3-Ingredient Dulce de Leche Recipe: A Sweet Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe by Ann Marie Patitucci

Sauces/Condiments Desserts
11 months ago

3-Ingredient Dulce de Leche Recipe: A Sweet Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe

Several countries in Latin America claim to have invented dulce de leche. It’s difficult to know for sure which country, but it’s safe to say that it originated in Latin America in the 19th century. My favorite part: the stories I’ve read lead me to believe that dulce de leche was discovered by accident!

Dulce de leche means “milk candy,” and is made with sugar as well as regular cow's milk or condensed milk. It is a sweet, creamy, milk-based caramel sauce. (Cajeta, a traditional Mexican recipe, is similar, though cajeta calls for goat milk, as well as baking soda. Both sauces are caramelized but the flavors are quite different.)

Dulce de leche is delicious as a topping on desserts like cookies, cheesecake, tres leches cake and cupcakes. You can also drizzle it on top of ice cream, pancakes, waffles, crepes and more. Dulce de leche makes a great dessert filling, you can dip fresh fruit into it, spread it on bread or add a tablespoon to your coffee. I love the possibilities! You may even enjoy eating it right off the spoon!

Cuisine: Latin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours (approximately)
Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Here’s how to make it:

  1. In a large saucepan, stir together milk and sugar over low heat. 
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, at a low, controlled heat. Stir occasionally, until caramelized and thickened, about 1 1/2 hours. If any foam forms during simmering, skim it away. After about an hour, stir more frequently as the milk caramelizes, to prevent burning.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in vanilla extract. Transfer sauce to a bowl to cool.

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I’m a fan of dulce de leche no matter where it’s from. Yummy!
Drooling like crazy over here.

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