Ann Reardon

Dulce de Leche Recipe Thick Caramel

spoonful of dulce de leche thick caramel

Dulce de leche is a thick, caramel milk-based sauce. I have seen many recipes for it that involve simmering an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a big pot of water for several hours. I have tried this in the past, despite warnings that it might explode. It worked fine but still had that distinctive sweetened condensed milk taste. So try this recipe instead, its faster and is delectable.

Dulce de leche ingredients (makes 1 cup of thick dulce de leche)

4 cups or 1litre (0.26 gallons) milk (4% fat)
2 cups or 436g (15.38 ounces) sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

making dulce de leche caramel

Bring the milk to the boil, add the sugar, vanilla and baking soda. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Reduce the heat and wash down the sides of the pan using a wet pastry brush. Simmer over medium heat for about 1 hour scooping off any froth every fifteen minutes.

As you get closer to an hour monitor the syrup regularly to check it is not burning on the bottom of the pan.

Pour through a fine metal sieve into a bowl and allow to cool.  It will thicken more on cooling.

Use as a sauce or as a component for desserts like ‘gold bar’ or banoffee tart.

Excess can placed in a ziplock bag and stored in the freezer.

Troubleshooting: If on cooling it is not as thick as you need it has not been heated hot enough.  Pour into a clean saucepan and stir as it boils until a small teaspoonful placed on the bench cools to be thick.  WARNING: Caramel is extremely hot, any little splatters will burn, so wear protective gloves while stirring.

by Ann Reardon How To Cook That

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293 Comments View Comments

  1. 3reciprocal

  2. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann. I was making this so I could also make the caramel cupcakes. But I wanted to ask how much dulce de Leche does this recipe yield??

  3. Rating: 4

    This is embarrassing, but as simple as this recipe is, I just can’t get it right. I’ve tried multiple times. This current batch has been boiling for 2 hours now and it just won’t get thicker. It also tastes like liquid sugar, not caramel. I’ve measured the quantities as accurately as I can, but I must be doing something wrong. (I do need to note that I only have access to 3% milk, but I’ve managed to thicken some other caramels with 1.5% milk, so I don’t know if that is the problem.) Starting to get a little desperate, especially when all my googling can be summed up to “Just boil it more!” (4 stars because this thing doesn’t let me upload without a rating, and I’m sure the recipe is good ^^’ )

    • Continuation: there has now been a third attempt with 3.5% milk. I tried to follow the instructions as closely as I could, but the same thing happened. It just won’t change and thicken after the 1-hour-mark, even when I continued to boil it for almost 2 additional hours. The temperature won’t rise above 100°C.

    • Hi, in the past month I’ve been making dulce de leche 3 or 4 times. The first time was good but a little runny, the 2° time was perfect, really dense, but the one I made yesterday after cooling was just runny, so I decided to cook it longer but in the microwave. I think what went wrong the 3° time, is that, even if the cooking time was the same or maybe a little longer, the gas was lower the 3° time. I must add that every time I’ve used the same recipe, similar to the one of Ann, but I followed the Argentino recipe, (argentino cocineros youtube) they use less sugar, a little glucose and to make harder, so you can pipe it, they add cornstarch at the end. Try one more time because it’s worth it, it’s really good.

  4. Rating: 4

    Hi Anne, I don’t have access to a stove, can i do it using less milk in the microwave?

  5. Rating: 5

    I was wondering why you don’t use glucose syrup in this recipe?

  6. Rating: 4

    can you make it with condensed milk? and is there an easier method that takes less time? about the milk is 12% fat okay?

    • I’ve just emptied a can of condensed milk into a saucepan before. Cooked that for about 15 minutes while stirring until it thickened and turned brown. It doesn’t taste exactly like the long version and won’t go as dark but it’s still a delicious milky caramel and much faster to make.

  7. Rating: 5

    hi ann, i heard that when making caramel, adding lemon juice helps the caramel. Does this work with this recipe?

    • Hi Shrinidhi, In a normal sugar work with just sugar and water adding acid (like lemon juice) can helps stop the sugar in it crystallising. Glucose syrup does the same job without adding a lemony flavour to it. In this recipe I’d be worried the acid could curlde it.

  8. Rating: 5

    This recipe came out perfectly. We put it on a gluten free desert. Flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and this amazing caramel in the center.

    • Yummmmm, that looks gorgeous Elizabeth. ?

  9. Rating: 3

    Hi there, If it turns out too runny, can I re-heat once it’s cooled completely?

    • Hi Rachel,Yes you can ?

  10. Can u use canned coconut milk instead of milk?

    • Hi Pep, this recipe is designed for regular milk.

  11. hi ann can i use caster sugar or granulated or dose it not matter..x

    • Hi Beth, Caster sugar works best.

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