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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Making Dulce De Leche from Sweetened Condensed Milk

Pronounced, Dool-say De Leshay. It’s in Spanish and it means, milk caramel. You might have heard about it (U can't have missed it if u read my Dulce de Leche cake post) or you might have not. It’s not a common ingredient in the local baking scene.

So, how to make it? Few methods I’ve listed them here

Method (A)
Milk , sugar, baking soda and maybe some flavourings like vanilla or cinnamon.
1. Traditional simmering
2. Slow Cooker

Method (B)
Opened can of condensed milk:
1. Bake in oven:
2. Microwaving :
3. Double Boiler:

Unopened can of condensed milk.
-I don’t see how dangerous this as, as canning is also done with unopened jars/cans in heated in boiling water for an amount of time. Just don’t leave the pot dry and the heat on. Read:
1. Simmering a can of sweetened condensed milk for 2-3 hours
2. Pressure Cooker : cook a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk for 30-40 minutes, everywhere on the internet.
3. Simmering in slow cooker/crockpot:

I tried out method (C)1. Simmering the can unopened.
I’m not sure if this will work with Malaysian “palm oil based” sweetened creamers.. I might experiment making this with full cream evaporated milk and sugar next time, cos I don’t get these real milk goo everytime from Singapore.

Updated 7/3/12: There is Sweetened Condensed FILLED milk (take not it's not full cream, and it's partially made with palm oil) on the supermarket shelves in Malaysia (after this post came out). Comes in 3 brands, Teapot, Marigold and F&N. Results are acceptable, I've made DDL using these few times before, not as fragrant, but texture is there. Better than nothing, right?

My dear Malaysian friends, you can't find "FULL CREAM SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK" on the shelves anymore. There is Milkmaid, yes, but it's Sweetened Creamer. Please scold the government for price controls which forced the manufacturers to sell us palm kernel oil creamers. Palm kernel oil is not the same as palm oil. Palm oil is the oil from the mesocarp(the outer flesh), whereas palm kernel oil is from the "nut", just like coconut oil. Oh ya, non dairy topping creams are made using palm kernel oil too. I saw that on the labels. So, I do try to use dairy or buttercream now, unless I can't avoid it but use non dairy topping cream.

Actually I prefer the non High Calcium version of this milk. Having more added calcium to it gives it a metallic taste, just like any other Hi-Calcium drinks, something that I will avoid if possible. But since this milk is a gift from Lydia's Nanny, I have no choice lor. After making it into DDL, the metallic taste is not obvious anymore.

I put it in a pot, on an overturned steaming rack. Brought it to a boil (lid on) and lowered it to a simmer. I had the water 1.5 inches above the can. I simmered the can for almost 4 hours, cos I forgot about it. I was doing my blog. I was supposed to do it for 3 hours only.
Don't worry, my the pot didn't lose much water and there was still 1 cm of water over the can. As long as the pot didn't dry up, you'll be alright.

I let the can of milk cool down in the pot until the water is warm. Then I fished it out and let the can COOL COMPLETELY before opening it. Do not attempt to open a hot or warm can!!!!

Tadaah!!! Pretty caramelly goo... Taste so good. You can use it to spread on your toast or make something with it, like what I did with my Dulce de Leche Cake. I'll do something else later, stay tuned.

I read from the internet that the best Dulce De Leche are made from Goat’s Milk and.. they’re from Argentina. If only someone would send me some… I won’t mind if it’s from somewhere else other than Argentina , as long as it’s dulce de leche. Canned ones like Nestle are gladly welcomed too 
I’ll send u something in return.


  1. Oh.. Thanks for the nice description! It's very useful information. I must try to make it and use it for my baking. Thanks for sharing this great ideas!

  2. Wow...that looks awesome. Looks easy to make. If I make I think I'll make many tins to save on the bills. Gas here is so expensive.

  3. Kitchen Corner,
    Yeah, do try to make it. Hope to see that on your blog soon.

  4. MaryMoh,
    Yeah, u can do a few cans if u like. Just keep them unopened until you want to consume them.
    I can't think of other ways to eat this yet, so I only did 1 can, but actually I only have 1 can!!!

  5. Ah, i learnt something new today...
    thanks for explaining dengan panjang & lebar for that "leceh" thing, very interesting leh!

