Homemade Dulce de Leche {slow cooker}

Made in a slow cooker, this DIY Dulce de Leche is better (and cheaper) than store bought. It’s some of the best milky smooth caramel you’ll ever eat.

Get your spoon ready – you’ll want to eat this straight from the jar!

Homemade Crockpot Dulce de Leche - it's SO easy to make your own!

I have been really irritated lately. You see, I’ve made this DIY Dulce de Leche and I’ve made a few recipes with it (coming soon!), which means I’ve typed Dulce de Leche about 5,000,000 times.

Here’s the issue: I have a keyboard shortcut on my Mac. Whenever I type “de” it auto-fills with my personal email address. I set it up on my phone so forms would be easier and since both my phone and MacBook are smarter than me, they talk to each other and plot my demise. Do you see where I’m going with this?

EVERY time (and I mean Every. Single. Time.) I’ve typed Dulce de Leche lately it auto-fills with my email address. Over and over again. Even if I catch the pop up and “x” it out. It’s gotten to the point I often type “dulcede leche” and add the space. For this post, I’m cutting and pasting.

I don’t want to get rid of the shortcut, because then my Mac and my phone will plot against me and I won’t be able to use it on my phone.

But here’s the kicker: last week I was filling out a form on my Mac and I typed “de” and it didn’t autofill with my email address and I had to type it out on my own.

I was really angry then. I swear, I’m an Apple girl and all, but I really really really hate them sometimes. I don’t want my technology to be smarter than me. But it is.

In fact, not only is technology smarter, but so is my slow cooker. I tried to make Dulce de Leche from scratch using real milk and sugar and it was horrid. Burned, lumpy, and just not good at all. Turns out all I needed was my slow cooker to save the day.

DIY Dulce de Leche (4 of 8)

If we’re being honest with each other, I didn’t even know what dulce de leche was until a few years ago. Blogging has taught me so many things! Dulce de leche is quite possibly the best stuff ever. It’s milk and sugar that get boiled down and cooked until thick and sweet and rich. It’s Mexican caramel: creamy, milky, and so, so good.

Last year I used a can of dulce de leche to make easy ice cream. It was SO GOOD. I haven’t done much using it since, but I always see the cans at Walmart (they’re not cheap, about $3-4 a pop) and think about things to make. Then I went to Miami for BlogHer Food and it was everywhere. In dessert, in the grocery store, on menus. And I remembered just how much I love it. So I wanted to make my own.

After the from scratch fail (which I’m determined to try again), I decided to go the sweetened condensed milk route. I’ve known for years about making your own ducle de leche using sweetened condensed milk. People do it in the oven, in a pot, in a slow cooker. With the can, without. Every recipe is pretty much the same: cook the SCM for several hours and it turns into dulce de leche, like magic.

I decided to go the Crock Pot route because I wouldn’t have to baby-sit it. I could set it and forget it, the beauty of all things slow cooker. But I was afraid to do it in the can, because I’ve heard horror stories of exploding cans and fire. Then I happened along the Betty Crocker recipe, using mason jars.

I knew it was the perfect recipe for me because I love mason jars. #IknowImweird

Because this recipe is super difficult (HA, kidding), I decided to do a step-by-step for you. Ready? Here we go:

DIY Dulce de Leche (1 of 8)

Start with 3 8-ounce mason jars (or 6 4-ounce) and 2 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk. Use jars that will fit in your crock pot, covered by 1-2 inches of water. Make sure the jars are clean and have fresh rings and lids.

DIY Dulce de Leche (2 of 8)

Evenly divide the SCM between the 3 jars. Seal tightly.

DIY Dulce de Leche (3 of 8)

Place your jars in your crockpot and cover with water so that there is about 1-2 inches of water above the lids. Cover and cook for 10 hours on LOW. When the time is up, lay out a kitchen towel on the counter. Use tongs to remove the jars (the water is almost boiling and the jars are HOT!) and let them cool to room temperature. The rings may have accumulated some rust during their bath, so just wipe that off with a towel. Then store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

The end result is a thick, sweet, milky flavored caramel. You can do so many things with it:

  • Eat it with a spoon
  • Spread it on graham crackers
  • Dip fruit in it
  • Warm the jar for a minute or two and then pour over ice cream

There are a few other recipes I have for you coming in the next few weeks. Stay tuned: you won’t want to miss them. File away this recipe because if you can’t find the canned kind, it’s so easy to make your own. And it tastes better too!

