Homemade Dulce de Leche - Rich Caramel Sauce

dulce de leche drizzled over cheesecake
DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
532 Calories
18g Fat
79g Carbs
16g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 1/2 cups
Amount per serving
Calories 532
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 69mg 23%
Sodium 495mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 79g 29%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 16g
Calcium 620mg 48%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Dulce de Leche (also known as manjar, manjar blanco, and arequipe), is widely adored all over South America. It's​ found in birthday cakes, ice cream, pastries, cookies, and more. Recipes vary by region, but the basic procedure is to boil milk and sugar until the mixture is a thick, golden caramel sauce. It's a slow process that is worth every minute.

It's easy to find commercially prepared dulce de leche, but homemade is much, much better. So get out a spoon, listen to the soccer match on the radio, and count how many times you hear "Goal!" before your dulce de leche is ready.


  • 1 14-ounce can of condensed milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 12 -ounce can of evaporated milk (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of salt (optional)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the evaporated milk, corn syrup, and condensed milk in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, baking soda, and a pinch of salt if desired. (Salt is not exactly traditional but helps intensify the flavor).

  2. Cook and stir over medium-low heat. The water will begin to evaporate as steam. Stir steadily so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Adjust the temperature so that the mixture stays just barely at a simmer.​

  3. The mixture will slowly begin to thicken and darken slightly in color. Keep stirring - this takes patience!

  4. Cook and stir until the mixture is making big slow bubbles and is very thick. Lift the spoon out of the pot and drizzle some of the caramel over the surface. If it forms a ribbon that does not disappear after 10 seconds or so, it is ready. Also, check by dragging the spoon along the bottom of the pot. You should be able to see the bottom of the pot for a few seconds before the thickened mixture closes in on itself and covers the bottom. The mixture will have been simmering for 30 to 45 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks, and stir in the vanilla.

  6. Let cool completely and serve.


Tip: If the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, you can quickly change to a fresh pan. If there are burnt pieces already mixed in, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the clean pot, and continue cooking and stirring.