Learn how to make Cloud 9 Instant Pot Dulce De Leche (Pressure Cooker Dulce De Leche). No can, no jar method. 2-ingredient super easy to make. Creamy, silky smooth, deeply caramelized dangerous indulgence. Makes perfect DIY Christmas gifts.
After hours of research & 9+ Tests with 9 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk, we’re proud to present our glorious Cloud 9 Instant Pot Dulce De Leche Recipe!!
What is Dulce De Leche?
Dulce De Leche is finger licking treat.
A dangerous guilty pleasure.
A sinful indulgence as a kid.
Dulce De Leche is a sweetened condensed milk caramel that’s popular through South America.
When you thought Sweetened Condensed Milk is good. Wait till you try Dulce De Leche…
Thick, spreadable, smooth, aromatic, rich, deep caramelized flavors.
You’ll think you’re on cloud 9…
Instant Pot Dulce De Leche Usages
- Eat straight out of the jar!!! 😀
- Drinks: sweetener in coffee or tea…
- Cakes: topping, filling, or drizzle on cheesecakes, cupcakes, muffin, brownies…
- Breakfast: spread on toast, biscuits, shortbread, crepes, pancakes, baguette…
- Snacks: dip for apples, pears, crackers, cookies…
- Desserts: drizzle on ice-cream, fillings for tarts, chocolate bites, rice krispies…
- DIY Gifts: Christmas baskets, housewarming gifts, party favors…
Why Use Instant Pot Pressure Cooker?
We love making Dulce De Leche in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker because it’s easier, faster, and no need to babysit the pot on the stove!
Making Dulce De Leche on the stovetop normally requires 1.5 – 2 hours hands-on simmering with an occasional stir. And it takes roughly 8 – 12 hours in the Slow Cooker.
Instant Pot Dulce De Leche Experiment
We’ve Explored 3 Factors for Making Dulce De Leche:
- Which Brand to Use?
- Which Method to Use?
- Secret Ingredient
1. Which Brand of Sweetened Condensed Milk?
When we checked different brands of Sweetened Condensed Milk at the grocery store, they have more or less similar ingredients and nutrition facts.
So, does it matter which brand we use?
To satisfy our curious minds + tastebuds, of course we had to experiment for ourselves! More like an excuse to stock up on Condensed Milk…hehe~ 😛
We tested our Instant Pot Dulce De Leche Recipe using 3 different brands of sweetened condensed milk: Eagle Brand, Longevity Brand, and Store Brand.
And the answer is YES! It matters.
The brands vary in flavors (complexity, sweetness) and texture (creaminess). And these factors affect the quality of the final caramelized Dulce de Leche.
Longevity Brand & Store Brand caramelized better/faster (darker color) than Eagle Brand.
- Store Brand took High Pressure 40 mins + Natural Release to reach desire caramelized color.
- Longevity Brand‘s result was similar to Store Brand’s.
- Eagle Brand took High Pressure 60 mins + Natural Release to reach the same color.
Winner: Longevity Brand (壽星公煉奶)
Longevity Brand wins over Eagle Brand and Store Brand in terms of overall flavor complexity (balanced & not flat tasting), sweetness (not too sweet), and texture (creamy thick syrup texture), both before and after caramelization.
Get your hands on the Longevity Brand!
*Pro Tip: If you couldn’t find them in your local supermarkets, try an Asian market or buy it on Amazon.
P.S. We’re not sponsored by the Longevity Brand. And our taste-tests were totally unbiased (though the Longevity Brand was founded by a fellow Hong Konger – 蔡念因先生 🙂 ).
2. Which Method to Use?
2 of the most common methods to make Instant Pot Dulce De Leche: in Mason Jars and in the Original Can.
However, there are disadvantages to both methods mainly concerning safety and quality of final results.
Let’s take a look at each of the methods.
#1 Can Method
Since Condensed Milk Manufacturers advise against heating the condensed milk in the original can due to safety concerns, we didn’t want to risk it.
- Convenient: no need to use any other containers, just peel the labels on the can and pressure cook the sealed can
- Age-old Method that Works: the method of boiling a can of condensed milk in water bath has long been used in multiple countries
- Worrisome: some may feel uncomfortable pressure cooking sealed aluminum or tin cans
- Safety: may cause safety issues as advised by Condensed Milk Manufacturers
- Longer Time: you need to wait for the can to totally cools down before it is safe to open – the wait is a killer!
