How to make homemade Dulce de Leche or Confiture de Lait

Confiture de Lait - Dulce de Leche

I found myself with a lot of milk leftover this last week. We usually use up our weekly supply of raw milk from our cow share (from the lovely Nutmeg the Normande cow), but somehow we ended the week with nearly half a gallon of milk in the fridge still. Not wanting to throw it out to make room for the new supply – what a waste of a beautiful product it would have been – I decided to do something about it.

I’ve been wanting to try my hands at Dulce de Leche – the gloriously sweet, gooey, creamy caramelized milk from Latin America – so this seemed a fortuitous moment. Unfortunately, most Dulce de Leche recipes I googled gave instructions for making “homemade” Dulce de Leche from store-bought canned Condensed Milk. How that became “homemade” I’m not entirely sure. Even my dear friend David L. had his own Sandra Lee moment.

I needed to find one that uses whole milk so I turned to a different source. There is a similar product in French cooking called Confiture de Lait, or simply milk jam in English. There are plenty of Confiture de Lait recipes, calling for different proportion of milk and sugar, some call for using vanilla, or even the addition of rum.

A little confused, I had to figure one out for myself. Many recipes I saw add a whopping 500 grams of sugar to merely a litre of milk – that’s only a quarter of a gallon or just four pints. That’s just crazy. I didn’t want to end up with caramelized sugar with a hint of milk. I wanted to preserve the creamy deliciousness of Nutmeg’s milk, so I used only half that amount. I know I’d have to cook it longer to compensate for the missing sugar and to reduce the milk to the proper texture. I also knew I’d add a little salt, not to make it salty but just enough to round out the sweetness.

My experiment turned out beautifully, as you could see in the picture above. I wish you could taste it as well. Oh, wait, you could, you just have to follow to recipe and make it yourself!

Confiture de Lait – Dulce de Leche

2 litres of whole milk (1/2 gallon)
500g sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 vanilla pods (optional*)

Add milk, sugar, and salt into a pot large enough that there are a few inches between the level of the milk and the top of the pot. Cut the vanilla pods lengthwise, scrape the seeds from the pods and add everything into the pot. Turn the heat to medium high, whisk or stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a full boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, and continue to cook, uncovered, for 3 hours. When in doubt, turn the heat lower. If the heat is too high your milk will boil over and develop a rough skin on top, which won’t dissolve no matter how much you whisk later. Whereas when the heat is too low you’ll just have to cook it longer, no harm done.

Check the consistency of your confiture at about 2.5 hours. The consistency you are looking for is a loose caramel. (The confiture will thickens a bit after it cools.) This batch took just over three hours to reach the consistency I like. When it gets there, remove the vanilla pods, whisk the confiture until smooth. Pour into small jars and let cool. When the confiture cools down completely, put the lid on the jars and keep in the fridge.

Don’t ask me how long it keeps. I have no idea. I’m sure it’ll all be gone before it goes bad anyhow.

*The classic Delce de Leche doesn’t have vanilla in it, but the classic Confiture de Lait does. I adore the beautiful flecks of vanilla in my confiture and love the aroma it adds to it. Whether you add it to yours is entirely up to you.

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  • Pille

    Looks and sounds wonderful, Pim! We often end up with too much milk ourselves, so this would be a great way to use the milk. Thanks!
    Pim says…
    It’s a wonderful way to use up the milk. It would be heartbreaking for me to throw away Nutmeg’s delicious milk.

  • Bev

    Just stumbled onto your blog, must say love it! I havde seen a few recipes I think I will try,and if I do will credit you for.
    Bev x
    Pim says…
    Thanks, please do try and let me know how it goes.

  • Maria

    In Cuba the thing made with canned condensed milk is called “fanguito” (that would be “mud” in English…) and the thing made with fresh milk is called “dulce de leche”. My husband is Cuban and loves milk and sugar in all kinds of combinations. He swears that they are completely different things!
    The “dulce de leche” is normally made with milk that has has gone slightly bad and starts to separate when heated. An old lady who made fabulous “dulce de leche” told me about her recipe: “You just boil the separated milk without a lid for a very long time…with a little bit of lemon zest and some sugar. And don’t stir too much!” When asked how long the milk should boil she answered: “From morning until the evening.”
    Hers turns out very dark in color, thick like toffee and with crunchy caramelized crystals in it. It is sooo sweet I always give my husband half my ration.
    Pim says…
    Thanks Maria for sharing this. Fanguito is a very cute name. I’m with your Cuban sweetheart. I love milk and sugar in practically any combination!

