Instant Pot Caramel From Condensed Milk

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Instant Pot Caramel. Whether you call it instant pot caramel, instant pot caramel from condensed milk or dulce de leche, it is a wonderful quick one ingredient pantry instant pot pressure cooker recipe that reminds you why owning an instant pot makes your life in the kitchen so much easier and cheaper.

Instant Pot Caramel instant pot recipe
Instant Pot Caramel from condensed milk

Instant Pot Caramel

This easy instant pot caramel recipe is an update from a 2017 recipe. One of our favourite instant pot pantry recipes and perfect for a quick batch of caramel for a recipe.

Welcome to how to make Instant Pot Caramel from condensed milk. If there is just ONE Instant Pot recipe that you MUST make as a beginner to the instant pot it has to be Instant Pot Caramel.

I often get emails from either potential (or brand new) Instant Pot users.

They are all fascinated by the electric pressure cooker trend and want to know (considering they can cook good) what is the point in them owning the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker?

Well you can see it from their point of view, can’t you?

  • They like cooking
  • They hate the idea of batch cooking
  • They are not in a huge rush so a 40-minute chicken doesn’t appeal to them
  • They are good at peeling their boiled eggs
  • They like the smell of a warm stew in the oven

Though, I think I just described me and the hubby!!!

Instant Pot cooking is very much about being able to cook an 8 hour pulled pork in less than an hour, being easy for people that are terrible at cooking and a fantastic option for if you hate peeling eggs.

But if none of that bothers you then why get an Instant Pot?

Well for me it comes down to one thing and one thing only. You can turn condensed milk into caramel in just 40 minutes instead of 4 hours on the stove. I mean that is truly an amazing time saver.

This has nothing to do with whether you are an excellent cook or not, but about an act of magic.

Dominic (my husband of over 17 years) was a chef when we met. He is excellent in the kitchen and has a natural ability when it comes to cooking.

When I said that I was getting an electric pressure cooker he was far from pleased, as we like to cook so much.

But when he realised, he could make his favourite caramel so fast I had him. He was hooked.

You might be the only one in your family with an instant pot and trying to get the rest of the family on board and this instant pot caramel will do that.

Or you are new to the instant pot and want easy steps. If that is you straight after doing your instant pot water test, do instant pot caramel.

Cooking Condensed Milk To Make Caramel

To me cooking condensed milk to make caramel is old school classic cooking.

My grandmas would always have cans of condensed milk sat in their pantry and they would be perfect for a range of desserts.

It was back then, and it is right now, much cheaper to buy a can of sweetened condensed milk and turn it into caramel yourself rather than having it done for you.

Making caramel from condensed milk would involve submerging a sweetened can of condensed milk in a pan on the stovetop and then it would boil away and eventually turn into caramel.

It was a slow process though and it would take on average between 3 to 4 hours.

How to make caramel from condensed milk quickly? Like I mentioned above this is when the instant pot comes into play.

Instead of taking several hours you are reducing the time significantly.

Another interesting point is that when you cook condensed milk on the stovetop you are boiling, while the instant pot is retaining the flavour by pressure cooking.

Instant Pot Caramel (dulce de leche)

If it is just instant pot caramel, then why do most people call it instant pot dulce de leche?

Dulce de leche is a Mediterranean phrase that describes caramel made from sweetened canned milk.

It is how many desserts are described throughout Spain, Portugal and other neighbouring European countries.

Here in Portugal we have dulce de leche ice cream, which is vanilla ice cream that has been sweetened with condensed caramel.

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Cooking Condensed Milk In Instant Pot

instant pot caramel step by step

Cooking condensed milk in the instant pot to make caramel is so ridiculously easy you will want to do this all the time. Just maybe take up running if it becomes a daily occurrence!

  1. The wrapping is removed from the can of condensed milk.
  2. It is submerged in the instant pot so that water just covers it.
  3. It pressure cooks.
  4. You cool it down.
  5. You eat it.

Just think that is how you use the instant pot to turn condensed milk into caramel. Have I got you hooked on this easy kitchen gadget now?

