New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dulce de Leche CrockPot Recipe

Day 71.

A hundred million years ago when I first met Jenny, she told me about sweetened condensed milk and how amazing it was when you boiled it. 

I was pretty sure that she was nuts, but decided to try it anyway. 

I'm so glad that I did. 
Waiting the three hours for the cans to boil and then another hour or so for them to cool was a bit difficult for me.

Maybe I was pregnant?

I don't know. I remember being impatient.

I slept through my impatience this time. This is my first overnight dish that didn't suck. This rocks.

And Jenny shared with me this morning that the calories escape when you open the can. Who am I to argue with such logic?

DISCLAIMER: Eagle does NOT RECOMMEND heating their product in the can. I therefore don't recommend it either. So don't do it.

I have nothing to do with you eating delicious caramel pudding out of a can.

The Ingredients.
--2 cans (or more!) sweetened condensed milk
--lots o' water

The Directions.

--take label off cans
--put cans in the bottom of your crockpot
--add enough water to completely cover the can

--cover and cook on low for 8 hours

eat NOT out of the can.

The Verdict.

The kids adored this (duh). I was pretty much a kitchen rock star. I did give them some apple slices though--I learned that from McDonalds.

PS: To make this can-free friendly, all you need to do is to scrape the ooey yummy sweetened condensed milk into some sort of oven-safe dish or container. Use a pyrex, use a mason jar, use a coffee cup. Then put water around the base of the inserted dish(es). Add enough water that the sides of the dish is about 2/3 of the way immersed. 
This will keep all lawyers and food police pretty darn happy. I think.

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My Ice Cream Diary said...

I LOVE this stuff and had never thought of crockpotting it while I sleep.

Jenny said...

bwahahahaa! Dulce De Leche for everyone!

Jennifer P. said...

Ah yes--a few apples makes all the sugar acceptable :)! Brilliant!

Ginny said...

I love it that you tagged this "breakfast"!


Amie said...

Seriously??? That's all you do?? SERIOUSLY??

Becky said...

You leave the can closed? And cover it with water, turn the thing on, go to sleep and wake up to that delicious looking treat? Wow, I'm amazed. But, you do leave the can closed right?

Crockpot Lady said...

amie, yes, that is it.
becky, yup. the can stays closed until you eat it.

--of course, I'm not recommending that you do this...---

dishes and laundry said...

My grandma used to make something like this - it's a favorite from my childhood. She made whipped cream and then beat it with the cooked SCM together and added pecan halves. She called it Fall Pudding, though I don't know if that was because it was something she made in the Fall, or because it was so freakin' good it made you fall down.

Thanks for reminding me of this!

Gina said...

Love this-my mom used to make this all the time, we ate it with hi-ho crackers.

Loved it, still love and love that really can do this without blowing anything up or causing an explosion!

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi, didn't want to register, just wanted to say that when I do this on the stove, I poke the tiniest little hole using the point on the type of can opener that makes a triangle cut into the top of the can.

Then I add water just to just below the tops of the cans and it comes out perfectly with less chance of exploding. No doubt that would work in the slow cooker too, for anyone who is still a bit nervous about heating the sealed cans.

Anne said...

We used to buy dulce de leche in bags at the grocery store when I lived in Chile. I even brought one home in my suitcase! Seeing as how that was almost 10 years ago, though, it's long since gone... so YAY an easy recipe!

Canadian Saver said...

Another yummmmy and original idea!

Amy said...

I could not have imagined that this could possibly be this easy...did they dip the apples..? this sounds really good...hmmmm

Amy said...

wait a sec...the cans don't like blow up in there from the pressure or something? that would be my luck...

The Dukes Family said...

I could eat that stuff in any form ... do you poke a hole in the can, or just start cooking and hope there are no explosions? :)

Robyn said...

First, as an attorney, I LOVE the disclaimer!! (my whole life is a disclaimer)

Second, as a (wannabe) cook and mom, I just LOVE this blog. Seriously, I read it every day.

Nan said...

My father-in-law makes this in a regular saucepan, and doesn't poke a hole in the can. So far, no explosions! I will tell him about this method, finally a use for my MIL's crockpot!!

Cassie said...

Sounds yummy...I will definately have to try this one....

patternnuts said...

