How to make amazing, homemade dulce de leche in your Instant Pot from two basic ingredients (you can skip the canned milk!).
Have you heard of the “freshman fifteen”? You know, where kids go off to college and experience the joys of cereal and soft serve ice cream at every meal? No more meals by mom. Now it’s every man for himself, and binging on the craving of the hour is considered roommate bonding.
(College freshman– this is why your pants are tight.)
Well, for me it wasn’t the freshman fifteen. It was the Argentina twenty. I spent my first year out of high school at a school in Argentina where there was no soft serve ice cream in the comedor, but there was all-you-can-eat dulce de leche at every meal. And by every meal, I mean it.
We spread dulce de leche on bananas at breakfast, dipped our apples in it at lunch, and smeared it on rock-hard rolls morning, noon, and night. I won’t name names, but I’m pretty sure there were a few people who ate it by the spoonful too. *Ahem.
It was all part of the cultural experience then, and well worth the tightening waistline in my jeans. Consuming copious amounts of dulce de leche was as expected as sipping matte through the same straw with a group of friends or gorging on empanadas and papas fritas at your favorite restaurant in town.
(As usual, most of my memories involve food. Shocker).
These days dulce de leche is not an everyday thing. But that’s okay, because it stays special and never fails to remind me of my time in Argentina.
Previously, I followed this recipe to make homemade dulce de leche on my stovetop. The results were delicious, but the process was messy (my pot always boiled over) and involved too much babysitting (I have four kids–ain’t nobody got time for that).
This week, though, I have been making dulce de leche in my Instant Pot preparing for Christmas. AND IT IS SO EASY! Yet another reason to love my Instant Pot.
Milk + sugar = put it on everything.
I am thinking dulce de leche in my apple pie. Dulce de leche in my morning yogurt. Dulce de leche on a slice of leftover bread as an afternoon snack…
And dulce de leche on these three-ingredient butter cookies, perfect for holiday cookie trays and treat boxes.
I know that you can make dulce de leche pretty simply with a can of sweetened condensed milk. But I never have cans of sweetened condensed milk on hand, and personally, I like to keep my grocery list as simple as possible. So when I can easily make something from scratch with common kitchen ingredients, I am all for it.
Instant Pot Dulce de Leche (Without the Canned Milk!)
Makes approximately 2 half-pints
- 4 C whole milk
- 1 C sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine all four ingredients in the pot of your Instant Pot. Turn the IP on to Sauté and adjust the heat setting to LESS. (The milk will boil over if you do not change it to less).
2. Simmer the milk/sugar mixture on Sauté/LESS for an hour and a half, stirring periodically to help the sugar dissolve and to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot. IMPORTANT: The Instant Pot will automatically turn off the Sauté feature after 30 minutes, so you must turn it back on to Sauté twice during the cooking time.
3. After an hour and a half, the milk mixture should have turned to a dark golden brown and reduced by a little more than half. If it still seems thin, or if you want a darker/thicker finished product, you can continue to simmer for 10-15 more minutes. The dulce will thicken as it cools too.
4. Strain the dulce de leche through a mesh strainer and transfer to jars. Cover and let cool.
Don’t forget to pin and share this recipe! I can’t promise I will give you a cookie, but I can promise all the virtual high fives.
Hi there, I tried making dulce de leche today with a different method from yours and had an issue with foam. I love the idea of your method, and I most definitely will try it, but I want to know if foam is an issue. If it is, how do you handle it? The recipe I used only said to not incorporate the foam back into the milk when stirring. I hope all of that makes sense.
I have been looking for a recipe just like this! However, even after cooling and refrigeration, it came out very thin. I cooked it for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Any advice?
Do you strain this after it cools?
Can this be canned? Im thinking small jars for Christmas gifts:)
How should it be stored and how long will it last?
Store it in a jar or sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
Thank you for posting this receipe. Should I put the cover on the IP or leave it off under the sauté setting.
You can leave it uncovered, or cover it loosely with a glass lid. You want the steam to be able to escape as the milk reduces down.
Just found this recipe while thinking what to do with all the goat milk we have… (tired of cheeses!) the first 4L batch is in the instant pot… Can’t help wonder what the soda’s for?
Natalie, this quote is from Food 52, where I originally found the recipe for a stovetop version. “This nifty trick comes from Deb Perelman over at Smitten Kitchen. The baking soda is optional, but helps prevent the milk proteins from coagulating, ensuring a smoother end result. Whisk everything until combined (the mixture will fizz if you’re using goat’s milk, which is acidic)…”
Made this today! O my goodness! I am thinking Christmas gifts for next year. Of course I will have to keep making it and make sure I have it right.?
Of course you would want to be sure it was perfect…You will have to try it several times this year, at least. 🙂
I continue to love your blog 🙂 Looks and sounds delicious. Your pictures are gorgeous!
Thank you Josette!