Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker will blow your mind! This recipe is the most fun thing you can do in your Slow Cooker and you are going to LOVE IT! Dulce de leche sauce will become your secret weapon for decadent dessert recipes.
Popular treats like our Triple Caramel Chocolate Brownies, Lion Cake and Cookie Monster Cupcakes are worth taking a look at. For festive desserts your go to recipes are our Chocolate Ripple Wreath, Christmas Wreath Pavlova and 8 Egg Pavlova.
For starters 'dulce de leche' is pronounced 'dool-seh-deh-leh-cheh' but that is tricky, so if you want to call it 'sweet sticky brown goodness', then that is ok with me!
- Is dulce de leche the same as caramel
- Condensed milk caramel in the slow cooker
- About slow cooker dulce du leche
- Make your own dulce du leche
- How do you preserve dulce de leche
- Making dulce de leche in the slow cooker
- Can you freeze condensed milk caramel?
- How to cook sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker
- Why cook dulce de leche in the slow cooker
- How long to cook dulce de leche
- Slow Cooker Condensed Milk Recipes
- Dulce de Leche desserts
- Frequently asked questions
- Slow Cooker Recipes
Is dulce de leche the same as caramel
No, dulce de leche and caramel are 2 different, albeit strikingly similar sauces. It is not so much a case of you say 'potato' and I say 'po-tato', so much as what ingredients are used which allows us to distinguish them.
Dulce de leche is a sauce most often used in sweets. It is often mistaken for caramel as it is similar in texture and appearance. The key difference between the 2 is that dulce de leche is made from milk and sugar whereas caramel is made from water and sugar.
Don't worry too much my friends if you do get them confused. This is not a science class, nor I your science teacher. (Although I would have loved to have been taught this way back then!)
Condensed milk caramel in the slow cooker
The main reason why I wanted to share this recipe with you today is because it is so fun and so easy. We can take something which is the bomb diggity of desserts and sweets and use our slow cooker to create it.
You guys know that I love slow cooker recipes and it is the time of year in Australia that it lives on the bench and not in the cupboard. This recipe is no exception. There is a childlike curiosity and delight that comes from taking a can (or two) of sweetened condensed milk, popping them in the slow cooker, filling it with water (this is important). Then setting it for 8 hrs to do its thing.
Once you have made dulce de leche in your slow cooker, you will want to make it every week!
The above photo shows you you 2 tins of sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker. I lined the base of the bowl with grease proof paper as the tins will go slightly rusty during the cooking process.
About slow cooker dulce du leche
Firstly I really want to hash out with you guys, how many names this delicious sweet sauce could go by and let you know that it is good to have a basic idea of the differences. But personally if I was served a caramel tart, I wouldn't turn my nose up at asking why it wasn't a dulce de leche tart and vice versa.
The best way that I can think of to explain it is in terms of what is convenient and what is not.
You could very well take yourself off to the shops this afternoon with the intent of buying a sweet sticky sauce to make desserts with. In doing so, you would easily find caramel sauce, caramel top and fill and sweetened condensed milk. These ingredients will all be in a few aisles of each other at the store.
Dulce de leche however, won't be. It is more revered than caramel sauce and of the 2 has the more 'wow' factor. You might find yourself walking up and down, back and forth, scratching your head. Reading labels and walking from the fridge section to the dry goods section simply not knowing where to locate dulce de leche. I did this in the past and I still never found it!
Make your own dulce du leche
The key today is to get you to realise that by using your slow cooker and a can of sweetened condensed milk, you can easily make your own dulce de leche.
It won't be something you buy anymore. It will be something you can make when you have the time, store in the fridge and use when needed and how needed.
How do you preserve dulce de leche
To preserve dulce de leche, we need to think about what it is and how we are going to use it.
This recipe is fun, it is easy and it is simple. We don't get overly complicated with any of it. Some recipes will call for removing the sweetened condensed milk from the tin before cooking it. That is a good idea if you are a super visual person as you can watch (quick peeks every now and then, ain't nobody got time to watch the slow cooker for 8 hrs!) it change colours.
But, the reality is, that would be taking something super simple and easy and adding a bit more work into it.
I say don't do that.
My preference is to use the sweetened condensed milk cans in the slow cooker, then after the cook time and they are fully cooled, transfer the dulce de leche to glass jars to preserve it.
The best way to preserve dulce de leche for use in sweets and desserts is to store it in the fridge in a glass well sealed jar.
The main reason for this is that your tins will go a little bit rusty during the cook time and they don't exactly come with an easy to put back on lid.
Making dulce de leche in the slow cooker
If you have a look at the photo below, you will see the 2 tins of sweetened condensed milk I used for this recipe and how they have slightly rusted. This is due to the fact that the tins are sitting in water for an 8 hr period and being exposed to heat during this time.
Don't worry too much about that as we will remove the ducle de leche from the tins before serving.
Can you freeze condensed milk caramel?
I don't recommend freezing condensed milk caramel. Not in this form anyways. We will talk more about dulce de leche in ice-cream form in the future (in which case you would obviously freeze it).