Oh my! You are one brave lady "trying it out" overnight to boot!
Oh, I think I may have to just be brave and give it a go!
Looks scrumptious!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

The first time I made this I read everything I could about it for a week because I was so scared about it blowing up.

Basically as long as you start the can in cold/warm water and slowly heat it up, and MAKE SURE the can is constantly covered in water, you will be fine. All the explosion stories I've read have been from people who set it to boil and then walked away and the water boiled off and the can was exposed to air (affecting the surrounding pressure or something).

Anonymous said...

The Sweet Potato Queens call this "Danger Pudding"!

Joy said...

I have made the caramel with sweetened condensed milk, only I boiled the can for 3 hours on
the stove top. I can't wait until I can try the crock pot method!!!

My grandmother made caramel pie: 1 can boiled sweetened condensed milk
put into graham cracker crust and top with cool whip or meringue
We so enjoyed her special pie!!

Thanks for the tip.

Joy said...

I have made the caramel with sweetened condensed milk, only I boiled the can for 3 hours on
the stove top. I can't wait until I can try the crock pot method!!!

My grandmother made caramel pie: 1 can boiled sweetened condensed milk
put into graham cracker crust and top with cool whip or meringue
We so enjoyed her special pie!!

Thanks for the tip.

- said...

I LOVE Dulce De Leche! I made this last night in the CP (no holes in the lids), and it is absolutely wonderful! From one Stephanie to another, thanks for trying this and posting about it! I see a new family favorite in our future!

Joe, Les & Stella said...

I made Dulce De Leche on the stove... and I know why its not recommended to hoil the closed can! I had fallen asleep and did not make sure it was fully coverd in water. I woke up to what I thought was a gun shot... I was wrong... I ran upstairs to find a rich carmel all over the celing of my moms kitchen, along with the walls and the floor. I was banned from ever making it again. I think my mom wished that pop was a gun shot and not carmel! oh well. Great memory!

Naomi Devlin said...

Ha ha ha! you are sooo funny. I like the cautions in case of litigation - very sensible. I remember eating this stuff at college, it was the main event of a very delicious banoffee pie I used to make.

So simple and obviously such a great choice for breakfast, having all that protein from the milk (can you tell I'm being a wee bit sarcastic here?).

You should check out chou at 'balance' (link is on my blog, I forget it now) she has yellow cake with chocolate frosting for breakfast - hardcore huh?

x x x

Rachel R. said...

Anyone know if sugar (or honey?) and cream would work?

Rosie said...

I've also done this in the crockpot, but the recipe I learned about it from in a book said to open the can and cover the top with foil to stop drips going in, and then just chuck it in the pot with a cup of water.
No chance of anything exploding and it worked just fine :-)

Miss Katharine said...

I stumbled across this site by mistake and... you ROCK! I've been starting to use our crockpot more often, but doing it every day is genius. Haven't tried too very many different recipes. I will definitely be perusing your site. Oh, and the dulce de leche? Well, I think I have at least ine can in the cupboard as I type, so I guess I'll be making that in my sleep! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Haven't tried this yet, but I wanted to know if anyone has checked to see if the milk can is one of those that is lined with a white coating? That coating is plastic and will leach harmful chemicals into the milk when heated. There is much research on this on the web. I hope there is a brand of sc milk that is not in a plasti-lined can because the recipe sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

OMG folks. I learned this 20 years ago from an Argentine friend. Try it on waffles, pancakes, crepes, cheesecake, shortbread cookies (aka alfahores)poundcake, toast ( buttered) or your longest finger. the Mexicans make Cajeta, called the same but made with goats milk....also yummy. ANd then there's the ice cream.......

exposure to black mold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Molly said...

Girl, that's called Danger Pudding. LOL. You're completely tossing caution to the wind and putting yourself in culinary harm's way.

Anonymous said...

I tried this and it was delish! yum! One problem: when I took the cans out and tried to clean my CP I was left with two rust rings on the bottom of my CP from the cans :-( any suggestions on how to remove?

Carol Connell said...

Greeting Crock Pot Lady!

I have been reading your amusing blog some and defintely wanted to try this recipe. I made this last night for our Youth ALIVE Bible study and served it with apple slices and pretzels. The kids really liked it, but like the person who commented here before me, I was also left with two rings in my crockpot. I also noticed that mine was lighter in color than your picture. Could that mean that it needed to be cooked longer? I did cook it for 8 hours, but I wonder sometimes if maybe my crockpot is a little "slow". Anyhow, thank you for all the interesting recipes you are sharing on this blog. I plan to try more soon.