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Instant Pot Caramel Sauce

Welcome to how to make Instant Pot Caramel from condensed milk

If you want to transform your instant pot caramel into instant pot caramel sauce, then I suggest that you add some milk and a little water to your instant pot caramel until it reaches the right thickness.

I have found that skimmed milk is best because it is fat free and therefore thin and easy for making something super thick, all skinny.

How Long To Cook Condensed Milk To Make Caramel?

If using the instant pot, it takes JUST 40 minutes to cook condensed milk to make caramel.

But there is also the time to get your instant pot to pressure and the time for your caramel to cool down enough for you to touch it.

My best tips for decreasing the time is to use warm water when you fill your instant pot. Because there is a lot of water to go to pressure.

My other best tip is Dominic’s and he pours cold water over the condensed milk can once done, so that it can cool down quicker.

Listen To How To Make Caramel

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Desserts With Caramel Condensed Milk

With my love for caramel made with condensed milk, I am sure you will appreciate that we use caramel condensed milk a LOT in our desserts.

Here are a few of our favourite desserts with caramel condensed milk:

Instant Pot Caramel
Instant Pot Caramel
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5 from 8 votes

Instant Pot Caramel From Condensed Milk

Instant Pot Caramel. Whether you call it instant pot caramel, instant pot caramel from condensed milk or dulce de leche, it is a wonderful quick one ingredient pantry instant pot pressure cooker recipe that reminds you why owning an instant pot makes your life in the kitchen so much easier and cheaper.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time42 minutes
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Instant Pot
Servings: 4
Calories: 319kcal


Kitchen Gadgets:

Instant Pot Caramel Ingredients:


  • Remove the packaging from a can of condensed milk and place into the instant pot inner pot.
  • Pour warm water over the can of caramel until it is submerged.
  • Place the lid on the instant pot, set the valve to sealing and cook for 40 minutes on manual pressure cook.
  • Use quick pressure release and pour cold water over the can to cool it down quicker.
  • Once the can of condensed milk is cool enough to handle remove the lid, stir and eat.


Many of our readers have cooked several cans of condensed milk at the same time with great success. Just as long as they all fit and are all submerged you are good!


Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 368mg | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 282mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition InfoPlease Note: Nutrition values are our best estimate based on the software we use at Recipe This and are meant as a guide. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
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Instant pot Caramel recipe

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Hi! I am Sam and along with my chef hubby Dom we love sharing with you easy everyday recipes using kitchen gadgets. We are also the authors of The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, an amazing air fryer cookbook filled with 140+ everyday air fryer recipes. Beyond the air fryer we also love the instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker, ninja foodi, pie marker and several other kitchen gadgets. CLICKING HERE →

61 thoughts on “Instant Pot Caramel From Condensed Milk”

  1. You state on your recipe condensed milk, but on the site you show the brand you us, its sweetened condensed milk. Which do you us?

    • Hi Vicky,

      Sorry for the confusion, yes we used sweetened condensed milk, it has to be sweetened.

      Kind Regards


    • 5 stars
      I just made this for the first time and I must say,…. I’m very impressed. It’s delicious! I cooked it for the 40 minutes as the recipe says, but after turning off the instant pot, I left it sealed for about another 10 or so minutes. I released all the pressure and ran the can under cold water for about 3 minutes then opened it and scooped out all of the caramel into a small container lined with parchment paper. The caramel has a nice medium dark color, fairly thick although a bit jelatenous and tastes frigging great! Hopefully it will cure enough to cut and eat. If not I’ll eat it as is because like I said, it’s delicious! Thanks for the instant pot idea!

      • 5 stars
        You might be able to mix it with some form of thickening agent to have it dry enough to cut.

        Otherwise, you can eat it as is or use as an ingredient or topper.

        There are candies that are made by cutting it with a hot knife and coating the milk caramel in dry ingredients like nuts, coconut, or others.

    • Hi Vickie,

      Here is the reply i gave to Kate above:

      I do not see why not. It is just like with eggs one egg takes 3 minutes to cook in a pan of boiling water but if you add more eggs it will still only take 3 minutes to cook.

      We have not tried to do more than one can because we got more than enough caramel out of just the one can.

      Many Thanks.


      P:S Let us know if you give it a try and if it works.

