Dulce de Leche

When you can’t get off the couch, when anything but a horizontal position sends shooting pains to your feet and knees, when you are so angry about the pain that you get up, sure that you are better, and proven wrong, need to be carried back to bed by your boyfriend, when this happens, there’s not much do to.

You could start up your laptop and check and re-check all your favorite food blogs, hoping beyond reason that they will all create new posts every hour upon the hour so that you have something new to read. You could have your boyfriend bring you all your cookbooks, surround yourself with them on the couch, drop glistening tears on the shiny pages which tease and taunt you with their lovely recipes that require standing, and good health, and therefore you cannot make. You could watch the Food Network and “Guy’s Big Bite” until you want to pluck every bleached blond hair from his ridiculous head. Then perhaps Barefoot Contessa will come on, and your boyfriend could walk in on you in the living room, your face tear-streaked and a whimpering smile on your face, and you could explain to him that the love between Ina and Jeffrey holds no bounds. You could go uninhibitedly mad.

Or, you could cook something that involves no more than a quick detour into the kitchen during those few bathroom breaks that involve you getting off the couch. You could make Dulce de Leche!

I’ve been wanting to make dulce de leche for some time now, but put it off for being too time-consuming. Time-consuming, now, is exactly what I want. So the other day I got up, poured some milk and sugar into a pot, brought it up to a quick boil, and then down to a low-simmer, and sat back down. The hours that passed after that were just a tad less annoying and a bit happier because I knew I had a pot of milk and sugar that would soon become velvety, warm, buttery caramel. Even though it’s really pathetic that a pot of milk on the stove was the funnest activity I’ve had in days, at least my hurting back was good for something—now I have a big jar of dulce de leche and Jim bought us a spiced apple tart to go with it. And I’m going to eat as much as I please.


Dulce de Leche

makes almost a pint


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ΒΌ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour milk, vanilla, and sugar into a pot over medium-high heat (make sure the pot is big enough so that milk won’t spill over the sides when it boils). Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Turn heat down and slightly simmer over very low heat for about 2.5 to 3 hours. Check the mixture every once in a while to make sure it isn’t simmering too much. (I jarred mine at about 2.5 hours.) When done, stir until smooth and pour dulce de leche into jars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

32 thoughts on “Dulce de Leche”

  1. Your dulce de leche looks better than our first attempt at making it. A little too thin. You should try making ice cream with it, it’s delish! That’s another thing that doesn’t require a lot of supervision.

    Hope your recovery moves quickly.

  2. Thanks! I think I have a herniated disc in my back (I’m getting an MRI later this week) so I have a few more days at least in bed. 😦 I bought a bunch of new cookbooks to read and drool over in the meantime though.

  3. The way we make Dulce de Leche in my house (good old’ Latin family) is by boiling a sealed can of sweetened condensed milk for 2 hours. Make sure there is always water in the pot your are using to boil the can… otherwise it can explode (it happened once to us… not a pretty picture).
    The results are amazing… Really thick, dark dulce de leche.
    Ill try your recipe, the vanilla definitely adds a twist to it.

  4. Dulce de leche is great to use as a filling for sugar cookies. That is, if you have enough left after eating it by the spoonful. πŸ™‚ It’s also great to swirl into a pan of brownies.

    Hope your recovery is quick!

  5. That looks so good right now for my sugar craving. :p I’m afraid I could finish that in one sitting. Haha.

    Have you ever tried it using 2% milk? Just wondering if that’s possible.

  6. I felt pretty close to that way when I had my wisdom teeth out, loopy and emotional and sad because I couldn’t eat anything. Congratulations for making the best of it and I hope you feel better soon.

  7. I just made my second batch of DDL last week… we’re addicted! Yours looks yummy!

    Hope the back heals up soon.

  8. That looks so good. I have so many other things to make right now but that has to go on the list! Get better soon. We have major injuries as well so I can sympathize with you…let us know how the MRI turns out!

  9. Have you ever made a bar of dulce de leche?
    I’m going to try it and share with you. I grew up eating barritas de dulce de leche in Miami…And talk about flan, which is how I came across your blog, I made an espresso one, TO DIE FOR!!!