Best regards,

Carol Connell

Crockpot Lady said...

anon, I'm so sorry that I missed this comment until just now.
thank you, carol, for alerting me!

Have you used your crockpot since? I wonder if you cook something acidic, like with a tomato-base, if they will disappear. I am faintly remembering little rings in my crockpot, too, and ignoring them. I tend to ignore things until they go away... :-)

carol, about the color, I don't know if it really matters---if it tasted good, and had a consistency you and the kids liked, then it sounds like it worked perfectly.


Stephanie said...

I too blew up a can in college...this sounds much safer. I do suggest holes in your can, just to be safe...believe me 4 hours scrubbing anything in a 10ft. radius and you will be happy to put holes in the can. I also make the pie with a graham cracker crust, but then line the crust with sliced bananas before adding the Dulce de Leche and top with whipping cream!

La Rêveuse said...

I wonder if you could take it out of the can and put it in a sterilized canning jar with a screw top lid--I would think it would basically "can" itself and work, plus, then you could make a bunch for gifts. And those are designed to be boiled, anyway.

Hmmm... maybe I've got Christmas all worked out!

saphyredreams said...

I wonder if scrubbing the rust stains with baking soda would get them out. It works on stainless steel sinks and counter tops.

Azúcar said...

I've been making it all my life on the stove top. The only time I came close to danger was when I forgot about it. You have to keep filling the pan with water as it boils away over the 3 hours and I forgot. Hey, I was pregnant!

The crockpot works well, but the pressure cooker, is even faster at only a hour (and the explosion, should there be one, is contained!

Nicole said...

So I went home this weekend and my Mom was talking to me about how she was going to make cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche but she couldn't find it in the store, so she decided to make another cookie instead. Me (being the nerd that I am) have been reading your blog since February and I remembered that you can make it in the crock pot! So I convinved my Mom to try it because we had sweetened condensed milk and guess what??

It was a HUGE hit! We added some cinnimon when we took it out of the cans and dusted the cookie sandwiches (a basic sugar cookie for anyone interested) with powdered sugar, and the entire trayful was gone in minutes!

Thanks for saving the day and making me a hero!!!!

inamuddle said...

I just came across your blog and have been cruising through your recipes and came across this one about 'dolce de leche'.

Anyway, a work acquaintance used to make what was called Banana Split Pie with this type of dolce de leche:

~ 1 Graham Cracker Crust (pre-made for ease)
~ 1 Can of Dolce de Leche (I call it caramel)
~ 1 Medium Banana, sliced
~ 1 Small can of crushed pineapple, drained very well
~ 1 Small container of Cool-Whip or the real stuff if one is so inclined.
~ Chopped Pecans for garnish.
~ Maraschino Cherries (optional, well drained) to complete that 'banana split' look.

Spread the Dolce de Leche over the crust. Top with the sliced banana in one layer. Spread the crushed pineapple on top of the bananas. Top with whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Optional: Garnish with several cherries. Chill for several hours.

If it fails to become firm enough to slice (too impatient to chill or didn't drain the pineapple or the caramel is too soft), scoop into small bowls and use a spoon.

It's all good! and still very yummy.

Good blog!


Becky said...

I did this in my 2qt crock pot on low for 8 hours and when I opened the can it was still cream colored and thin, instead of caramely. Is there a way to check it to see if it's done cooking while still being able to continue cooking it if it's not ready?

Or, would you suggest I cook it on high instead? Can this be over-cooked?

I purchased the little crock pot just with this recipe in mind so I haven't used it for anything else yet and, therefore, am unfamiliar with how it's "low" and "high" settings compare to other crock pots.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Becky,

I don't know why that happened! I also don't know what would happen if you over-cook the cans (they of course don't want you to do this, so then neither do I)--- I'm hesitant to tell you what to do differently, because I really don't know!
I'm sorry.


Becky said...

I gave this another shot and cooked it on high for about 5 hours and it came out wonderful!

I think the problem is that the water never really came to any kind of a boil when I cooked it on low for 8 hours, so it never fully cooked.

