Instant Pot Dulce de Leche

Instant Pot Dulce de Leche ~ finally, the definitive homemade dulce de leche recipe that’s quick, easy, safe, and utterly fabulous ~ who knew?

Instant Pot Dulce de Leche pinterest image

luxe dulce de leche made in your Instant Pot!

This incredibly lush homemade dulce de leche is just a couple of quick steps away, so grab a can of sweetened condensed milk and plug in your Instant Pot. It’s by far the best method for making homemade dulce de leche that I’ve found, and with the Instant Pot it’s not only the speed of cooking that makes it so special, but the ease of it all.

what is dulce de leche and what can I do with it?

Dulce de leche is a Latin American treat that’s a lot like caramel, except that caramel is made with sugar and water, and dulce de leche is made with sugar and milk.. It loosely translates to milk jam or milk candy, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate.   To make it you slowly heat sweetened milk until it thickens and the sugars basically caramelize. The resulting spread can be slathered on ice cream, toast, biscuits, croissants, cornbread, you name it. And you can bake with it, too. In our house we usually just go at it with a spoon, but if we can keep it around long enough, this instant pot recipe is going to come in handy when I’m craving a batch of my HOT DULCE DE LECHE.  And when the weather warms up, think about some NO CHURN DULCE DE LECHE ICE CREAM!

pouring Instant Pot Dulce de Leche into a jar

how does it work?

The Instant Pot pressure cooker uses high pressure to speed up the Maillard Reaction (a fancy culinary term for the caramelizing of the milk) to transform sweet milk into a thick rich caramel in a fraction of the time of ordinary diy methods. This same browning transformation is responsible for some of the most tempting flavors on earth, from grilled meats to roasted coffee. Dulce de leche is right up there with them, and once you take a taste, it’s really hard to stop.

Homemade Instant Pot dulce de leche in a jar

step by step process

The process is dead simple ~

  1. Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass canning jar. I used a Weck jar, but any will do.
  2. Top it with foil or screw on the lid, then place it in your Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  3. Add water to the pot up to an inch from the top of the jar.
  4. Cook on high for 45 minutes, let cool, and voilà, you’ve got thick creamy caramel.
two versions of homemade dulce de leche, on tea spoons

Why bother making homemade dulce de leche when you can just open a can? 

Well, you can do that, if you can find it in your supermarket, but my super scientific taste test revealed that this homemade Instant Pot dulce de leche is far superior.

Instant Pot dulce de leche on a spoon

other methods for making dulce de leche

You can also make dulce de leche on the stove top, (but the cans can explode.) You can make it in a slow cooker, (but it takes a looooooong time.) you can do it in a double boiler, (I hope your stirring arm’s in shape.) And finally you can do it in the oven, (my second choice if you don’t have an Instant Pot.)

3.50 from 67 votes

Instant Pot Dulce de Leche

Instant Pot Dulce de Leche ~ finally, the definitive homemade dulce de leche recipe that's quick, easy, safe, and utterly fabulous ~ who knew?
Course Dessert
Cuisine Latin American
Yield 1 cup
Calories 80kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • Instant Pot


  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk you can do up to 3 cans in one batch if you like


  • Scrape out all the condensed milk into a pint sized mason jar, or similar canning jar.
  • Cover the jar tightly with foil or screw on the cap.
  • Place the rack at the bottom of your Instant Pot and then place the jar on the rack. Fill the Instant pot with water, up to 1 inch from the top of the jar. Close and lock the Instant Pot lid, and set the pressure release valve to sealed.
  • Press ‘Pressure Cook’ and set the timer to 45 minutes.
  • When the machine beeps, press cancel and unplug. Let the pressure release naturally, and then open the lid and carefully remove the hot jar.
  • Let the jar cool down, it will be VERY hot. Do not be tempted to taste the dulce de leche until it has cooled.
  • When cool enough to handle, stir vigorously to remove the lumps and smooth out the caramel. I like to give it a whirl in my small food processor to make it extra silky.
  • Store your dulce de leche in the refrigerator for up to a month. Good luck getting it to last that long 😉
  • Reheat chilled dulce de leche gently in the microwave.

Cook’s notes

Safety Note: This recipe is formulated for the Instant Pot. Please don’t try this with stove top pressure cookers as I haven’t tested it on other models. 
When using an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, always read and follow all the instructions provided with your machine, especially the safety instructions.


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 92mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I’m looking for a caramel sauce to try on top of your apple and cider doughnut bundt cake as an alternative to the cinnamon sugar. Would this work? Is it too thick? Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      I think this would be too thick Kirsten.

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