Easy Dulce de Leche Recipe
Make this easy dulce de leche recipe with just one simple ingredient! It’s so sticky sweet and delicious, and can be used in so many different ways.
Hello! Happy Monday! How was your weekend?
Ours was good- we made lots of progress on our patio. I’m working on sprucing it up for the season with new furniture and lots of potted plants. It’s getting a total refresh, and I can’t wait for the weather to really warm up so we can entertain out there!
With cinco de Mayo coming in just a few days, I’m hoping it all comes together soon!
I love cinco de Mayo! Any excuse to get out in the sunshine, drink margaritas, and eat fabulous Mexican dishes like guacamole and churros is ok with me!
And one of the most iconic Mexican sweets would have to be dulce de leche. I’m so happy to be bringing you this easy recipe today! It is so simple to make and it tastes amazing!
WHAT IS DULCE DE LECHE?
Say it with me: dool-say dee lay-chay.
It’s a Spanish phrase and it basically means sweet milk or candy of milk. And that is pretty much what it is: a jam made from sweetened condensed milk. It’s very similar to caramel sauce but definitely way easier to make.
You can find dulce de leche all over the world, but especially in Latin America. I think of it as a Mexican dessert, but it can actually be found in lots of different countries, including Argentina, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru. Even France has its own version, known as “confiture de lait.”
It’s a thick and gooey confection, with a warm, nutty brown color and a taste that’s not quite like anything else. It’s sweet, creamy, and caramelized, and can range in consistency from a sauce to a soft, chewy candy.
HOW TO MAKE DULCE DE LECHE
This may be the easiest recipe on this site. It only has one ingredient! Doesn’t get much simpler than that, right??
I’ve seen dulce de leche made in all sorts of different ways, from stove top to microwave to slow cooker. But I really think this is the best method because it’s safe, almost entirely hands-off, and relatively quick.
Start with a can of condensed milk. This is the only ingredient you will need!
Pour it into a shallow baking dish. A glass pie pan is perfect for this!
Cover the pie dish tightly with aluminum foil. This will help your dulce de leche to caramelize more evenly.
Then put the covered dish of condensed milk into a larger baking dish. A roasting pan would be a good choice here.
Pour hot water into the larger pan, all around the pie dish. You are making what’s known as a “bain marie” or “water bath.” It provides gentle, even cooking.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake it for at least an hour. The longer you bake it, the darker and thicker the dulce de leche will be.
I like mine to be like a thick sauce, so the dulce de leche you see pictured here was in the oven for about 2 hours.
Keep in mind that it will become quite a bit thicker as it cools!
Once you’ve got the color and consistency you like, remove the dulce de leche from the oven, take off the foil, and whisk it well to smooth out any lumps.
And that’s all there is to it!
WHAT TO DO WITH DULCE DE LECHE
Dulce de leche can be used in so many different ways. Here are just a few ideas:
HOW TO STORE DULCE DE LECHE
Most of the recipes you see will instruct you to keep dulce de leche refrigerated. If you have any doubt whatsoever, you should definitely do that.
I tend to be more relaxed about these kinds of things, and I know that with the sugar content being as high as it is, it’s very unlikely that any kind of microbes would be able to grow. It’s truly a candy, similar to soft caramel, which usually does not require refrigeration.
So use your best judgement!
Honestly I doubt you’ll have leftovers hanging around for very long anyway!
I hope you enjoy this easy dulce de leche recipe! If you make it, let me know what you end up doing with it in the comment section below!
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Easy Dulce de Leche Recipe
- 14 ounces (396.89 ml) sweetened condensed milk, (1 can)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the sweetened condensed milk in a pie plate or similar baking dish, and cover it tightly with foil.
- Place the covered dish in a larger pan, and pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes about 1 inch up the sides.
- Bake in the oven for about 2 hours (checking every so often to refill with water if needed), or until the desired color and thickness* are achieved.
- Whisk the dulce de leche to smooth out any lumps.
i made probably half a can of condensed milk at 425f for 1.5 hours, it came out okay, however, lumpy. How can i make it not lumpy?
If you whisk it while it’s still hot from the oven it should smooth right out.
I know I’m nit-picking, but I just wanted to point out the pronunciation of dulce de leche. Instead of dool-say dee lay-chay. I feel it should be dool-se de le-che. The “ay” sound doesn’t appear at all in the proper pronunciation. And “dee” sound is like in deed while its supposed to be “de” as in dead. Source: I speak fluent Castilian. (Castilian is the original term for Spanish.)
Regardless, I do love Dulce de Leche. You did a great job on the recipe!
I just tried this recipe. Turned out beautifully. I put it in a glass pie plate covered with foil. I put it in a large roasting pan and kept the water level up at all times. I used to boil the can but this is a much better way to make it:) Thank you so much!
Worked perfectly for the 1 1/2 hour bake time. Next time I might keep it in for an additional 1/2 hour for a little darker Carmel though.
Worked perfectly for me! A lovely peanut butter color, no lumps, no burnt parts. I used a 9-inch glass baking dish and double wrapped it in tin foil. I placed it in a LARGE ROASTING TIN that could hold a lot of water (I suspect the people who said theyre water boiled off used a smaller container that was capable of holding less water). Even though it was never close to boiling off, I refilled the water every 45 minutes anyway, to ensure that it would cook slowly. My baking dish was actually floating in the water and was never sitting directly against the roasting pan, so it didnt have a chance to burn. After 2 hours at 425 deg, I carefully took it out (careful not to spill boiling water on me) and the dulce de leche is a lovely tan color. I had previouslu checked 4 different grocery stores for dulce de leche but the shelves were empty!! So thank you for this recipe.
