Dulce de leche, so easy to make

I was at my mom’s house this past weekend watching college basketball and helping her cook. She was going to make dulce de leche to use in several things she was making. Dulce de leche is incredibly easy to make. All you do is heat a can of sweetened condensed milk in water for several hours until the condensed milk transforms into this amazing caramel treat inside. My mom usually does this in a pan of boiling water for a few hours, but I told her I had seen it done in a crock pot. We were both intrigued by the idea we saw on A Year of Slow Cooking, so thought that we would give it a try?

You need 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, crock pot, and water! That is it!

Step 1: Remove the label from the cans of sweetened condensed milk.

Step 2: Place the cans on their side inside  the crock pot.

Step 3: Fill the crock pot with water so that there is at least an inch of water covering the top of the cans. Make sure that there is always enough water completely covering the cans.

Step 4: Set the crock pot on low  and cook the cans in water for 8 hours.

Step 5: When cooking is complete let the cans COOL until they are room temperature. DO NOT OPEN the cans when they are hot, because there is the potential chance for explosion.

Warning: make sure your cans are not dented or damaged in anyway. Using a damaged can could lead to problems when cooking.

What I love about this recipe is that you can start it before you go to work and 8 hours later you have the perfect base to a variety of dessert possibilities! In the next few weeks, I will show you what uses I have found for this delicious and easy treat.

Print Friendly


  1. feather14 says

    Just a few questions.. Can you put the cans in the fridge after cooling unopened to use for another day??

    How long do they keep??

    Such a great idea, thanks for posting..

  2. says

    I’ve always made dulce de leche in the same way except on the stove. Next time I will try the crockpot way so I would not have to keep an eye on it so much. Thank you for sharing!

  3. PRISCILA says

    OMG. OMG. OMG. I made it. It was delicious. I can’t believe it’s so easy. Now, What do make with it? :)

  4. says

    My Mom always had a few cans of this on had. She used it to make banana caramel pies and sometimes for ice cream. I can remember eating as is, right out of the can. Yummm!!

  5. Jonathan says

    I love to make caramel pies using the “sealed cans of sweetened condensed milk in a pot” method. I was hoping to see a faster way to do it. It usually takes me 3.5 hours–8 is even worse.

  6. Kimberlee J. says

    A HUGE thank you for this post! I used to live in South America and would eat this on my toast every morning for breakfast. I can hardly wait to try this!!!

  7. DNA says

    “What I love about this recipe is that you can start it before you go to work and 8 hours later you have the perfect base to a variety of dessert possibilities!”


  8. Muguet says

    I wonder if you can make this with reduced fat or fat free sweetened condensed milk. I guess I will have to try and see.

  9. says

    Wow 8 hours, I thought the 3 1/2 hours it took me was a long time, but it requires constant attention and topping up of water.

    I LOVE your site, photos are absolutely gorgeous and your stories are lovely to read…glad I stumbled upon it :)

  10. Jena says

    Don’t you risk the cans exploding? Or because it’s on low, is the pressure build-up in the can not such an issue?

    • says

      You want to make sure that the cans are sturdy and have no defects in them, there is always a chance of them rupturing, but when I did it, there were no problems. I wouldn’t go higher than low on your temp setting.

  11. says

    Just wanted to weigh in, I was brave and tried this in my crock pot overnight on low *with a easy-open tab-opening can* of SCM. I was nervous! But It didn’t pop open, even with the very thin metal associated with those easy-open cans!

    I insured against poppage ruining my caramel by placing the can, dry, in a turkey roasting oven bag, and placing it in the crock pot of water. I caught up the top part of the turkey roasting bag (the opening) and closed the cupboard door on it, (To keep the TRBag from resting on the outside of the slow-cooker, I know it’s high-temp plastic, but I didn’t want any possibilities of craziness, since I’d be sleeping.) Then I put the glass lid on the crock pot, turned it on low, and the next morning, I had wonderful caramel in a nice still-sealed can!

    I’m surprised, but very pleased! =D

  12. says

    I love the idea of making dulce de leche. It sounds perfectly convenient for most people’s busy schedules but I do want to bring up an issue. Is anyone concerned about Bisphenol A (BPA) leaching from inside the cans?

  13. Lynne says

    I just saw your post on making the dulce de leche in a slow cooker. I had already made mine from another recipe, but just curious-did you lay the cans on the side so you wouldn’t have to use so much water or is that part of the technique? I used low fat condensed milk, mine were upright and cooked on high for 10 hours. I’ve just used one can to make a dulce de leche flan which I also used to the slow cooker to cook it in a casserole dish raised off the bottom of the slow cooker with metal rings used to fry eggs. In 2 hours, I will see how it all turned out. I’ve enjoyed your ebooks!

  14. Kate Wetmore says

    You might want to read this Scientific American article before you attempt this method of making Dulce de Leche: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-talk-can-dont/.

    As an alternative, open the cans and pour the condensed milk into a pint canning jar. Put on the top and fill the slow cooker with water up to just below the top. Then follow the directions here. Besides it being safer, cooking the condensed milk in a glass jar allows you to see how dark the Dulce de Leche is getting. I like mine dark.

  15. the brownie Doctor says

    this way to make dulce de leche is just fantastic. I used it in my special bailey’s frosted brownies,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *