Dulce de leche is a sweet, creamy, milk caramel sauce that is perfect for drizzling over desserts, stirring into coffee or eating straight off the spoon!
All you need to make this sweet sauce is a crockpot, a mason jar, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. If you’re looking for more traditional caramel sauces, check out our Homemade Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce and Bourbon Caramel Sauce for more delicious ideas!
This rich, creamy sauce is the first step towards an absolutely fantastic ice cream recipe. So, get a jar in your slow cooker today and be ready to make the ice cream soon.
Slow cookers or crockpots are an appliance of which I have more than one. If you are an avid slow cooker user like I am, you might understand the need for more than one. So, let’s talk about my favorites:
First up is this 6-quart slow cooker that has a locking lid. These crockpots are fantastic for transporting foods. Mine has gone everywhere from church potlucks to barbecues, game nights to Thanksgiving dinner. However, fair warning, these slow cookers run crazy hot. Low is closer to a boil than a simmer, the warm setting actually simmers. So trust me when I say HIGH is high.
My everyday slow cooker is this 8-quart Crockpot. It’s my go-to appliance for cooking large roasts and big batches of chili. Fun fact: did you know that a full 4-quart cooker, actually cooks more slowly than a half-full 8-quart cooker?
For just cooking a few pounds of chicken to shred for enchiladas or other smaller recipes, this 3-quart version is perfect.
Thanksgiving has become a breeze since I have mastered how to hold all of the side dishes using these medium-sized round slow cookers.
If you aren’t a fan of the idea of keeping more than one slow cooker in the house, these CrockPockets are a game-changer when it comes to preparing and holding multiple dishes at the same time. They slide into a standard 6-quart crockpot, dividing it into two sections that are perfect for serving different side dishes or keeping taco fillings warm for parties.
EASY CrockPot Dulce De Leche
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk *
- optional: ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Open the sweetened condensed milk and stir in the salt, if you want a salted caramel flavor. Pour the milk into a mason jar and top with a lid. Screw the band on the jar enough that it won't fall off, but not finger tight.
- Fill the crockpot with water to just below the band. Set the temperature to LOW and cover with lid.
- Let it cook for 6-8 hours, then check the color of the jar. (The lid on my crockpot is clear and I was able to watch it darken through the day.)
- After about 6 hours, the milk will have turned golden brown, thick and creamy. As you continue to cook it, the dulce de leche will darken and become thicker. I wanted mine to be pourable when warm, so 6-7 hours was perfect.
- Remove the jar from the crockpot and set aside to cool. Let it cool at least 1 hour before opening the jar. (I've heard that the hot dulce de leche will explode out at you if you open it too hot!) Let cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- The sauce will thicken when refrigerated and can easily be reheated in the microwave for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Enjoy!
- Want to make this completely from scratch? Milk + sugar = sweetened condensed milk. Check out this recipe.
11 Comments Leave a comment or review
Jenn C says
I've seen this or I guess heard of this done before… but have not tried it yet myself. Now that you are talking ice cream though.. think I might need to pick up some sweetened condensed milk tomorrow when grocery shopping 🙂
That looks delicious!!!
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
I made this one time and the jar lid started swelling and leaking before it was finished. Scared me to death! So now I use the oven method – but am sure there was some sort of error on my part. I see you didn't submerge your jar – where my method said to cover completely with water. This looks great and I know it is tasty! Have a lovely weekend.
Magnolia Verandah says
This is just too too much! I would be eating it with a spoon straight from the jar – can't wait for the ice cream!
Louise B. says
Lovely flavor, but you can buy it done which is not shabby and considering the price of eletricity, it probably is quite a bit less expensive!
Joshua Hampton says
Dulce de leche, one of my favorite sweet treats. Now I can make it at home, thanks to your recipe.
Dulce de leche always sounds like some kind of masked wrestler to me 😉
I make this in the cans that the sweetened condensed milk comes in. Take the paper off the can(s) and put it in a pot covering it with water and boil it for 3 hours. Do not let the water uncover the cans while they boiling, add more water throughout the cooking time. Take the can(s) out of the boiling water and put them in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and then open them and it is made. I do not put the salt in it because I like it better without it. It makes the best caramel I've ever tasted. I frost butter cakes with it. It's a southern treat.
this methode takes a bit long for 1 jar of dulce de leche as result, looks as it was quite a waste of power … the more easy way is to do it in the pressure cooker: put the jar with sweetened condensed milk (closed, as bought in the store) on the insert of the cooker, cover it with water (important), close the lid and cook it under pressure for about 20-25 min. let the pressure cooker cool down before opening the lid … it is recommanded to remove any labels from the jar before the procedur, otherwise there could be sticky remains of the glue at the inside of the pressure cooker
Can you make it with Almond milk from scratch?
I think it’s worth trying if you find a recipe for sweetened condensed milk that you can make with almond milk. I’ve never tried it myself. If you do try it, let us know how it turns out.