The Best Dulce de Leche in Argentina | Authentic Homemade Recipe

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This dulce de leche Argentine recipe is for the best homemade gooey caramel-like sauce everyone will love. Made with only 5 ingredients, it is the perfect topping for any dessert. Transport your taste buds to Argentina, with this beloved treat.

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What is Dulce de Leche Argentina Style?

Homemade Dulce de Leche Argentine style   by AuthenticFoodQuest
What will you spread your Argentina dulce de leche on?

The Argentinian dulce de leche is a typical dessert of the southern nation. It is literally sweetened milk or milk jam, similar to a type of caramel.

In Argentina, dulce de leche is practically a religion. It is the sweet soul of the country.

Dulce de leche Argentina is a light brown caramel colored sticky spread made with milk, sugar, cream, vanilla, and baking soda.

It is eaten as an everyday delicacy in Argentina and South America in general. From breakfast to dessert and late night snacks, dulce de leche can be found on the table at every meal.

It is simply the defining sweet of Argentina.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: One cannot talk about dulce de leche without talking about alfajores. These are melt-in-your-mouth cooking sandwiches most commonly filled with dulce de leche. If you haven’t tried alfajores before, you have to know Argentina’s most popular snack. You can have Havanna alfajores shipped to your home via Amazon and taste this sweet treat from Argentina.

Dulce de Leche Around The World

Dulce de leche is a sweet with a thousand names. It is particularly popular in the South American countries of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

While the basic dulce de leche is the same, the proportion of milk, sugar and cooking time vary.

In Chile, Peru and Bolivia, the local variation is known as manjar blanco. In Columbia and Venezuela, it goes by arequipe

The French version is known as confiture de lait. And, in English countries, this sweet mixture goes by milk jam, caramel, or milk sweet.

History of Dulce de Leche Argentina

Claire eating homemade dulce delche by Tota Authentic Food Quest
Claire enjoying homemade dulce de leche in Argentina

The origin story of dulce de leche is highly contentious. Both Argentina and Uruguay claim dulce de leche as a Gastronomical Heritage.

According to legend, the creation of Argentinian dulce de leche happened by accident.

The story goes that in 1829, a housekeeper to General Juan Manuel de Rosas forgot a “grout” on the stove. Grout is a mixture of milk and sugar. 

The mixture was cooked over low heat, until obtaining a product with a similar consistency to the current dulce de leche.

The housekeeper liked the result and she shared it with her boss. General Rosas also loved it and brought the mixture to General Juan Lavalle, while they discussed the Cañuelas Pact. 

This pact or peace meeting was an attempt to put an end to the civil war in Buenos Aires. 

Uruguay attributes the origins of dulce de leche to slaves of the colonial era. The mixture is said to have been concocted as their way of consuming milk and sugar.

Today, UNESCO recognizes dulce de leche as a gastronomic heritage of Rio de la Plata, the area shared by Argentina and Uruguay.

And, on every 11th of October, Dulce de Leche Day is celebrated worldwide. 

Here’s your dulce de leche Argentine recipe to get you ready for the celebrations.

Discovering Dulce de Leche in Argentina

Homemade Dulce de Leche_Tota Products Authentic Food Quest
Tota homemade dulce de leche from Maria

While exploring the authentic food in Argentina, we were struck by the popularity of dulce de leche. 

Everywhere we looked, there was dulce de leche. The amount of shelf space in grocery stores dedicated to Argentine dulce de leche was impressive. 

Multiple rows filled with different brands and package sizes, similar to cereal shelf space in US grocery stores.

From pastries, snacks, ice-cream and desserts, you are never far from this sweet treat.

To better understand Argentina’s deep love and craving for dulce de leche, we met with a local artisan producer.

Maria Ana Gianni, a local entrepreneur in Buenos Aires, is the founder and creator of Tota Alimentos & Bebidas.

Her company, named after her grandmother, focuses on natural products made with no preservatives. 

Even though she also makes marinated and pickled vegetables, her true passion is for making the best dulce de leche. 

She described her process of making Argentine dulce de leche with love and care and a strong desire to make it like her grandmother did.

After tasting multiple brands and jars of dulce de leche Argentine, we were in complete agreement. Maria’s Tota Argentine dulce de leche was among the best we had in the country.

As a small business owner, unfortunately, Maria does not export her handmade Argentine dulce de leche. 

She nonetheless gave us her tips and recommendations for how to make the best dulce de leche at home.

Homemade Dulce de Leche Argentinian Recipe

Closeup of Homemade Dulce de Leche by AuthenticFoodQuest
Make your dulce de leche smooth and unforgettable

Making dulce de leche is not difficult, but it is time-consuming. With this homemade recipe for the best dulce de leche Argentina, you’ll learn how to make it perfectly, every time.

This Argentine dulce de leche recipe is prepared by cooking milk and sugar over heat for approximately 3 hours.

