Homemade Dulce de Leche (slow cooker)

4 from 1 vote

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!

A spoon scooping the Homemade Crockpot Dulce de Leche out of a small clear cup

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 packaged in tiny Mason Jars with a teal string bow tied around one

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:

2 mini clear Mason jars next two 2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk on a wooden board

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.

3 Mason jars filled with DIY Dulce de Leche next to an empty can of sweetened condensed milk on a wooden board

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

3 Jars of DIY Dulce de Leche sitting in a white crock pot full of water

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!

collage of Homemade Crockpot Dulce de Leche

Put down the spoon. Save some for later!

Or just make more. Whatever!

diy Dulce de Leche {slow cooker}

4 from 1 vote
Yield 24 ounces
Serving Size


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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Easy Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Banana Caramel Pecan Doughnuts

75 Caramel Recipes

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

Last Updated on May 13, 2020

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  1. Haven’t tried your pie yet but I can’t wait to. Just thought you might like to try my grandmother’s Caramel Cake recipe made with diy DDL that we’ve always made in the can (on the stovetop in water for at least 5 hours; longer is better and be sure to KEEP CAN COVERED).

    Make any white cake in 2 round pans, cool. Spread the bottom layer with 1 can DDL. Cover cake with real whipping cream or Cool Whip.

    My family used to fight over the caramel filling so much that now we divide the cake into 3 layers and use 1 can between each layer and everyone is happy!

  2. Dulce de Leche is originally from Argentina and Uruguay, not from Mexico ?. And is made with normal milk and sugar… boiled for a long time 

  3. I Came here to see if it was okay that my kids sealed. I’m very nervous about food safety with canning. But your blog and youreven your commenters are super informative. 

    I added half a vanilla bean and some cinnamon to my jars before I started cooking. Do you think that could pose any food safety risks?