Learn how to make Dulce de Leche two different ways! The classic version is made from milk, sugar and baking soda while the easy version is made with a simple can of sweetened condensed milk. Both produce a delicious and rich caramel-like sauce that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful!
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Do you ever get a craving for a decadent and comforting dessert that tastes so rich and delicious, you can’t wait to put it on everything? Then you need some dulce de leche!
This caramel-like sauce is so versatile, it can be used as a sauce, a spread, eaten on its own, mixed in as a flavoring, and countless other ways.
What is dulce de leche?
Dulce de leche is a thickened caramel-like sauce that’s made with milk, sugar and sometimes flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. It’s prepared by slowly heating milk and sugar until the mixture caramelizes and thickens, turning it into a sauce that’s often referred to as Mexican caramel.
What’s the difference between dulce de leche and cajeta?
Dulce de leche is sometimes called cajeta because they’re very similar. Though they’re made the same exact way, cajeta uses goat’s milk, whereas dulce de leche uses cow’s milk. If your tummy is sensitive to cow’s milk, take a look at my cajeta recipe.
Dulce de Leche – 2 Ways
There are two ways to make dulce de leche:
- The classic version is made on the stovetop with five ingredients: milk, sugar, baking soda, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.
- The easy 1-ingredient version is made in the oven with one can of sweetened condensed milk.
Both versions are similar in flavor and color, but where they differ is the actual cooking method and time.
Making the Classic Version
To make the classic version, heat up some milk, sugar, and baking soda in a pot over medium-high heat. Once the mixture boils, reduce it to a simmer and cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it’s thickened and transformed into a beautiful golden brown color.
I like adding in some vanilla extract and a touch of ground cinnamon at the end for extra flavor, but that’s completely optional.
This method requires more attention and some stirring every now and then to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Making the Easy 1-Ingredient Version
To make the easy version, simply pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch baking dish like a glass pie plate and cover the top tightly with aluminum foil. Then place the pie plate into a larger dish like a roasting pan and fill up the pan with water until it reaches halfway up the pie plate.
This creates a water bath (or a bain-marie or baño-maría) that helps the sweetened condensed milk cook slowly and gently.
Bake this for 2 hours at 425°F and just set it and forget it. The longer it cooks, the darker and thicker it becomes.
Though this method takes a little longer than the classic method, it doesn’t require much attention once it’s in the oven.
Ways to enjoy dulce de leche
Besides eating it by the spoonful, here are some other ways to eat this amazing Mexican dessert!