Instant Pot Dulce de Leche ~ finally, the definitive homemade dulce de leche recipe ~ this one is quick, easy, safe, and utterly fabulous. It’s just one of the many surprising things you can make in an Instant Pot, from a cold and flu tonic to decadent chocolate cheesecake ~ who knew?
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!
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.
The process is dead simple ~ pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass canning jar. I used a Weck jar, but any will do. Top it with foil or screw on the lid, then place it in your Instant Pot pressure cooker and fill the pot with water, to within an inch of the top of the jar. Cook on high for 45 minutes, let cool, and voilà, you’ve got thick creamy caramel.
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.
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. Always follow all safety instructions in your manual, and follow the recipe instructions carefully.
Instant Pot Dulce de Leche
- 1 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.
notes and variations
Make it your own ~
- You can also make dulce de leche on the stove top, (but the cans can explode) in a slow cooker, (takes a looooooong time) in a double boiler, (hope your stirring arm’s in shape) or in the oven, (my second choice if you don’t have an Instant Pot.)
More amazing recipes you probably didn’t realize you could make in your Instant Pot ~
INSTANT POT BANANA BREAD ~ That’s What Che Said
INSTANT POT ORANGE CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS ~ Foodiecrush
CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO PUDDING CAKE ~ Instant Pot
INSTANT POT STEAMED ARTICHOKES ~ Platings and Pairings
PERFECT SOFT AND HARD BOILED EGGS IN THE INSTANT POT ~ Skinnytaste
INSTANT POT VIETNAMESE FISH CONGEE ~ Delightful Plate
FAST NO SOAK BEANS IN THE INSTANT POT ~ Simply Recipes
VANILLA EXTRACT ~ The Kitchn
INSTANT POT BONE BROTH ~ 40 Aprons
INSTANT POT CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE ~ Simply Happy Foodie
DYNAMITE COLD TONIC ~ 101 Cookbooks
INSTANT POT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE ~Amy + Jacky
APPLESAUCE ~ Life is But a Dish
INSTANT POT CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE ~ 365 DAYS OF SLOW COOKING