- Less Room for Customization: cannot adjust the caramelization to your liking, can’t add our Secret Ingredient
- Messy Cleanup: may need to clean up the messy adhesive from the can in the pot after pressure cooking
#2 Jar Method
Making Dulce De Leche in the jar is a popular alternative.
- Convenient for Gifts: you can decorate & gift the glass jar you made them in.
- Safety: don’t have to worry about pressure cooking aluminum or tin cans
- Need Right Canning Jars
- Safety: there’s a risk of glass jar breaking under pressure
- Room for Error: may not yield great results if the lid was too loose or too tight.
- More Time-Consuming & Harder to Remove Lumps: since the Dulce de Leche are in individual jars, you’ll need to whisk through each jar for a few minutes to smooth out the caramel.
#3 Stainless Steel Bowl Method
Instead of the Jar or Can Methods, we prefer the Stainless Steel Bowl Method! 🙂
Why use the Stainless Steel Bowl Method?
- Easy Prep: pour all the sweetened condensed milk in the bowl – done! (no need to worry about finding the right canning jars, how tight to turn the lid, if the seal is new, how full to fill the jars…etc.)
- No Need to Use Steamer Rack/Basket: stainless steel bowl goes straight in the water in the pot
- Safe: no need to worry about breaking glass, exploding cans, or heating aluminum cans under pressure
- Quick & Easy to Remove Lumps (if any): you can simply use a immersion hand blender to smooth out any lumps right in the stainless steel bowl
- Allows Customization: you can easily adjust how caramelized (dark color), how thick, how smooth you like your Dulce De Leche with this method
- Quick Satisfaction: enjoy it right away if you will 😉
3. Secret Ingredient – Baking Soda
Our last concern is how to achieve a beautifully caramelized Dulce De Leche.
We experimented making Instant Pot Dulce De Leche with and without Baking Soda, and here are the results:
With Baking Soda: more intense color, more caramelized, slightly less sweet with more flavors complexity, tastes like caramel sauce with slight milky sugary flavors, buttery aroma, tastes better than without Baking Soda.
*Note: Since milk is slightly acidic, you won’t be able to taste the small amount of Baking Soda.
Without Baking Soda: much lighter brown color, more milky sugary taste, not as caramelized
The secret to achieving beautifully caramelized color in a shorter time: Baking Soda!!
As you can see, Dulce De Leche is serious matter in our house. 😀
After 9+ Tests with 9 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk, we were lifted into a state of perfect happiness – Cloud 9 – as we indulge in spoonful after spoonful of Dulce De Leche.
Hence, we’re naming this glorious Cloud 9 Dulce De Leche!
Time to make some Instant Pot Cloud 9 Dulce De Leche!!
Instant Pot Dulce De Leche
- 1 14oz can (396g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup (250ml) cold water
Baking Soda Mixture:
- ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) warm water
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- Create Baking Soda Mixture: In a small mixing bowl, combine ½ tsp (3g) baking soda with 3 tbsp (45ml) warm water. Mix very well until all the baking soda has dissolved.
- Combine Ingredients: Pour 1 14oz can (414ml) sweetened condensed milk in a stainless steel bowl (we used a 7” bowl for our 6 quart Instant Pot). Add in the baking soda mixture and combine. Mix well.
- Pressure Cook Dulce De Leche: Add 1 cup (250ml) cold water in the Instant Pot. Place the stainless bowl of condensed milk mixture directly in the water. Close lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 40 - 90 minutes (Please see notes), then Full Natural Release.
- Create Instant Pot Dulce de Leche: Open the lid carefully. Remove the stainless steel bowl from the pressure cooker. Mix & inspect the dulce de leche with a fork. If it is not caramelized to desired color, simply place it back into the Instant Pot and pressure cook it for another 20 - 30 minutes. The mixture will be lumpy, use an immersion blender or blender to smooth out the lumps.
- Serve: The dulce de leche will thicken up as it cools and thin out as it warms up.
