Dulce De Leche

Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 2 minutes
Servings 20 servings

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Dulce de Leche is a thick caramel sauce made with just one ingredient! Perfect for cakes, ice cream, cheesecake and more!

See the step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.

dulce de leche in can with spoon stuck in

Who would have ever thought that one ingredient could be so life-changing?

This one ingredient Dulce de Leche is so easy to make, and requires just a couple minutes prep (if that!) and then a little bit of babysitting (it’s nothing, I promise!).

The result?

Thick, golden, caramel-flavored deliciousness that is the perfect spreadable consistency for pies, cheesecake, cake filling, or spooned over ice cream.

What is Dulce de Leche?

Dulce de leche is a thick caramel flavored sauce, that is usually quite thick. It comes to us from Latin America, and the original I’m sure is more of a labor of love (and likely worth it).

It’s made with more milk or cream than regular caramel sauce, so even though it is very rich and decadent, I usually find it less sweet than caramel sauce.

scooping dulce de leche out of can

This shortcut Dulce de Leche is made with sweetened condensed milk, and is an easy treat!

It is perfect for using in cakes and pies where you want that caramel flavor but don’t want it running all over the place.

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How to make Dulce de Leche:

I’ve included a more detailed recipe below, but here is a quick overview with a few extra tips!

  1. Grab a can or a few cans of sweetened condensed milk — you can use regular or low fat, both work great!
  2. Remove the labels from all cans and place in the bottom of a large pot.
  3. Add water so that the cans are completely covered — go for a little extra here if you have room because some will boil off as we cook the Dulce de Leche.
  4. Bring it to a boil and let it roll! I usually set the timer for 3 hours (2-2.5 for a thinner sauce that’s lighter in color), and check to make sure the water is over the cans periodically. You can put the lid on the pot to reduce the amount of steam that escapes.
  5. Let cool completely to room temperature before storing.

How long can I keep Dulce de Leche?

One of the benefits of cooking the Dulce de Leche in the sealed can is that it can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months — perfect for last minute desserts!

If it opened, you can store it for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

What can I use it for?

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Dulce de Leche

4.86 from 7 votes
Dulce de Leche is a thick caramel sauce made with just one ingredient! Perfect for cakes, ice cream, cheesecake and more!
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 2 minutes
Cuisine American, canadian, Mexican
Course Dessert
Servings 20 servings
Calories 45cal


  • 300 ml can sweetened condensed milk (any size can will work)
  • water to cover cans


  • Remove labels from cans of sweetened condensed milk (you can cook as many as you have room for, and any size will work!).
  • Place cans in a large pot and cover with water — they need to be completely submerged so choose a large pot!
  • Bring water to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook at a low boil for 2.5-3 hours — 2-2.5 for a lighter, slightly thinner sauce, and 3 hours for a thicker, deeper sauce.
  • Remove from water and cool completely before storing. Closed cans can be stored up to 3 months at room temperature before using.


A serving is 1 tablespoon

Nutrition Information

Calories: 45cal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 15mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Calcium: 38mg
Keywords caramel sauce, dulce de leche

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Margo says

    Would this work in a canning jar ? I really do not want to cook it in the cans. Thank you in advance and for your recipes!!👏👏

  2. Mima says

    It was easy, and it was good. But I don’t see me making this again without a specific purpose……besides just eating this with a spoon! I gave it 4 stars because it IS easy and it’s certainly good. BUT…..what a mess I had in the pan!! Sure wish I’d been warned to remove all of the glue from the can before boiling. I guess I expected it to dissolve and disappear into the water. But no! It dissolved into the steam and made the awfulest (a word in my book) mess inside the pan and lid. Tip: forget your usual cleaners and grab your WD-40.
    I am so enjoying your recipes, Ashley. Thanks so much!

  3. Beth says

    Dulce de leche is my daughter’s favorite way to eat something sweet! Our kids have come up with great ideas for this recipe and I’m so excited to make this again! A family favorite is ice cream!

  4. Jacqueline Meldrum says

    We used to do this years ago but as you can buy it ready done I don’t bother anymore. I have been wondering lately if it would work with vegan condensed milk.

  5. Maike says

    Where has this been all my life? This recipe blew my mind. It’s so delicious and simple – I love it!

  6. Betty says

    Do the cans need to be standing up
    In ur pic they are laying on the side
    I’ll be waiting to hear from you
    Thank You

  7. The Better Baker says

    My mom use to make this for us when I was a kid. The ultimate treat. I was born a caramel lover. A local restaurant would serve slices of this luscious stuff on top of a pineapple ring! Add whipped cream and a cherry! So impressive..with very little work. The caramel must be refrigerated to be able to slice it. I served it at a ladies party years ago and those women still talk about this incredible dessert! Thanks for sharing!

4.86 from 7 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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