Homemade Arequipe or Dulce de Leche

This post is also available in Spanish

Dulce de Leche

I grew up eating Arequipe  and it’s one of my favorite desserts. This delicious and traditional Colombian dessert is called Arequipe in the region of Antioquia, Colombia, manjar blanco in other parts of the country and in the rest of South America it has different names such as dulce de leche, manjar Blanco and cajeta. In Colombia we serve Arequipe with obleas or saltine crackers or just as a base for some typical desserts.Arequipe



  • 96 oz whole milk
  • 1 1/2  of pounds sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick



  1. In a medium pot, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring often with a wooden spoon for about 3 hours or until the color changes to caramel and the mixture is thick as a pudding. Let it cool.
  3. Pour into a glass container and cover. Refrigerate up to a week.
  4. arequipe

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  1. says

    My huz did a double take when he saw this and immediately copied the recipe,seriously, he’s puttering in the kitchen right now, so excited on making this one.Hope you wont mind but I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your site, just add this little widget here to this post and it’s all set to go, Thanks!

  2. says

    thank you for adding me as a foodbuzz friend b/c now i’ve discovered your blog! love the simplicity. we just got back from argentina and were obsessed w/ the dulce de leche. is it different from the colombian kind? yours looks much more creamy and less caramel-brown the the dulce de leche we ate in buenos aires. just curious. i’m goign to check out more of your posts.


  3. Erica says

    I don’t know if they use the same recipe in Argentina. The ingredients for dulce de leche usually are milk and sugar,but they are different versions in every country.
    Sometimes when you buy it in the store is darker than the one homemade. Glad you like my blog!

  4. El Paramedico says

    I love your site!!! I was born here in the States (NYC), but, my family was born and raised in Colombia. I grew up eating many of the dishes you have posted here. I have since moved to Tenn. and thanks to you I can now start to try and make them and hopefully pass it on to my kids.. This recipe for Arequipe sounds awesome, but, you mentioned “OBLEAS” in the summary… Do you have a reciepe for that?? I believe my mom even has a iron press for it..
    FYI- You will soon have 4 other new readers, I passed this on to my brothers and sisters too….

  5. Valeria says

    I love arequipe I grew up eating it as a dessert but I found it very difficult to get the exact taste that I always liked when I do it myself. I live in Miami and luckily found the Arequipe Alpina in my grocery store which is the one I use to eat back in Colombia, and it tastes just like home. I cannot believe they’re in the US and I found their website where you can find any information on their products and point of sales. Enjoy ! http://www.alpinaus.com

  6. Arlette says

    I’m so glad I found your site, Erica! Do you happen to know a recipe for obleas?
    When I was a young girl, my family spent two years in Bogota, and one of my favorite memories was ordering fresh, warm obleas from a lady in a 2nd story apartment. We would ring a bell, she lowered a basket from a window and we sent up a few pesos, and a few minutes later, she would lower the obleas, (with dulce de leche sauce sandwiched in between) which we enjoyed as we walked home.

    This looks like the recipe for the filling, but I would love to try to re-create the entire dessert using fresh obleas.

    Some of my other favorite foods were cheese arepas, sold by street vendors, fresh jugo de lulo, which friends would serve when we visited, fruit salpicon at the Monte Blanco restaurant (which is the recipe I searched for when I found your site) and soft guava candy.

    Thanks for the memories!

  7. Danielle says

    hey there,
    i wanted to ask if this recipe could also be called “merolique”?? ( i hope i spelled it correctly)
    I am American and my husband is from Medellin and my mother in law tries to teach me recipes when she visits but she is not a good teacher. I need details and measurements and I am so happy I found this website–but not as happy as my husband is. So could this also be called Merolique?? that is what my mother in law called the dish she made and it was very similar to this. thanks

  8. Danielle says

    thanks Erica,
    i think sometimes my mother in law makes up names for things anyway but just figured i would ask. thanks for getting back to me so fast. i really love you site. it is the best and it is so great to get these awesome recipes but in english and so thorough and easy to follow. i am going to have a fat husband very soon
    thanks again

  9. says

    I just got back from my first visit to Colombia and had to search around for some Colombian recipes. So glad I found your site! I’m in the middle of making this right now to use in the recipe for the bars. Thanks so much! Colombia is so beautiful and all the food we had was excellent!!

  10. Chris says

    Are Obleas those larger round cracker type? If so I know certain stores you can buy them, if it’s not then I don’t remember them, my brother used to eat them out of the bag, well both of us really LOL It wasn’t like a saltine or anything but had a hint of salt to it.

    As a sidenote, love all the food, but I’ll probably pass on this one, never been a big fan of Dulce du Leches, even my aunt would make it, just I don’t know, seems to be missing something, I’ll give this recipe a try though, maybe it not being homemade was a factor in me not liking it.

    You are a god send though Erica, thank you soooo much for allowing me to reconnect with my heritage and can now pass that along to my wife and baby girl. My little girl has my tastes I think, when my wife was pregnant she would crave foods she didn’t like but I loved, like oranges, she can’t stand oranges but I swear she must’ve eaten 10 bags worth of oranges throughout the pregnancy LOL, I was born in North Miami Beach, so being a native to Florida, it’s a given that you eat ALOT of oranges. My father’s side of the family moved to Miami from Colombia in the early 70s, and my mom came to Miami from Montreal in the mid-late 70’s she didn’t speak english, only french, still have no idea how my mom and dad would’ve communicated by they did, or else I wouldnt be here LOL, 1980 I came around. My grandmother on my dad’s side is full colombian and my grandfather is swiss/italian, along with my mom makes a very eclectic mix. =) But it is absolutely wonderful to be able to experience and share the true colombia with my own family. =)

    Thanks Erica!!!

