Dulce de Leche

Total Time:
3 hr 5 min
5 min
3 hr

about 1 cup

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.

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4.5 55
I made this last night after another recipe I tried was a fail. Does take a long time and I think my stove is tricky. It took longer for me because on the lowest setting it takes forever but if I turn it up a notch or two it began to bubble profusely. I just ended up keeping it a little higher and stirring more constantly. My mixture came out dark, amber colored and smooth but I was hoping for it to be like the thick dulce de leche that comes in a can and is more spreadable but I am unsure if this recipe was supposed to be like that as it does not say or does it show int he video. Taste is great and ultimately it was easy to make but does take some time which I do not mind putting into. Thanks Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Love this recipe, but it tends to be very tedious especially when making dulce de leche for another recipe. I find that working with store bought spread works just as well, if not better. I found one of my favorite spreads on amazon. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_grocery?ie=UTF8&field-brandtextbin=Del+Campo&node=16310101 item not reviewed by moderator and published
Dear Alton, not all Latin American countries are tropical. Besides, dulce de leche was originally created as some sort of spread around the area of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, not tropical countries at all. Why do most Americans think everything from Latin America is tropical? Only a small portion of the Latin American geography is tropical! For instance, the Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia is similar to Alaska when it comes to landscape and climate! Palm trees and balmy nights are nowhere to be found... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious!!! I haven't tasted the canned version to compare, but it's hard to imagine it being as good as this. In my husband's words: "It's inspiring...it's really good." I'm not sure how many people are willing to take the 3 hours to make this, but it's perfect for a day that you're already going to be in the kitchen the whole time anyway; it's relatively easy and you just sort of monitor it as you're doing other things. Very lovely rich flavor. Mine made about 1.25 or 1.5 cups. item not reviewed by moderator and published
i cooked the mixture just below simmer in a stainless lined copper pot. the result was dreadful - light tan in color. thick and gritty. it's not pourable. gosh, i wasted 2-1/2 hours. i had to scrap the entire mixture into the garbage can. perhaps, i should cook it at a higher flame? Please disregard above review. It was my fault. I measured the milk incorrectly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I think this recipe really works. Follow the directions and it turns out great. I think that using a moderate temp. on the stove top makes all the difference. Take your time is my best advice. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Alton Brown, I not only love the science and logic behind your recipes, they all work well and taste great! I tried to make this recipe without the baking soda and it took longer to thicken and make that beautiful caramel color. Thank you item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thank you Gretchin for your review. I making it your way and will let you know how it turns out. I too didn't like the thought of adding baking soda or the vanilla bean. One hour to go! item not reviewed by moderator and published
After going to Starbucks and ordering a Salted Caramel Mocha and having them charge me $7.23 I decided to try to make my own at home. My foodie son Jovan told me I could not use regular caramel but to make Alton's DuLce de Leche. I fell asleep during the first batch and after I threw out the pan that now weighted about 6 extra pounds of solid black rock candy I made a perfect batch that I poured into a squeeze bottle that I have used all week. Alton Brown....you are the best. My entire family votes you as number one best foodie on earth. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hmmmm....well not sure about all the fuss here. Cannot understand why one would use baking soda, though Alton says here that it reduces the "nasty graininess." I've NEVER had a problem with either foam or graininess, until I tried this recipe. I was taught, in MX by a lovely & VERY patient little señora, can't recall her name, to use 2 quarts of whole milk with a total of 2.5 cups (500 gms( of sugar, vanilla extract (she, too, said the vanilla bean can cause "funny taste"(, and about a half tsp. of salt. I respect Alton, but I'm bewildered by the necessity of the baking soda. It foamed into a royal mess, and I still had some graininess. I did try to strain it, but the mixture was too thick. I also thought his was waaaaaay too dark. We used it anyway, though my daughter thought it tasted a lot like "overcooked milk or something." item not reviewed by moderator and published
This turned out a very tasty product. I bought a can of pre-made dulche de leche at the same time so I could compare side by side. Both were wonderful and amazing. Biggest difference is the can only took 20 seconds to open. While this recipe is great, the canned stuff was better in my opinion. Two hours of my life wasted. Next time it's the can. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Today I made this for a college class. (love that they teach classes called "People Everywhere Eat". The taste was amazing - I recommend fresh ground nutmeg and cinnamon. I left out the cloves - I'm not a fan. I started by caramelizing the sugar by heating it until it turned brown and then added the milk. (be careful if you do this That may not have been the best way, but it worked to give the dulce de leche a nice color and a great flavor. I added the soda, but expected that it would foam (and foam and foam. I didn't skim any of the foam - just stirred it down a little so I didn't make a mess all over the stove. I would recommend using a VERY BIG PAN. By the time the mixture was starting to thicken, the foam was gone, the mixture was silky smooth, and the flavor was amazing. I am going to serve this as the center for Alfajores. Easy A! item not reviewed by moderator and published