  • Kate Hill

    mmmmmm. Pim, I just returned from lunch at M. Bras at the top of the world in the Aveyron with a jar of confiture de lait from his kitchen. Whew, now I can eat it all up at once knowing that I have a good recipe to replace it. Of course, getting those Aubrac cows in the back of my car won’t be easy!
    Pim says…
    I love love love love that confiture. Breakfast at Michel Bras is almost better than dinner!
    You have those gorgeous Blonde d’Aquitaine near you. How’s their milk?

  • David

    Silly girl…don’t you know I do it both ways??
    ; )
    Pim says…
    Oh trust me I do darling. ;-)

  • Antti

    A tip I picked up from Good Eats is to add a little baking soda into the mix. Without this I have trouble keeping the stuff from separating while boiling, but with a tad of soda it’s silky smooth when finished. Probably depends on the milk you start with, though.
    Pim says…
    That’s a great suggestion. I’m going to have to try it.

  • GG Mora

    In addition to preventing separation, baking soda causes the dulce de leche to darken somewhat, so you get more of a rich caramel color. Also, milks with a higher protein content are less apt to separate (and make a more luscious product). Winter milk has a higher protein content than summer, Jersey cow’s milk has more protein than Holstein’s, and sheep’s milk has the highest protein content of the Big 3 (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s). I’ve been making my dulce de leche with a 2:1 blend of Jersey milk:sheep’s milk, and the results are the finest of any I’ve made. (Dulce de leche is one of the staples of my jam business; I make upwards of 100 jars a year.)
    Pim says…
    I haven’t heard of baking soda in dulce de leche. Thanks for the tips, GG.

  • GG Mora

    Oh, and P.S., Pim: have you tried making yoghurt with Nutmeg’s milk? I bet it would be wonderful!
    Pim says…
    Not yet, but have been meaning to. Jean gave me some Kefir starter, which I still haven’t used!

  • Jean

    I am lucky enough to have tasted a sample of Pim’s confiture. It is delicious! The creamy texture is better than any dulce de leche I have ever had.
    GG Mora–the combination of sheep’s milk and Jersey milk sounds like a wonderful idea.
    Pim says…
    Thanks Jean. I didn’t do much, it’s your Nutmeg who did most of the job! How does Bob like it?

  • Casey

    Pim, I swear you have the greatest collection of elegant little containers I’ve ever seen! Your cabinets must be a treasure trove.
    Pim says…
    Shop at Ikea… ;-)

  • PlazaJen

    Yes, I echo Casey’s note – I just emailed my husband (Chief Canner in our home)”Where does she get those JARS?”
    However, everything you put in said jars looks delicious. I have four posts kept as “new” (this one included) in bloglines because I like to visit them and salivate. :)
    Pim says…
    I’m afraid these jars are not great for actually preserving stuff. They have plastic lids and don’t seal tight. They are just fine for something i know I’d use up quickly like this though.
    …and they are from Ikea, don’t tell anyone!

  • kayenne

    oooooooooh… i’ve been having my share of dulce de leche(sorry, canned condensed milk) when i played with a version of leite’s Alfajores for a client. leftover dulce de leche went into my morning coffee, while my brother and sister enjoyed it by the spoonful.
    i can’t wait to try your from-scratch version as soon as i get some raw carabao(water buffalo) milk from the market! i wonder if this will work with soymilk?
    Pim says…
    Thanks for the link. I’m going to try Alfajores soon. I’ve never tried making it with soy milk, let me know how it goes if you try.

  • kayenne

    btw, i pressure-cooked the cans(well-submerged in water, at least an inch over) for about 30 minutes. it seems to have done the trick as well as 3 hours stove-top.
    lemme echo the above… lovely jars…!
    Pim says…
    I’m afraid of pressure cooker. I really am. I have a vision of it exploding in my face every time I go near one.

  • faustianbargain

    i agree re baking soda. i make mine in the slow cooker…it needs a quick whizz with the stick blender thingy afterward.
    in mexico, they use i use full cream cow’s milk and goat’s milk. i use cream and cow’s milk. in india, i used to make it with buffalo milk.(which makes me want to get buffalo meat in the states..why not the milk?)..but the consistency is more cakey than confiture. we call it palgova/thiratipaal. i think it’s the only indian milk dessert in which i dont care to use cardamom. and we use a lot less sugar as well. it’s just milk and sugar. a lot less sugar because the milk is boiled without the sugar first…by the time it cooks down, the sugars of the milk has caramelised. the sugar is added at about half the cooking time.
    in some parts of south america(and oddly, in one town /village in mexico whose name escapes my memory at this time) they use rice flour to thicken.
    i like how you refer to nutmeg by her name instead of ‘the cow’. our’s was called lakshmi. she had beautiful eyes.
    Pim says…
    Nice tips, thanks. Have you got a picture of Lashmi? I’d love to “meet” her.

