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).
Milk + sugar = put it on everything.
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.