Dulce de leche is a sauce, that in its simplest form, is made by combining milk and sugar and cooking until the sauce becomes caramel.
The reactions responsible for dulce de leche are both caramelization of the sugars and the maillard reaction of the amino acids.
Dulce De Leche Recipe Two Ways
Dulce de leche made from scratch, on the left, and dulce de leche made from canned sweetened condensed milk, on the right.
Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk.
Place the can in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the can simmer for 3 to 4 hours, being mindful to maintain the water level.
When the dulce de leche is done, remove the can from the simmering water and allow it to cool until it is comfortable to handle.
Once the can is cool enough to handle open the can. If you invert the can over a container it usually slides right out. If not give it a shake and it will.
Dulce De Leche Recipe With Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk.
- Stand the can in a saucepan and add water to cover. (Note: Do NOT open or puncture the can in any way prior to cooking.)
- Bring the water to a gentle simmer and keep it there for 3 hours, adding water as needed to keep the can submerged.
- Remove from heat and allow the can to rest until it reaches room temperature, about another 2 to 3 hours.
- Open the can and spoon out the caramel, trying to resist eating it. Set aside until the churros are done.
- Do NOT open or puncture the can of sweetened condensed milk in any way prior to cooking.
- Dulce de leche made this way takes about 3 hours for a soft caramel and 4 or more hours for a firm caramel.
- If you cool the can on a rack you get better airflow, but you can cool it on the countertop or on a plate.
- Making dulce de leche using this method can be dangerous. As I understand it, if you allow the pot to boil dry the can will overheat and explode.
Dulce De Leche Recipe From Scratch
Ingredients for dulce de leche: milk, sugar, vanilla, and baking soda.
Combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean paste in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Add the baking soda and whisk into the mixture.
Dulce de leche cooking over a low flame.
Dulce de leche ready to strain.
Dulce de leche from scratch.
How To Make Dulce De Leche
Ingredients by Volume
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Ingredients in Grams
- 490 grams whole milk (475 ml)
- 170 grams sugar
- 9 grams vanilla bean paste (7.5 ml)
- 1 gram baking soda (1.25 ml)
- Combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean paste in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the baking soda and whisk into the mixture.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the foam on top to re-incorporate when stirring.
- Continue cooking until the sauce has developed a deep amber color and has reduced to between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup / 120 and 175 milliliters.
- Pass the dulce de leech through a fine mesh strainer. Allow to cool and transfer to a container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1-month.
- Why did I use 2 different recipes or methods for the dulce de leche? Well making dulce de leche out of sweetened condensed milk is a tradition that you can find in many Latin cuisines. In addition a lot of people have come to expect to see that approach to dulce de leche. Additionally, I really like the flavor of that method.
- However, for those purists out there who really want to make everything from scratch I included that method here as well.
- Try both methods and see which one you like.