  10. I made a beautiful dulce de leche cake this weekend… but ran out of the fancy jarred type… I will make this easy recipe promptly. How long do you think it will store?

  11. How long does this last when refridgerated? (If i don’t eat it all in one sitting!)

    Also Jennie – Do you simmer the whole bean in the milk or just scrape the seeds and discard/save the shell?


  12. Amanda- You could eat it by the spoonful, frost cupcakes with it, fill cakes with it, top pie with it, drip over fruit, oh the list goes on and on, but truthfully, you may not have much left after licking it up with a spoon!

    Chez- Thank you! I love when fellow DB’s come onto the site!! πŸ™‚

    Gil- I’ve heard about the sweetened condensed milk way but have to admit I’m a bit too scared! I mean, I’m *already* injured here!! πŸ˜€

    Angel- Oh, dulce de leche brownies sound *so* good!!

    Joy- I haven’t tried 2% milk yet, but I’m betting it would be fine (maybe not as good.) Next time I buy 2% I’ll try it out and let you know (or if you try it first make sure to give me the results!) πŸ™‚

    Katerina- Thanks, it’s an emotional rollercoaster, especially when you are on pain-killers. But I’m slowly but surely getting better.

    Culino- Thanks, I hope so too!! πŸ™‚

    Judy- Thank you, injuries suck don’t they? I’ll let you know about the MRI—crossing my fingers that it’s nothing but muscle strain.

    Thank you Cindy!

    Flanboyant- I *love* your name!! And your flan looks fabulous on your site! A dulce de leche bar!?! That sounds too good to be true!!

    Carolien- I can’t wait to buy some ice cream and try it on top!

    Jennie- I will have to try the vanilla bean. I normally don’t have them in my pantry but next time I’ll make sure to buy one, I’m sure it’s divine!

    Maggie- Oh, dulce de leche cake sounds great, I’m going to attempt one when I get a bit better. Any tips?

    Stef- Thanks! And thanks for dropping by the blog! πŸ™‚

  13. Lauren and Maggie (forget to answer your Q before Maggie, sorry!)-

    I’ve heard it will last a little over a month in the fridge. And I *think* that you would scrape out the vanilla and then put the empty pod and all the scrapings in the milk to simmer. When it’s done, remove the pod.

  14. Visiting after a while. Sorry to hear abt the accident and thank heavens it was not worse. Hope you recover soon and nothing could be better than knowing you have Dulce de leche… love it.

  15. Thanks for *love* ing the name… it was a no brainer for me. As much as I love to eat flan it made sense to me. Living in ATL, there are few stores that sell, if any, those bars I’m telling you about. And like Gil said, we Latins do with sweetened condensed milk. yummy.

    glad i found your blog.


  16. I adore this stuff and, due to my ridiculous lack of self control, just can’t make it. I’d eat the lot in a day. πŸ™‚
    Love the new layout, btw.

  17. Your dulce de leche looks delicious! I’ve tried mine with a fresh vanilla bean. Brings out lots of yummy vanilla flavor, and those lovely brown specs too!

    Feel better soon!

  18. Oh, I LOOOOVE Dulce de Leche, but have thus far only made it the cheater’s way with condensed milk. This is inspiring, and at least you can have something sweet in spite of your pain! Hope you feel better soon.

  19. I’m so sorry for the time on the couch – I’m sure my husband feels your pain because he is down with a knee injury.

    I’ve never made dulce de leche from scratch like this – just the kind where you boil a can on sweetened condensed milk. I need to try this way out!

  20. There is some irony in reading this. I just injured my back this morning and have been trapped in bed making blog posts – among other things, about Toscanini’s in Cambridge, MA, which makes an incredible dulce de leche ice cream. Someone said dulce de leche wasn’t hard to make, and pointed me at your post. Ha!

  21. Ahhh…a new version. I just made some with condense milk that is cooked in the unopened can if you can believe it. And Ina and Jeffrey make me smile.

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