However, the best way to store this is in the fridge. Personally I don't like to store this in the cupboard after it has been cooked as Queensland is hot most of the time and it is a sauce made from milk.
How to cook sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker
Cooking sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker is easy
- add your tins
- cover with water (at least 1 inch above the tins)
- set temperature to low
- cook for 8 hrs
For this recipe I removed the labels from the tins as I think it helps to convey what we are doing. ie putting the full unopened can into the slow cooker. But it is not entirely necessary. I will let you be the executive chef on that decision. Do whatever works for you!
Why cook dulce de leche in the slow cooker
The simple answer is because it is easy.
You literally take a tin of sweetened condensed milk and turn it into dulce de leche. There is nothing not to love about this recipe!
You don't have to stand over the stove, you don't have to stir anything.
You also don't have to pay for caramel top and fill, which by the way is a fair bit more expensive than sweetened condensed milk!
How long to cook dulce de leche
The best cook time for this recipe is 8 hrs.
You can set and forget during that time.
It is important to note that you will need to wait for the tins to fully cool down before opening them (I know, I know, you will want to try it before then), but save yourself a burnt finger (we both know you are going to stick it in there as soon as you can) and leave it to cool 1st.
A good way of doing this, is after the 8 hrs have passed (think of all the things you can do during that time!!). Turn the heat off, remove the lid and walk away.
Come back when the water has cooled and then remove your tins and take to them with your can opener. This is the fun reward after a long hard journey and you will twist that lid off with pure delight to see the sweet goodness that is dulche de leche slow cooker magic!
Slow Cooker Condensed Milk Recipes
Is there anything better than a spoon full of dulce de leche above a glass jar, watching it drizzle in, nope I don't think so either!!
This is like therapy for me! I could do this all day. Lift, drizzle, repeat. Stick finger in, lick, haha, nope I didn't do that, well, I might have tried just a wee little bit. But it was like ½ a teaspoon ok and I did use a spoon. Not like a full soup spoon or anything. I am saving that for after dinner! (Haha, I am kidding!)
Dulce de Leche desserts
I bet that you will make desserts left, right and center with this delicious dessert sauce now that you know how to make it!
You can absolutely make it in advance, then have it ready when needed.
We don't always know when we need a decadent dessert recipe up our sleeve, but we all know that when we do, time is not a plenty.
Trust me, this one will be your new best friend.
Recipes with dulce de leche will be coming out of your kitchen for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Frequently asked questions
- This recipe is fun!
- 2 tins is best as you will want to put it on everything you can think of
- Cold water is fine in the slow cooker
- No need to oil the base
- Tap water does the trick
- Water needs to go above the tin (important)
- Cook time is 8 hrs
- Cook temperature is low
- See my recipe notes re high cooking
- You can whip the dulce de leche to make desserts
- 5 mins is for before and after prep
- This is an EASY recipe
For further tips and tricks on slow cooker recipes, check out these 2 recipes:
- Meatballs in sauce (slow cooker)
- Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken
- Mushroom Chicken Thighs (slow cooker)
Comfort Food Recipe Ideas
- Chicken Thighs in Creamy Garlic Wine Sauce (one pot recipe)
- Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese (vegetarian recipe)
- Beef Bean Pasta Bake (family favorite)
- Minestrone Soup (packed with veggies)
- Meatball Tomato Soup (one of my favourites)
- Zucchini Grilled Cheese (vegetarian recipe)
PIN and save the recipe for later
Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooker
Dulce de leche Slow Cooker
- 790 grams sweetened condensed milk Note 2
- 6 litres water Note 3
Dulce de leche Slow Cooker
- Place your tins of sweetened condensed milk on their side in the slow cooker. Fill bowl with water and ensure tins are covered with an additional 1 inch above them. Note 3
- Note 1 some people and recipes might say that you can cook this for 4-5 hrs on high instead of 8 hrs on low. Personally I haven't tried that. I think there is a lot more room for an explosion in the slow cooker if the tins are on high than low. If I try it one day I will let you know, but for me now, low and slow, 8 hrs does the trick!
- Note 2, this recipe is for 2 tins of sweetened condensed milk. Each tin is 395 grams.
- Note 3, it is really important to ensure that your tins are fully submerged in the water. My slow cooker is 5 litres. I fill it to the max line which allows for 1-2 inches of water above the sides of the tin. In my experience in making this recipe, I have not needed to add more water during the cooking time. (You might need to if cooking on high, if so, see note 1).
- I like to be transparent with the nutritional info for my recipes and this is a tricky one to do that for. Essentially you will be using the sauce in a number of sweets and desserts and won't have a huge serving all at the one time. I have indicated 10 servings for each tin, which I think is quite reasonable. If you are using greater servings of it then keep that in mind as it will obviously increase the calorie count. But hey, we are talking sweets so it is probably not the highest priority in mind!
What to use dulce de leche for
In short, EVERYTHING!! Haha, just kidding. No, you can use it for almost everything. Sweet wise at least, for sure!
Here are some suggestions:
- Dulce de leche tartlets
- Banoffe Tart
- Pancake topping
- Cheese cake
- Ice cream
- I think I need to stop writing this list before we gain weight!!