  6. Oh dear Wendy, I just made a batch of this dulce de leche yesterday! I'm using the bakig method and it came out a little lighter than yours actually. But nice! Which is better? The thicken one or the lighter one?

  7. I think my comment went missing again LOL! Anyway, I made a batch of this dulce de leche yesterday. I used the baking method and it turned out a little lighter(runny) than yours one. Pretty good though!

  8. Kristy,
    ACtually lighter or darker is ok. It's just ur liking. Darker is just thicker and taste stronger only.
    You used local sweetened creamer or u got urs from Singapore?

  9. Kristy,
    oh yes, If u keep your DDL overnight, let it cool off properly, it'll be thicker. I'm not sure if u're refering to the just out of oven thickness or cooled down thickness.

  10. I like to use sweetened condensed milk to make dulce de leche too, actually just made one yesterday for the Swiss roll. Just delicious!

  11. Wow, thanks for the info. I have it in my cook book - similar method but the can is punctured to release pressure but I don't understand how water did not enter into the can so dare not try. The English name is just simply toffee instead of leche. I have a recipe to make banana pie using this & hopefully I will make one day. Thanks Wendy, this is useful post.

  12. I have seen so many bloggers doing this, I have yet to get my hands on it. You make me want to try it out immediate, if for me, I will use lazy way, slow cooker, hehehe..

  13. Home Kreation,
    If you puncture the can, fill water 1 cm below the hole only. Do not cover the can with water. I've read, that if u puncture the hole, the caramelization will not be even.
    That pie should be a Banoffee pie :)

  14. Sonia,
    If u get yourself a can of real condensed milk, do try this out. Your favourite brand, F&N is not a real condensed milk but a creamer.
    If coffeemate and milkpowder makes no difference to you, then you may go ahead.

  15. Wow, this it totally new to me! I didn't know you can use this method to make DDL! Thanks so much for showing us how...looks easy too. Will try it out when I got the chance. ;)

  16. Honey Bee Sweets,
    Haha, it's actually everywhere on the internet.
    Yeah, do try it out and let me know.

  17. oh wow wow weeee...thanks for this recipe.I'm going to try's kind a simple..thanks again..u r a great cook!
    Do u hv any great recipe for a very fussy and choosy child?

  18. Doria,
    Just make sure your can of milk is not Sweetened Creamer. It's not the same thing.
    Sorry, but I don't know your child's preference. My Lydia now is fussy, and won't eat much meat, loves her veg and tofu. Every child has different preference.

    1. What will happen if sweetened creamer is used?

    2. What will happen if sweetened creamer is used?

  19. Loving your blog!!! Posting you up today!! Sending you a little Link Love!

  20. Forgot to answer your question, I'm a Taiping girl. Anyway, I'm trying this Dulce de Leche - boiling it now. But as you know there is only sweetened krimer around so I'm making do with. Should finish boiling in an hour time & hope it turns out ok.

  21. never see this kind of food before.

    look special for me.

  22. Home Kreation,
    If you don't have sweetened milk, u can subtitute with equal amounts in weight, evaporated milk and sugar. And cook it,or bake it. Taiping, eehhhh.. nearby la. Then I can go to your house for Raya :)

  23. Hello Wendy
    i found your blog from HomeKreation & decided to give this leceh Dulce a try. I must say, it wasnt leceh at all & its the best ceramel i've ever tasted. i pressure cooked it for 30 min & it came out just like yours. its soooooo yummy with bread. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


  24. Xan,
    Glad to hear about your success with leceh DDL :)
    Do come by more often.

  25. hi wendy, sy jumpe blog you from blog Sis Hana (

    dah try juga..:) but my DDL jadi so creamy lah..tak jadi half-solid like yours pun..:(

  26. CatlinaFly,
    Anda guna susu tin jenama apa? Beli kat Msia ke?
    Krimer pekat manis atau susu isian pekat manis??

    Kalau krimer manis, ianya tak jadi, sbb krimer bukan susu. Krimer manis bila direbus hanya tukar gelap, tapi tak pekat. AlongRoz dari HomeKreation.blogspot dah cuba dengan krimer, tu sbb saya confirm, memang tak jadi.

    Kalau susu isian (dulu dulu ada, lepas tu takde, dan kini dah kembali ada kat rak kedai), ianya pekat, tapi warnanya tak "matte" macam saya punya, ianya akan jadi macam gula melaka keputihan yang pekat giler.

