Make instant pot dulce de leche (caramel) straight in the can! All you need is sweetened condensed milk to cook to a silky smooth caramel for indulging in desserts later! No jars, whisks, or can openers required! You’ll have dulce de leche in a fraction of time and it’s much cheaper to make your own than buying a can from the Mexican aisle!


sweetened condensed milk cooked to dulce de leche in the instant pot without a jar just straight in the can like caramel to a deep brown color

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We use dulce de leche in many of our desserts which why it’s a staple caramel condiment. Try out super-moist Cherry Chocolate Cake with Dulce De Leche or out Walnut filled Cookies with dulce de leche!

Dulce De Leche

To make it short, Dulce De Leche is caramelized Sweetened Condensed milk. This 2-ingredient silky smooth indulgent Caramel is a staple condiment in many cultures including my Ukrainian heritage! Meaning if you walk into a Russian or Ukrainian wedding you are likely to try a dessert with this caramel! We use this in lots of dessert recipes so yea, it’s pretty essential!

sweetened condensed milk cooked to dulce de leche in the instant pot without a jar just straight in the can like caramel

So why the instant pot?

The cooking will take a fraction of the time than a slow cooker or stovetop method! This machine works wonders for recipes like these! Use this as a sweetener, dip, drizzle, topping or frosting! This stuff is very versatile it’s done all in the convenience of the packaged can it comes in. So, no mason jars or even the hassle of opening or pouring the condensed milk! It stays sealed and keeps for a long time just like the store-bought Dulce De Leche cans that you’d buy at grocery stores, only much cheaper!

Here’s to make my stovetop Dulce De Leche.

sweetened condensed milk cooked to dulce de leche in the instant pot without a jar just straight in the can like caramel


How to make Dulce De Leche in the instant pot:

Instant Pot Dulce De Leche

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 40 servings
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
Make instant pot dulce de leche (caramel) straight in the can! No jars, whisks, or can openers required! Place condensed milk cans into the instant pot with water and you'll have dulce de leche in a fraction of time! It's much cheaper to make your own than buying a can from the Mexican aisle!


  • Instant Pot


Dulce De Leche:

  • 4 cans Condensed Milk (14 oz) each
  • 8 cups water


How to make Dulce De Leche in the Instant Pot:

  • Remove the paper labels from each can. Place cans into the bowl of the instant pot. Cover with water.
  • Select the Pressure Cook button and set it to cook over high for 40 minutes. Depressurize for 15 minutes then remove and cool completely.


  • Servings- Each 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk serves about 10 servings. 
  • For Deep Caramel Color: pressure cook High for 1 hour and 5 minutes. 
  • For Light Caramel Color: pressure cook High for 30-45 minutes. 
  • Do not open Hot Cans as the caramel can burst out. 
  • The deeper the color the thicker the caramel. 
  • To drizzle thick caramel: simply beat the caramel with a hand mixer until a drizzle consistency. It turns runnier from beating. This works for thicker caramel too. Or just Microwave. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1servingCalories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 147mgSugar: 22gVitamin A: 106IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 1mg


What is Dulce De Leche?

Dulce de leche is a sweetened condensed milk caramel that’s popular in many cultures like, Mexico, South America, Asian, Russian and Ukrainian cultures. The caramelization happens from cooking the condensed milk to the desired color of your caramel. The longer the cooking the deeper the color.

How to Use Dulce De Leche?

  • Eat- from the can.
  • Sweetener- for drinks like tea or coffee.
  • Frostings- for cakes.
  • Spreads- for breakfast pancakes, crepes, toast, pastries, or waffles (the colored crispy waffles from European stores.)
  • Dessert Toppings- for ice cream or tarts.

Why use an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker?

Making Dulce De Leche in the instant pot is easier and much faster than any method! It’s all about the speed! A pressure cooker tenderizes meat or cooks food in a fraction of the time since the air is sealed in. I also like the convenience of not using the stove and just placing the cans into a small electric unit.

