Home » Desserts » Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

Thick and delicious this Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel will make many repeat performances on your dessert table. Sweet and rich it’s made entirely in a slow cooker so, you can enjoy this goodness year-round. It makes a fabulous gift for friends, neighbors and delicious hostess gifts, too. It’s a gloriously rich caramel treat.

Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

What Is Dulce de Leche?

When it come to sweets, caramel tops my list for favorite dessert flavors. I do love chocolate in all forms, as much as anyone else. However, if I were forced to choose, I’d go with sweet, buttery, caramel every single time. It’s been a lifelong love of mine beginning with the Southern favorite flavor combination of pralines and cream. So, what is dulce de leche? Dulce de Leche is of Spanish origin where sweetened condensed milk is reduced and caramelized turning the sugar content into this golden delight. It can be used as an ingredient in recipes for pies, cakes, cookie bars, or warmed and used as an ice cream topping. You can even use this deliciousness to make a quick no-cook caramel frosting for cakes and cupcakes.


Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

For many years, people boiled sweetened condensed milk in the can on the stovetop. I’ve done that but, it can’t be left unattended as the water can boil off. There’s also concerns regarding the metal cans and risk involved in that technique so, this slow cooker method is my preferred way to make it. Plus, it’s simple.

  • You can use any size or shape of glass jars that you like depending on your preference. Just to be clear, this isn’t a traditional canning technique and you should take care to keep the dulce de leche chilled once cooled. In light of that, don’t expect to store jars on the pantry shelf for months as you would when using a traditional canning technique.
  • Once cooled, the caramel does solidify so simply remove what you like from the jar and reheat gently in the microwave to drizzle over ice cream, use for dipping fruit or warm for use in any recipe that calls for dulce de leche. Those around you, will be so impressed and think you slaved for hours, no one has to know how very simple
  • it was to make. If you love caramel, too you may also enjoy these Dulce de Leche Brownies from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

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Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dessert, Sauce
Cuisine: American, Spanish Inspired
Keyword: homemade-dulce-de-leche-caramel
Servings: 4 (8-oz) jars
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 4 8 oz glass jars, washed
  • 3 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • Fabric and ribbon or twine if desired


  • Wash the glass jars in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
  • Fill each jar with sweetened condensed milk leaving 1/2-inch head space. Twist the lid on securely.
  • Place the jars into the crock of the slow cooker leaving space between.
  • Fill the slow cooker with enough water to cover the jars.
  • Place the lid securely on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until rich and golden brown in color.
  • Remove the jars carefully using tongs to rest on a dish towel. Be careful, they are hot.
  • Cool to room temperature then store chilled for up to one month.
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!




  1. Hi, I just want to comment on the stove top technic…I made dulce de leche that way many many times but I don’t think it’s safe. If the water dries, the can will explode and it’s not only dangerous as it’d make a mess. But if you still want to do it, don’t let it unattended because you will definitely need to replenish the water.
    I am from Brazil and there we actually use a pressure cooker to cook the condensed milk cans. It’s also unsafe if you run out of water but it’s a very traditional way to make dulce de leche there. We cook it long enough to be able to cut it with a knife, almost like a fudge and it’s delicious.

    1. I like your idea of doing it in the pressure cooker, how long approx. do you leave them in that method?


  2. Like Maria, I don’t have a slow cooker. My question is; when doing it on the stove top, do I bring it to a boil and turn it down, or keep it at a boil and for how long?

  3. I think this is a great gift idea! When you fill the crock pot with water, is it 100% covering the entire jar or just the glass part of the jar (thus leaving the lids exposed)?

  4. Hi Melissa!
    I know you from Just A Pinch and love your recipes. Thanks for sharing!
    My question here is if this techquinic can be done in an odinery pot cause I love caramel and would love to make your recipe but unfortunately I don’t have a slow cooker.
    Thanks for your help & advice.

    1. Hi Maria! Years ago people used this same technique and boiled the sweetened condensed milk in the actual can on the stovetop. Due to concerns about cooking it in the metal for long periods this technique was embraced and is indeed how I make it. I think you could use this technique on the stovetop BUT you couldn’t leave it unattended as the water would likely need to be replenished periodically. I, in fact, make this just like as my recipe directs and not on the stove. So if you decide to give it a go, come back and comment how you had to adapt.

      1. Thanks Melissa for your prompt reply! I sure will come back and let you know how I managed.

        Thanks once for your wonderful recipes!

  5. Can I use any type of glass jar I have quite a few that had spreads in them I like to recycle but they have a hard plastic type lid could I reuse them

    1. You can make this in any size jar you like. Be certain the type of lids you’re referring to are safe to use in a slow cooker.

    1. It’s so simple Michelle, and I love caramel so it’s dangerous to have around the house for very long. Definitely, one to share with neighbors.

  6. With your wonderful recipe, I’m tasting a close to perfect version of O’Charley’s caramel pie! Yum…they should be nationwide!

  7. No need to transfer milk to jars. Boil right in the can. My mom has done that for years. So good.

    1. That technique has become less than ideal due to concerns with the metal can as I discussed in the narrative.

    1. There is a brand of prepared dulce de leche that I like very much but, it isn’t that one. And, the Eagle Brand version is rather new to the market here in the South East. This technique is for those who aren’t able to find it, or prefer to make their own.

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