How to Make Dulce de Leche
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Turn a can of sweetened condensed milk into dulce de leche, a delicious milk-based caramel. These two methods are easy and require half the time of other methods.
The Safe Way to Make Dulce de Leche
Lots of dulce de leche recipes call for submerging an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water; then, boiling it for three hours. This method is extremely dangerous. With such a long cook time, the pot is bound to run dry at some point. If you get distracted, and fail to notice, the can will eventually explode, leaving you with an unbelievable mess, and potentially burning anyone who’s in the kitchen at the time. If you manage to avoid this issue, you’ll still end up with dulce de leche that’s been cooked in a plastic-lined can, and I’d hardly call that a victory.
Several years ago, a crockpot method for making dulce de leche began to circulate on the web. Bloggers claimed it was the safe alternative to the old cook-it-in-the-can method. This approach called for pouring the sweetened condensed milk into a jar, then, heating it in a water-filled crockpot for four or eight hours. Ultimately, this method proved to be even more dangerous than the one it replaced. Now you had a four or eight hour window of time in which the crockpot could run dry. And if the jar managed to build up enough heat and pressure to explode, you had glass and crock shrapnel mixed in with the sticky mess. You don’t have to search for long on the Internet to find stories about people who had to repaint their entire kitchen after a dulce de leche explosion.
Fortunately, all the danger is completely unneccessary. The two methods of making dulce de leche that I’m about to share are safe, fast and mostly hands-off. Make your dulce de leche on the stove, or make it in the oven. Either way, it’ll be ready to enjoy in about an hour and a half. That’s half the time of the cook-in-the-can method, and hours faster than the crockpot method.
Both recipes make half a pint of dulce de leche.
- 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Here’s how to make your own sweetened condensed milk, if you don’t have any on hand.
How to Make Dulce de Leche on the Stove
Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan. Then, submerge the pan in a larger pot of water, to create a double boiler. Bring the water to a boil over high heat; then, turn the temperature down to medium.
Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your dulce de leche is done when it thickens, and develops a light caramel color. If you want it to be thicker and darker, just cook it longer.
Keep in mind your dulce de leche will continue to thicken as it cools.
Transfer it to a jar, while it’s still hot, taking care not to burn yourself. Allow it to cool before sampling.
How to Make Dulce de Leche in the Oven
Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch pie plate.
Cover the pie plate with aluminum foil. Then, place it inside a large casserole dish or roasting pan. Fill the pan with water, until it reaches halfway up the sides of the pie plate. Then, place inside a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven, and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.
I recommend stirring the sweetened condensed milk occasionally, once it hits the one hour mark. This will prevent the edges from burning, and allow you to judge when the dulce de leche has reached your preferred color and thickness.
Carefully transfer the finished dulce de leche to another container, while it’s still hot and pourable. Allow it to cool before serving, so you don’t burn yourself on the hot caramel.
Drizzle it over ice cream, cake or another dessert, and enjoy.
Store any leftover dulce de leche in the refrigerator, and use within two weeks.
Use some of your dulce de leche to make these dulce de leche s’mores.Print
How to Make Dulce de Leche
Here’s the fastest and safest way to make dulce de leche on the stove or in the oven.
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 1/2 pint 1x
1 (14-0z.) can sweetened condensed milk
Pour sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan. Then, place pan inside a larger pot of water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce to medium, and cook another 1 hour and 3o minutes, stirring occasionally. Dulce de leche is done when it thickens and reaches a light caramel color. Cook it longer, if you’d like it to be thicker and darker.
Carefully pour into a jar, before it thickens further.
Pour sweetened condensed milk into a nine-inch pie plate. Cover with foil. Then, place in a casserole dish or roasting pan, and add water, until it comes half way up the side of the pie plate.
Place in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven, and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Start stirring it occasionally, once you hit the one hour mark, and remove once it thickens and darkens to your liking.
Store in the refrigerator, and use within a couple weeks. To soften it, just microwave briefly.
- Prep Time: 0 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Stovetop or Oven
- Cuisine: Global
Keywords: how to make dulce de leche, how to make dulce de leche on the stove, how to make dulce de leche in the oven, the safe way to make dulce de leche
Do you cover the pot when using a double boiler?
Hi Joanne, I don’t cover the pot when I’m making dule de leche.
My dulce de lache is not setting up. Its still like liquid after several attempts in the crock pot method. It’s just liquid.
Yep that crockpot method that other bloggers recommend is dangerous, and it takes a long time. I recommend following one of the safe methods that I’ve outlined in this post.