Homemade Crockpot Dulce de Leche - it's SO easy to make your own!

Put down the spoon. Save some for later!

Or just make more. Whatever!

diy Dulce de Leche {slow cooker}

diy Dulce de Leche {slow cooker}


  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3-8 ounce jars with rings and lids (or 4-6 ounce jars)
  • Water
  • Slow Cooker


  1. Divide the sweetened condensed milk among the 3 or 4 jars. (Make sure the jars you choose will fit in your crockpot with 1-2 inches of water covering them.) Seal the jars with clean rings and lids. Place in your slow cooker, making sure they do not touch.
  2. Fill the crockpot with water to cover 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
  3. When they’re finished cooking, remove the jars carefully with tongs (they and the water will be HOT!) and place them on your kitchen counter to cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until using. Will keep for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
  4. Some of the rings may get little rust spots from being in the water all day. Just wipe the rust off with a kitchen towel.
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Easy Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

easy-dulce-de-leche-ice-cream (1 of 1)

Banana Caramel Pecan Doughnuts

banana-caramel-pecan-doughnuts (5 of 6)

75 Caramel Recipes

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Sweets from friends:
Caramel Snickerdoodle Bars by Taste and Tell
Dulce de Leche Churro Donuts by Oh Sweet Basil
Peanut Butter Cheesecake with dulce de leche and pretzel crust by Something Swanky




  1. “because then my Mac and my phone will plot against me and I won’t be able to use it on my phone.” That just made me laugh. I feel the SAME! My autocorrect on my phone always changes “don’t” to “foot.” Who uses foot more than don’t? I hate technology sometimes.
    I have never made my own dulce de leche, but I love the stuff! An easy crockpot recipe? YES! Pinned :)
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness recently posted..Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado Cilantro Dip {GF, Low Fat, + Super Simple}My Profile

  2. Yum! I love dulche de leche!
    Chloe @ foodlikecake recently posted..Everything CookiesMy Profile

  3. No stirring at the stove for a million hours? Yes! I can’t wait to try this. It’s very exciting!
    Mir recently posted..Candy Bar CheesecakeMy Profile

  4. What a great idea! I’ve always wanted to make dulce de leche, but it just seems like so much work. Love this! :)

  5. Kathy Huff says:

    My Aunt used to cook cans of SCM to make the BEST caramel pie. All you need is a baked pie crust, caramel, and whipped cream for the top. Yum!

  6. Dulce de leche is popping up everywhere, and I love that this is a slow cooker recipe! Perfect to use for those hot summer days. Don’t know how long this would last in my house though, I have a feeling I would eat it by the spoonfuls! Pinned!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted..Mocha Almond FrappucinoMy Profile

  7. hahaha, I have no idea how you survived that shortcut fiasco!!! I would be DYING! LOL. Way to go though, because this dulce de leche looks amazing and was totally worth the hassle of posting!!
    Ashton recently posted..Pudding Filled Chocolate CakeMy Profile

  8. I love how easy this rwci
    Danielle recently posted..Healthy Chicken SaladMy Profile

  9. I love how easy this recipe is and it looks absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to see your next recipes with it!
    Danielle recently posted..Healthy Chicken SaladMy Profile

  10. The auto-fill on my phone and computer drive me crazy some times! ugh. I’ve only made dulce de leche once, and it wasn’t too successful, so I’ve never done it again. This looks so easy and is a must-try!
    marcie recently posted..Salted Caramel Cocoa BrowniesMy Profile

  11. Girl are you kidding me? I can make this in a slow cooker? So excited to try this! Looks unbelievable!
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) recently posted..Raspberry Limeade PopsiclesMy Profile

  12. Wow….this is a great idea Dorothy!
    Jill @ Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons recently posted..Octopus Stuffed PeppersMy Profile

  13. Caramel is one of my favorite sweets. So yummy with nuts covered with chocolate, also caramel coated apples rolled in nuts. This is also a low cost way to make caramel. I definitely will try this recipe.