Dulce de Leche Argentine Ingredients

Ingredients for Argentina Dulce de Leche Recipe by AuthenticFoodQuest
Only 5 ingredients needed for the dulce de leche Argentine style
  • 10 cups of whole milk, 2.5 liters. (With this amount you will get about 500 ml of dulce de leche, by evaporation)
  • Baking soda
  • Sugar
  • Heavy Cream (36% milk fat)
  • 1 vanilla pod scraped or Vanilla extract

Dulce de Leche Argentina – How To Make it Home

Ideal Equipment For Best Results

Large Pot for Dulce de Leche Recipe by AuthenticFoodQuest
Best pot to use for dulce de leche

Use a large pot with a thick bottom, as it allows better heat distribution. This will help the dulce de leche not stick to the bottom of the pot. 

Similarly, use a deep pot to avoid any burns by dulce de leche bubbling over.

To stir the dulce de leche, you’ll need a strong whisk with a good grip for continuous stirring.

How To Tell When Your Argentinian Dulce de Leche is Ready

Spread of the Best Dulce de Leche Argentinian style by AuthenticFoodQuest
Your dulce de leche is ready when it stays separated on a cold plate

To test if your dulce de leche is ready, place a clean and dry plate in the freezer before making the sweet spread.

Once the Argentine dulce de leche starts turning brown, remove the plate from the freezer and put a spoonful of the mixture on it.

Lightly press the mixture with a teaspoon as if to spread it around the plate. If the dulce de leche mixture stays separated and is not runny, then it is ready.

How to Store Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche Argentina keeps very well, at room temperature, in a glass jar, in a cool place. 

Every time you take a serving, remember to use only clean and dry cutlery. In this case, dulce de leche can last about three weeks.

Some people prefer to keep the dulce de leche in the fridge. In the fridge, it will keep for up to two months. 

However, because of the cooler temperatures, the texture of dulce de leche changes and it becomes denser. 

In this case, remove the dulce de leche from the fridge at least 30 minutes before using it. This will allow it to become less dense and spread easier.

How To Use Dulce de Leche

Chocotorta Argentina recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Delicious chocotorta layered with dulce de leche

There is no one who can resist eating the dulce de leche by the teaspoon. But, there are dozens of other ways to eat this traditional South American milk jam.

This creamy caramel flavor is used in ice cream, spread onto cookies, pancakes, waffles and more.

Although if you asked an Argentine, the answer is always “dulce de leche was invented for Argentine desserts.” 

It is the typical filling for Argentina alfajores, Rogel cake or the simple Chocotorta, no-bake chocolate cake.

RELATED: Authentic Chocotorta Recipe – Easy To Make Argentina Chocolate Cake

How to Make Argentine Dulce de Leche Fast

There is another way of making dulce de leche Argentina, using only 1-ingredient. In Argentina, they talk about this as being the “lazy way.”

The cooking process is relatively fast, compared to the traditional way of making dulce de leche. However, the results are moderately satisfactory. 

The best recipe for Argentine dulce de leche is the traditional one. But this fast version can get you out of a tight spot, and you only need water and a can of condensed milk.

In the fast version, start with thick and good quality condensed milk. The Nestle condensed milk is a good option.

Using a pressure cooker, fill the pot with approximately 3 liters of water. Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Clean it and place it in the water. 

With the amount of water, the can should be adequately covered and the pressure cooker should not dry out during cooking.

Cook over low-medium heat for about 90 minutes. Wait for the pressure cooker to release steam and for the water to cook before removing the can of condensed milk.

The color should be a caramel-golden color. Once the dulce de leche has cooked, transfer it into a glass jar and store it in a cool place or in the fridge.

Dulce de Leche Argentine – Step by Step Instructions

Mix all the dulce de leche ingredients together and stir over low heat until all the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cook for about 1 hour until it becomes light beige in color.

After cooking for two hours, the dulce de leche mixture should start turning brown. The Argentine dulce de leche will be ready when it turns to a golden caramel color.

This is when you should do the cold-plate test.

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Closeup of Homemade Dulce de Leche by AuthenticFoodQuest

Dulce de Leche Argentina Recipe

Yield: 16.9 oz
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

This dulce de leche Argentine recipe is for the best homemade gooey caramel-like sauce everyone will love. Made with only 5 ingredients, it is the perfect topping for any dessert. Transport your taste buds to Argentina, with this beloved treat.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups of whole milk, 2.5 liters. (With this amount you will get about 16.9oz or 500 ml of dulce de leche, by evaporation)
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 2- ¾ cups or 550 grams of sugar
  • ½ cup of Heavy cream, or 120 ml
  • 1 vanilla pod scraped or 2 teaspoons or 10ml of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place a large pot with a thick bottom and high walls, on your cooktop and turn to low-heat.
  2. Mix the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, baking soda, and sugar into the pot. Stir with a whisk until all the sugar dissolves.
  3. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about an hour. No need to stir now. You will only notice that the milk takes on a subtle light-yellow color.
  4. Continue cooking for one more hour. You will notice that the mixture begins to take on a light-beige color. No need to stir.
  5. After the first two and a half hours have passed. You should start stirring, without stopping for approximately 20 minutes.
  6. You will know your dulce de leche is ready when you try to spread it on a cold plate.
  7. Once the dulce de leche has the desired consistency and beautiful golden-brown color, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
  8. Once the dulce de leche is completely cool, transfer the caramel into a clean, dry glass jar and enjoy.