    Jadi kalau beli susu kat Msia, yang paling elok cari Susu Isian Pekat Manis, ada 2 jenama sekarang, F&N dan Teko. Tapi ianya pun tidak akan dapat result macam saya. Ingat, jangan guna KRIMER Manis, tak sama ya!!!

    Ataupun, cari member kat Spore, belikan susu kat sana. Itu, susu pekat betul betul punya susu, bukan campuran dengan minyak sawit.

  27. wendy, sy pakai susu pekat manis F & N..memang sy cari susu pekat manis tu...agaknye kena masak lama sket kot baru pekat? :)..suka tgk kek yg u buat aising cream dulce ni..looks yummy!tapi sy tak pandai hias kek..i stick to brownies je lah nanti..tungguuuu!!

  28. Catlina Fly,
    Susu ISIAN pekat manis yea? Bukan krimer manis yea?

    Memang ia tidak mungkin jadi macam saya punya, sebab saya pakai susu pekat manis PENUH KRIM, beli dari Spore.

  29. Hi Wendy, I made this twice last week. Both unsuccessful and I even got my hand scalded.
    :( Anyway, a few questions before I try it the third time.

    Do I have to put the can in the water, bring water to a rolling boil, then lower the heat and cover with lid to simmer for 3 hours?



  30. EC,
    Yes, that's what you should do.
    May I know what did you mean by not being successful? Runny or not dark or what? The longer you simmer it the darker it will be. And please use the correct milk if you are from Malaysia.

    And why would you get your hand scalded? I never touched the hot water, neither was there any need to touch the hot water. YOu put the can in the cold pot with cold tap water. then birng it to boil and after 3 or 4 hours, turn it off and leave it in the pot overnight or you can pour off the water (please hold the handles) and leave it to cool down TOTALLY!!! So, why did you scald your hands???

    If you ever need to fish out the can of milk, please use a soup ladle and not your hands!!!! Gosh!!! You did not scald yourself once but twice... Gosh Gosh.

  31. Hi Wendy,

    My DDL was very runny and light brown in colour.

    In my first trial, I did it at 4am, put the can in the slow cooker, poured hot water into the pot and set to low. Went to sleep but couldn't because I was worried about the can.

    Went to kitchen 1-1/2 hour later, opened the can and poured condensed milk into a deep bowl. Tried to double boil it. Hot water splattered up when I put the bowl in. I was slightly scalded. I poured the condensed milk away because water got into it.

    The next morning, went to buy another can of condensed milk. Put the can in the slow cooker and when I poured hot water into the slow cooker, I was careless and I got scalded the second time. Rushed to the clinic and got treated immediately because it was very painful.

    I came home and rest a while, boil some water in a pot over a stove, put the can slowly into the pot, add some tap water into the pot and didn't bring to boil, just turn to the lowest heat and let simmer for 3 hours with the pot uncovered, adding cold water every 20 mins coz scared can will explode.

    DDL, real wonder Agentina cannot make it. *LOL*


  32. EC,
    It won't explode la. Do you know how canning is done? How Sardines are cooked? They are pressure cooked right in the sealed can. Sealed can that is!!!! The grooves on the can are not there for nothing.

    As long as there is water in the pot, it won't exceed 100C. And it won't explode. The temperature in the pot will only get past 100C when all the water evaporates.

    The reason why yours is runny and light brown, is because the low heat you used to bring the water to boil. It could've taken more than an hour to boil, and that is one hour wasted, you've only heated your cna of milk for 2 hours, that's after deducting the time to bring to boil. You need that boiling heat to do turn it to caramel, and the constant addition of cold water isn't doing it any good.

    If you are so worried about it exploding, why don't you just open up the can and bake it. I guarantee you 100% no explosion.

    Or bring your stove outside and boil your can there. Then even if it does explode, there won't be too bad a mess to clear.

    Just remember as long as there is water in the pot, it won't exceed 100C and it won't explode.

  33. Hi

    This really look and sound interesting. I had a silly question to ask... do i need to keep this in fridge? How long can this thing last?


  34. Ling,
    If the can is not opened, you can keep it until the can's expiry date.
    But if the can is opened, use it like your regular condensed milk, maybe within 2 weeks to a month and you can freeze the balance.

  35. Ling

    Failure.. hahaha
    I know where my mistakes is.... i must be reading while i am in dreamyland after taking my medi...

    mine was very runny but it tasted very good... due to the not boiling water.. i didn't cover it...and just let it simmer for 3hrs..

