to tolerate cooked milk products such as custard, flan and creme brulee. Perhaps there's hope - if not, try chocolate ;)


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Looks and sounds so delicious but very naughty


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Hi, literally suspiro limeño means "sigh from a limeño" because the merengue top is shaped in a twirly uppy way on top of the dulce de leche and a limeño is a person born in Lima-Peru.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Of course, ethel, that is why it is sooo good! ;)

Oh, that is so beautiful, Princessa! It sounded terribly poetic but I wasn't sure of the correct translation, - the closest I got was "breath of something". The real name is so much nicer ;) Such lovely name for a heavenly-sounding dessert.


Ashley Joy profile image

Ashley Joy 7 years ago

My sweet tooth is wanting some now. Thanks for sharing this.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, Ashley Joy. Thank you for commenting :)


Marelisa 7 years ago

Hi RedElf: I live in Panama and I grew up eating Dulce de Leche. It's divine. :-) And you've certainly done it justice on this lens.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Marelisa. It certainly is ;) ...and thanks so much. So nice you stopped by and commented :)


Nisha shan 7 years ago

Caramel, my all time favorite... Gonna try this out, thank you..


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Oh my god! I bookmarked this! Kartika


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, kartika - it really is heaven on toast!


fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

Very bizzare that I found this hub. 3 days ago on Thanksgiving my sister was telling me about this. I have never heard of it before but am going to try in the next few days. Thanks for the article am book marking it.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Too fun! It's addictive, so do be careful ;)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I love condensed milk desserts – they’re so delicious – but try to restrict them to special occasions. Now that I’ve seen your recipes I’m going to have even more trouble resisting! I’m definitely going to make some Dulce de Leche at Christmas.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

I think you could allow yourself maybe just one special taste of Dulce de Leche for Christmas...teehee


Bitters 4 years ago

all it is is sweetened condensed milk O.o seems to easy


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

Yes - we discovered it by accident, on opening some cans that had been exposed to heat. They weren't spoiled as we thought when we first opened them, and the contents were heavenly. Many years later, I saw Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and loved it, so I went searching for recipes.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

This is a great hub! I have backlinked with my hub "Butter Caramels with Himalayan Pink Salt". Thanks!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

vespawolf, thanks for the link! Your butter caramels sound awesome - I will have to come and check them out!


sadie423 profile image

sadie423 4 years ago from North Carolina

I make this in the crock pot- just place the unopened can in the crock pot completely submerged in water overnight. My boys love it.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

That sounds like an even easier way to make dulce de leche - I'll have to give it a host.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Oh my God! This is awesome! With only 1 ingredient. I´ll definitely try this. Thumbs up and shared to my followers. Thanks for sharing.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi, Thelma. It's one of my alltime favs - it's so easy to make, and so delicious.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much for the rate up and share, Thelma. We are all big fans of Dulce de Leche!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE condensed milk, but never made dulce de leche. FABULOUS! I'm going to try this...and come up with other recipes for dulce de leche. :D Thanks for sharing this! Voted up/shared/tweeted.


lindalou1963 profile image

lindalou1963 3 years ago from Texas

YUMMMYYYY!!!!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 3 years ago from Canada Author

cclitgirl, I have a killer recipe for pumpkin pie that uses sweetened condensed milk - if you like pumpkin, you'll love this one.

lindalou1963, it certainly is!

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