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Slow-Cooker Dulce de Leche

By Yvette Marquez
Created January 10, 2017
Break out your slow cooker and make your own dulce de leche at home! It’s incredibly easy to do and makes a fantastic homemade gift.
DIY Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Literally translated, dulce de leche means “candy of milk.” This creamy, sweet spread, comprised of milk and sugar that’s been slowly cooked until the sugars caramelize, is smooth and silky, with a look and feel akin to caramel, but with a flavor that’s more complex, and a sweetness that’s far less overwhelming. Because the slow and low cooking method coaxes the flavors from the milk and sugar, it’s an ideal project for your trusty slow cooker. Yes, you can purchase cans of pre-made dulce de leche at the grocery store, but it’s is so simple to make yourself, and makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, teachers or anyone else who would appreciate a little something sweet this holiday season. 

To make this delicious Mexican caramel in your slow cooker all you need is one ingredient: sweetened condensed milk. This method requires no stirring and is virtually mess-free. Start by gathering six, four-ounce glass preserving jars with lids and bands, and two 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk.

empty small mason jars

Start by washing your preserving jars, screw bands and lids with hot soapy water; rinse well with warm water. Open the cans and pour the sweetened condensed milk into the jars. The two cans should fill six small jars.

pouring sweetened condensed milk in jars

Place the lids on the jars and screw on the ring tops tightly. Place the jars in the slow cooker and fill with hot water so one-inch of water covers the tops of the jars. Cook on low for 10 hours.

covered jars in slow cooker

After 10 hours, remove the jars with tongs. Be careful—it’ll be hot!

removing cooked jars with tongs

Place the jars on a dish towel until they cool down to room temperature. Gently remove the ring, and wipe off any water or rust that may have accumulated.

DIY Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Store your cooked and cooled dulce de leche in the fridge for up to four weeks. To reheat, place jar in a saucepan filled with water half-way up the jar and bring to simmer.

DIY Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Add a tag and some ribbon or twine, and your homemade gift is complete. Sweet! 

Planning on keeping a jar for your pantry? Put your freshly made dulce de leche to use in any of these top-rated recipes: