Here’s a really easy oven method for making Homemade Dulce de Leche. Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can try making this at home.
Homemade Dulce de Leche
I have an intense love for 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 dulce de leche that you buy 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).
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 it 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 and cakes, or eat it by the spoonful. You’re gonna love the stuff. I promise!
If you are looking for more DIY dessert sauce projects to try, you might also like my recipe for Hot Butterscotch Sauce or this Salted Caramel Sauce. Easy Raspberry Sauce, Hot Fudge and Whiskey Caramel Sauce are good homemade sauces too.
Homemade Dulce de Leche
- One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- boiling water
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Open up the can and pour the sweetened-condensed milk into a pie pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place into a larger pan and pour boiling water in a larger pan and around pie plate (level of water should be about halfway up the pie plate). Don't let any water seep up and into the pie plate.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. At the one hour point, peel off the foil and check for progress. If the mixture has thickened and turned a caramel color, it's done. If it doesn't quite look thick enough or dark enough, cover it up and bake it a little longer (mine took 75 minutes).
- When the mixture appears to have turned into a nice, thick caramel, remove from the oven. Let sit for a few minutes, and then beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
- The recipe calls for one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, but you can use any size can for this method.
- Store in a covered container until ready to use (within a few days). Probably storing in the refrigerator is best, but return to room temperature when ready for recipe.
Love this recipe I don’t know how you thought about doing this recipe in the oven, but I am so happy you did. Thank you so much..Ileen
Your version is surely better than store bought!! This is my go-to recipe for dulce de leche. SO GOOD!
Can I just say this is AMAZING in coffee!
Looks like a new staple in our house!!
I want to drizzle this on EVERYTHING!
Veeeerrrrry dangerous to have around, so good!
I was always hesitant to use the cook the can method, so thank you for this technique. It worked perfectly!
This is a terrific technique and such a treat over ice cream!
I just made this, and it is wonderful ! Easy, delicious, what more do you need ? This is the bomb ! Smooth, as dark/light as I want it, creamy, and yummy ! Thanks. Took 1 hr.
Has anyone ever tried dulce de leche in a crockpot? I would assume that putting it in a crockpot would alleviate the water level issue. I’ve never tried making this but it sounds sinfully delicious. I’m going to set 3 cans (gasp!) in a crockpot with water and cook it over night on low. I plan to make the alfajores listed on this site and I also plan to use the filling for macarons. Thanks for your information. Your recipes are well written and your photographs are beautiful composed.
Just be careful… I’ve heard nightmares about exploding cans!
I bake two cans of sweetened condensed milk in a heavy non-stick loaf pan covered in heavy duty foil that is sitting in a pan of boiling water. In a preheated 425 degree oven, it takes between 75 and 90 minutes; just ensure that you keep the water from getting too low. Great in recipes and on ice cream.
This turned out AMAZING!!!!
I made sure my water level was good, it came out smooth and no lumps at all!
And so incredibly easy…thank you, thank you!
Andrea – you are so right about the danger of explosion.
Years ago I shared an apartment with a Peruvian young woman who had a visible scar over her eyebrow…she was boiling the can of condensed milk but forgot to keep an eye on the water level.
It exploded as she leaned over the pot to check it.
When her mother came to visit, she made it the same way, but she didn’t forget.
Still I’ve never tried making it myself for that very reason. Never thought of recipe girl’s way, and I may just try that, now that I know there IS a safe way to make it.
Of course, it’s so popular now you can buy it jarred everywhere, which wasn’t the case during the time I shared the place w/ MariElena.
I have seen the exact recipe for the cookie part with the 2 cups flour but never with the cornstarch. What does 1 cup cornstarch do in this recipe? isn’t a thickening agent? Have you ever made the cookie without it?
Not sure- this one is made w/ cornstarch, which makes it light and flaky.
Thanks for this alternative method! I have a can of condensed milk at home that I bought specifically for making into dulce de leche (I plan on trying it in apple pie, so I’m happy to have found your recipe for that as well). I see a lot of people claiming that the best way to cook it is actually in boiling water. I just wanted to throw out there that most recipes online mention that you should put at least two holes in the top of the can (obviously you keep the water level below the top) to release pressure while cooking. Maybe a safer alternative for people determined to cook it in the can.
The best way to do dulce de leche or manjar (that is how we call it in Chile) is to place the sealed condensed milk can in a pot, then cover it with water and boil it for about 2 hours or a little more if you want a thicker dulce de leche. Make sure that the can is always covered with water while is boiling.
I’m so so excited about this recipe.
I’m a horrible cook but a pretty good baker. I’m about to post this on my facebook and send to my super baker girlfriend as well.
