This is the easiest and fastest way to make dulce de leche – in the Instant Pot. Smooth, caramely and creamy, you’ll love this easy way to make this treat.
Cooked sweetened condensed milk (sgushchenka, as we called it in Belarus) is a staple in the Slavic culture. We use it to sweeten our coffee, fill cookies, in cakes and lots of other delicious recipes. The way we always made cooked sweetened condensed milk was to put the canned milk in water and cook it for hours on the stove. Ever since getting my Instant Pot 7 years ago, I’ve been making it in there instead and I love how much faster it is.
The sweetened condensed milk becomes really rich, smooth and has a sweet caramel flavor. We used it to spread on Waffle Cakes (Vafli), and as a filling in Oreshki – Walnut shaped cookies, or Trubochki.
What is Dulce de Leche?
Dulce de leche is a spanish phrase, meaning “sweet [made] of milk” and is very popular in Latin American desserts. In the Slavic culture we had the same thing, we just called it cooked sweetened condensed milk. In either case, the sweetened condensed milk is cooked for a long time until it becomes thicker, creamier and caramelizes into a golden color and flavor.
Store bought dulce de leche is available in many stores nowadays, but you can easily make your own dulce de leche by cooking sweetened condensed milk on the stovetop, in the slow cooker or in the Instant Pot.
canned sweetened condensed milk – you can find this in the baking aisle in most grocery stores. Even though it’s often located near the evaporated milk, they are not the same thing. You will not be able to make dulce de leche with evaporated milk.
You can use any brand of sweetened condensed milk.
How to make Instant Pot Dulce de Leche
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass mason jar and close with a lid. I use one pint sized jar for 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk.
- Place the mason jar into the Instant Pot, on top of a metal rack.
- Add the water to the Instant Pot.
- Fill the entire inner chamber with water, so that it reaches all the way to the top of the lids of the jars filled with the sweetened condensed milk, making sure not to go higher than the maximum level.
- Cook on High Pressure for 35 minutes.
- Wait for 5 minutes and then manually release the pressure, carefully and slowly.
- Take out the jars out of the water, but be really careful also, because they will be really hot. Use canning jar tongs to take them out. Cool completely.
Serving and Storing
- The dulce de leche will still continue cooking even after the Instant Pot is turned off. That’s why it’s really important to release the pressure manually and take them out of the hot water, otherwise the dulce de leche will burn.
- When I take out the jars, I cover them in a kitchen towel to cool gradually at room temperature.
- Store the dulce de leche in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (If you cook the dulce de leche in the store bought cans, you can store them at room temperature for 2-3 months.
Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
No. Even though they have a similar color and flavor, they are two different things.
Dulce de leche is made from sweetened condensed milk. Caramel is made with water and sugar that has cream or butter added to it at the end. Caramel is a lot thinner in consistency too.
It’s totally normal for there to be lumps in the dulce de leche. As long as you didn’t overcook it, you can get rid of the lumps by whisking or mixing with a mixer to get a smooth texture.
Yes. That is how we have done it in my family for many years and my Mom still does it this way today. Remove the paper label from the cans, then place them into the Instant Pot on top of the metal rack. Completely submerge the cans in water and continue with the rest of the steps.
However, there is a risk that the cans can explode because the pressure that builds up inside the cans is very high. (This has never happened in our family, but I know other families where it did happen and was an awful mess.) The sticky residue from the cans can also come off during the cooking process and coat the Instant Pot or any pot that you use. It’s really annoying to wash off and that’s the reason I prefer to just pour it into the mason jars.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you cooked the dulce de leche in the jars, store at room temperature, unopened for 2-3 months.
Instant Pot Dulce de Leche
This is the easiest and fastest way to make dulce de leche – in the Instant Pot. Smooth and caramely, you’ll love this simple way to make it.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 1 can 1x
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk into a pint sized mason jar and close with a lid.
- Place the jars of the sweetened condensed milk into the Instant Pot on top of a metal rack. Fill with enough water to cover the jars to the top, but under the lid. (The water level should not exceed the maximum capacity line on the Instant Pot.)
- Close the Instant Pot lid, making sure the sealing ring is inside the lid.
- Cook it on High Pressure for 35 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then carefully release the pressure manually. Remove the jars from the hot water using a canning jar tongs. Cool completely before opening.
- Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
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