Dulce de Leche is a thick caramel sauce made of milk and sugar. Ordinarily, caramel and dulce de leche can be used interchangeably. It would be useful to remember though, that dulce de leche translates to “sweet milk” while caramel translates to “burnt sugar”.

As their translations suggest, caramel is made by heating or burning sugar until it turns brown. You can transform this into a sauce by adding milk and butter. On the other hand, dulce de leche is usually made by heating sweetened condensed milk. Since the sweetened condensed milk contains more sugar than milk, heating the sweetened condensed milk turns the mixture brown. It comes out thicker and heavier than caramel sauce.

Dulce de Leche has many uses. You can swirl it on top of brownies, add it to your thumbprint cookies, or use it as a filling to your cake. Heck, you can even eat it on its own! My mother-in-law adds baking soda to it to make it chewier and uses it as a filling for alfajores biscuits! In another post, I detailed how it can be used as a filling for Banoffee Pie.

In cities like Dubai, I’ve seen Dulce de Leche sold in the supermarkets. I believe Nestle sells “Caramel” in cans for 9 AED. In the Philippines, Dulce de Leche is harder to come by. Some baking supply stores sell it in bottles but their location might not always be convenient for the home baker. It would be much more convenient and cheaper to just buy a can of sweetened condensed milk from your nearby grocery.

In this post, I will detail how to make Dulce de Leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk. It’s a simple procedure but it requires four hours of patience. To make your time worthwhile, I suggest using 4 to 6 cans of condensed milk at a time, assuming you have a large enough pot.

Use 4 to 6 cans of sweetened condensed milk of any brand of choice. Personally, we prefer Milk Maid and Nestle.

Dulce de Leche

Ready In 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 320 kcal


  • 397 g (1 can)  condensed milk


  • Peel the paper labels of the sweetened condensed milk.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, place the cans into the pot using tongs or a large spoon. Make sure that the cans are completely submerged into the water.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and let it sit there for four hours. Check every 30 mins to make sure that the water level remains above the cans.
  • Once finished, remove the cans from the water and let it cool. Do not attempt to open the cans while it’s hot to avoid the risk of pressurized hot caramel to spray.
  • When cool, open the can of dulce de leche and enjoy! Any leftover may be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. Unopened cans of dulce de leche can be kept at room temperature for 3 months.
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