How to Make Dulce de Leche (a really easy oven-method)…

In my last post I professed my love for malt. I’ve got another love… anything caramel, and most specifically- Dulce de Leche. If you’re not familiar with this Latin treat, you should plan on making its acquaintance very soon. Cans of it already made can be found in Latin markets, or if you’re lucky they might actually carry it in your regular neighborhood market’s International aisle.  The stuff in the can is okay, but if you make your own you’ll be much happier with your homemade version.

Some cooks boil the can of condensed milk until it caramelizes, but the trouble with that method is that you’re never quite sure when it’s done (not to mention the threat of possible explosion).

Or you can make it in this SUPER SIMPLE way:
How to Make Dulce de Leche

Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a pie plate. Cover the pie plate with foil and place into a shallow boiling water bath (inside of a larger pan).

Bake at a high heat (425) until the mixture turns into caramel.

Beat the caramel with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and creamy.

That’s it! Now you can pour it over ice cream, fill cookies & cakes, or eat it by the spoonful. You’re gonna love the stuff, I promise!  Stay tuned to see what I did with my Dulce de Leche…

Step by Step instructions can be printed out here:  Homemade Dulce de Leche

40 Responses to “How to Make Dulce de Leche (a really easy oven-method)…”

  1. postedMar 28, 2009 3:10 AM

    My mom used to cook the tins of condensed milk in her pressure cooker, sometimes with disastrous results…this is so brilliant!!!

  2. postedMar 28, 2009 3:42 AM

    great idea. have to try it like this much simpler 🙂

  3. postedMar 28, 2009 5:49 AM

    Would you tell us what temperature you set your oven at and roughly the amount of time it’s in there? Thanks!


  4. postedMar 28, 2009 5:49 AM

    Lori that looks so good. I usually buy it already prepared. The cooking the can method kind of scares me. I have to try this out of curiosity. I need to make another dulce de leche cheesecake so this time i will use homemade dulce de leche. Thanks for sharing. I am addicted to that stuff as well. My dd loves to dip apples in it.

  5. postedMar 28, 2009 5:50 AM

    Never mind… I am not awake yet. Just saw your instructions 😉

  6. postedMar 28, 2009 6:12 AM

    That looks so good! In the fall I went to a cooking demo put on by our energy company & a local restaurant’s exec chef & pastry chef. One of the things we learned to make was Dulce de Leche Cheesecake. He said you could make the Dulce de Leche by boiling the sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water while still the can.

    • postedMar 28, 2009 6:28 AM

      Katie- yes, this is true… but see my notes above regarding making it in the can!

  7. postedMar 28, 2009 6:26 AM

    That looks so easy! I can’t wait to try it. Dorie has some recipes I have been wanting to try with dulce de leche.

  8. postedMar 28, 2009 7:21 AM

    Seriously–it’s that easy? This could be dangerous information. No wait–it IS! That looks so good!

  9. postedMar 28, 2009 8:59 AM

    I lived in Chile and they sell this in jars like peanut butter. The stuff in cans here is NO comparison. Your version sounds spot on and I’m going to try it this week. We ate it on toast almost every morning. We called it “manjar”. (bring up the music … “memories” …) 🙂

  10. postedMar 28, 2009 9:13 AM

    Beautiful, thick and creamy! Yum!!

  11. postedMar 28, 2009 9:38 AM

    Oh my goodness, thank you for posting this! It looks so easy, I’m definitely going this way from now on.

  12. postedMar 28, 2009 9:40 AM

    We always did the boil in a can method–but that was Mom. I’ve never quite had the cojones to attempt it myself! This looks much easier.

  13. postedMar 28, 2009 9:54 AM

    HOOORAY!! I have only ever done the boil the can one and it’s so annoying!! I have definitly opened a can that should have been done, but unfortunatley was sooooo not!! Thanks!

  14. postedMar 28, 2009 11:40 AM

    My husband is from Argentina and I make this all the time, but I’ve never tried it your way. Looks easy enough. I like that you beat it after to make it really creamy.

  15. postedMar 28, 2009 11:42 AM

    Yup, I would eat it by the spoonful! Thanks for this (much easier) version!

  16. postedMar 28, 2009 1:37 PM

    MMM-mmm-mmmmm! I never had dulce de leche until I made that Deulce de leche apple bars from your blog. Now the kids and I are BIG fans. My local grocery store actually sells it but I’ll take your word for it that I need to make my own!

    Can’t wait to see how you used yours!

  17. postedMar 28, 2009 2:56 PM

    In my country practically all are fan of dulce de leche and I can tell you that this looks scrumptious!!