    HB suggested using it for his coffee... -_-" not to waste it..

    Will try again :)


  36. Ling,
    May I ask where are u from.
    If you are from Malaysia, watch out for the type of milk you purchased. Sweetened creamer will give you runny DDL unlike condensed filled milk or condensed full cream milk that will give you texture like seen in the pic.
    If the colour of ur DDL is the same like mine, the texture should be of the same too, unless sweetened creamer was use.

  37. Hi Wendy

    Am from SG... hehe the DDL does thicken today.. but colour is differ from urs... just had a slice of bread spread generously with it... IT y u m m y!

    Will try another batch once these r gone...


  38. Ling,
    Hope it'll be much better on your next attempt

  39. Will update u again :)

    Between can i check, you mentioned the other version of this brand, is it the low fat with skimmed milk ones? I saw it in the supermarket this evening. Thought of trying but not sure if its workable.


  40. Ling,
    Don't go for skimmed milk or low fat milk.
    Always go with full cream to make DDL.

  41. dancing with *joy*

    SUCESSFUL alrdy!!! exactly like urs... it tasted so so so so good.. now i know why so many ppl are addicted to it.


  42. Ling,
    LOL, am so glad it's finally got another person addicted to it!!
    Welcome to "DDL Anonymous".

  43. Hi Wendy,
    would like thank you for the information given about this Dulce De Leche. I made mine the other day based on all the info you gave here. I pressured cooker it and came out good. thanks so much. I would like to link this post to mine about Dulce De leche to be shared with the rest who are interested to do this.

  44. Thank you so much for all your recipes and your time!
    You are awesome! Your recipes rock!

  45. Hi Wendy. A good news. Sweetened FULL CREAM condensed milk (Milkmaid brand) can be found in cold storage. Saw it in a few cold storage around KL. Usually in baking section.. dunno why..

    Price? RM 10.99... I bought 2 cans from SG and its S$ 1.69... they are so precious and i still don't feel like touching them yet.. Happily show everybody i have real condensed milk but people don't seem to appreciate. :(

    Thanks for your info on creamer and filled milk!

  46. iceamericanos,
    thanks for the information. But I don't think I'll buy it. Too expensive!

  47. I finally figured out why my can did not turn the same way as yours tho I boiled the can overnight.
    I used sweetened creamer, should realized earlier.
    I'm so sad T,T

  48. i am going to get fat.. i love that...

  49. Hi Wendy,My Dulce De Leche already a year i put in the it still can be used..please advice..thanks

  50. Anonymous,
    just thaw and use. Balance can be refrozen.

  51. Anonymous,
    sorry.missed out. Using phone to reply. Lol. Too small.
    a year should be fine. Well for me I'll still use if there is no changes in consistency colour and smell.

  52. Hi Wendy,
    Just want to check with you whether do u cover the top when doing the steaming? As i found mind turn to black..


  53. Jo,
    what turned black? milk? can? pot?
    Cover what top? Pot? can?
    Steam? No, the recipe never says steam.

  54. opps sorry never write in details.. the can turn black on the edge of the can... Do you need to cover the pot or leave it as do simmering?


  55. Jo,
    Sorry, I left out the word cover the pot in the instructions. You must cover it so that the temperature will be hot and you won't need a too high temperature to keep it at simmering stage. But then if you left it uncovered, there's no harm but the temperature will be lower and you will need a longer time. Why is the can black? Hmm.. I have no idea then. But then again, it is definitely as as shiny as before.

  56. Wendy,

    No worries, just that i am too panic as this was my first time trying out your recipe and also first to make use of my kitchen :) Sorry I think my eyes got problem, when simmering stage, its the lighting got me scare thought seeing the can edge is black but in actual nope. I had done with the simmering now and when i open the pot its shinny as u mentioned. I got myself worried too much... he he he... Ok now let it cool down and will let you know whether it success or not...... Thanks for replying me and the instruction.... Love your blog and am sure gonna try more baking and dishes in future...!!

  57. Hi Wendy,

    awe, its all good now... so so happie...Its so smooth, and love the taste very much.. Thank you very much.. Hugz :)


  58. Why need to invert a steaming rack? MH

  59. MH,
    To avoid direct contact with heat. You can use the rack upright, but you will need more water

  60. Greetings,

    wendy is it possible to use a rice cooker?? I lived with my parents and they are very fussy
    about the gas, perhaps a big rice cooker will do??If I use rice cooker I was thinking perhaps I could use the same method as you???

