One Ingredient and One Step: How to Make The Easiest Homemade Dulce de Leche

The recipe I’m featuring today is too easy not to try at home. I guarantee you will be amazed! Your loved ones are going to love this. You can use this to top ice cream, breads, cakes and rice cakes! Rice cakes?! Oh yes! For me, it is the perfect match for any rice cake like the round white and brown puto featured in the photos here.

I remember when I was younger, there was this peddler who roamed around our village selling kutsinta (brown sugar rice cake) who had the most brilliant idea of topping it with dulce de leche. It was a wonderful surprise for my taste buds. I always looked forward to that Manong coming by, hoping he’d put a little more of that creamy goodness every time. I was not really aware what it was called then but I vividly remembered the taste from the first bite.Dulce De LecheI also associated it with another sweet delicacy here in the Philippines called yema. It was probably while trying to make yema that I discovered how to make dulce de leche. I can’t remember the exact circumstances but it was one day that I was experimenting with some condensed milk and burnt some. I licked this brownish stuff on the ladle I used and BOOM! It was the taste of that kutsinta topping! It was a eureka moment for me. I went ahead and ‘burnt’ the rest of the sweetened milk and that was how I made my first dulce de leche by accident.

However, the method I am going to share with you here is much easier than that! You don’t even have to open the can of condensed milk, pour over a sauce pan and stir until caramelly brown. You can definitely do that as well, of course. The sauce pan method has more steps but it has one important advantage – observe what’s happening and stop cooking when the desired consistency or color has been reached. Nonetheless, I prefer the method I’m sharing here because it is significantly easier. You just have to be careful to avoid overcooking as this will result to a grainy or dried out dulce de leche. I know because I have done exactly that, haha! The dulce de leche I used for the picture is actually a little grainy because of this. I strained out the bigger grains so it will be smoother. I am sometimes struck by this need to lengthen the cooking process (or whipping process =p) just to ‘make it sure’. Dulce De LecheAt this point, I feel the need to differentiate between dulce de leche or creme caramel and caramel to appropriate your expectations for this recipe. They are both caramelized sugars but the former uses milk while the latter doesn’t. They are both very delicious but they taste differently. I like to pair them with different stuff. For example, I prefer dulce de leche with rice cakes and breads while I like caramel with ice cream and cakes. 

You only need one ingredient (condensed milk) and will do only one step (cook the can in boiling water). Please note that it is better to undercook than overcook in this particular recipe. If you see that your resulting dulce de leche has not reached your desired consistency or color after opening the can, you can just transfer to a sauce pan and continue to cook it.

PRICES & WHERE TO BUY INGREDIENTS (Philippines)? Find out here.

Easy Homemade Dulce de Leche
You only need one ingredient for this sweet treat. Use this for topping ice cream, cakes, breads and rice cakes. If you're like me, you can enjoy it on its own.
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Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
  1. Condensed Milk
  1. Place a can of condensed milk, standing up, in a big pot
  2. Fill the pot with water. The can should be completely submerged (about 2 inches below the water line)
  3. Cook over medium heat for about 2 hours and 30 minutes or a little less
  4. Add water as necessary, making sure that the can is always submerged in water
  5. Remove from the pot and let it cool before opening
  1. There are three different kinds of condensed milk in the market: Condensed Creamer (cheapest), Condensed Filled Milk and Condensed Full Cream Milk (most delicious). Choose according to your preference or consideration.
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