Also, the first time I tried it, I got a rust stain on the bottom of the pot (as others have mentioned) so, this time, I put a piece of wax paper down on the bottom of my CP and put the can on top of it before adding the water. This seemed to help but it also made the can float once the water came to a boil so I took out the paper so it wouldn't make the can explode b/c it floated it out of the water. The wax paper did seem to catch most of the rust though, from having it in the pot early in the procedure.

Anonymous said...

This makes a great cake icing too. My grandmother used to boil the cans on the stove for 3 hours. Let them cool for another hour or two and then pour it in a bowl and fluff it up and it makes wonderful icing. Top the cake with pecans and it looks pretty too.

Bdubba said...

So, I found this recipe but can't wait over night so I am basically dutch ovening my can on the stove. I keep checking it just so I can stir it and then lick the spoon as I don't want to waste a drop! mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

BettyAnn said...

this was a big hit! I'll be using this as a filler for some of my christmas cookies. thanks for sharing this! :)

Anonymous said...

On the Dulce de Leche Recipe... Try this... cook 2 cans, as directed in your recipe, open and spread in a prepared pie crust. grahm, pastry, cookie crumb, your favorite. Top with whipped Cream, and voila! Caramel Pie!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe in the crockpot. I was short on time, so I boiled the water on the stove and added it to the crock pot already nice and hot. I turned the low to high now and then through the day. In the end, after about 6 hrs, it was divine! We dipped apples and put the rest in the fridge. I plopped a heaping tablespoon into my coffee this morning....YUM!!!!!

PuggleTrouble said...

Yummm! I usually make this on the stove when I'm making Banoffee pie. (My british addition to our Canadian thanksgiving dinner!)
But how cool to make it in the crock pot while I sleep!

marieen said...

i tried it out jus now, with the pressure cooker ... after literally hours of trepidation and with only greed egging me on...happy to report no explosion, relieved! to say the least...shall post again soon when i open the can and finally get to taste it...waiting...waiting

Anonymous said...

Heating anything in a can...not a good idea. Google BPA and'll figure it out pretty quick.

Mike and Amie said...

People in Brasil do this all of the time! We boiled it (the can) in a pot of water and them poured it over fresh strawberries! Yummmy!!

jerry said...

I tried this last night. It is DEE-licious! For those over 40, it tastes EXACTLY like those caramel squares we used to eat in the 60s and 70s.

Be warned: this is VERY rich. You can cook as many cans as you want at a time, but you should open them only one (or two) at a time, so as not to waste. (The closed cans will last forever because they're sealed.)

Renata said...

I finally went ahead and did this last night, except I put it in a canning jar (like La Rêveuse suggested). It cooked for 10 hours, so it was much firmer, not as creamy, but it was still good. The advantage of cooking it in the jar is that I could "see" it being done.

I have made dulce de leche starting from milk and sugar in the crockpot before, except it is much grainier than this kind (which is still acceptable to me).

Becky said...

This dip is great with Ritz crackers - a little sweet and a little salty!

Anonymous said...

When I was growing up my mom made this as a special treat, and sliced it out of the can (open both ends, then use the lid on one end to slowly push the stuff out the other end.) Slice it as it comes out. Place a slice on top of a slice of pineapple, and top with whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry. YUMMERS!!

Heather in SF said...

Thanks for posting this, I tried it last night and it came out perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I just made this yesterday. I put 1 1/2 of the caramel in a gram cracker crust and topped with whip cream. My guest were in awe.

Jana said...

You should be very concerned if there is BPA in the can liner. Heating in the can may release the plastic into the food. The FDA is warning about BPA. The milk could be put in some other safer container to cook

Taryn said...

I am trying the canning jar variation right now. 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk almost filled 2 medium (pint?) size canning jars. The only problem is they are not completely covered in water... but since canning jars are meant to be boiled I'm guessing it will stil work.

Last time I used the scary boiling closed cans in a pot method. And then made delicious caramel cream cheese icing. 1 part cream cheese, 1/2 part butter, enough dulce de leche to flavor and sweeten it. Yum! We put it on apple cake.

Becky said...

I'm less worried about an explosion and way more worried about the BPA exposure. The can is most definitely lined with BPA (very few aren't) which leeches out at much higher rates when heated. I'll try this with a glass jar though. That also eliminates the rust issue

Anonymous said...