3 hours of my life wasted, I have done SO many of Altons other recipes with great results but this was a total disaster! If you have looked up Dulce recipes, just do the one on the can, WHAT A WASTE! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I worked on this for over 2 hours and it is very gritty and really thick.. could not strain it at all.... i actually opened an account, just so i could put my opinion in!!! Not smooth and not tasty. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Loved it! I made 2 quarts worth with 1 cup of sugar and about 1 cup of granulated splenda. I figured the splenda would be sweeter when it reduced (which it was, so I didn't do a strict doubling of the sugar. At the end after straining, I tasted the milk solids and noticed they tasted similar to some paneer-based indian sweets. I mixed in some grated coconut and then rolled small balls of it in some more grated coconut (unsweetened of course to make an impromptu coconut ball sweet. Yum! As for the dulce de leche, so far I've used it in place of sweetener for coffee, but I hope to be more creative in the future. I'd say it took me around 2 - 2.5 hours to reduce it down enough. I WILL be making this again, and I'm going to try to play with the splenda ratios to make it more splenda and less sugar. Thanks! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hey pink vanilla, did you use whole milk? I just made it and it only took about an hour and fifteen mintues. It's plenty thick. Maybe you needed a higher heat also. This was great and easy. I got a little over confident about walking away because of some of the other reviews and the foam made a nice mess on my stove. Definitely doesn't require too much attention but make sure the heat is not set high enough to make the foam rise before walking away. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The flavour is gorgeous! I dont know what i did wrong tho!! I folowed the instructions exactly and waited for 2 1/4 hours until the mixture was extremely dark. Now it's just like syrup despite being in the fridge! It's not thick at all. Am i supposed to wait over night for it to thicken?? Some advcie would be lovely x x x item not reviewed by moderator and published
I saw Alton make this and immediately knew I had to do it. It was not that hard to make at all. Even though it took a solid 2 to 2 1/2 hours, it did not need constant attention and stirring. The flavor is fabulous. The color, beautiful. The only problem with this recipe is that I am instantly addicted and Alton is right, it will keep longer than it will last in the fridge. LOVE IT item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a great recipe...I do reccomend not leaving the pan for a long time and keeping any eye on it constantly. Instead of vanilla bean, I used a little vanilla extract and it tasted great. Also be careful with the baking soda it will explode after a minute. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm giving this a 4 only because I expect a little more detailed instruction from Alton. Like another poster I had problem with the whole foam thing. When it foamed very obviously and hugely, after adding the baking soda at this point and you could skim it off with a big spoon. However while it was simmering it also developed a smaller but still lighter colored skimmy foam which was very hard to get up. As it cooked down it also developed a skim around the edge of the pan - is this something to skim? Having it foam suddenly and hugely when the soda was added was sort of expected. It also seems to do the same thing randomly once or twice after that. Mine my have been just a bit runny Other web sources say run your wooden spoon through it and if it doesn't fill back in and you can see the bottom of the pan that's about right. As it was on the counter cooling I splashed in (too much) vanilla extract as I forgot to add it in toward the end while cooking. Tastes a bit too vanilla item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is really easy(it doesn't require constant stirring, and watching and very tasty. My boyfriend loves it. I have made Alton's trifle with it before, which is also good. We use it in coffee, on greek yogurt, and I'm serving it with sauteed bananas and ice cream tomorrow. I think I'd add(REAL vanilla extract towards the end, rather than the bean, though. Both times I've made it, I end up skimming most of the seeds back up with the foam from the baking soda. I know you still get some of the flavor...but it seems like a waste. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'd give Alton a 5 but I made some errors. What do you do with the foam? I over cooked it because I didn't realize it thickened (a lot) when you take it off the heat. I ended up with a gritty, but tasty mess. Any viewer suggestions? item not reviewed by moderator and published
OK. It was a toss-up between Banana Eggrolls with Caramel sauce or Dulce de leche...I've made Caramel before and figured, why not try Alton's recipe. Delicious!! I was a bit afraid it wouldn't be that great. the warm milk smell. And it seemed to take a bit longer than i thought but I did a double batch (and used 2% plus Heavy Cream). The end result (I stopped mine when it was like a sauce, not too thick as i have seen some recipes call for) was SUPERB! Now I totally understand how it can be had by the spoonful. I think i will take a Dulce de Leche Coffee in the AM. item not reviewed by moderator and published
it takes really long time because of the amount of milk & stuff but worth it. do not incorporate the foam on top with the caramel, other wise you'll get weird constancy final product. i got rid of the foam every once in a while & when pour it into a bottle, strain good. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is an amazing recipe - a bit time consuming, but incredibly simple and one of the tastiest things I've ever tried. I'm looking for more uses for DDL - my favs are right off the spoon, lattes and steamers (a latte w/o the espresso) item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is so easy for so much good taste. I used it on a flan cake recipe that I like to make (http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/recipes/chocoflan-112915.aspx). I love dulce del leche sauce but personally the canned carmel stuff tends to taste just a bit metalic for me. If you can find it in a jar it tastes better, I think. But cooked fresh really has a nice texture and creamyness. I know others have used the boil in a can condensed milk thing with success. I've never tried it as it doesn't seem much faster than Alton's method. But if someone wants to used condensed milk in a can, David Lebovitz has a great oven method that's twice as fast as the whole boiling the can thing. (and no danger of molten carmel exploding in your kitchen! LOL) I've done this too when I'm in a hurry and it's works great: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2005/11/dulce_de_lechec.html To me this is easier and molten carmel won't explode all over my kitchen. LOL item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipie rocks! Alton is the best! I also found I can make Dulce de Leche by taking a can of sweetened condensed milk, poking 2 holes in the top, then simmering it on the stove in watar an inch from the top for 2-3 hours. I just popped a cheescake swirled with this tasty stuff in the oven. Can't wait to taste it tomorrow! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is amazing stuff. We made it and put in between some butter cookies then dipped them in chocolate to make a very satisfying dessert. Not overly sweet, and very easy to make. Alton, you're my hero. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is very easy to make! I can never get the timing on caramel right, and so it always ends up bitter. This was nice because I did not have to worry about timing, and I ended up with a delicious product! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I had 2 qts of milk in the fridge that only had 1 day of expiration left. I knew my children would not drink it all and it seemed like such a waste to dump it down the drain........ Ahhhhhhhh....so I got the bright idea to make a batch of this dulce de Leche. It simmered easily for a few hr while I got the rest of supper ready. Tasted wonderful afterwards with sauteed bananas and ice cream. Thanks Alton item not reviewed by moderator and published
Too much work. I just have my dad bring me the real stuff from Argentina. Dulce De Leche by Havanna! Yum! I'm having a spoonful as I write! Now if you don't have that kind of connection then there is an easier way to make some. My mom did this all the time when I was kid. Just take a can of sweetened condensed milk (regular, not low-fat). She always used Eagle Brand. Peel off the paper and submerge it in a pot of boiling water turning the can over often and keeping the water boiling. I'm pretty sure she did this for at least an hour or two. You might have to experiment on the time. Then take the can out and let it cool completely. This is important. My mom once tried opening the can before it cooled and quite a bit of it ended up on the kitchen ceiling!! Store it in a container and refrigerate. Not quite as thick as the real stuff but it'll still satisfy. We always spread ours on toast with a little butter on it first. My son loves eating it that way too. Enjoy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I had two gallons about to expire and wanted something useful to do with it. I made a 4 x batch of this stuff. I did not have vanilla bean in the house so I used cinnamon stick and a bit of vanilla extract. YUMMY! I am glad I tried this. I am also hopefull that I will have extra milk in my future so I can make it again. I refuse to by milk to make this because it can not be too kind to the behind. item not reviewed by moderator and published
First things first, this is a delicious recipe, and I'm making it for the third time as I type this. However, every time I make it, it seems to have an applesauce-like consistency, even with adding the proper (measured) amount of baking soda. On that note, I think some of my trouble may be related to my crappy electric-coil burner and not properly regulating the heat. The first time I made this, I managed to keep it at a constant simmer, and the second time it never simmered at all. This time, I dissolved the sugar (in warm, not simmering, milk) and then added the baking soda. I was frustrated by the lack of bubbling, so I cranked the burner on high in order to satisfy my need to see some progress. Turns out that when you do that after you add the baking soda, it RAPIDLY rises, and it nearly Pompei'd all over my stove-top. I think that the next time I make this, I'll make sure that it comes to a slight simmer BEFORE I add the baking soda; at least I hope that'll help. I just hope this batch is smooth and caramel-like in texture...I certainly stir it often enough. Every 10 minutes or so should meet the criteria for the word "occasionally," right? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love Dulce de Leche. I found a jar at Williams Sonoma this weekend and it send me back to my life before I came to the States. The one thing I miss the most is Dulce de Leche and I can't believe how expensive it is to buy a good one. I was so happy when I found this recipe that I can't wait to try it. I will be making some this weekend. The latinamerican dish Alton referred to in his video is Alfajores, a type of cookie that is to die for. Another thing I really miss from my country. Maybe once I master this recipe, I will move onto alfajores. