Homemade Dulce de Leche recipe with only 5 ingredients. This sauce is great for cakes, ice cream, cookies or just eat it with a spoon on its own.
What is Dulce de Leche:
It is a sweet sauce made with sugar and milk, very popular in Latin America. In Colombia is also known as Arequipe and Mexico as Cajeta. You will find this delicious dessert by different names, but the sauce is practically the same. You can also add cinnamon and vanilla extract for extra flavor.
Now days you can find it in canned at the Latin aisle in a lot of supermarkets in the United States, but I love making it from scratch it's always better than store-bought and very easy to make.
Homemade Dulce de Leche Recipe (Arequipe)
- 96 oz whole milk (12 cups)
- 1 ½ of pounds sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- In a medium pot, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- 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.
- Pour into a glass container and cover. Refrigerate up to a week.
Dulce de Lehe is creamy, sweet and delicious on top of ice cream, to fill cakes, pastries, frosting or just eat it by the spoonful. My favorite way!
I grew up eating dulce de leche and it’s one of my favorite desserts. This delicious and traditional sauce 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 also serve Arequipe with obleas or saltine crackers or just as a base for some typical desserts.
Recipes with Dulce de Leche to try:
Chocolate Cake Filled with Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche and Coconut Cake Roll
Three Milks cake with Dulce de Leche
Jen @ MyKitchenAddiction.com
Ooh - this looks delicious! I'm sure it's not a traditional preparation, but I think it would be delicious in a trifle!
5 Star Foodie
Oh, this sounds perfect for me right now! Yum!
Sheer heaven. I have seen it done differently, but this version seems the easiest!
Kim - Easy French Food
My mom used to make this. I remember absolutely loving it. Seeing it cooking for hours on the stove heightened the anticipation. Gotta try this soon - so many recipes, so little time! Cheers.
Hey Erica- THe food looks awesome... I can't wait to take the time to try one of your recipes. Being Colombian, this really brings me back.. Hey your contact button does not work.. please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to link our blogs since theya re botha bout Latin food.
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!
Gera @ SweetsFoods
You know that dulce de leche, arequipe or no matter the name is my weakness, yours is perfectly delicious!
we are never full
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.
It's actually a copy from the argentinian. Argentine dulce de leche has been created long before, hence you'll find its flavour is much more developed.
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!
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....
El Paramedico- I am looking for a good obleas recipe!
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 ! https://www.alpinaus.com
Valeria- Thank you so much! I love arequipe alpina, too 🙂
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!
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
Danielle-It is called Arequipe or manjar blanco.
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
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!!
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. =)
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?
Annee- Arepa de huevo and this is the link https://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/arepa-filled-with-egg-arepa-de-huevo/
wow this one has the real caramel color of arequipe...yummm
Gina @ Skinnytaste
Hi, My mom is Colombian, love arequipe!
Two questions, can you make this with fat free milk? And can you make this in the crock pot?
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 🙂
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
Agnes- In Colombia we use white sugar! You can try it, but won't be the same!
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!
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?
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!!!
How much does this recipe make?
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.
That sounds very interesting!!!!The arequipe taste la cebolla?
Only 1 cebolla en rama, solo 1 palito.
Nicki bar Ste
Is that 11 and a half pounds of sugar????
No- 1 and 1/2 pounds of sugar!
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?
Wow thank you so much, my girlfiend is Colombian and she loves arequipe so much, now I know how to make it
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!
I am very excited to make this,, just a question .. Is it really 1 1/2 pounds of sugar???
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?
Yes...12 cups = 96 oz and 1 + 1/2 pounds of sugar.
Use a LARGE pot, not medium! When bringing to a boil in a medium pot it quickly spilled over and made a huge mess. I’ve been scrubbing the burnt mixture off the stovetop for days. It tastes good, though.
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...
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!
I keep stirring it for 3 hourse seriousley??
You have to stir the mixture often using a wooden spoon, if not the dulce de leche can stick to the pot.
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?
I don't know!....every stove is different.
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.:)
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?
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.
Looks great! Does the cinnamon stick dissolve into it? I notice it never says when to take it out, but I have not heard of one dissolving before.
Discard the cinnamon stick.
This is great, thanks for sharing. My mom loves arequipe, so I was happy to bring her some on my last trip to Colombia, but unfortunately they confiscated it at the airport. So happy that I can try to make my own now.
Every other recipe I've seen online uses vanilla extract instead of the cinnamon stick...what's the reasoning/ difference?
Oh my gosh, this stuff is glorious! We traveled to Colombia for the first time this summer and fell in love with almost everything about it, including the food. I’ve already tried a few recipes from your site, successfully replicating the tastes of our trip, but making arequipe is the best yet! My kids are thrilled with it and can eat it in disgustingly large amounts. Thank you and I look forward to trying many more of your wonderful recipes.
My middle-school-age son did a report on Columbia, and we made this recipe together to share with his class. He brought Saltines to dip in it, as you suggested. We doubled the recipe for 24 students, and there was plenty left over to share with family. The arequipe was a huge hit with the students (and teachers and family)! The directions were perfect--no adjustments needed--and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I follow your site since long time a go. I'm Colombian, live in Central America. When I want to do a Colombian dish this is the first site I search.
I love arequipe. Never make it. Arequipe alpina is so good that there is no need to make it at home.
I want to make an observation: the Manjar Blanco from El valle is different in many ways. Flavor and texture are different. The manjar blanco have starch as a key ingredient, that arequipe do not have. The traditional recipe uses rice, but in the modern recipe they use "maizena" or "tapioca" starch. The starch makes the difference in flavor and the texture.
Hi Erica I love your recipe in my family we have a different way of making Arequipe my dad just takes a can of condensed milk takes the paper of can on a power cooker or pressure cooker with water filling ¾ of the can and cook 1 hour, if your preference is darker cook it more time or lighter cook it less (you can experiment with the time), take can out let it cool and open
Hello...I made this recipe to day. It took about five hours to get dark caramel color and thick like pudding. It tastes good but was kind of clumpy/grainy...I assume this was the milk solids. I blended it to make it smooth so I think it is going to work okay. Has this ever happened to you before? Did I do something wrong? Just wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks!
Hi, can I use a pressure cooker for this recipe?
There is a harder ariquipe that is used in bakeries to make roscones de bocadillo in Colombia. Do you know how to.male that or do you know if it is commercially available in the United States?
I want to try this recipe very much but I want to get it right. Can you please tell me whether 96 oz milk refers to US fluid ounces or UK fluid ounces? They are different units of measurement. I am in New Zealand and here we use the metric system so volume is measured in litres and millilitres. I can easily do an accurate conversion but only if I know the original unit.
Do you have a recipe for obleas? I love this recipe! Thank you, Erica.
Don't know if someone already answered your question or not but she's referring to US liquid ounces., so roughly 3 L of milk. This is one of those recipes that do not require precise measurements. I have watched many a grandmother prepare this using approximate values (or what they jokingly referred to as eye-measurements). The spices can also vary from family to family: cinnamon or cinnamon-ground anis seed mix, plus maybe a pinch of allspice. I've also seen some use other spices like cardamom, and ground cloves. One of my grand-aunts lived in the Dutch Antilles for many years and she would use a pinch or two of a spice mix called spekulaas in addition to cinnamon.
Hope this helps!