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


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

291 Comments View Comments

  1. Is the sugar ordinary granulated sugar or would you use caster sugar?

    • Hi Gemma, Use caster sugar.

  2. I made this just now and it is super grainy… Did it take it too far? Is it because the milk fat caramelized or something? Or should I strain it?

    • Hi Catherine, It is likely you took it too far and the sugar has crystallized.

  3. Hello,i want to ask if i can keep it to the fridge and for how long ?Thank you

    • Hi Jenny, Yes you can keep it in the fridge for weeks. It will start to crystallize over time, just like Honey. It can keep for ages but may become unpleasant to use if it starts crystallizing. Storing it well away from moisture and air will help keep it in good condition.

  4. Can I make half of this recipe?

    • Yes you can.

  5. Madam I asked shopkeeper. To keep in open glass fridge. Whatever truffles I gave him
    I think it is OK.please reply

  6. Hi,very good morning madam,
    I grate admire of your videos,and you are y inspiration. I made first truffle chocolate at home. It became big hit. Now I for orders from one of shopkeeper.
    Thank you,

  7. About how many minutes would you boil the dulce de leche for it to be the consistency of the carmel used for the chocolate truffles?

    • Hi Emily, It would be easier to use this recipe for the caramel: . It is very similar but it has the temperatures etc as a guide.

      • Hi Ann,

        Do you mean that we should heat the dulce de leche so that when it reaches the simmering stage it should be a certain temperature?

  8. Hi i would like to know if with this recipe we can do a soft caramel mouse and how to do it! I want to make a cake with caramel mouse and I’m not sure if i can do it!

  9. your recipes are marvellous

  10. Hi Ann.. How to store this home made Dulce de Leche? And how many days we can store it? I like your recipes and your Giant chocolate versions are amazing..

    • Hi Chhaya, the best way to store this is in a sealed glass jar or container in the fridge. It should keep well for a a week or so. If you made it well it will keep well. If it wasn’t cooked propery, you may find that it starts to crystallize.

  11. Wht if we add less sugar I mean instead of two i use 1cup then wht will happen to make it less sweet

    • Hi Snehal, the sugar is the base for a caramel recipe. If you use less you will change the texture and quantity rather than the sweetness. The quantities given are made to work together.

  12. I use bicarbonate of soda instead of baking soda?

    • Hi Mahema, Bicarbonate of soda and baking soda are the same thing. Baking powder is a different product.

  13. Hi Ann, what kind of sugar is best to use to make dulce de leche? Just normal everyday sugar or caster sugar or something else?

    • Hi Angelica, normal white sugar should be fine, though Ann usually uses caster sugar (superfine sugar) in her recipes.

  14. Hey Ann, can you do a recipe to make homemade Nutella , and a way to do it withe white chocolate?

  15. Hello,
    I don’t have a candy thermometer. Is there any way to cook it without one or how to know when it is done?

    • Hi Macy, It is best to get hold of a candy thermometer if you can. Experienced cooks, can sometimes do it by sight but it is safer to use a thermomenter for best results.

  16. Hi Ann. I am very keen to try this recipe. The problem is that I’m without a stove at the moment. Is there a way to make this in the microwave?

    • Hi Lea, To get a great result, you really need to do this on the stove.

  17. Hi Ann
    can I use 3% fat

    • Hi Sohila, It should work but it is better to have full cream milk.

  18. how much Vanilla extract do i use?

  19. Hi 🙂
    I tryed this today when i needed to leave it to boil for 15 mins it kept rising upwards so i couldnt leave it
    Im not sure why i followed everything correctlt
    Also it smells a lot more like sweet corn than caramel should it smell like that?

    • Hi Ellisha, Ann mentions this in the video. When the mix bubbles up like that, you need to turn it down to low(for gas) or on an electric stove, move the pan to a new element and turn it on low. Otherwise the residual heat will cause the problem you experienced. I have an electric stove and I have experienced a similar problem, as ‘low’ on my stove is really not low at all. It is very difficult to leave anything to simmer on a low heat. If that is an issue for you to, you could borrow a portable hot plate and use that. Also, Usea pan bigger than you think you will need to allow for some rising. I am not sure on the smell you mentioned. Does your caramel taste good? If yes, I wouldn’t worry, if it tastes a bit burnt, then it was probably that.

  20. Can you use baking powder?

    • Hi Sarah, using baking powder will impact the end result. Baking powder has tartaric acid in it as well as baking soda, which may inhibit the mixture thickening. Use baking soda for this recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>