Slow Cooker Dulce De Leche


I generally go grocery shopping just once a week. I don’t meal plan beforehand, so I often end up with a lack of necessary ingredients and a stash of unneeded sale items. I love the later, because then someday down the road I get to stare into my pantry or freezer and say “what can I make out of that?”

This week I’ve spent some time staring at these: DSC_0002

Two cans of sweetened condensed milk. I could have made some type of pie for Pi Day today. But, instead I made caramel sauce to make salted caramel chocolate chip cookie bars tomorrow.
(WHAT?! YES. Salted caramel chocolate chip cookie bars. I smiled typing that the first time and giggled aloud typing that the second time.)

To make dulce de leche, you can take the labels off cans of sweetened condensed milk and drop them straight into boiling water for a couple hours. Despite seeing this done on the Food Network a number of times, I feel like heating up cans can lead to them exploding in my face or exploding a mess in my kitchen, and if they make it through without exploding, I’m likely left with a bonus dose of Bisphenol A. So I went the route of many bloggers before me and dumped the sweetened condensed milk into glass canning jars and then putting the jar lids on.


Put the filled jars into the slow cooker and fill the slow cooker with water.

Cook those suckers on low until you reach your desired consistency, on the order of 8 hours. You’ll see the color changing. Go ahead taste it. But remember the jars and their contents are hot. You’ll probably forget and burn your fingers and/or tongue, but at least I warned you.

After 6-8 hours (depending the temperature your cooker reaches), you should have a sauce (put it on your ice cream or in your coffee).


After 8-10 hours you should have a thicker pudding like caramel (Mmmmm… get out the apple slices or put a dollop on a s’more.).


Even if your jars seal themselves, this is probably not shelf safe. You should store this in the refrigerator, if it lasts long enough to need storage.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Facebook Pinterest Plusone Twitter Email


  1. This is a good idea, doing it in the slow cooker! This is what happened to me, when I tried the whole in-the-can-thing, it was both terrifying and unsuccessful!

    Also, those bars look AMAZING!

    • Katie, I had the same reaction when I first tasted it. It wasn’t what I expected. I had to remind myself it was dulce de leche and not gooey caramel. But it worked out fantastic in the cookies, and I tasted some that has been sitting in the fridge and it was good. I’ve also seen people on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives as well as Recipe TV make it into a custard.

      • I think that one factor might have been the lack of salt- maybe part of what I expect out of caramel is a little salt? I’m not sure- but I think the cookies would be a really good way to use it because I can imagine liking it better in with the other flavors than I did all by itself.

        • My husband says the cookies may have been the best thing I ever made ever. My kids loved it too. I think I’m going to use the same idea to make brownies with the rest of it this week. The kids are EXCITED. I also think the salt adds a lot.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.