Home RecipesDessert Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker

Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker

by Adrianne

Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker will blow your mind! This recipe is one of the most fun things you can do in your Slow Cooker and you are going to love it. Dulce de leche sauce will become your secret weapon in making amazing and decadent desserts.

There is a little bit of magic that goes into this recipe!

Spoon full of dulce de leche above timber chopping board

For starters ‘dulce de leche’ is pronouced ‘dool-seh-deh-leh-cheh’ but that is kindof 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?

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!

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker covered with water

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.

2 tins of sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker which have gone a little rusty

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

  1. add your tins
  2. cover with water (at least 1 inch above the tins)
  3. set temperature to low
  4. 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!

Dulce de leche questions answered:

About the recipe:

  • 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)

Your quick questions answered:

  1. Cook time is 8 hrs
  2. Cook temperature is low
  3. See my recipe notes re high cooking
  4. You can whip the dulce de leche to make desserts
  5. 5 mins is for before and after prep
  6. This is an EASY recipe

Slow Cooker Recipes

For further tips and tricks on slow cooker recipes, check out these 2 recipes:

Winter Warming Recipe Ideas

  1. Chicken Thighs in Creamy Garlic Wine Sauce (one pot recipe)
  2. Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese (vegetarian recipe)
  3. Beef Bean Pasta Bake (family favorite)
  4. Minestrone Soup (packed with veggies)
  5. Meatball Tomato Soup (one of my favourites) 
  6. Zucchini Grilled Cheese (vegetarian recipe)

Dessert sauces from my Aussie friends

I thought seeing we are talking dessert sauces today, it would be nice for you to have some other options to keep in mind when it comes to sweets.

Sylvie, my friend over at A Baking Journey has a delicious looking Easy Raspberry Coulis recipe to share with you. It looks fantastic and uses only 3 ingredients! Got to love a sweet fruit based sauce!

Megan, is my keto pal over at Mad Creations, has got a damn god looking Keto Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce that you are going to love. She describes it as the ‘ultimate low carb chocolate sauce recipe’. Plus the entire recipe only takes 11 minutes!

If you make this recipe, tag @sweetcaramelsunday on Instagram and use hashtag #sweetcaramelsunday Or you can upload a photo (I would love to see) via the pin on my recipes board >> Sweet Caramel Sunday Recipes board  >> Pinterest

open tin of dulce de leche from the slow cooker

Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker

Dulce de Leche Slow Cooker will blow your mind! This recipe is one of the most fun things you can do in your Slow Cooker and you are going to love it. Dulce de leche sauce will become your secret weapon in making amazing and decadent desserts.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, Australian, International
Keyword: caramel, caramel sauce, dessert sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 127kcal
Author: Adrianne

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

Dulce de leche Slow Cooker

  • 790 grams sweetened condensed milk Note 2
  • 6 litres water Note 3

Instructions

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

Video

Notes

  1. 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! 
  2. Note 2, this recipe is for 2 tins of sweetened condensed milk. Each tin is 395 grams.
  3. 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). 
  4. 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! 

Nutrition

Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 147mg | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Share on Instagram!It makes my day when you make my recipes! Tag @sweetcaramelsunday

Dulce de leche in a clear glass jar with a spoon

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 1/2 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 being spooned into a glass jar

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!

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!!

Adrianne xx

P.S. Trust me when I say, dulce de leche is the bomb diggity of dessert sauces and with this up your sleeve, you, my friend will be the bomb diggity!! 

14 comments

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14 comments

Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes August 4, 2019 - 1:25 am

5 stars
Caramel has always been my favourite flavour! This Dulce de Leche is making me crave a bowl so I could dip my spoon into it right now! 😀 What a fabulous idea to do it in the slow cooker. I always forget to use my slow cooker, but I reckon I could remember it for this 😉 Yum!

Reply
Adrianne August 4, 2019 - 1:53 am

Thanks Alex. It is good for spoon dipping that is for sure. Yes, caramel is loved by all isn’t it. We need to treat ourselves occasionally!!

Reply
Sandi August 4, 2019 - 1:35 am

I am a total sucker for dolce leche…I love it is made in a slow cooker

Reply
Adrianne August 4, 2019 - 1:53 am

Thanks Sandi, it makes it SO easy!

Reply
Genevieve August 4, 2019 - 2:39 am

5 stars
This is such a genius idea and looks SO good for desserts!

Reply
Robyn August 4, 2019 - 4:15 am

5 stars
I have never seen Dulce de Leche made in a slow cooker before – what a genius idea! Definitely an idea I’m going to bookmark for Christmas!

Reply
Tisha August 4, 2019 - 4:56 am

5 stars
OH MY GOSH SO SIMPLE! This is absolutely GENIUS!

Reply
Adrianne August 5, 2019 - 7:21 am

Thanks Tisha, it is, haha! Cheers

Reply
SHANIKA August 4, 2019 - 4:59 am

5 stars
I love that this sauce is made in a slow cooker! Such an easy way of making it!

Reply
Sylvie August 4, 2019 - 7:37 am

5 stars
I think this is my favourite new recipe EVER! I cannot believe it is as easy as popping some sweet condensed milk cans in the slow cooker… seriously genius Adrianne!

Reply
mimi rippee August 4, 2019 - 6:13 pm

I’ve heard about this before, and the results are beautiful! I wish there was a good short cut for making cajeta, which i love even more than dulce de leche. But oh well. I’ll keep making it the old fashioned way!!!

Reply
Adrianne August 5, 2019 - 7:22 am

Thanks Mimi, nice to see you here again. Ohhh I haven’t heard of that one, so will have to look it up. You know me though, almost all foods and I am in!

Reply
Michelle August 4, 2019 - 9:14 pm

I had no idea you could do this in a slow cooker!! Amazing!!

Reply
Adrianne August 5, 2019 - 7:23 am

I know Michelle, it is magical isn’t it, it just makes life so easy when you can set and forget!! Cheers

Reply

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