    Did you try it in ice creams or as liquor, really heavenly 🙂


  18. postedMar 28, 2009 5:06 PM

    So easy! Who knew? Well, you did obviously. Thanks so much for posting.


  19. postedMar 28, 2009 5:50 PM

    Is it so bad to admit that I put it in my coffee?

  20. postedMar 28, 2009 7:21 PM

    Sweet! Even though I can buy dulce de leche at the Mexican supermarkets here (yay), nothing beats making it at home. I haven’t done it yet because the “put a can into boiling water” method has not inspired me with trust (gee, I wonder why). 🙂

  21. postedMar 28, 2009 8:53 PM

    I love dulce de leche too! This is how I learned how to make it while living in Brazil, so easy. Can’t wait to see what you do with yours!

  22. postedMar 29, 2009 3:46 AM


  23. postedMar 29, 2009 5:40 AM

    That looks fantastic!!! Glad to have this recipe!!!

  24. postedMar 29, 2009 7:40 AM

    This looks wonderful! I think I like this method much more than boiling in a double-boiler or boiling the can (which makes me nervous). I can’t wait to try this out!

  25. postedMar 29, 2009 8:12 AM

    I had never seen this method before. Thanks for the idea. Here in Brazil there are two forms of doce de leite. There is this more liquid type version also sold in the can and then there is a more solid, fudge like version sold by sweets vendors at our farmer’s market. Both are wonderful!

  26. postedMar 29, 2009 3:14 PM

    Really impressed with how easy this sounds. Can’t wait to try your method. Might save a hole in my ceiling? 😉

  27. postedMar 29, 2009 7:19 PM

    I’ve done the boiling method and THIS way does seem much better. The annoying part about boiling it for 4 hours is making sure the water stays at a level above the can and refilling it. Thanks for oven tip!

  28. postedMar 30, 2009 1:36 AM

    What a great method — thanks for sharing! Dulce de leche is soooooo delicious — in Argentina it’s listed on menus as “milk jam” 🙂

  29. postedMar 30, 2009 6:45 AM

    That dulce de leche looks so good!

  30. postedMar 30, 2009 10:48 AM

    This method sounds quite interesting.

    My mother used to pour the condensed milk into a pot, place it on the stove, and intermittently stir it until it was ready.

    What are you views on this technique?

    Thank you.

    • postedMar 30, 2009 10:58 AM

      Starpower, I’m sure that method works just fine too, but with the oven method you don’t have to pay attention to it or stir it at all until it ‘looks’ done! So easy!

  31. postedMar 30, 2009 12:10 PM

    Great. I just bought a can of this. LOL
    I’ll have to give this a whirl next time. Looks super simple and a lot safer.


  32. postedMar 30, 2009 4:39 PM

    i just made this today and it is sooooo good!~~and easy!~~mine didn’t turn out as dark as yours, but it seemed perfect!~~i stopped it at 68 minutes, just because i didn’t want it to burn~~i have eaten a whole bunch of it just plain, but then i remembered i made some “lemon buttermilk sherbet”~~from a food blog, not sure which one, yikes, could have been this one, and i put it on top of that, which was kind of sour, and sounds like it would be awful, but it was AMAZING!~~my husband, who is very picky, gave it a ten out of ten!~~i love your site!

    • postedMar 30, 2009 4:48 PM

      Leslie- Thanks!! So glad it worked out well 🙂

  33. postedMar 31, 2009 2:57 PM

    Lori, this could be the sure-fire method I’ve been looking for…no worries of an explosion and decorating the whole house with Dulce de Leche.

    You rock!

  34. postedApr 7, 2009 9:38 AM

    I’ve never seen it done in the oven before – I’m going to try this next time!

  35. postedApr 9, 2009 10:31 AM

    I remember my mom making caramel by boiling the can. I’m glad to read there’s a less dangerous method to making it!

  36. postedSep 30, 2009 12:52 PM

    I made it and it turned out perfect. I didn’t have a pie plate so I used a small glass dish and baked it at 375 for an hour and a half just like described in the instructions. When I removed it from the oven and opened the plate I wash shocked. Thinking I had made a mistake because it was very bubbly. I transfered it to the mixer and started mixing away on medium to high and voila, it all came together. The result was a beautiful caramel colored gooey deliciousness of dulce de leche. Thank you recipe girl, I will keep this technique in my archives.

  37. postedMar 13, 2012 5:32 AM

    I like this idea much better than the closed-can method! I need to try this soon.

    I have to say something, though: dulce de leche is Argentinean, and from there it has expanded to other South American countries, sometimes with different names. Yes, I am aware of how annoying my comment is, but I’m from Argentina so I have to stand up for my country! 😉

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