  14. Stella had some for the first time last week and is now hooked! I cannot wait to try it at home
    Heather @ French Press recently posted..Wake Up WednesdayMy Profile

  15. I love this idea!! I’ve seen this been done with the straight up cans, but this makes a lot more sense for me! Brilliant, girl!!
    Lauren recently posted..Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge aka… the easiest recipe, like ever.My Profile

  16. I’m an Apple girl too but sometimes, sometimes the technology makes me want to cry! Why won’t my photos on my phone sync on my Mac anymore! why?!?!?!! I feel for you. Aaaaannnndd I kind of want to figure out how to get it to auto populate my email. So smart!

    Just like this dulce de leche!! So smart! I’ve never made it, never even eaten it and that just seems so wrong! I must, I must! It doesn’t hurt that now I have an excuse to buy some of those adorable tiny Ball jars. Just sayin’….
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking recently posted..Soft Nutella Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  17. I need to try my hands at this! Delicious!
    ami@naivecookcooks recently posted..Quinoa-Oat Summer TartsMy Profile

  18. Boo to auto-correct, it drives me bonkers sometimes too! But yay to this crock-pot dulce de leche! This is such a great idea Dorothy – love it! Pinning and can’t wait to try it :)
    Kelly – Life made Sweeter recently posted..Strawberry Shortcake Stuffed Golden Oreo TrufflesMy Profile

  19. I just want to sit down on the couch and hang out with a jar of dulce de leche! I’m so glad that you transfer the condensed milk to your own jars and warn people about safety! I’ve burned myself making dulce de leche before…it was not pretty! I’ll have to try your way so I don’t have to deal with any stirring next time :)
    Alyssa {Cake, Crust, and Sugar Dust} recently posted..Addictive Sweet and Salty Chex MixMy Profile

  20. I learned about dulce de leche when i lived in Buenos Aires for a few months. They had so many brands and they were all delicious!! I would mostly just eat it out of the jar, with a spoon. I may or may not have gained 15 lbs while living there between the dulce de leche and empanadas :) I like the sounds of using a crock pot! That makes it much easier.
    Caitlin @ teaspoon recently posted..friday fünf {zürich life}My Profile

  21. Give me a spoon (and a pair of elastic waist pants) because I bet I could eat all those jars myself! Love it! Mmmmmm, the best! If sweetened condensed milk could get any better, this is how! :)
    Averie @ Averie Cooks recently posted..Blueberry Pie BarsMy Profile

  22. This looks so sweet and delicious! Love that you made it in your slow cooker. I don’t mean to laugh because I’m an Apple girl too but I can just imagine the woes! I use x y z like double letter to fill out my name email and website, and whenever I try send someone double hugs/kisses with “xx” instead of looking passionate I look like I’m self-obsessed!
    Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes recently posted..Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers with Strawberry BBQ Sauce (Vegan + GF)My Profile

  23. Yes! I have been wanting to do this forever!

  24. I love that this is made in the slow cooker in jars (not the cans)!! Keeping this handy for my next dulce de leche craving!!
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets recently posted..Lemon Licorice CupcakesMy Profile

  25. Maritza says:

    I come from Argentina, born and raised. Condensed mil cans, slowly boiled for a couple of hours, making sure the water always covers the cans – let it cool.. voilaa !!! there is Dulce de Leche, but the real one, not even the one patisseries uses is just milk/sugar and 8-9 hours to cook.. So you haven’t discovered the “gun powder”..but enjoy!!!

  26. This is a crazy recipe! Just put one can of condensed milk covered with water in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes after starts to boil. Let it cool completely before opening the can, and it’s done… Dulce de Leche!

