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Instant Pot Dulce de Leche (Caramel)

This Instant Pot Dulce de Leche is a creamy, thick caramel. It’s incredibly easy to make and versatile. Stir it into yogurt or coffee as an ice cream or cheesecake topping. Try dipping banana bread into this sauce for a delicious treat. My kids eat it with a spoon out of the can!

Unlike traditional homemade caramel, the electric pressure cooker removes all that whisking in making this sweet treat.


Is Instant Pot Dulce de Leche the same as Caramel?

Both are delicious sweet caramel.

While the two can mostly be substitutes for the other, they are different.

Dulce de leche is heavier and thicker than caramel.

There is a difference in how they are made.

Regular caramel is made by slowly cooking down the simple ingredient of granulated sugar

Dulce de leche caramel is made from slowly cooking cow or goat milk and sugar together.

Condensed milk contains higher sugar levels than regular milk; when heated the sugar browns, creating a deep golden color.

Dulce de leche is traditionally a Spanish dessert staple in many Hispanic homes.

In Mexico, this sweet confection is made with goat’s milk and is known as cajeta, while in other Spanish-speaking countries it is referred to as dulce de leache, manjar (“delicacy”), and arequipe.

In France, it is referred to as confiture de lait.

Dulce de leche makes a fun dip for fruit.

Try pairing it with sliced apples, bananas, grapes, or strawberries.

Add a spoonful to your morning coffee.

Smear it on bread to pair with peanut butter.

Warm it up to thin it into syrup for waffles or pancakes.

It’s even tasty with cheese! 

We use this Dulce de Leche as a cheesecake topping…you can see how thick and creamy it is on our salted caramel cheesecake. 


It can also be used in this caramel custard recipe.

You may also want to check out my Pinterest Instant Pot board for more great recipes like this pressure cooker dulce de leche!Easy Instant Pot Flan on white background

Makes 16 (1 Tbsp) servings

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Function and Time: Manual 15-minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Release Method + Time: Natural Pressure Release 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 18 minutes

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Instant Pot Dulce de leche creates a creamy, beautiful caramel sauce without the whisking of traditional caramel.

Here are 3 ways to make it.

Instant Pot Caramel Ingredient list

  • 8-10 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 8 cups water

How to Make Instant Pot Caramel Sauce

There are two different ways to make this recipe.

Method 1: (safest)–you can do up to 3 cans at a time and the cooking time does not change.

  1. Remove the label and lid from the can of condensed milk and tightly cover the top of the can with foil–remove the lid! You can also use mason jars (4) 4-ounce jars, (2) 8 oz jars, or another Instant Pot-safe container.
  2. Add the trivet to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the foil-wrapped can of condensed milk on top of the trivet and pour water down the side of the Instant Pot liner until water is halfway up the can (about 8 cups of water)
  3. Lock the lid into place on Instant Pot.
  4. Turn the pressure valve to “Sealing”.
  5. Set to “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” on High Pressure for 40 minutes.
  6. Quick release when cooking time ends.
  7. Carefully remove the can from the pot (use oven mitts-it will be hot).
  8. Place on a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes, uncovered.


This Instant Pot Dulce de Leche can be kept for about two weeks in the fridge if kept in a sealed container.

Recipe tip:

You can use glass jars and pour the contents of the can into the glass jars.

Place a lid loosely on top of the jar.

The water level needs to cover the Sweetened Condensed Milk (do not place the lid on the jar tightly and submerge in water).

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First, Method 2 is NOT recommended–it is not safe, and it takes far longer for the same results.

Method 2 (It works, but it’s dangerous)

This is how I made dulce de leche for the first time in the Instant Pot. It was terrifying. I do NOT recommend this method!!!

  1. Prepare the Instant Pot. Add a steamer basket to Instant Pot.
  2. Remove the label from the can and wrap the unopened can of Sweetened Condensed Milk in aluminum foil, placing it on its side, into the steamer basket (note: the can of condensed milk cannot be in direct contact with the sides or base of the pressure cooker).
  3. Fill Instant Pot with water. Add until you have enough water to cover the can.
  4. Lock Lid and turn the valve to the “sealing” position.
  5. Press “Manual” and adjust the time to 15 minutes of high pressure.
  6. When time is complete, unplug Instant Pot.
  7. Allow Instant Pot to Natural Pressure Release until the pin drops and rest for at least 8 hours BEFORE opening the Instant pot lid.
  8. Open Instant Pot, and remove the can. You can store the can in the pantry marked as Dulce de Leche for up to 3-months, or open and enjoy!


This dulce de leche in the instant pot can be stored for three months if left in the unopened can. 


Be sure your can is not damaged or nicked in any way.

Remove label.

Do Not open the can while it is still warm.

Opening the can while it is still hot can cause the Dulce de Leche to erupt like a fiery volcano, leading to serious injuries! The hotter the caramel, the more volume it takes up in that can, the more violent that eruption will be!

Do not disturb the Instant Pot while the water inside the pot is still warm.

If you’re employing the boiling method, it’s better to use the cans that do not have tab openers.


Method 3: Slow Cooker:

  1. Pour your sweetened condensed milk into your mason jars, and place the lids on tightly.
  2. Place jars in the bottom of slow cooker and add enough water to cover the jars, plus one inch.
  3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and use setting LOW for six hours.
  4. Carefully remove the jars from the water bath and place them on a wire rack or folded paper towel and allow them to cool for about 2 hours. DO NOT OPEN JARS UNTIL COMPLETELY COOL.

dulce de leche Instant Pot on spoon

This instant pot dulce de leche recipe creates beautiful caramel that is sure to be a huge hit no matter how it is served.

When you’re finished, why not give your Instant Pot a deep clean.

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