  • faustianbargain

    p.s. sorry..flaky this morning..second sentence, second paragraph..should read ..”i use full cream cow’s milk and goat’s milk”..gah!
    Pim says…

  • Katie

    Faustianbargain, buffalo milk comes from water buffalo while buffalo meat comes from bison.
    Pim, I agree with everyone here about the jars; I think my desire to taste your confiture is due in large part to how darned pretty it looks.
    Pim says…
    They are from Ikea. Cute and cheap! They’re not great for actual preserves though. They have plastic lids and don’t seal tight. But for something that I will use up quickly like these confiture they are just fine, and cute!

  • Chubbypanda

    Sandra Lee is pure evil. I’ll need to make lots of your confiture to keep her away. =)
    Pim says…
    Yes, this is good evil thwarting confiture.

  • Chez Denise et Laudalino

    What a great idea, I am always looking for something to do with extra milk, as well! By the way … where did you get those cute jars???
    Pim says…
    The jars are from Ikea!

  • faustianbargain

    katie, thanks for that bit of info! altho’ they could just call it bison meat? one learns something new everyday! thanks.

  • Nan

    I guess you could do this with goat’s milk, too? I would probably have a vastly different taste. My family always has tons of leftover goat milk and is looking for new ways to get rid of it!
    Pim says…
    Yes. I think it’s called Cajeta in Mexico. I love it, though sometimes I found it a little too, well, goaty. But when I’m in the mood for it it’s great.

  • The Corkdork

    Have you made Indian Paneer with this raw milk? It’s super easy (I use the recipe in the original Julie Sahni book, Classic Indian Cooking. Using lemon juice makes an extra soft, nice paneer that you can use tossed into ginger stir-fried spicy spinach for an easy Saag Paneer…way better than most Indian restaurants.
    Pim says…
    No, I’ve never tried. I love paneer, saag paneer especially. I will have to try it. Thanks for the tips.

  • B.

    For those among us who can’t have delicious moo moo milk, I make “dulce sin leche” with the best soymilk I can get my hands on (homemade if I have the time!). I use equal parts “milk” and sugar, usually brown or turbinado, with salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of freshly ground ancho chile. It’s not quite as unctuous as real dulce de leche, even though I cook mine down a LOT more than you did yours, but it works for lactose intolerant and vegan milk jam lovers. :)
    Pim says…
    That’s a very good tip, thank you.

  • R

    Great photo! Can’t wait to try this.
    Pim says…
    Do try.

  • Charlotte

    I have some questions. Can you make this with pasteurized milk?
    What do you do with it? I love it in ice cream but otherwise I don’t know what to do with it (well, eat it with a spoon straight out of the jar, I know).
    Pim says…
    I’m sure you can. I don’t see why not.
    What do I do with it? What don’t I do with it is a better question. You can top ice cream with it. You can eat it on toast like a tartine. You can make Alfajores with it (which I am going to very soon – and will post recipe!)

  • the chocolate lady (eve)

    OMG, I need this to LIVE!
    B. I am very interested to learn of the soy version. I wonder if other alternate milks (rice, hemp) would work too.
    Pim says…
    You and me both. I’ve been living on this stuff. My next post will be a post confiture de lait diet.

  • faustianbargain

    i think nut milks will work better instead of soy or rice milk. of course, more nuts than water. it wont have the caramelisation effect because the milk sugars get caramelised and of course, the texture of dulce de leche will be slightly off.
    we can do two things..flaxseed as a binder to bring together everything..altho’ if the nuts are going to be made into a paste at home(needs to be a fine paste) i suppose this can be avoided..altho’ remember the nut oils and the solids will usually seperate. the second one is lecithin that will act as an emulsifier. i am not sure flaxseed can deal with high heat, so it will have to go much much later. and then the sugar etc.
    on the other hand…i’d also like to try mashed banana to add texture. hazelnut milk and banana ‘dulce de leche’ sounds plausible.
    Pim says…
    interesting ideas, thanks

