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Marian Blazes

Dulce de Leche - Can Boiling Method

By August 5, 2009

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I finally got up the nerve to boil a can of condensed milk, in order to make dulce de leche. I've always heard of this method, but been a little afraid to try it. Surprisingly, miracle or magic trick - it worked! I was sure I was going to blow up the kitchen. I still don't know if it's completely safe, but I read that as long as you keep the can completely covered with water, everything is fine.

I put the can of condensed milk on top of a metal ring in a deep heavy pot, so that the water could circulate completely around it. I filled the pot with enough water to cover the can by a couple of inches, and let the water simmer for 2 hours. Once the can had cooled enough to handle, I opened it and found thick, shiny, caramel, perfect dulce de leche. It was really amazing, and I'm not sure how it works. I thought some of the water had to evaporate away, especially because the dulce de leche is much thicker than the evaporated milk. But the can was very full. It was quite a transformation.

I still prefer the taste of the slowly stirred dulce de leche, flavored with cinnamon. But this is a great option when you don't have time to stand at the stove stirring for an hour.

Dulce de Leche, Slow but Delicious Method (With Lots of Stirring)
Dulce de Leche, Double Boiler Method


November 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm
(1) chirsti says:

Try stirring it over heat with 4 tablespoons of Nestles’ Quick Chocolate. Nothing tastes better!

April 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm
(2) Karen says:

A friend told me about this method years ago, And , yes, you must keep the water level above the can. Then you can cool it and store it for a later date.
This is the best filling for the Chocolate Turtle Candies that i make around the holidays.

April 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm
(3) Lygia says:

I am originally from Brazil and when I was a child my grandma and all my aunts used to do “doce de leite” this way and I have never heard of any accidents in the kitchen! The longer you keep the can cooking, the darker and thicker the doce the leite will be. Some people even like to cut it with a knife and eat it with cheese. It’s just amazing!

July 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm
(4) Carlita says:

I grew up on this stuff and we never had trouble boiling the cans. However, I did make it one time in my early adulthood and the can EXPLODED! Not sure if the water got too low or there was a small leak in the can, but it sounded like a shotgun blast in my kitchen. Worst part was trying to clean the very thick, very sticky, very hardened substance off every surface of my kitchen for months afterwards (and was never sure I got it all). Luckily no one got hurt, but please use caution when using the boiling can method. I’m looking forward to trying the microwave version, and if it works I’m about to get very fat. :D

August 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm
(5) Betsi says:

condensed or evaporated milk? it’s mentioned both ways…

November 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm
(6) lalou says:

Because cans are lined using BPA’s, I have heard that cooking anything in a tin can is an awful idea. I have heard you can use this same recipe if you move the milk to glass canning jars first, even sealing them before cooking.

August 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(7) greg says:

I remember a friend back in High School doing this up in NY (30+ years ago) and it was amazing. But I couldn’t remeber what he did. Thanks for posting this! For the “a lot of stirring method” how about a hands free pot stirrer?

December 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm
(8) andy says:

You do need to watch the water level. My grandmother would always make dulce de leche this way, but one day she started and went and took a nap. 3-4 hours later she came into the kitchen to discover a room splattered in caramel. It took us days to clean off the cabinets, walls, floor and ceiling. long story short, watch your time and water level.

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