Condensed Milk Caramel Recipe

November 16, 2015

This homemade condensed milk caramel sauce, or “Dulce de Leche”, only requires one ingredient & a crockpot! Use this simple recipe to make your own caramel sauce with sweetened condensed milk!

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Jar of caramel sauce made from sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel Recipe

Did you know you can make caramel sauce with one single ingredient? Sweetened condensed milk is all you need to make delicious, rich caramel sauce!

Making caramel sauce is a lot easier than one would expect. No candy thermometer required for this crockpot caramel sauce!!

If you love caramel, I think you will LOVE this caramel shortbread cookie bars! It’s one of the top recipes on my site!

I have seen this sweetened condensed milk caramel recipe on Pinterest multiple times, but I have always been weary of it. Primarily because of the heat & tin can situation.

I’ve read how toxic the lining of cans can be, one would think that adding heat is a recipe for disaster. When I discovered you can make this caramel sauce in glass jars, I was sold on giving it a try. 

After simmering in the crockpot for 8 hours, I had 3 jars of perfectly colored caramel. No burning, no temperature taking; just waiting! 

As I’ve done further research, you can absolutely spice and flavor the milk prior to adding it to the jars. Try adding some vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon, or pumpkin spices – they will all be delicious! And, if you’re wondering if this is shelf stable, it is not. Please make sure to refrigerate this caramel sauce.


Turn this into a sweet hostess gift by pairing it with some fresh apples and a cute little tag!

This is the world’s easiest caramel sauce, and probably the most inexpensive. I’ve included a free printable that is compatible with these stickers so that you can give this caramel sauce as a gift!

Click here to download the free sticker printable used in this post!

Can this recipe be canned in an instant pot?

In order to use an instant pot for this recipe, you would need to remove the lid, and submerge the jars 1/2-3/4 in water.

There are a few recipes for it online, but it seems the caramel comes out inconsistent. I would not recommend this method.

Is this recipe shelf stable?

I reached out to a canning expert friend, she let me know that no, this recipe is not shelf stable. It should be refrigerated. Lasts about a month, conservatively.

How long do I really need to simmer this for?

I have made this in a pinch, and it came together in as little as 3 hours. However, the longer you simmer, the richer the caramelization becomes!
If you’re really short on time, you could certainly empty the sweetened condensed milk into a sauce pan and cook on medium until it caramelizes (stir continuously).

Condensed Milk Caramel Recipe

Using glass jars, whether Weck or not, eliminates the worry of BPA toxins leaking into the caramel sauce, plus it’s prettier. 


More fall recipes to love:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

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  1. love this idea!! I’ve made it in the cans before but never thought about the aluminum! Wondering if you have any thoughts on if you could put the sealed jars in a pressure canner to cook and seal. Might make the shelf life longer?? Just wondering…..

    • That’s a great question – I have never used a pressure canner so I can’t speak to it; however, I can’t think of a reason as to why these wouldn’t be shelf stable if sterilized properly ahead of time!

  2. I love this idea! We are going to try it! While I love Weck jars, it is hard to find the sizes I need without buying them online. This should work with canning jars, right? You just have the metal lid with the sealer instead of glass. Thanks!

  3. I can’t believe how easy this recipe sounds! No way would I have thought that sweetened condensed milk could turn into caramel. Brilliant!

  4. I adore this! I can remember as a child my mother making caramel by boiling the can. This sounds so much better.

    • This is similar, but using a glass jar means you don’t have to worry about any of the icky questionable chemicals in the can!

    • Hmm, that’s a good question! I know that this isn’t ‘preserved’ in the sense that it can last a year. However, it’s full of sugar, so it’s unlikely to go bad quickly. I would give it a month!

    • Definitely! Just stir the extra ingredients in the mason jar with the sweetened milk before you put it in the slow cooker! I think some fresh sea salt or rum would be amazing!