Notes

  • Please note, when dulce de leche is hot, it has a more fluid consistency. If you cook it until it gets too thick, it will become a hard ball when it cools down.
  • If you want your dulce de leche to get a deeper browner color, simply add a little more baking soda.
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    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 34 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 34mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 2g

    Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information is generated by an online API and makes calculations based on serving sizes. These figures are only estimates and results may vary.

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    90 comments

    1. I made this last week and served it over ice cream for guests. We could not believe how delicious it was! So rich and creamy – I sent them home with a little container of it! Thanks for a great recipe!

      Reply
    2. I love Dulce de Leche! I could never tire of eating it and I use it especially as a spread on bread. I like to try this Argentinian version because it has vanilla in it.

      Reply
    3. I love dulce de leche and had no idea there was even a version from Argentina! What a great history lesson as well. I can’t wait to make this and put it on absolutely everything!

      Reply
    4. Because there are so many different kinds of food all over the world, I think that it would be fun to go all over the place to find different kinds of drinks, sweets, and foods to try. I think that by trying new receipts it would be a way to help to unite the different countries through our common interest in food. Plus, it is fun to experience different cultures.

      Reply
    5. I have never heard about dulce de leche (okay, I live in Hungary so it is not surprising). But it was very good to read about this woman, she is very inspiring and maybe once I will have chance to taste dulce de leche.

      Reply
      • Wow, that’s incredible you have not heard of dulce de leche…have to admit you’ve been missing out:) Are there any South American or Latin restaurants in Hungary? If so, I bet they would have dulce de leche on their dessert menu. Worth seeking out 🙂 Glad you enjoyed reading the interview. An inspirational story indeed. Thanks for your comments!

        Reply
      • Thanks for your kind words. Maria is so passionate about what she does and she remains forever grateful to her grandmother for being her first teacher in the kitchen. We wish her the very best as well. Cheers!

        Reply
    6. This sounds absolutely delish. You can feel the passion that Maria has for her product and I am sure you can taste it too. My neighbor brought me some Dulce de Leche pastries from Mexico and they were so amazing. I love that stuff 😉

      Reply
      • You are right, you can taste Maria’s passion in her delicious dulce de leche. They say the dulce de leche in Argentina tastes different than one from Mexico. Would be great to compare the two. Good stuff 🙂

        Reply
    7. I love Dulce de Lece, although after a couple of days, it becomes too sweet for me. I’m heading to Argentina in September, just for a couple of days though, and will definitely enjoy this sweetness again for a bit!

      Reply
      • Thank you Natasha for your kind words. So glad that you enjoyed reading the article. While dulce de leche is popular in many Latin American countries, the obsession in Argentina is quite remarkable. Appreciate your comments. Thank you!

        Reply
    8. Drool! This is cracking me up because before going to Argentina, my friend explained the country’s obsession with dolce de leche, and I didn’t believe it until we went to a supermarket the first day, and EVERYTHING, including the yogurts, came in dolce de leche flavor!

      Reply
      • You are right Lillie, it is hard to explain the phenomenon unless you witness it. The supermarket aisles are impressive. Did you fall in love with dulce de leche like most Argentinians? Did you have a chance to try any artisanal brands? Could you tell the difference? Thanks for your comments.

        Reply
    9. OMG what a sinful article…

      I L-O-V-E “doce de leite”, also very famous in southern Brazil… a place where I got a few kg on my back… just because of these type of delicacy …

      Its’a amazing how you actually learn how to make Dulce de leche by your own. Good luck on not eating too much of it of course…

      Reply
      • That’s great to hear that it is called “doce de leite” in Southern Brazil. Know what you mean, it is easy to pick up a few extra kilos with this delicacy. We were just as surprised to learn that it is not difficult to make….just time-consuming!! Appreciate your comments 🙂

        Reply
      • Wise words Elaine, better to far from the temptation. The good is news is that compared to store bought brands, Tota uses natural products and no preservatives. So, there is a “halo” of health 🙂 Likewise, we wish Tota much success as well. Thanks for your comments.

        Reply
    10. Cool and interesting interview. The background is really important for the success of the business, of which I really like the branding.

      Now I feel I need to try dulce de leche straight away!

      Reply

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