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this dulce de leche. It is so rich and smoth, I'll never use another caramel sauce, and chocolate is in big trouble. In the episode, Alton mentioned some latinamerican dishes that use dulce de leche as an ingredient. I would love to have some of those recipes. Using it as a sauce is great, but as a flavoring ingredient it would be wonderful. Help please. Could this be an idea for a new episode of "Good Eats"? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried this recipe using all splenda instead of the sugar and it tastes like it should BUT the consistency is all wrong. DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE! Splurge and use real sugar in this recipe - if you are taking 3 hours of your day to stir this you'll want it to be perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I cooked this on medium for 10 minutes, then lowered the heat to my stove's lowest setting for another hour and 50 minutes. It reduced to approximately one cup, tasted absolutely AMAZING, but it had a very milky caramel color. I want to know how to get that dark, rich, characteristic caramel color! Otherwise, this is a great recipe. Tasted great. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Anyone tried or used Vanilla paste? item not reviewed by moderator and published
"Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture." The video doesn't address this and the recipe doesn't spell out how Not to re-incorporate; so, do you skim the foam? How else not to re-incorporate? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used 6 cups of raw cow's milk, 2 cups of organic sugar, small amt of vanilla and baking soda. Strained a few times in the beginning and stirred a medium amount of times. Cooked in a large stainless steel pot and stirred with metal. In 3.5 hours, I had creamed caramel or in Latin terms, Dulce de Leche. In some ways, its better than chocolate. When your mixture cools to the touch, you can roll it into a snake like shape and cut it into small pieces to make a healthier candy than the typical processed stuff. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You can make it with 2 percent milk, with very similar results. Once I even used powdered sweetener to replace half of the sugar and it was still delicious, texture was perfect, too. As a shortcut, you can use evaporated milk, but then half the amount of milk the recipe calls for. It will take you far less time to be done and just as good. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Has anyone tried this with 2 percent milk? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm not sure I would rate this as "Intermediate" since it is so easy to make. Just takes time and patience. Drizzle some over grilled pineapple slices for a very decadent dessert. That's what it's all about though. :-) item not reviewed by moderator and published
this recipe is great, try it with crepes and chocolate sauce is really out of this world!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The sauce is absolutely delicious. However it should be noted that the sauce appears very thin while on the heat and will set into a much thicker product. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is addictively good, SO simple, and I always have the 4 recquired ingredients around (which also makes this recipe cheap and convienent). Here are some serving suggestions: serve as a dip for a fruit platter, over cake and strawberries, in coffee, over icecream with strawberies, over bananas, or make a trifle: layer pound cake, DDL, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, strawberries, and bananas in a trifle dish (let it chill for a while)... THIS TRIFLE IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was great. I served it with some chipotle brownies, but the DdL was the best part of the dish. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is an easy and delicious recipe. The only problem I had was that I was making it for an occasion and I ate it all before the event. :( Had to make it again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
the DdL I had in Guatemala. I used it to make DdL gelato, which was totally devoured by my girl friend and her son. It did take some time, and the Emeril gelato recipe took some time too, but well worth it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The only thing I'd trade chocolate for. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It tastes great! i could use somemore suggestions, other than ice cream and coffee, as to what to accompany it with. Be prepared to devote some time to it, as it took me almost 3 hours to boil it down. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made this using Lactaid lactose free milk and a combination of Splenda and regular sugar. It turned out WONDERFUL and best of all...no discomfort. Take that Lactose Man! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe was easy and tastes fantastic. I have eaten it straight as is, over ice cream, in coffee, on sauted bananas - all wonderful. I did not have a vanilla bean, so I added 1/2 teaspoon at the end. I also added a pinch of salt. Terrific! It turned caramel brown like magic. I thought I would have to stir a lot, but the stirring was really minimal. I have no idea why the other reviewer would say, "Just OK". I can not imagine. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried this recipe and it was great item not reviewed by moderator and published
When we saw the episode "Milk Made" this recipe looked very inviting. After making it I would say that it is just average. It was expensive to make and my family will probably not finish it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The spread isn't true Dulce de Leche.  item not reviewed by moderator and published
Seriously? This is about food reviewing. Not geography. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I agree! And is from Mexican Goat Farmers not wanting to waste extra milk item not reviewed by moderator and published

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Dulce De Leche