  11. Annee says

    In Baranquilla where I lived ’70-’73 I often went to an open cafe (for lack of a better term) they had huge caldrons of piping hot grease going all the time. There was an item I loved there. It was like a raw, very moist, thick (minimum 1/2″) corn tortilla that they dropped into the hot grease. Very quickly it would poof up and float to the top. Then they would scoop it out, cut a slit in the edge of it, crack a fresh egg. They would open the slit in the poof and drop in the raw egg and back into the grease it went for several minutes until it was golden brown. What are these called and do you have a recipe?

    • Erica says

      Gina- I don’t know if you can use fat free milk or the crock pot, because you have to stir often!You can try it and let me know :)

  12. agnes says


    I havejust put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cant wait to see the result.
    However, I did not have any white sugar left at home so put some dark brown.
    Do you think this will do any good???

    i am glad to find your website


  13. Liz says

    I found your recepie a while back and had not had a chance to try it until last night. Im not very good in the kitchen, i just make simple stuff that the kids will eat. My son had a project for a cultural food (dessert, or whatever) & I figured, why not try it. We did, but the only thing is that it did not thicken enough. I think maybe I needed more baking soda b/c it wasnt like pudding when we finally turned it off, approximately 5 hrs after cooking. Im not giving up though, it tastes delicious, like the arequipe that I love so much, but the consistency is not there. Like everyone else that’s found this site, Im thrilled to try the familiar dishes. Thanks!

  14. Gina C. says

    Erica, I’ve seen this made with a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan on a stove burner. Do you know how to make it using that technique?

  15. gigi says

    hi erica, I love your recipes, I am colombian, from cartagena and i moved to the states about 4 years ago and all I use to cook was “patacones” jejejje, my favorite food, but since i am pregnant i got cravings for everything from colombia, so i have been cooking full time, lol. my husband is so excited that i have found this website, he is american and he is discovering the real deal now.
    yesterday i made the hallacas, they came out great i use the plantain leafs and the taste just took me back to cartagena. ohh God!!

    i have an easy recipe for dulce de leche, i just did it 2 days ago and is boiling a can of condensed milk “la lechera” for 2 hours in a pot, always adding more boiling water to cover the can. then let it rest till gets cool off and listoooo you can enjoy delicous arequipe…yummy!!!

  16. Luz Adriana says

    Hi Erica, I’m from Medellin and mi mom also added 1 “cebolla junca” when se made arequipe, she never added cinnamon sticks and her arequipe always was delicious!! You should try it and let me know how was.

  17. Joanna says

    My husband and I lived in Colombia for two years, 1964 & part of 1965, as Peace Corps volunteers. I really really really loved Manjar Blanco, Dulce de Leche, Araquipe, etc. I first had it served as a dessert after dinner in a restaurant. It was served in a little wooden box that I think was nailed shut at the top, and you ate it with a tiny spoon. Later I found boxes like that in the tiendas or neighborhood groceries. When I asked a friend how it was made, he said it was mainly milk cooked slowly with sugar, and a little rice! Note: When I came home, I had gained a lot of weight! p.s. Are Obleas and Alfajores the same thing?

  18. Nancy says

    Hi, my mom’s family was from Colombia, and she used to make this the short-cut way using Eagle Brand. I’m excited about making it your way. Try it with berries, it’s delicious!

  19. Mar says

    Love the recipe!
    Is it really 96 oz of milk? (roughly 12 cups?) seems like a lot, for just 1.5 lb of sugar and for the “medium pot” the recipe calls for… can you clarify this please?

  20. Matilde says

    Just to correct you…Arequipe is not from Antioquia, there’s Arequipe everywhere in Colombia and actually the origin is from Argentina and Uruguay. it’s called different but at the very end is quite the same recipe…

  21. Marcela Ramirez says

    hi ERica, would love to try and do this because I want to make the Paletas de arequipe y coco and also the little cakes with cream cheese and coconut. One more question: is it 96 English oz ? How much would that be in litters (to avoid confusion between English Oz and the other oz ? thanks !!!! Illl let you know if I dare to prepare this! Gracias!

  22. Jennifer says

    Hi! I am going on hour 5 of cooking down my milk and sugar and it is still not pudding consistency. Am I just not cooking it a high enough temp?



  23. roisin Kelly says

    Hi, i just discovered your website …my columbian recipes…. by accident.This desert looks delicious quite easy and economical to make.This style of cooking suits my ingredients that i always keep in my press. i imagine it suits a sweet tooth. thanks for all the interesting recipes i am going to try.:)

  24. says

    Hi! I would love to make this! I have bought the canned version, but it isn’t available at the store I usually shop at. So I want to learn to make it with milk and sugar because I always have those on hand :) I am also looking forward to trying some of your other recipes! Anyway, I am curious, how much dulce de leche does this recipe make?


  25. Viana says

    The green onion stalk at the end is for the arequipe to thicken. You just pull it out once you’ve achieved your purpose. It won’t change taste, just consistency. This is taught at SENA, Colombian famous intermediate careers institution, to those who are undertaking Cuisine to become Chefs or bakers.


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