This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make a commission from.
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.
What is Dulce de Leche Argentina Style?
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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.
Dulce de Leche Argentina Recipe
- 10 cups whole milk With this amount you will get about 16.9oz or 500 ml of dulce de leche, by evaporation.
- 1 pinch baking soda
- 2¾ cups sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla pod scraped or 2 teaspoons/10ml of vanilla extract
- Place a large pot with a thick bottom and high walls, on your cooktop and turn to low-heat.
- Mix the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, baking soda, and sugar into the pot. Stir with a whisk until all the sugar dissolves.
- 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.
- Continue cooking for one more hour. You will notice that the mixture begins to take on a light-beige color. No need to stir.
- After the first two and a half hours have passed. You should start stirring, without stopping for approximately 20 minutes.
- You will know your dulce de leche is ready when you try to spread it on a cold plate.
- Once the dulce de leche has the desired consistency and beautiful golden-brown color, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
- Once the dulce de leche is completely cool, transfer the caramel into a clean, dry glass jar and enjoy.
More Cooking Products
Looking for More Argentinian Local Food Experiences
Our book, Authentic Food Quest Argentina takes you on a journey through food in four main regions of Argentina. Buenos Aires, Mendoza & the Wine Regions, the Andean Northwest, and Patagonia & the Lake Region.
In it, you’ll find descriptions of the typical dishes, desserts, beverages, street food, and unique produce not to miss. Also included is an overview of the farmer’s markets and local stores, restaurants, wineries, and local producers worth visiting.
Throughout the guide, are stories and insights shared by local experts including Argentina’s most renowned Chef, Francis Mallmann.
By combining storytelling with local information, this unique guidebook that inspires intrepid and armchair travelers to savor their adventures in Argentina.
Available on Amazon
More Local Food Experiences and Recipes
10 Authentic South American Dishes You’ll Want To Try (With Recipes)
Top 7 Most Authentic Desserts in Argentina
Authentic Argentine Chimichurri Recipe
How To Make Delicious Argentinian Empanadas Mendocino Style
The Best Stores For Authentic Argentinian Foods
Argentina Food Guide – Top 15 Authentic Food You Must Try
Jericalla Recipe – Easy Mexican Dessert From Guadalajara
Serradura Recipe – The Easiest Portuguese Dessert To Make
Argentine Milanesa Recipe – How To Make The Best Milanesa Argentina Style
Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest
90 Comments on “The Best Dulce de Leche in Argentina | Authentic Homemade Recipe”
I love dulce de leche, but never knew how to make it. I had no idea it was so easy 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
You are most welcome, Heather. So glad you enjoyed the recipe and also the ease of preparation. Can’t wait for you to make it soon. Cheers.
Seriously sweet and amazing. I could put this dulce de leche on everything.
It is truly addictive, Angela. And, we do the same. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers
Yum! What a fun and easy recipe! Can’t wait to dive in!
Wonderful to hear, Traci. Excited for you to make dulce de leche at home. Cheers.
This is so delicious. The step by step instructions help so much.
You are most welcome, Diana. So glad you enjoyed the article. Cheers.
This recipe is just perfect! I have already made it twice! Love it
It is always amazing to me how much milk it takes to make dulce de leche. This truly is the best.
We love this recipe and it’s so delicious on ice cream! Such a yummy and scrumptious dessert topping! Excited to make this again!
Great to hear Beth. One delicious sweet that can be quite addictive. Thanks for stopping by.
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!
You are most welcome Maryanne. So glad it turned out and pleased all your guests. Great to hear and thanks for sharing. Cheers.
What a perfect color! Thank you for sharing your homemade dulce de leche recipe.
Nothing beats some homemade dulce de leche, it’s a household favourite for us.
Great to hear, Charla!! A fav of ours as well. Cheers.
I have all the ingredients at home, so will surely try out this yummy sauce! Also, thanks for sharing the history behind Dulce de Leche Argentina recipe ????
You are most welcome. Excited for you to make it. Please do let us know how it turns out. Cheers.
This looks so sweet and creamy. I would love to try this recipe.
Oh wow! I love Dulce De Leche. I remember making one, it’s my first time and it taste so delicious. My kids and husband loves it!
Wonderful, Ruth. Excited for you to make it again for the family. Cheers.
This sounds so delicious! I will definitely have to give this a try sometime.
I love Dulce de Leche, I can’t wait to try making it at home.
Dulce de Leche reminds me of our own Filipino leche flan. I bet that tastes delicious too.
Ahhh…that’s good to know that it is similar to a Filipino spread. Definitely worth making it at home and comparing the differences. Cheers.
i would love to try this. haven’t used an Argentinian recipe before
This will be a delicious start to Argentine cooking, Jasmine. Can’t wait for you to make it. Cheers.
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.
So true, you can’t get enough of dulce de leche. Yum!! Cheers.
That sounds great. I’m going to have to try it sometime.
This sounds amazing. I’ve never actually had dulce de leche before. I’m going to have to try it out.