  27. I recently did this too – wish I had done more than one batch!

  28. I love dulce de leche, but did not want to cook the sweetened condensed milk in my slow cooker. So, I bought 2 cans of the Nestle brand a while back. Thanks for your instructions.

  29. Are you serious? That’s it? I just can’t fathom that condensed milk can turn into that liquid gold! Wow!!
    Jessica @ Sweet Menu recently posted..Baked Donuts Glazed Three WaysMy Profile

  30. I usually do this by placing one freshly purchased, un-dented can in simmering water for 4 hrs in a soup pot with 3 in water covering the can. You have to transfer it as soon as it cools because the outside of the can will rust. So happy I can make it in the slow cooker! It is the best stuff in the whole world and people think you have mad skills when you use it in/on stuff.

  31. I alway’s did the rolling boil method in the can. I never blew one up yet. I am officially assigned as the “family” Dulce de Leche cooker because no one else wants to risk it….or dosen’t want to clean the ceiling….lol. Boiling the cans is the way O’charley’s make their Caramel pies….Not sure if they even make them anymore. I will forward this to my daughters, I’m sure that with this safer Crock pot method, I can step down as the Dulce de Leche man!
    Just a thought while mentioning Leche…Have you made a Tres Leches ( 3 milk ) cake yet? A great Mexican sponge cake recipe that has 3 different milks poured over it once it has baked…then topped with the lightest cream icing EVER! Ol’e

  32. Irresistible.. tempting.. soooo good!
    Medeja recently posted..Daržovių, Avokado ir Kiaušinių Salotos/ Vegetable, Avocado and Egg SaladMy Profile

  33. Mac keyboard shortcuts are a big pain in my ass. I’m going to turn mine off since it causes more frustration than help.

    And great minds think alike, I had planned on doing the same homemade dulce de leche, but from scratch. :) I want to dive my spoon in!

  34. OUT OF CONTROLLLL! So amazing!!!
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) recently posted..Mint Cocoa BrowniesMy Profile

  35. All I can say is MMMMMMMMMMMM!

  36. Ugggh I have a love-hate relationship with technology too. It always outsmarts me — no fair! It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know about the shortcut for filling out forms; I’d probably have a big mess of typos and random email addresses in every blog post! ;) I totally wanted to try dulce de leche in the slow cooker too, but I only have a teensy tiny two-person one and no mason jar small enough to fit inside… But when we move (and that kitchen better be bigger!), more mason jars and a regular sized slow cooker are two of the first things on my list!
    Amy @ Amy’s Healthy Baking recently posted..Cookies ‘n Cream Pudding CookiesMy Profile

  37. So easy! Why dont more people make their own? Add some sea salt! Oh YUM!
    ashley M. | Our Full Table recently posted..Vegetable Egg Breakfast CupsMy Profile

  38. Sorry I don’t have a website but I love your receipts. What I have seen and tried are all so very delicious.
    I have one question about the dulce de leche. Do you boil the rings and lids? Thank you for your help.

    • I didn’t – I just made sure they were clean first. It only lasts a few weeks, so I don’t think you need to worry about that step, but you can if you want!

  39. Excellen idea!!, but I must tell you that the creamy, milky, and so, so good dulce de leche is originally from Argentina, not Mexico…

  40. Mrs. Berry says:

    You’re a genius! I remember babysitting the can on the stove to get this heavenly stuff whenever I made chocolate turtles. The kids and I would make as many turtles as we had caramel for, which varied depending on how fast I could get the turtles made and how many kids were ‘helping’ with the Dulce de leche!
    I think I should make some of this today – and test drive stirring a spoonful into my coffee!


  1. bit.ly says:

    […] moved here […]

  2. […] version you like, go for it. My friend Dorothy, who happened to be at lunch with me that day, has a crockpot version here if you want one to […]

  3. […] that time I made Homemade Dulce de Leche? Well, I had 3 jars in my fridge that needed using. One, I ate with a spoon. One went into this […]

  4. […] read Dorothy’s Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche post at Crazy for Crust and follow her directions and you’ll have more than enough jars of this […]

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