  • Ann

    I’ve been wanting to try this for a while too. Thanks for the nudge! Yours looks fabulous!
    Pim says…

  • veron

    I’ve been wanting to make dulce de leche for some time now. I’m glad that this real version does not call for boiling a can of condensed milk.
    Pim says…

  • Marisa

    Pim: This looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try making it!
    @GG Mora: Any chance you could post some suggestions for canning it? I’m just getting started with canning, and this would make a fantastic Christmas gift…
    @Faustianbargain: How long do you usually let it go in the slow cooker? Do you use low or high heat?
    I’m way too excited about giving this recipe a try :-)
    Pim says…
    Thank you. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  • Amy

    One word: YUM!! I’m so glad you posted a recipe that uses milk and not sweetened condensed milk. Nutmeg is so cute! I want a cow too… :)
    Pim says…
    Nutmeg said thank you….er…I meant…moooo.

  • sam

    I don’t think using sugar from a packet is much more homemade than using condensed milk from a can.
    it takes 3 hours to cook those cans of condensed milk, don’t you know…???!!!
    Next time I wan’t to see you processing your own sugar cane, young lady.
    Pim says…
    I’ll do it if you join me darling.

  • faustianbargain

    marisa..cook on high and uncovered. re depends on your slowcooker. its something you’d know by checking the consistency at regular intervals. go by the smell. there is a thin line between caramelisation and burned food.
    one problem you’ll have is that there will be crusts along the edges of the slowcooker…you’d have to scrape them off. remember tho’ that it will thicken as it cools down. so, when you think you have achieved the dulce de leche consistency, add some full cream milk(warmed close to the temp of the dulce de leche) and use a stick blender to make it smoother. ‘finish’ on stovetop to make sure that the additional milk gets along fine with the finished dulce de leche. if there are still burnt crusts, strain it while still hot.
    (digressing a bit)
    personally speaking..if you are canning it and using it right away..and if there isnt any hardened/burnt crusts, i wouldnt bother with the blender to make it smooth. the little bits add texture..topped with pistachios/almonds/rose petals…saffron(its ok if its added towards the end..the heat will draw out the warm goodness) and a bit of powdered cardamom(again towards the end because this spice is kinda made of volatile oils), it’s a spoonable/toothsome dessert by itself!
    cooked to a cakey/fudgey consistency, it has longer shelf life and no need for canning etc because it has little to nil moisture. we call that palgova. the version in the previouos paragraph, i call the above payasam(south indian kheer) on steroids…of course..sans rice.
    paal payasam is a traditional south indian drinkable dessert. its rice pudding..only more sublime. a short cut is to use a pressure cooker and its cooked again to caramelise the milk sugars. its thinner in consistency. paal payasam is legendary and has some interesting mythology behind it..found ambalapuzha paal payasam link here in wikipedia…
    sorry for the longish comment and distraction..what can i say…i like dairy and sugar…
    Pim says…
    Mademoiselle Faust,
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Single Guy Chef

    I always loved the color of dulce de leche, and yours looked perfect. So what did you end up using them on? I’m curious to see your dulce in action! :)
    Pim says…
    My friend GG thinks it’s a little blond. I suppose gentlemen do prefer blonds. ;-)
    She suggested a bit of baking soda. I might just give it a try and see how I like it.

  • Marisa

    @Faustianbargain: Thank you so much for your suggestions! I will check back to let y’all know how my experiments turn out :-)

  • Vida

    Paul at gives his recipe from Argentina and he uses milk, sugar and baking soda. Hope that helps. Vida x

  • maria luisa

    Hi Pim.
    We love Dulce de Leche in Venezuela. It’s also called arequipe. Never heard of “fanguito”. It’s great in a spoon, by itself. Also in alfajores as you mentioned. We also eat it in “obleas”.
    Will mail you a recipe for making hard dulce de leche. It’s great.

  • maria luisa

    Hi Pim.
    We love Dulce de Leche in Venezuela. It’s also called arequipe. Never heard of “fanguito”. It’s great in a spoon, by itself. Also in alfajores as you mentioned. We also eat it in “obleas”.
    Will mail you a recipe for making hard dulce de leche. It’s great.

  • Kevin

    Really cool. Well done.