I might add this to my pantry’s staples too. Thanks for the recipe.
It kinda looks like what we called “yema” here in Philippines. But we the difference is we don’t put heavy cream on it, instead we put egg sometimes.
Ah, that’s really interesting, Richelle. Never heard of yema, but I’d like to try it too. Hope you make this Argentine dulce de leche and compare them both. Do let us know what you think. Cheers.
This is such a yummy treat. So interesting to learn more about dulce de leche.
Wonderful, Marysa, so glad you enjoyed reading about dulce de leche. Thanks for stopping by.
I could eat a tub of dulce de leche! Yum! It’s one of my favorites.
Lol….everything in moderation, right. True, dulce de leche, especially homemade is addicting!
I’ve made this but not for a while. It’s so yummy and great for drizzling over ice cream
True, Melanie. Goes great with ice cream, and dulce de leche flavored ice cream is incredible too. Thanks for stopping by.
This sauce would be great for so many things. I know that my kids would love it on ice cream
I know I would love this. I’ve never tried to make it on my own before. I should try!
Oh my this looks so good! I am currently salivating over the idea of the above-mentioned chocotorta made with homemade dulce de leche.
Lol…Talya. The good news is that both are easy to make at home. Hope you get to enjoy these delicious Argentine sweets soon.
That Dulce de Leche is a sweet treat anyone could not resist. I will try and recreate this for my son very soon
Wonderful to hear, Melissa. Please do tag #authenticfoodquest as we’d love to see how yours turns out. Cheers.
I do love dulce de leche and while it takes a bit of time and effort, I agree homemade is extra good. Yum!
You are right, Caroline. It takes time, but the results are delicious. Well worth it in our opinion. Wouldn’t you agree? Cheers.
I have always wanted to make dulce de leche – so glad I came across this recipe. Can’t wait to give it a shot.
Perfect timing, Danielle. Excited for you to make Argentina’s national sweet. Please do tag us #authenticfoodquest. Can’t wait to see your dulce de leche. Cheers.
So making this and using it with banoffee! I’m excited to see how easy it is to make thank you!
Awesome to hear, Farah. Can’t wait to see your pics. Don’t forget to tag #authenticfoodquest. Cheers.
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!
Thanks, Aimee. Glad you enjoyed learning about this tasty Argentinian sweet spread. It’s pretty amazing on everything for sure. Thanks for stopping by.
This is quite an amazing blog to read and is really exceptional!
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.
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.
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!
Ahhhh My brother and I are fans of dulche de leche. We always buy them. I wanna try making one now.
I went to Argentina to taste wine and steaks but I fell in love with dulce de leche as well – I loved alfajores 🙂
That’s great to hear Monika. No surprised that you fell in love with dulce de leche and especially alfajores. So addictive 🙂
What a sweet story! I’m sure her grandmother is very proud of her passion and dedication. I wish Maria only the best for her and her business!
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!
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 😉
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 🙂
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!
Agree, dulce de leche is a little sweet, especially in the beginning. After a few days, it’s get’s easier to indulge in 🙂 Safe travels to Argentina.
What a cool article! I love stories like that which teach me something new. I had no idea that dulce de leche was from Argentina.
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!
MMMM I love dulce de leche and I’m sure Maria’s product is amazing! I love that she uses no preservatives!
Indeed Erika, that is what makes her products so special. No additives or preservatives. Just the way “food” should be 🙂 Thanks for your comments.
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!
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.
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…
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 🙂
This sounds absolutely delicious. I can understand how addicting it must be and I’m glad that to be far from the temptation! I wish Tota all success.
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.
6 hours of continuous stirring… wow, that is insane, and I imagine would make the product a whole lot more tasty and delicious. Does she deliver her aprons to Australia? So cute. 🙂
Unbelievable! I don’t know if I would have the patience for 6 hours of stirring. However, the dulce de leche is incredible. Great question about the apron, Anna. I’ll find out and let you know. Cheers!
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!
Thanks Hugo for your comments. Love the branding as well. Maria does certainly have the right background and passion for making her business a success. Hear you…now for some amazing dulce de leche!!
The packaging is amazing. I love making my own dulce de leche so I know where her passion lies ?
Thanks Tandy. Indeed great packaging. Maria’s attention to detail is amazing. So wonderful to learn that you make your own dulce de leche as well. Does it take you 6 hours as well? Cheers 🙂
I am crazy for dulce de leche. We also make many uses of it in Brazil.
Yes, you are right Denise. Dulce de Leche is very popular in Latin America. What’s your favorite way of enjoying or eating dulce de leche?
Ah my boyfriend would be in heaven – he LOVES anything and everything dulce de leche! I’ll definitely be showing him this!
That’s wonderful that your boyfriend loves dulce de leche…how about you? Have you fallen for this “Argentine treat” yet?
Love dulce de leche!Homemade tastes yummier!
You are so right, Sahat. Homemade is always a winner! Thanks for your comments!