Homemade Caramel from Sweetened Condensed Milk (multiple versions!)

Did you have any idea how easy it is to make homemade caramel from sweetened condensed milk? If you didn’t, keep reading. If you did, I bet there are a couple of new ways to do it that might interest you!

sweetened condensed milk caramel

Homemade Caramel from Sweetened Condensed Milk in the microwave:

Pour the milk into a large, microwaveable bowl and cover it with cling wrap leaving a small section uncovered. Microwave on medium power for 2 minutes in 30 second intervals, whisk and recover. Microwave another 2 minutes in 30 second intervals, whisk & recover. Repeat this until you get the color and consistency you like! —if your microwave is quite powerful use 15-20 second intervals so you don’t get burning!

Slow cooker homemade caramel from sweetened condensed milk:

Completely submerge the cans in hot water in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Go for an extra 2 hours if you like it nice and dark. Remove and cool on the counter for about 30 minutes OR submerge in cold water for 10 minutes. 

Making homemade sweetened condensed milk caramel in the oven:

425 degrees and pour the milk into a pan. Cover it with foil and place it into a second pan with water. Basically, a water bath. Bake it for an hour to an hour and half. Watch the water level in your water bath. Bake the milk until you get the consistency and color you want for your caramel. Cool it all of the way before using.

making homemade caramel with sweetened condensed milk

Boiling sweetened condensed milk into homemade caramel:

This is the method I have used and works great! The longer you boil it, the darker the caramel gets. I usually boil mine about 3 hours and get a nice golden color. Beat until smooth and then cool completely.

using sweetened condensed milk to make homemade caramel. With the microwave, oven, stovetop, pressure cooker

Can I use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to make homemade caramel with sweetened condensed milk?

I had a Pie Challenge participant tell me she made this in her pressure cooker. She said she put it in for 18 minutes and let it naturally release steam. I am dying to try this method! If you try it, let me know how it works out!

Note: one of my readers had a terrible experience using this method in her Instant Pot. However, if you Google Instant Pot Condensed Milk you’ll get a long list of other bloggers that seem to have had success. Do this method at your own risk!

How to store: 

This caramel can be stored in the fridge for a week or so until you are ready to eat it. If it makes it that long! Cool it and then store it in a mason jar or plastic storage container. 

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You can use your microwave, pressure cooker, Instant Pot, stovetop, or oven to make homemade caramel from sweetened condensed milk. Easy to make with only a can of milk! #caramel #homemade #condensedmilk
Make homemade caramel from a can of condensed milk. Microwave method, pressure cooker method, instant pot method, and stovetop methods. Tips and tricks for all! #caramel #homemade #condensedmilk

Recipes that homemade caramel would be AWESOME: 

Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pie Bites

A little drizzle of caramel on top of these would be the ULTIMATE!

Caramel Cardamom Latte

Caramel Cardamom Latte

One of my favorite coffee drinks, this uses caramel to make it absolutely delightful!

Apple Pie Bars with Streusel Topping

ANYthing with apple tastes better with caramel, wouldn’t you agree? Just imagine these with some ice cream and a drizzle of caramel. YUM!

14 thoughts on “Homemade Caramel from Sweetened Condensed Milk (multiple versions!)”

  1. Tried with sweetened condensed coconut milk for my dairy free daughter. Used the microwave method. Definitely use a bowl much larger than the amount of s.c. milk. I was watching and it nearly bubbled over when I first had it in a cereal type bowl. Started with 2 min then kept going in 30 second increments, stirring each time until I got a color change. I was trying to do this for an apple dip but when I let a little cool and tried it it was already too thick. I think it will end up like a soft Carmel candy, still delicious. Next time I’ll just do it for less time but so glad for this technique and that it pretty much works. Thanks!

  2. Bummer! Can you be more specific about what happened and which version you had trouble with? Thanks!

  3. This does not destroy any pots , OMG someone just done it wrong
    maybe the pot was bad, I have made this for over 20yrs and none of
    my cookware was destroyed, this recipe is Great.

  4. Oh no!! That is no fun. I didn’t, however, put it up unverified. In fact a quick Google search finds many have tried it and love it… Instant Pot Sweetened Condensed Milk and you’ll get a long list. I didn’t list it as one of the best methods because I hadn’t personally tried it. I will most certainly mention that you had a horrible experience with it as a warning. That is no fun.

  5. I should have never tried your unverified suggestion of sweetened condensed milk. It destroyed my instant pot. I’m so so upset as I saved hard to purchase my instant pot. Please take this off your blog to save other people from destroying their instant pots.

  6. The can doesn’t need to be opened. In fact, it shouldn’t be. I use my instant pot for this.

  7. With a pressure cooker would you fill up the water over the can and does the can need to be opened?

  8. I like the idea of 30 sec intervals. That seems really smart. I’m going to add that tip. Thanks for coming back to comment!

  9. I honestly don’t know. Might have been the time was too long? Maybe go 30 seconds intervals instead of 2 minutes? Maybe my microwave was too high of voltage?

  10. Oh my! That’s a bummer. And you were probably left with a giant mess! Any idea what may have gone wrong?

  11. Tried the microwave method. Didn’t get caramel. Got a mess in my microwave as the sweetened condensed milk boiled over the bowl. I had maybe a 3 Tbsp of it left in the bowl after the second 2 minute increment.

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