  • maria luisa

    I’m sure you will like…
    Papitas de dulce de leche
    2 Cups of powder milk
    1 can of condensed milk
    1 ½ cups of powder sugar
    Cloves for decorating
    Mix well powdered milk with condensed milk with a wooden spoon. Add little by little the sugar and mix with your hands until you have a soft mixture. Make small round balls and decorate each one with one clove.
    You can see the picture and the recipe in Spanish here:

  • Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes

    Hi Pim – I just read your post, the photo is beautiful. I had just posted about my favorite Peruvian cookies, Alfajores, made with dulce de leche. I love how the simplest of ingredients become something so sublime.

  • Diana

    Hi there I just found this site and lucky me. I always waited for someone from Domingican Replubic to bring me this Dulce de leche cramy bar. I realize now that’s its all over the world. I am openning a coffee shop and want to blend it with the coffee or add it separatly.Any one out there have any good coffee and dolce de leche drinks.

  • Ita

    Oh my, I am delighted to learn how to make dulce de leche without sweetened condensed milk. I gave up the dark rich Vietnamese coffee I absolutely loved because sweetened condensed milk contains trans fats. Gave up my favorite dessert of all time, key lime pie, for the same reason. Couldn’t even look at recipes using dulce de leche, etc etc. Trans fats do such serious damage to our bodies that even I, who have virtually no will power, had to pay attention. No more sweetened condensed milk. So you have put a smile on my face with this post. If I can make dulce de leche without sweetened condensed milk, well, hey! I can still pig out on sinfully rich desserts! May kill myself with sugar ;-) ), but can’t see that I could possibly eat enough sugar to even begin to compare to the destructive effect of trans fat activity in the body.

  • ber

    yours should be called confiture de leche. ;) and it sounds very good. i’ll try it someday. it looks thinner than the dulce de leche i know of, though.

  • elyse

    hm, i must have done something wrong. i tried this this afternoon, and i boiled it and then let it simmer very low for about 3 hours and it was still totally liquidy. i found another recipe that said after you boil it to leave it higher, so i turned it up and now it finally changed color, but its all lumpy and curdly. not sure what’s going on here but i think i can say this was a failure, just like the first time i tried making caramels. caramels must have it out for me, haha. any ideas what went wrong?

  • Angela Gonzalez

    Hola Pim,
    I love your site! I am from Colombia, over there we call it arequipe and we eat it right out of the jar with fresh cheese, also with guava paste. I am now a pastry student and for my final project I am planning to use dulce de leche, guava and make something special. Do you have a good recipe for alfajores?
    Thanks so much

  • AJ

    Hi Pim! Thanks so much.
    I have long loved the flavour of dulce de leche, but never met it in person. Made this up. Works well! Thank you for the recipe.
    Just a comment for other newbie Dulce cooks: I cooked it until it got foamy, and the colour of a roasted peanut butter. As it cooled, it became very taffy-like. Not spreadable at all. I should have been testing little drips on a cool spoon or plate on the way. Will know better next time, so I can learn the right moment to stop cooking.

  • Laura

    I LOVE confiture de lait!
    I have not had the real stuff since I bought it in France…by the case…and gained like 20 pounds…
    Well, I will try out your recipe-

  • sally

    You give the recipe for Dulce de Leche, but you listed the sugar in grams. I have no idea of how much that is. Can you tell me how much it is in ounces or cups?

  • Arianna

    I made this a few hours ago, following your recipe… I’ve already made something similar before, using cream instead of whole milk….But I think this one is definitely better. The other one was too sugary.
    Next time I prepare this, I’ll use a little bit more of salt! :P
    Thanxs for the recipe!

  • blessed_julie

    Fantastic!!! My hubbie and I have been searching for a caramel sauce recipe and after following your recipe to the “T” , with the suggested addition of 1/4 tsp baking soda, not only do both my son and husband think I’m I genius, I’m certain that I’m in love with your blog.
    Thank you so much!!!

  • Ron

    My mom is an Argentine and I grew up on dulce de leche (we just say “dulce”), the best one is “La Serenissima” from Argentina but this one follows the right instructions (but there’s no use of Vanila in Argentina).

  • Leah

    Hi, I just found your recipe, and made it the next day!
    it turned out beautifully, and soooo delicious!
    The only thing is that I couldnt find whole milk in my supermarket, so I used three percent and added a bit of cream.
    Now I just have to work on rationing myself so that I can still fit into my dress at my sisters wedding in two weeks!
    Thanks for posting the recipe!