Stovetop- 2 hours.

Slowcooker- 8-12 hours.

Instant Pot- 30 minutes-1 hour.

What’s the difference between evaporated milk and Sweetened Condensed Milk?

The difference between the two kinds of canned milk products is the sugar content. Condensed milk has higher sugar content and once evaporated it results in gooey and thicker milk.  Whereas evaporated milk is unsweetened and much runnier but still creamy. Read more on condensed milk vs evaporated milk here.

Which brand of Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Any 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk can be used. Eagle brand is the most commonly known brand major grocery stores carry or look for a Generic brand which most grocery stores offer. Condensed milk is commonly found in the baking or Mexican aisles of most grocery stores.

Caramelization Levels?

The rule of thumb to consider when making homemade dulce de leche from sweetened condensed milk is the longer you cook the deeper the caramel color. No Baking soda is required for a deep caramel color just more cooking time!

Instant Pot Lighter Caramel: Pressure cook High for 30-45 minutes.

Instant Pot Deeper Caramel: Pressure Cook High for 50 minutes-1 hour+

Can Method or Jar Method?

I’m all for easy recipes so if you want me to go through the hassle of removing the condensed milk and pouring it into mason jars there’s better a good reason to. The reasoning behind the mason jars is mostly for safety issues concerning aluminum.

I’ve been boiling sweetened condensed milk in their cans for many years and haven’t had bad experiences.


Can I make it with Baking Soda?

I think baking soda is completely unnecessary! It is said to give a deeper caramel color which I can achieve by just cooking the sweetened condensed milk longer.



Tips for Dulce De Leche:

  1. Always try to cover the cans with water for even cooking.
  2. To get a light caramel color pressure cook high for 30-45 minutes.
  3. For a deeper dark brown caramel color pressure cook high for 50 minutes-1 hour.
  4. Drizzle consistency- beat with an electric hand mixer until runnier.

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    • Lena

    Hi Alyona,
    I made this in an instant pot. I only needed 2 jars and cooked for 45 min. Natural release for 15 minutes. Came out perfect!!!
    Just perfect!!!
    I used it as a filling for the oreshki recipe that I make from your website
    Thank you for another great recipe

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      You’re welcome, Lena! I’m happy you’re enjoying the recipes!

    • Helen

    Can I STORE leftovers in Refrigerator I love your recipes

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Yes, you can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

    • Alena

    I’m just curious why all the other recipes for this have you transfer to small jars instead of cooking right in the can? If it works in the can, it makes it so much easier and mess-free! Making some right now by your way, straight in the cans!

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi Alena, I’ve heard the aluminum was the issue but I’ve cooked condensed milk on the stovetop in the cans without any issues. And the Instant pot is just the same.

    • Karen

    Patricia, it’s the same thing. Don’t be a gate keeper on someone else’s blog. Start your own blog if you’re going to act like an expert.
    Alyona honey, this caramel came out perfect. Thank you for sharing.

    • Patricia

    Please don’t call dulce de leche caramel, is not the same. Dulce de leche is 100% better. We call it Manjar in Chile.

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi Patricia, I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t know another way to put it since caramel is a caramelized cream and sugar mixture similar to condensed milk that is then cooked to get dulce de leche. I do understand there is a differential in taste but both go through a similar cooking process to caramelize, which is why I used the term to give an idea of what it is.

    • Marc

    I use dulce de leche to make the easiest homemade ice cream – no ice cream maker needed!

    1 can room temperature dulce de leche
    16 oz heavy cream
    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

    Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment until thick. Freeze in a covered bowl for at least 3 hours.

    You end up with amazingly soft and delicious ice cream.

    For added flavor, pour 2 tablespoons of bourbon into the mix.

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Thank you, Marc!

    • Rachelle Amador

    HI there! If I only need one can of dulce de leche, does the cooking time change?

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi Rachelle, I would do 45 minutes and depressurize for 15 minutes to be safe.

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