This Instant Pot Dulce de Leche recipe is an easy, one ingredient, set it and forget it sweet that will ensure you never run out of dulce de leche again! Eat it by itself or use it in desserts to sweeten up your life whenever you need.
Why I love this Instant pot dulce de leche recipe
If you’ve ever had a hard time finding dulce de leche at your grocery store, this recipe is for you!
It does take some time to make it, but it’s all set it and forget it. This little detail makes the whole process really, really easy, unlike real dulce de leche, which requires massive amounts of babysitting and stirring.
The most important thing to keep in mind are all the safety concerns, which I address further down in this post, as well as in the recipe card.
That said, yes, this is safe to make at home. Yes, you can do this. But please read the whole post carefully and follow the instructions because I do not want you to get injured.
The end result is a creamy, dreamy and decadent sauce that you can use on almost any dessert imaginable.
Use it in recipes like my Churro Cake, drizzle it on top of ice cream, eat it by the spoonful… the options are endless.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do!
What is dulce de leche?
Dulce de Leche is a sweet, creamy sauce from Latin America.
It’s traditionally made by cooking milk and sugar together over the span of several hours until the sugar has caramelized and much of the liquid has cooked out—a real labor of love.
Since dulce de leche can be hard to find in some places, and let’s be honest, most home cooks don’t have that kind of time to dedicate to making the real deal, I figured I had to share how to make dulce de leche in the Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker.
It’s a very convenient and awesome hack you’ll be happy to know!
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You only need one ingredient!
- Sweetened condensed milk—any brand is fine, so you can even purchase the cheaper ones to save yourself a couple bucks. The only requirement is that it has to be canned. Also, the times I’ve tested and listed here are for 14 oz. can size. *Sweetened condensed milk is not the same thing as evaporated milk.
How to make Dulce de Leche in the Instant Pot
First, remove the paper label from the cans. Then, wash the cans well to remove any glue or residue.
This is extremely important because any glue residue can clog up your Instant Pot’s release valve and cause an explosion. We don’t want that!
If you have washed and scrubbed and there’s still some glue left, use a paring knife to scrape it off, like I show in the image above.
Whatever you do, just make sure you get all that sticky stuff off. K? K!!
Then, just add the clean cans to the Instant Pot and cover with water so that the cans are completely submerged. This is very important.
Also important: you do not want to crowd the pot with too many cans at once. I recommend 1-2 cans max!
Close the pot and seal.
Pressure cook based on the times described in the Cooking Times section below to make the dulce de leche according to your desired consistency and color.
After the cooking time timer goes off, do not touch the pot and let the steam naturally release — it will take about 45 minutes.
We do this for safety, but also because during this time, the sugars are still cooking, so speeding this up is not only dangerous, but also will not yield the expected results.
When all the steam has naturally released, you may safely open the pot and remove the cans using tongs or heat safe gloves.
You’ll notice the cans sometimes expand or warp, which is normal. After all, we just put sealed cans under high pressure!
That said, you need to wait for the cans for cool completely before you open them because the inside is still extremely hot. If you open the can too soon, the hot sugar inside can and will explode, which could cause serious injury.
When I make this recipe, I plan to open the can the following day just to be safe.
If you can’t wait all day, make sure you give yourself at least 2-3 additional hours before you open the can.
You’ll notice in the photos that the colors of the dulce de leche are slightly different, varying from lighter to a bit darker…
There’s a reason why, and it all depends on how long you cook them for.
- Pressure cook 5 minutes for light, more pourable dulce de leche.
- Pressure cook 10 minutes for medium dulce de leche.
- Pressure cook 20-30 minutes for darker, thicker dulce de leche.
No matter how long you pressure cook it for, remember to let the pot naturally release its pressure instead of using the quick release — this will take about 40-45 minutes after the timer goes off.
It’s crucial time because the dulce de leche will continue to cook while it sits there in the pot.
Plus, it’s much much safer to handle the pot in this context after the pressure is all gone.
How to store:
Once your dulce de leche is done, you can leave the can unopened and keep it in your pantry for whenever you need it.
After you open it, your dulce de leche will last about 5-7 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
It’ll begin to crystallize the longer it sits, but it won’t go bad—the texture just won’t be smooth after a few days open.
!! See Below Summary of Safety Tips Discussed !!
- Be sure to remove the label and all the glue from the can(s).
- Do NOT crowd the pot with too many cans at once. I recommend making 1-2 cans at most.
- Completely submerge the cans in the water.
- Let the steam naturally released completely before you can safely open the pot. This will take 45 or so minutes after the cooking timer goes off.
- Remove the cans from the pot using tongs or heat safe gloves.
- Wait for the cans to cool completely before opening. This will be at least 2-3 hours after their cook. I like to let them sit overnight before opening to be safe.
How to use Instant Pot Dulce de Leche:
- To top ice cream
- To serve with brownies, cakes, pies, cheesecakes…
- On crepes and pancakes
- To sweeten coffee drinks
- To jazz up plain cookies
Or in recipes like…
- Churro Cake
- Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
- Banana Bread Cake – Bolo de Farinha de Rosca com Banana
Other Brazilian Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- Brigadeiro Recipe
- Brigadeiro Cake Recipe
- Beijinho de Coco – Brazilian Coconut Balls with Condensed Milk
- Arroz Doce Cremoso – Brazilian Rice Pudding with Condensed Milk
- Brazilian Hot Chocolate
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Instant Pot Dulce de Leche
- 2x 14 ounce cans of sweet condensed milk
- Remove the paper label from the cans and discard.
- Wash the cans well, scrubbing all the glue completely—you can also carefully scrub the glue off with a knife. (This is very important because the glue could stop up the valve in the Instant Pot.)
- Place the clean cans into the Instant Pot. Cover with water, close and seal.
- Pressure cook 5-10 minutes for a light, pourable dulce de leche. Pressure cook 20 minutes for medium dulce de leche. Pressure cook 30 minutes for dark, thich dulce de leche.
- Let the pressure naturally release. (This should take about 40-45 minutes).
- Safely open the pot, and with gloves or tongs remove the cans from the pot.
- Let the cans cool completely before opening. Since they were just under high pressure, the contents could explode if you open the can while it's still hot, and you could get seriously injured.
- Use it on cakes and desserts as desired.
- Wait for the cans to cool completely before you open them. The hot sugar inside can and will explode if it’s still hot and you open the can. It could cause serious injury.
- When I make this recipe, I plan to open the can the following day just to be safe.
- The cans sometimes expand or warp. This is normal and should not affect the end product.
- How to store: Once cooled, you can leave an unopened can of dulce de leche in your pantry for months. After you open it, the dulce de leche will last about 5-7 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.