  • Tammy

    I lived in Mexico for 11 years and LOVE cajeta, which is similar to dulce de leche. I have visited Colombia and had dulce de leche there. My family will be super excited that I have found a recipe!
    I am in Mongolia now and plan to try it out with yak milk. I’ll have to let you know how it goes!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  • Natalia

    I am going to make this for my wedding favors. I’m half Mexican and half Portuguese and my parents LOVE dulce de leche. I was trying to get a cake flavored like it! Those jars are beautiful! I want to jar this recipe in small 2oz to 4oz jars. If you have any places to order jars like that, please let me know. I have a wholesale to purchase.
    Thank you,

  • Magali

    Dulce de leche is from Argentina :D
    you might wanna try leaving it a bit more to cook… ths one has caramel colour… dulce de leche is mostly darker…
    the darkest and heaviest dulce de leche’s are confectioner’s dulce de leche… used for cakes and bakery… the lighter (in colour and consitency) dulce de leche’s are for every day “spooning” or bananas and dulce de leche (a very common simple dessert here in Argentina), hot cakes with hot dl or rolled crepés filled with dl :D try those and let me know! (

  • Sam

    Hi Pim , I was wanting to know if I halve this recipe would i still cook it for the same amount of time or halve that also?
    Thanks for posting…x

  • Joanna

    Thanks for the recipe — I have made the “condensed milk” homemade version, and it never tasted quite right. I looked up somebody that sold Gandara brand (the kind we always ate in Argentina) online and looked at the ingredient label — contains vanilla and baking soda. I used salt rather than baking soda, so I was glad to see your ingredient list. Yum. Now I can make it with organic milk and organic sugar …

  • Howard McEachron

    Some one mentioned buffalo milk here and buffalo meat. The difference I believe. . . In India, water buffalo milk is used, as is true for quality mozzarella . However in the US buffalo is most often a hybrid of bison, and cattle. Alternately known as beefalo. From the experience I have had with my friends that raise them they don’t give much milk. Also since they are raised for meet. I don’t know if anyone has used them as a dairy source

  • Ian

    Dulce de leche last 3 months outside from the frigde(non-opened can) and 1 month after open in the fridge..
    Does exist in a way that they found out in how to preserve the milk.

  • Otehlia Cassidy

    Just what I was looking for, and oh so much easier than I thought. I didn’t realize it would take quite this long, but it seems so worth it! I will give it a try. May be perfect to add to my apple tart.

  • Portia

    I make the Mexican version – Cajeta – with fresh milk from my goats. It can be preserved for shelf storage using the hot-water bath method – nice for those of us with pressure cooker phobias!


    il DULCE DE LECHE es ARGENTINO! creato per loro, sono stata in vacanze e lo ho assagiato de tute maniere! veramente exquisito come dicono gli Argentini

  • dana

    Hi Pim. I was looking for a milk jam recipe and found yours. With the limited understanding of dairy science, I found the addition of baking soda very interesting.
    This baking soda tip is new to me, but it makes an insane amount of sense. The caesins, or protiens in milk repel eachother, like the opposite end of a magnet. When you lower the PH, by adding acid, and heat the milk, they stop repelling eachother and start attracting eachother, and clump together. (like flipping the magnet over)
    You may have seen this if you have ever made a home made mock ricotta, paneer, or other farmers cheese. This is what happens when you add acid to hot milk to “break” it for farmers cheese, you get curds and whey. Milk, I have found, without having actually tested the PH, seems to be just acidic enough to lightly “break” when brought to boiling temperatures. (I have witnessed more than enough pots of simmering milk curdle)
    The baking soda, which is basic rather than acidic, would raise the PH, sort of neutralizing the milks natural acidity, and keeping the caesins from clumping, aka breaking or curdling, at boiling temperatures.
    My milk jams have always curdled and clumped. I think I am going to have to try again tomorrow with the baking soda, and with my dorky-dork PH strips from the wine making shop. :)

  • dana

    I meant to say “MY” limited understanding of dairy science.

  • julien

    for information, this confiture de lait can last one month.
    (also from what i heard you need to put the pot upside down once you have fill them up, don t ask me why)
    for more recipe of confiture de lait and penty of french recipe. for the french speaker or (ithink)
    nice blog

  • Tymek

    WOW, since I was a kid brought up in South Americka I did not try dulche de leche.
    And now BONG! I can do it @ home :)
    Thank you!

  • patricia button

    I signed in to comment on a post of some time ago (I just stumbled upon this blog by searching dulce de leche on Google,and enjoyed reading it. I notice the last post is november and it is april now, so will appreciate an answer if you receive this. My comment is in regard to a post that said condensed milk contains trans fat, and I can’t find any reference to transfats on the label of the cans in my house, in New York state. This person was writing from overseas, so I am wondering if

  • patricia button

    My cans of condensed milk in New York say nothing about trans fat in the contents, does any one else know differently?

  • Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

    Hmmm… I had the same experience.
    I tried it twice. Both times it came out lumpy and grainy. What did I do wrong?
    Perhaps it was the kind of milk I used? I used whole raw milk from grass fed cows.
    I may try again with baking soda — maybe that will help to keep it from curdling? I just don’t want to waste more milk!

  • Ceri

    I’ve just been approached to do my first ever wedding cake and the groom is Argentinian, so they want a rich chocolate cake with many layers of dulce de leche. For the sampling I decided to make my own and found this fantastic recipe and guide. Well after 5 hours of gentle cooking and a few shards of cinnamon thrown in the result was a thick, dark sweet dulce de leche! And at the tasting last night he said the only homemade dulce he’s ever had has been his mother’s… and that mine is as good if not better! They hired me on the spot and I’m now making the leap from home baker and cake designer to my first wedding cake!
    Thankyou, I can’t help but feel that your dulce de leche guide is a big part of helping me take the next step in setting up my business!

  • bill

    Dentist Seattle
    Looks Real Good!

  • Healthy Foods Blog

    Delightfully impressive!

  • Jen

    Hi, I know this is very old post, but I just came across it as I attempt to make dulce de leche for the first time. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got the lovely jars in the picture (if you even remember)? I was thinking that if my recipe turns out well, I might gift it to people for the holidays, and the jars in your picture would be perfect!


  • Pim

    The jars were actually from Ikea. I don’t know if you could still get them. They’re not proper canning jars, by the way. You’ll need to keep the dulce de leche in the fridge.

  • Jazfine

    My mother is from Puerto Rico so I was very excited to come across this recipe!! If I store in the regular canning jars, do I still need to refrigerate??

  • the kitchen nymph

    I wonder if I can make this in a slow cooker. I’m going to try… with goat milk!!!!!!

  • Donna Bardocz

    I wondered if a slowcooker would work for this recipe for a “hands off” approach?

  • SpiralGalaxy

    Thank You

  • Bobbyohtool

    Small quantities of milk in small pots will boil faster than the milk can scald so it’s doable. But unless you want scalded milk, Do NOT attempt to boil large quantities of milk. Be patient and just heat it on low and be patient. If you have a thermometer, keep it’s temperature lower than 82°C/180°F, which is the temperature at which milk scalds.

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    The cucumbers used for pickling should be free from bruises or blemishes and, ideally, should be canned within 24 hours of being picked. If you buy cucumbers from the store, use them the same day they are purchased. Do not use waxed cucumbers. Wax interferes with the curing process. Unfortunately, most store-bought cucumbers today are waxed to give them a shiny appearance.

  • Mj Etter

    Most recipes I found call for some baking soda, yours don’t. Does your finished product become more like a caramel instead of creamy?

  • Pim

    No, baking soda has nothing to do with the texture or consistency of the finished product. That has more to do with the amount of fat in the recipe and how long it’s cooked.

    What baking soda does is promote the maillard reaction, resulting in a darker color for the finished product. If you prefer your dulce de leche to be darker brown, then yes, add baking soda. Since I use vanilla beans in this recipe, I prefer the color a little more blond so the dark vanilla seeds are visible.

  • Shannon

    I just made this and there was no way in the world it would thicken – it was on the stove for more than 7 hours and it was sort of separating.

  • Pim

    Hmm..let’s see if we can troubleshoot this. If it’s separating it sounds like your milk curdled. That could be from a few reasons. Skim milk will curdle but full fat milk won’t. Did you use skim milk or even 2% milk? Also, older milk can also curdle, that’s because bacterial growth in the milk will lower the ph level, in that situation the casein protein in milk will curdle.

  • SD

    To make sure I have it right: you stir the milk UNTIL it comes to a full boil, but once it’s simmering on low you leave it alone? No stirring?

    Thank you! SD

  • PV

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m going to attempt this soon. Quick question: Does baking soda make it sweeter as well as darker? I’m assuming those two qualities go hand in hand because of the caramelization of the sugar … but I’m no expert so I’d love your input. I’d also like to know how much baking soda you’d recommend for this recipe.
    Thanks again.
    - PV



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  • Dcfrazier

    I’d like to make a hard dulce de leche.  What’s the secret?

