Dulce de Leche


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    2½ cups

Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

Dulce de leche is a thick caramelized milk “jam,” and you should probably have some on hand for impromptu treats. You can warm it up and spoon it over cinnamon ice cream, spread a layer in the bottom of an apple pie before you bake it or drizzle it over a freeform galette just out of the oven, or just slather it still cold onto a toasted store-bought hot dog bun (no judgment here). It makes a great hostess gift, too, and will keep for quite a while in the refrigerator.


Method 1

  • ½ gallon (2 L) whole milk
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 small cinnamon stick (optional)


Put the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean, if using, in the slow cooker. Put the lid on slightly askew and cook on high for 12 to 20 hours (it really depends on your cooker), stirring occasionally, especially at the beginning (to dissolve the sugar as the milk heats) and the end (as it darkens on the bottom and edges). If using the vanilla bean or cinnamon, remove it when the milk has enough of its flavor for your taste (cinnamon especially can overwhelm the dulce de leche). When the mixture is a deep caramel color—it’ll be unevenly dark, and lumpy-looking, but that’s okay—it’s ready. Use an immersion blender to smooth it out, tipping the pot to submerge the head of the blender fully. If it’s lumpy or grainy, pass it through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl before it cools. Pour into clean canning jars or other containers, let cool, cover, and put in the refrigerator. The dulce de leche will keep for at least 2 weeks.

Method 2

  • 2 (14-ounce/397-g) cans sweetened condensed milk

Divide the sweetened condensed milk among three half-pint (240 ml) canning jars, put the lids and rings on, and set them in the slow cooker. Add enough water to cover the jars (you’ll have to fill the cooker almost to the top). Cover and cook on low for 16 to 20 hours, until the milk is a deep caramel color—lift a jar with a jar lifter or tongs with rubber bands wrapped around the ends to check. Remove the jars to the counter. The lids will likely have sealed; open them up and let the dulce de leche cool (and to break the seal—you don’t want an anaerobic/sealed-canning-jar environment here, because the dulce de leche is not acidic). Put the lids back on and put in the refrigerator. The dulce de leche will keep for at least 1 month.