Skip to Content

How to make Caramel Dulce de Leche from Sweetened Condensed Milk

Caramel Dulce de Leche made from Sweetened Condensed Milk. Ah oh so easy way to make either a dulce de leche sauce, or a more thick set caramel with so many delicious uses. 

Caramel Dulce de Leche close up photo of a spoonfull scooped from the can

Caramel Dulce de Leche

I’ve sometimes said over the years that it doesn’t occur to me to post some of the simplest recipe ideas. Mistakenly, I think that there’s enough sources out there for simple recipe idea like this one.

It recently came to my attention though, that many people had never even heard of this method for making this most delicious, rich tasting delight. 

Caramel Dulce de Leche shown still in the can

Caramel Dulce de Leche

A reader recently found about it and was asking my advice on proper length of time, consistency, etc. I mentioned the email to my friend Terry, and to my surprise, he had never heard of it either.

That really surprised me because it is such a well established method in many rural parts of Newfoundland I have visited. He was brought up in Notre Dame Bay, not all that far from the Bonavista North area where I first encountered it back in the eighties.

I was visiting the Wesleyville area with a friend from my university days way back then and “caramel tarts” were something that everyone knew and loved there, it seemed.

Later on, as my love of British baking developed particularly, I learned that this was a common practice in the UK. There, it is very commonly used as part of the filling for a national favourite pie. 

If you have plenty of time, you can easily substitute it in the filling for my own recipe version of that Banoffee Pie here.

Banoffee Pie - caramel toffee, bananas, and whipped cream all in a graham cracker crumb crust!

Banoffee Pie

Looking to future recipes.

So just to add this recipe idea, which I will be using in future recipes, and to give a couple of tips and suggestions of how to do it myself, I’ve decided to add it here now.

Be warned this is SUPREMELY delicious stuff! It is a bit of a danger to have around the house for a sweet tooth like me.

Finished Dulce de Leche Caramel stored in a mason jar.

Dulce de leche from Sweetened Condensed Milk.

It is amazing in ice cream sundaes, as a filling for a caramel cake, or even spread on your morning toast. I’ll admit that I am known to take a heaping teaspoon full and eat it straight from the can or bottle. 

A Facebook friend recently told me that she uses it sometimes for sweetening tea or coffee. I’d like to try that too but again, that could prove to be risky for sweet lovers like me.

A very slow simmer is all you need when making this Caramel Dulce de Leche.

My favourite use for Caramel Dulce de Leche

My favourite use for this delicious confection comes as no surprise. I absolutely adore pastry of any kind and indeed that is how I first tasted this incredible caramel; inside a flaky crust.

Caramel Dulce de Leche Tarts using Sweet Short Crust Pastry

Caramel Dulce de Leche Tarts using Sweet Short Crust Pastry

Nowadays I make these Dulce de Leche Caramel Tarts in mini size using a sweet shortcrust pastry for quite possibly the best two bite treat ever known! You may not think that’s hyperbole once you try it for yourself!

It IS that good!

One note I should add is that Eagle Brand does now make a dulce de Leche version of this in its own product line. That, of course is fine if you just want it for sauce purposes to accompany desserts or to use on sundaes.

This method can be used to achieve that consistency as well. Or, as is my preference, to make a more thick set caramel like I use for those gorgeous little tarts.

Like this Caramel Dulce de Leche recipe?

You’ll find hundreds of other sweet ideas in our Cakes & Pies Category and even more in our Desserts Category.

It’s easy to keep up with the latest home style cooking & baking ideas from Rock Recipes. Be sure to follow Rock Recipes Facebook Page and follow us on Instagram

Plus you’ll see daily recipe suggestions from decadent desserts to quick delicious weekday meals too. 

Caramel Dulce de Leche photo with title text added for Pinterest

You can also sign up for our FREE newsletter to know immediately when we add new recipes. You’ll also get weekly suggestions for great family friendly  meals and desserts too!

Rock Recipes a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Our product recommendations are almost exclusively for those we currently use or have used in the past.
Visit my Amazon Store for my favourite kitchen gadgets and appliances, plus recommendations from my personal cookbook collection.
Finished Dulce de Leche Caramel stored in a mason jar.
Yield: 20 servings (1 tbsp)

How to make Caramel Dulce de Leche from Sweetened Condensed Milk

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 2 minutes

Caramel Dulce de Leche made from Sweetened Condensed Milk. Ah oh so easy way to make either a dulce de leche sauce or a more thick set caramel with so many delicious uses. 


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (300 ml in Canada, 14 oz can in the US)


  1. Lay the can on it's side in a deep pot and cover with hot water. 
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Check on the pot every 30-45 minutes to see if the water needs topping up.
  4. When it does need topping up, add boiling water from the kettle, so as not to slow down the cooking process.
  5. Roll the can on the opposite side occasionally when you add water to ensure even cooking.
  6. Simmer for 3 hours for a thick set caramel as shown in the photos.
  7. Cool the can completely to room temperature before placing in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
  8. If not using this all at once, I store the remainder in a mason jar or sealed plastic container in the fridge.

IMPORTANT. Do NOT let the pot run dry. This can cause the can to expand and possibly burst open. Do NOT walk away from this as it boils. Monitor it closely to make sure the cans are always fully submerged and just gently simmering. I set a timer for every 30 minutes or so to check it.
Using a quite deep pot is a good idea as well, so it can hold more water.
Follow the instructions fully and you will have no issues with it at all.


For a more sauce like consistency, for sundaes and desserts, cut the time back to 90 to 120 minutes depending upon how dark and thick you want the sauce.

Experiment by making it a few times to get your own perfect sauce consistency and colour.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 62Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 7mgSodium 25mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 0gSugar 11gProtein 2g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Did you like this recipe?

Do you love our "Real food recipes for real people'? Share the recipe on Facebook to let your friends know about us. They'll thank you for it.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search results for how to make caramel out of sweetened condensed milk

Monday 24th of January 2022

[…] How to make Caramel Dulce de Leche from Sweetened Condensed … […]


Thursday 13th of May 2021

Hi Barry, love your blog!!! I usually just pour 2 cans sweetened condensed milk into a 9 by 13 pan put it in a water bath & bake for 1 hour at 425°f it's dark thick & delicious. If you want it thinner then drop back the cooking time to 45 min. Thanks so much!!


Saturday 1st of May 2021

I first saw the Condensed milk to Dolce con Leche watching Chuck Hughes (Chuck's Day Off-Food Network) create a meal that included Banoffie made with chocolate crumb crust, condensed milk caramel, a layer of bananas and custard, and whipped cream, about 10 years ago. He does the cans inside a Dutch Oven in the oven. You can do it in about three hours. I leave the can to cool in the Dutch Oven overnight, having seen the distruction of a friend's kitchen when she felt the can and pronounced it "cool enough" (It wasn't and we scraped it of the walls and ceiling.) I like to make mine like entremaines little stacks of yumminess that I convince myself have almost no calories.


Sunday 11th of April 2021

Hello! I do this faster in a pressure cooker. Three cans at the same time, remove paper labels. Put the cans in the pan, no matter if they are standing or lying down, fill half of the pan with water. Close the pan. When the water starts to boil lower the heat and let 20 min for light dulce de leche, 30 min for creamy caramel or 40 min to the cut point (open both ends of the can, push the candy and cut into slices). P.S. Don't use tetra pak sweet condensed milk, they will open with the heat of the water and you will have a great mess.


Sunday 21st of February 2021

You can boil 2 cans at once and store the second can UNOPENED in pantry for months.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!