How to Make Homemade Dulce de Leche

Selbstgemachte dulce de leche

Today I am going to introduce you to dulce de leche. Never heard of it? This is Spanish and literally translates as “sweetness of milk”. In English it is often translated as milk caramel. Its taste is similar to traditional caramel, but since it is prepared with milk, it has a slightly different taste. Dulce de leche is widely used in Latin America and served with desserts, pastries, but also along cheese or as sweetener for coffee.

Selbstgemachte dulce de lecheFunnily enough, almost every Latin American country has a different name for this milk caramel. Dulce de leche is probably the most common one and used in Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolovia and Central America. It is commonly known as arequipe in Venezuela and Colombia, whereas Peru and Ecuador called it manjar. Since I was born in Uruguay and this is the most used name, I will calle it dulce de leche throughout this blog post.

Selbstgemachte dulce de lecheIn the below “recipe” I am going to teach you how to make dulce de leche at home. Unfortunately, dulce de leche is not really sold in Germany. Only very big supermarkets have it, but it is not that easy to find. For that reason I have started making my own. If you also find it hard to find in your country, look no further and just make your own.

Selbstgemachte dulce de lecheThere are many ways of making dulce de leche. The most traditional one and the one I grew up with is heating milk with sugar and baking soda and letting it simmer for hours until you get this creamy and caramel consistency. I am not going to lie, my below version also takes a few hours. However, since I just place cans of sweetened condense milk in water, you don’t have to worry about burning anything or having to stir the milk mix. Instead you can prepare a large chunk of cans and can use them even after months if left unopened. I find this method the most convenient for me.

I hope you don’t get scared due to the fact that it takes a while to prepare dulce de leche and as always I am happy to hear back from you should you try it!

Homemade dulce de leche

Serves: 4 cans of 397 grams of sweetened condense milk
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hrs to 3 hrs of cooking


  • 4 cans of 397 grams of sweetened condense milk, be sure that it is sweetened!



Place the four cans in a large pot and fill with water almost to the rim. Bring water to boil. Boil on medium heat for a total of 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on how dark you want your dulce de leche to be. I like mine on the lighter side, the pictures so dulce de leche prepared for 2 1/2 hours. Turn the cans upside down every half hour and be sure that the cans are as much covered in water as possible. I usually set an alarm. If needed, add warm water and continue boiling. Let cool off before opening as otherwise the cans may explode.


If stored unopened, dulce de leche keeps for half a year or longer. Once opened, be sure to use within two weeks and keep chilled.

Recipes with dulce de leche

My favorite cookie from Uruguay: Alfajores with dulce de leche filling

Above is the version with chocolate, below with vanilla:

Klassische Alfajores aus UruguayPeach layer cake with dulce de leche from Uruguay

Uruguays Version einer Pfirsichtorte (postre chajá)Chocotorta from Argentina, chocolate cookie are filled with dulce de leche and cream cheese

Chocotorta aus Argentinien

Coffee macarons with dulce de leche filling

Kaffee-Macarons mit dulce de lechePuff pastry with custard and dulce de leche from Colombia

Milhojas aus KolumbienColombian yeast rings with dulce de leche filling

Roscónes: Süßes Hefebrot aus Kolumbien mit Karamellcreme

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  • Reply
    Tuesday May 21st, 2019 at 11:50 PM

    Muss ich unbedingt mal ausprobieren *lecker – lecker* danke schon mal fürs Rezept!! LG, Mona

    • Reply
      Wednesday May 22nd, 2019 at 06:41 AM

      Liebe Ramona, man braucht nur etwas Zeit, aber ansonsten wirklich einfach!

  • Reply
    Friday December 25th, 2020 at 08:31 AM

    Hi Jenny, toll deine Tipps und Rezepte!
    Habe Dulce de Leche in unserem Edeka entdeckt bei den Russischen Spezialitäten, denn in der russischen Küche wird auch viel gesüßte Kondensmilch verwendet.
    Die Dulce de Leche ist eingedost und kostet 1.99 / 250ml… Marke weiß ich jetzt nicht mehr..

    • Reply
      Friday December 25th, 2020 at 09:22 AM

      Danke für die Info!

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