Dulce de Lech is pure gloriousness. It's smooth, rich, milky, caramely goodness. And, it's so darn easy to make at home. One single ingredient is all it takes to produce this delectable Easy Homemade Dulce de Leche.
Dulce de leche is very similar to caramel, but while equally delicious, they are not the same thing.
Dulce de leche is made by browning sweetened milk whereas caramel is made by caramelizing sugar.
While caramel can have a slightly bitter taste to it (it is burnt sugar, after all) dulce de leche has a sweeter, more butterscotchy flavor.
How to make Dulce de Leche
There are lots of recipes out there for how to make dulce de leche. Some of them involve slow cookers and some require cooking on the stovetop.
Many of them involve cooking the sweetened condensed milk in the can it came in while others require multiple ingredients to make your own sweetened milk.
My preferred method for making homemade dulce de leche is to open the can, pour the contents into a pie pan, and bake it in a water bath in the oven. Here are the reasons why I like this method:
- It consistently produces a smooth consistency of rich, milky, caramel-like sauce
- It only requires one ingredient and no potential for exploding cans of hot caramel like some of the other methods unfortunately caution could happen
- It's super duper easy - no mixing or blending or standing over a hot stove
- It makes about 1 ¼ cups which is just enough to use in a recipe and have enough leftover to eat a spoonful directly out of the jar
What to do with Dulce de Leche
Ah, this is the question! What do you do with this wonderful sauce once you have made it? There are plenty of amazing recipes in which you can use dulce de leche including Alfajores, Banana Muffins Swirled with Dulce de Leche, and Dulce de Leche Scones.
You can also drizzle it on ice cream, swirl some into brownie batter or banana bread or cheesecake, stir a teaspoonful into your coffee in place of milk or cream, or make frosting with it.
And, of course, you can always eat a spoonful of it every night after dinner. Or before dinner - I won't tell anyone!
Tips for Making this Recipe
- Check the water level every 45 minutes or so. This is very important as the water bath helps the sweetened condensed milk cook slowly and consistently. And, without the water the milk will surely burn. Quickly
- Cook until the milk is a deep brown color. If you don't have the time, you can cook for 90 minutes and still have an absolutely delicious result. But, if you've got the time (and the patience) cook for longer and you'll be happy you did
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- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- Prepare: Heat oven to 425°F with rack in middle position. Pour the contents of 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch pie pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Set pie pan in a roasting pan and create a hot water bath by adding enough hot tap water to the roasting pan surrounding the pie pan to reach halfway up the outside of the pie pan.
- Bake condensed milk in middle of oven. After about 45 minutes, check the water level and add additional hot water, if necessary. Continue baking, checking and adding more water every 45 minutes for a total cook time of up to 3 hours. You want the condensed milk to be thick and rich brown. Remove pie plate from water bath and cool, uncovered.
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