Step-by-Step Guide: Instant Pot Dulce De Leche
Ingredients for Instant Pot Dulce De Leche
- 1 14oz can (396g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup (250ml) cold water
- Baking Soda Mixture: ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda + 3 tablespoons (45ml) warm water
*Caution: please ensure you got the right ingredients!! 😀
- Use Baking Soda – NOT Baking Powder.
- Use Sweetened Condensed Milk, dulce de leche magic won’t work with Evaporated Milk. 🙂
Tools for Instant Pot Dulce De Leche
- Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
- Small Mixing Bowl
- Food Grade Stainless Steel Bowl (to place in Instant Pot)
- Immersion hand blender
Create Baking Soda Mixture
In a small mixing bowl, combine ½ tsp (3g) baking soda with 3 tbsp (45ml) warm water.
*Pro Tip: Mix very well until all the baking soda has dissolved.
*CAUTION: double or even triple check – we’re using Baking Soda for this recipe, NOT Baking Powder.
Pour 1 14oz can (414ml) sweetened condensed milk in a stainless steel bowl (we used a 7” bowl for our 6 quart Instant Pot).
Add in the baking soda mixture and combine. Mix well.
Pressure Cook Dulce De Leche
Add 1 cup (250ml) cold water in the Instant Pot.
Place the stainless steel bowl of condensed milk mixture directly in the water.
Close lid and pressure cook at
- Pressure Cooking Method: High Pressure for 40 – 90 minutes (see Pro Tip), then Full Natural Release.
Open the lid carefully.
*Pro Tip: We tested 3 different brands of sweetened condensed milk. One brand took only 40 mins + Natural Release to reach desire caramelized color, while the other brand took 60 mins + Natural Release to reach the same color. Adjust accordingly.
Create Instant Pot Dulce de Leche
Remove the stainless steel bowl from the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Mix & inspect the dulce de leche with a fork.
*Pro Tip 1: If it is not caramelized to desired color, simply place it back into the Instant Pot and pressure cook it for another 20 – 30 minutes.
*Pro Tip 2: Depending on your brand of Sweetened Condensed Milk, the Dulce De Leche can turn out lumpy and looks unappetizing.
Don’t worry! It’s perfectly normal. It takes 30 seconds to smooth it out with an immersion hand blender.
*Note: if the Instant Pot dulce de leche looks a bit runnier than your desired consistency, keep in mind that it’ll gradually thicken as it cools, and it’ll harden when it’s chilled overnight in the fridge.
Serve Cloud 9 Dulce de Leche
Ta da! Your very own Cloud 9 Dulce de Leche…
The possibilities are endless on how to enjoy this dangerous indulgence Cloud 9 Instant Pot Dulce De Leche.
Let your creative side shine!
*Note: the Instant Pot Dulce De Leche will thicken up as it cools and thin out as it warms up.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy Dulce De Leche? Leave us a comment below.
Cooking Tips for Cloud 9 Instant Pot Dulce De Leche
1. Choose Your Brand of Sweetened Condensed Milk Wisely.
After tasting and testing our Instant Pot Dulce De Leche Recipe with 3 Sweetened Condensed Milk Brands: Eagle Brand, Longevity Brand, and Store Brand, Longevity Brand clearly wins.
2. Triple-Check You Have the Right Ingredients!
Baking Soda – NOT Baking Powder.
Sweetened Condensed Milk – it’s easy to be confused by canned Sweetened Condensed Milk with Evaporated Milk, especially when they’re placed side-by-side on the grocery shelves. They are NOT interchangeable in recipes, so be sure to double-check you’ve got Sweetened Condensed Milk! 🙂
3. Dulce De Leche Not Dark Enough?
If the Dulce De Leche didn’t caramelize to your desired color, place it back in the Instant Pot and pressure cook for another 20 – 30 minutes.
4. Dulce De Leche Turned Out Lumpy?
From our experiment with different brands of Sweetened Condensed Milk, some Dulce De Leche came out smooth, while others came out lumpy and looks unappetizing.
If yours turn out lumpy, don’t worry! It’s perfectly normal. It just takes 30 seconds to smooth it out with an immersion hand blender. 🙂
5. Dulce De Leche Not Thick Enough?
If your Instant Pot Dulce De Leche looks a bit runnier than your desired consistency, keep in mind that it’ll gradually thicken as it cools, and harden when chilled overnight in the fridge.
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