You’re very welcome, and thank you so much for sharing your tips!
Hi, can you add alcohol eg. rum or brandy ? If so, during cooking or after?
Hey there! I’ve never tried that so I can’t say for sure, but definitely feel free to play around!
Very easy. Superb
Loved this recipe! First time trying it, and I will definitely do it again! I used half of a can because it’s what I had left over, roasted at 425 in a water bath for about an hour and a half and it was absolutely perfect! No lumps or burning here! I checked it every so often because it was a smaller amount than the recipe, but again, so happy I tried this! 🙂
Great recipe, really simple and easy. However, I made a few changes. An hour after putting it in the oven, I read the reviews and became worried mine was going to burn. So I took a glass and poured about two more cups of water in. This seemed to work fine and mine came out not burned!! However, My recipe is a little bit lumpy and I couldn’t get all the lumps out with a whisk. Will try again tomorrow heating it up in a pan while whisking.
I like that you said dulce de leche would be a great party favor because they can be used in various ways to enhance food such as ice creams, churros, macarons, and other treats. My sister and I are planning my baby shower next month, and since one of my cravings during this pregnancy is dulce de leche, perhaps I should give out this treat as a party favor. We would just have to buy it from a wholesale supplier to save money. Thanks for the idea!
Mine burned at 2 hours too but it’s my own fault. I should’ve checked it at an hour. This method does work just need to check sooner for desired consistency. A good tip to keep in mind is your oven. Convection ovens run 25 to 30 degrees hotter than conventional. So either turn the fan off or turn the oven temp down if needed.
THANK YOU so much for this simple and easy method! I was too scared to heat up a can of condensed milk for a few hours and this has saved me from can explosions. I read and follow your instructions step by step & I also set a timer in 20-minute intervals to check if the water has evaporated from the water bath. I only had to refill the water once because not much evaporated in my oven. My dulce de Leche also didn’t burn like other reviewers stated, I just kept checking on it for the right consistency and texture. I will totally be doing this method again in the near future.
So happy to hear it’s worked well for you Hannah! Thank you so much for the positive feedback!
I cooked this according to the recipe exactly , except I took it out of the oven a half hour early because I smelled burnt sugar. Yep, burned black. Do you ever test theses recipes?
Of course I do- how else would I be able to photograph them if I hadn’t actually made them? I’ve made this many times as described, and there are other readers who have as well and have been pleased. You can read about their experience right here in the comments section. I’m sorry you had trouble and I’m happy to help you troubleshoot but please be respectful and kind.
Just put the unopened can in a deep pan, cover with water and boil 3 hours. keep the water covering the can at all times.
I have done it this way too and it works, but it’s not as safe as this method, which has no danger of exploding cans.
I absolutely give it a 5 star rating. I think the ladies that are complaining should read the instructions carefully and try again! It’s well worth the attempt!
So glad you were pleased with it Kristen! Thanks so much for the positive feedback!
Yes! I made it. I have made it many, many times now… I usually use it to drizzle over my coffee or frappe and use some to make a nice add-in for homemade ice cream (or a topping for some good ol’ store bought vanilla!). I am guilty of eating in right out of the jar too! It’s incredible and I try not to live without it. Thank you!🙂
You’re so welcome! So glad you are enjoying it so much 🙂
Just made it. Yummy.
in Brazil this is very common ‘doce de leite’.At my granny it was almost a sunday obligation.
I’m 71 and all the dearest loving ones are not here anymore.
this gave me the paradise back.
perfect &. easy.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️😂
So happy you enjoyed reading Zenaide! I love that this was able to bring back such happy memories for you.
I’ve just finished making this for the 1st time. Not a fan of caramel in any way but this I like. Looking forward to using it in a few desert bakes I’ve got planned.
Did check after an hour, and needed to top water up, and then every 15 mins til I got the colour I wanted. Quick whisk and as smooth as silk.
I can’t believe how easy this was to make.
So glad you were happy with it Christina! Thanks for the 5-star rating!
You contradicted yourself in the comments. You said cook it long and slow. I cooked it for an hour and half at 425 and it burned the crap out of it. I cooked it in a water bath but the water evaporates in the heat.
I’m not sure what comment you’re referring to, but when I made this I cooked it for 2 hours at 425 degrees F. You can see the color and thickness that was achieved in the pics. But since every oven is different, this is only meant to be a guide. It’s stated in the recipe instructions that you can and should cook this more or less, according to the color and thickness you’re looking for. If the water evaporates you need to add more. It’s not cooking in a water bath if you let the water dry up, and yes that would cause it to burn.
Lol I think you have to put that specifically in the instructions (“make sure your water bath does not completely evaporate or else it will burn”) because common sense isn’t common anymore. 🙂 I tried to do this today, but mine clumped. Not a big deal though because I was going to use it for a cheesecake recipe anyway. Thanks.
When you burn it (as I did following the recipe), thin it out with some cream and then put it in the food processor to get it smooth. I saved mine this way! 😁
I want to use this as a filling in bars, should I cook it longer so it’s a little more firm to stand up to a cookie bar?
Yes I think that would work well! Just be careful to cook it low and slow so it doesn’t burn. Good luck!
Thank you, did make this recipe, following the instructions, not extending the time, but at 425 degrees, it was burned after the two hours. What should I be cooking it at?
So sorry you had trouble Lydia! Hm, that’s strange, when I make it I cook it for 2 hours at 425 degrees F. Did you put it in a water bath?
I was looking for an easy dulce de leche recipe , and i found this. I am a dulce de leche lover and there is no chance I will ever be able to stop making it after this.