  • Bina

    If you add sugar right at the beginning it will take longer for the milk to thicken as sugar releases water as it melts. What one needs to do is to cook the milk on its own till it reduces to about 50% of the original volume and only then add the sugar. Indian Kheer and Halwa  recipes all call for reduced milk and that’s how its done there 

  • Tifarac

    I tried this sauce before I found your website (unfortunately)…
    Here are the ingredients I used: Cream (almost 200ml), sugar (8 tablespoons), and about 20g of unsalted butter, it was going very well, and I got a creamy consistency just like in the picture, but tried to go on and cook it little more to try to have that brown color and thickness we usually get when we make dulce de leche with condesed milk :)
    Result: I got a paste that’s rough and not smooth at all like if someone pour flour in it, wasn’t homogeneous! Pffff waste of money and time.
    Thanks for this recipe, it’ll help people avoid any similar mistakes. And the vanilla is just a right and tasty addition!

    Just one question please: Why use salt?

  • Trevorgrace

    Thankyou so much for this.  I brought the recipe back 12 years ago from a wonderful stay in Argentina and now can’t find it anyway.  Can’t wait to try it!

  • lupita55

    I remember my grandma doing dulce de leche with milk that went sour.  Unless is a special Ecuadorian recipe, also when the milk was good she will add lemon to sour the milk. Will it work with your recipe?

  • Imran A Mahmood

    Hi ! i just tried this out and was wondering if the texture is usually grainy before you wisk it. I slow cooked it for around 3-3.5 hrs and its still grainy (as if there was flour in it !). the dulce de leche wont come together into a creamy thick syrupy texture. I used whole milk and its definitely not old – plenty of time left on the expiration date…any help appreciated !

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  • Chris Dalton

    Imran it sounds like your caramel seized up. This is caused by the sugar itself. The problem with sugar is that if a single crystal of sugar can cause your caramel to recrystallize, resulting in a grainy texture. Usually you can take a brush and dip it in water and brush the inside walls of the pot to wash the grains of sugar into the pot to cook, or just put a lid on the pot. I know when I was learning to make caramel sauce in school we were told to avoid stirring your caramel sauce to prevent it from seizing.


    I know this post is older but I wanted to let you know I referenced it in my blog. Today is world dulce de leche day. I love dulce de leche but even more I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you use raw milk and that you used it in this recipe. 

    At the moment I cannot do any baking, otherwise I would have made some myself and blogged about it. 

    Here is my post:

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  • Pim

    Thanks Suzy!

  • Pim

    No, baking soda will not make it sweeter.

  • Cdunwoodie

    I was very excited to make this and it just didn’t work for me. The milk reduced significantly but it never thickened. The color became wonderful but it was chunky not smooth and creamy. I used fresh ingredients also. :(

  • Esmacoram

    can i sub this with a product more readily available

  • Gnbk2cali

    Hi, just came across your recipe as I was looking around. True, the sweetened cindensed milk versions are not true homemade dulce de leche but as an easy alternative it does come out quite delicious that way. Staying true to the art of dulce de leche, I love that you used raw cows milk before it went bad as I’m sure this is the reason it was ever created. With a mixture of goat & cow’s milk, even more delicious. I just wanted to respond to the baking soda question.. Yes, it raisies the ph level and does aid in the browning of the final product. But, it does also affect the texture because it prevents the whey proteins from coagulating and becoming gritty. You can add the baking soda in after the sugar has dissolved in the milk mixture. It will foam up a little but that is normal. Also, I would recommend straining it after it’s done to get rid of any protein solids that may have formed then stir it til smooth. I love the addition of vanilla, I do that myself and I use fleur de sel because I love the delicate flavor of it with anything caramel. Great recipe :)

  • Mehrunnisa Yusuf

    hi there. i found your post incredibly helpful! just wish i had come across it prior to citrusandcandy whose recipe i used. here’s how i got along…

  • Sanakhan67

    Hi I was planning to make this but cannot find whole milk is there cream or 1/2 and 1/2 I can use?

  • Moonmeadow

     That is incorrect—full fat will curdle just as well as skim! Also, I doubt it’s the age of the milk, as I just had a batch of dulce de leche curdle, and the milk was full fat, and ten minutes old—fresh out of my Jersey cow.

  • Tango

    Mmm – proteins (including milk proteins) are very heat-sensitive. Given that Moodmeadow says the milk was fresh, perhaps the heat was too high.

  • Sarah Starnes

    I make this at home you can use whole milk from your local store. Pluse if u want you can use cinnnamon sticks instead of vanilla just use 2 to every 1/2 gallon

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