My original recipe for this was water bathed in an over safe dish for 1 hour covered with foil. Figured I could adapt. I used a small oven safe dish with a small piece of foil placed (not wrapped( over the top to prevent condensation from dropping into the milk. Filled with water to cover sides of dish and put the lid on. Cooked on high for about 3 hours. I even checked it 1/2 way and stirred it. Easy to monitor, check, and no BPA lined cans!!! Turned out perfect. So much easier in the crock-pot. Water didn't evaporate and I didn't burn anything up! Thanks so much for the recipe!

Suzanne said...

Love this website! My mom always made caramel banana pie with the boiled cans of caramel. I'm just wondering about the process of putting this into canning jars and then crockpotting. Do you put the lids on them and cover with water as if they were still in cans?

Anonymous said...

After learning of this technique, but being warned not to do it because the can may explode, I thought, why not put it in a canning jar. It would be the same as canning it. It works wonderfully and then you already have a container for the leftovers. Yea, right.

Lily said...

Those leaving comments about BPA are right. The reason the company tells you not to heat in the can is because it is chemically VERY DANGEROUS. Please don't do this, nor should you publish the recipe as posted. Why not put it in an old jam jar or something similar? You could still follow the overnight recipe.

Heating in cans = exposing yourself and your children to dangerous toxins needlessly. Why would you want to do that?

Californiutahan said...

To those who are worried about BPA in heating the cans:

The canning process used by the company uses HEAT (just like any canning done at home--they use roughly the same process). Therefore, any BPA has already leeched into the sweetened condensed milk. The company doesn't want you heating the stuff in the can because it can explode if done improperly.

Carol said...

Yes, the can was heated, yes, some BPA has leached because of that heat--and YES that is a problem!

but the idea that it was heated, so all the BPA has leached is incorrect. Boiling the can for hours definitely increases the amount of leaching.

BPA in the cans isn't inevitable, Japanese can manufacturers have changed to a different lining, US ones will as soon they recognize the population doesn't actually appreciate having a dose of chemicals with our milk. That will only happen if we don't just say: 'ah well, we are all poisoned already, we are already used to really high breast cancer rates, let's just go with it.'

mary jane said...

what's not to like about sweetened condensed milk? I'm running out to get a crock pot just for this!

Tori said...

I'm late to this recipe, but wanted to add my .02cents. I have only done this on the stove top but wanted to recommend that you DO NOT OPEN THE CAN UNTIL IT COOLS COMPLETELY. You will be scraping it off the ceiling, walls and every surface you see. Not to mention the burns you will have. Just FYI. It's delish!

Tiff said...

I just found this recipe & was wondering if it can be stored for a couple of days after it's made? I would like to think that I WOULDN'T eat the entire can after it's done...!! Any thoughts?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Tiff!
WTG on your will power! :-)
scrape it into a tupperware to store in the fridge.


Anonymous said...

I've made a desert with no name using sweetened condensed the cans and place in a pan with water approx. 1/2 way up the side of the cans...keep your eye on water level because it will simmer away easily. Cook until the milk becomes carmelized and then use vanilla wafers in layers like this(I used a bread pan..sprayed with Pam)...layer of wafers, pour some caramelized milk next, then a light layer of chopped walnuts or pecans then repeat until until you get to about one inch from top of the bread pan ending with wafers...let this sit overnight in fridge and serve with whipped cream....This desert is heavenly and I have never had any complaints!

Soccy said...

I'd like to try this with a canning jar to reduce BPA exposure. To those who tried it with the canning jar, did you seal the jar with foil or the canning lids? I think I'll use the small jam jars so that when done, I can just refrigerate the extra jars and use one at a time.

Can you freeze this and just reheat on the stovetop or microwave?

kelli said...

Has anyone tried this with Fat Free or Reduced Fat Condensed Milk?

rocks in my mailbox said...

Hey, Y'all! Try this.....if you DO open the cans first, dump in the slow cooker, cook until that awesome caramel color happens, then dump into a graham cracker crust and top with real whipped cream.
oh. my. word.
We call it Caramel Pie around WILL love it!!!!

Kari said...

I was trying to figure what and how Dulce de Leche was done when I was considering a brownie recipe I saw that called for it. Now all my questions have been answered. Thanks!

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