  61. Dela,
    You want to use one BIG rice cooker to cook one SMALL can of milk?
    Up to you, as long as it can simmer the can on LOW heat, then use whichever way you find it convenient.

  62. Greetings, '

    Wendy I found some of the sweetened condensed milk on The Store hypermarket yesterday, not many but they had two brands there which is Marigold and tea pot, the packaging look old but they still in good condition, though a little bit pricier than creamer. If normal creamer range about 2.50 - 2.90, the price of Marigold is RM 3.15 and Tea pot RM 3.45, I bought it right away and thinking of making some tomorrow :)

  63. Dela,
    Thanks for the info.
    Those 2 mentioned are Sweetened Condensed FILLED Milk and not Sweetened Condensed FULL CREAM Milk. f&N has it too. I only saw the release of such milks again on local shelves after this post was out. Oh yes, the packaging dunno why always looks yucky. They are all produced by the same factory, Premier Milk and labled with different brands, check the label.

    Condensed Filled Milk can be used, and gives almost similiar results as to condensed full cream milk. Not too bad. Better than nothing.

  64. Dear Wendy

    I came to know abt Dulce De Leche from ur post. I made them using sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker and the taste was really good.

    It is really delicious to use DDL on bread, steamed mantou, etc. in place of kaya because the former (DDL) has longer self life in the fridge than the latter (kaya) and is a full proof success making former. It is also healthier.

    Thank you for the detailed and clear information on DDL for ur readers' and users' benefits.

    Priscilla Poh

  65. Hi Wendy

    I make this one before but failed so badly. when i opened the can, the creamer still look very dilute not like what in the picture except the color did change to brown. What make the failure? i wish to make the DDL cake! but even this step failed, i cannot proceed with the DDL cake..

  66. Vivian,
    I hope you bought the right type of condensed milk.
    Please take note of the labels.

  67. Hi Wendy,

    I will try again sometimes later. the creamer that i bought is sweetened creamer brand F & N. i believe is the same right? btw, i just need to simmer in low heat for 3 hrs, rite?

  68. Vivian,
    Of course it is NOT THE SAME.
    Creamer and milk is very very different.
    If you think coffeemate and milk powder is the same, then .....
    One comes from kelapa sawit, one comes from cow.

  69. Hi Wendy, just thinking whether can put 2 cans at the same time since the unopened DDL can keep in the fridge.


  70. Al,
    Can can..10 cans also can, no prob.
    As long as your pot is big enough only.

  71. Haha, thanks Wendy. Cheers, Al

  72. Hi wendy,

    Good day !
    Thank you for your post which is clearly showing the good way to simmer the can. But it was too late to find out your post as i did my DDL yesterday. I have some urgent question : -

    1. When i boiled it yesterday, i didn't put the lid on. and i simmered the can for almost 3 hours but with very low heat. I keep refill the water when the water is reduce, my question is, can i boil it again today as the can is not open yet. I prefer to have thicker cream like you did, can you please answer me urgently by today ?

    million thank for your reply and appreciated it so much.

    Xuan xuan

  73. Xuan xuan,
    With the lid off, the temperature could be too low for the changes to take place.
    I suggest you simmer it for another 2 hours, lid on, at least. As long as the water don't totally dry up, there's no need to add on water as that will bring down the temperature.

  74. Hi,

    I have a refrigerated unopened tin of dulce de leche which i pressured cooked about 2-3 months ago. Is it ok for me to use this now? The actual expiry date of the tin is not until another 3 months. Im concerned if it could cause food poisoning due to the tin.


  75. VG,
    It's unopened, it's chilled.
    For me, I'll still use it.
    My condensed milk, opened in fridge for 2 months, I still use, as long as I don't see colour changes or fungus growing. That's me.
    But if you don't feel good, it's up to you.

  76. Wendy, this link has become invalid:

  77. Eleen,
    thanks for notifying me. I think they forgot to pay $ for the domain :)

  78. It's very interesting, I have never seen anyone do that, maybe I'll do it in the future, thank you for sharing.

  79. Thea Danielle,
    The outcome is liquidy like honey, and the taste is not the same


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