My local candy shop (Mom and Pop Candy Shop in McKinney Tx) makes a Dulce de Leche fudge. It seems like a vanilla fudge base with an awesome giant swirl of dulce all over the top. It is so amazing, it’s almost impossible to stop eating. Which seems is the case for everyone, as anytime I go to buy it, they have already sold out. They also use that topping for their Praline version. (but I don’t like the chocolate fudge as much as the vanilla.)
I’m about to put this in the oven and it’s 2am. I’m hoping to get some kind of fudge whipped up in time for xmas parties at school tomorrow, and maybe this will be what makes mine stand out more than the other moms.
AND ANYONE WHO IS BOLD ENOUGH TO PUT A CLOSED CAN IN BOILING WATER FOR FIVE MINUTES OR FIVE HOURS IS NUTS.
YOU ARE ASKING TO FILE INSURANCE CLAIMS FOR YOUR HEALTH AS WELL AS YOUR HOME, and who knows if they will even pay them for being so ignorant!
Don’t do it, even if your grandma and her grandma have always done it!
When I lived in Argentina, they used whole milk cooked in a large pot on the stove which was stirred almost constantly. As I recall, they put a pinch of baking soda in it, perhaps to keep it from curdling or maybe to help with color? It was basically an entire day event where the ladies would get together and stir the huge pot of milk for what seemed like all day. Then they’d put it in jars and give it out to friends and family. Making it from whole milk takes a long time since you are condensing it yourself, but makes a very pure, dark dulce de leche, which is very thick (not goey like your recipe). You don’t add any sugar – it’s just the milk and oh, so good! Homemade from milk works best for recipes which require the dulce de leche to stay put (like in alfajores). BTW, boiling a closed can is very dangerous as the internal pressure builds in the can will cause it to explode if you aren’t careful.
I needed dulce de leche for an ice cream recipe, but only had sweetened condensed milk on-hand, so this recipe worked out great. I have found other recipes online, but none offered timing for baking. I prepared a double batch (2 cans) in the same pyrex pan, baking them for 90 minutes (checking at the 1 hour point).
Never having actually seen dulce de leche I didn’t know how thick it should be, but luckily it turned out fine. Thanks for your help!
My Argi Mother in law only ever cooks it by placing the whole tin of condensed milk(minus the label) in the pot of water to cook on a steady low heat. She adds lemon skin to the water – can’t recall why – something about the metal. She does many tins at a time, and then leaves them in the fridge until she has a baking session. Its devine. Saves on washing up too.
Can you pour more than one can into a larger bowl and cook a bigger batch at one time?
Pam- I suppose that would work, but might be too much for a pie plate. I might rather use two pie plates with a can in each.
Thanks for this recipe!! My grandmother taught me how my great-grandmother used to make this a long time ago by submerging a can of condensed milk in boiling water on the stove for 3 hours. Why 3 hours ? I never asked. (hey…she is a grandma right, I suspected she just knew.) I suspect it never really needed that long. However with the new pop top cans I became scared of how the pressure inside the can would hold up.
I am so excited about trying this recipe as it is a family x-mas tradition!!
another way to do it is just to place the unopened can of condensed milk in a pot, cover with water and let it boil for 2 hours… let the can cool completely before opening.
I can’t wait to try this!! I could eat this without adornment…just a spoon is all I need and I’m good to go! 🙂
Definitly it’s a lot safer than using the pressure pan.
I normally buy ready to use from Nestlé. It’s really good.
Your recipe is absolutely wonderful. I love the ease of cooking the milk in the oven. Mine came out just perfect. Thank you for a great and easy way to make dulce de leche
Thanks for writing back. The cream at the bottom underneath the skin was definitely usable and very delicious. I am going to try it again tonight and this time use foil. I think you may be right in that the seal needs to be very tight in order to keep the moisture in. The condensation might keep that skin from forming.
Hi Recipe Girl! I tried making this last night. The problem I had was that a brown skin formed on top, which caused the rest of the condensed milk to not brown. I removed the skin and tried to bake it longer, but the skin kept forming, bubbling up, and then breaking into the cream beneath. Maybe it was because I used a thick ceramic pie plate and covered it with a top from a pot…I also used my roasting pan to put the entire thing in – maybe the sides were too tall? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Did you run into the skinning problem at all in making this?
I didn’t have any trouble with a skin forming on the top. I had my sweetened condensed milk in a ceramic pie plate and covered it tightly w/ foil. I’m guessing that the top from the pot didn’t create a tight enough seal and that’s why it formed a skin?? I also used a roasting pan… set the covered pie plate in there and then poured boiling water around it. Sorry you had trouble- I’d try it again using foil. At the end it comes out a little lumpy (as the pic shows) but when you beat it for a few minutes it becomes nice and smooth. Good luck!