    • Hi Kate

      I do not see why not. It is just like with eggs one egg takes 3 minutes to cook in a pan of boiling water but if you add more eggs it will still only take 3 minutes to cook.

      We have not tried to do more than one can because we got more than enough caramel out of just the one can.

      Many Thanks.


      P:S Let us know if you give it a try and if it works.

  2. I’m living in Costa Rica. Most milk of the ultra high temperature variety and is sold in paper cartons. Is the can necessary? Would you be able to suggest a work-around? Thank you!

  3. I tried this with 2 cans and they both came out with a nice caramel color but the taste is not really a whole lot like real caramel. Does this caramel taste different than if you made it the traditional way on the stove top. Also mine was very congealed consistency…..not smooth and creamy. I tried taking it out and blending it well but it was still lumpy.

    • Hi Jill

      They do not taste exactly like a real caramel made on the stove but it is quite close to it we found. The consistency is alot thicker than traditional caramel because we use this kind of caramel for banoffee pies where you mix it with bananas on a pastry crust and cream so we find it is useful when making pies and sponges because it stays nice and thick.

      The consistency can differ we found from can to can but i do not know why. One can came out lovely and smooth but when we did another one it came out all lumpy no matter what we did with it this is why we tend to mix it with different kinds of food.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Kind Regards


      • I found of you use a cold can it for some reason makes a smoother Carmel than room temperature can did . Try for yourself , don’t take just my word , it may have been the brand I used . (Nestle Carnation)

    • Hi Tammy,

      We just stand it up right and make sure it is covered with the water, no we don’t use the trivet ?



  4. I just finished and it is very liquid even after let it cool and very light in color. Tastes like sweetened condensed milk. What could have happened.

    • Hi Monique,

      A possibility could be that it was not cooked for long enough or the instant pot did not go to pressure properly because that is how it turns out when it is not cooked 🙂


  5. Thank you for saying it’s Sweetened Condensed milk.
    I tried it before with just Condensed milk, and had to throw away. It was terrible.
    So thank you. I will try this one of the Sweeten Condensed milk.

    • You must have used EVAPORATED MILK. CONDENSED MILK is sweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk is milk but with no sweetening.

    • Hi Theresa,

      We left the can closed as it is covered in water but if you are worried about it opening take the lid of and put tin foil around it ????

    • Hi Madeleine,

      Yes it would if you have bought the milk already caramelized you do not need to steam it 🙂

    • Hi Pam

      In our experience, which is quite extensive when it comes to this caramel/dolce du leche it stays creamy, but it never lasts more than a few hours in our house but even when it has got cold it has never got hard like candy 🙂

  6. Just getting ready to fix a caramel pie and boil the cans my usual way. I came across this and didn’t realize I could do the same with my instant pot! So excited to try this an save the time!! Thank you.

  7. Is it safe to store an unopened can of prepared condensed milk without opening it? And if so, does it need to be refrigerated or not? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Natalya,

      If the can is not opened then it does not need to be refrigerated because in the supermarket they are not kept in the fridges like fresh milk. But if you have made it into caramel i would even though it is unopened i would after it has cooled keep it in the fridge 🙂

  8. Are we 100% sure that is safe to put the can closed ? I have read many post of people opening the can and covering the top with aluminum foil.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Lizzie,

      We are just showing you how we did it. You do not have to follow the way we do it if you do not feel comfortable. Take the lid of and cover in foil if that makes you feel more comfortable, you should still get the same results 🙂

    • Hello Bernie,

      It depends on how big the pound cake is and how much topping you want. I would use 1 can as it does go quite far but if you like a good amount of topping then use 2 cans, then if you do not use it all there is always some left for people to pick at 🙂

    • Hi Debbie,

      A self opening lid we are not familiar with. We used a pull lid where you pull the lid up after it has cooled, and we stand the can up but either should be ok as when the IP starts to boil the water the can sometimes falls onto its side 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this quick and easy recipe! Made it exactly as you instructed and it came out beautifully! Creamy and delicious. Took a while before the 40 minute countdown started even with adding warm water to the Instapot. After the 40 minutes, quick release took exactly 8 minutes before I could remove the Instapot lid. Once I removed the can from the water, I just let it rest until it had cooled. Going to use this delicious goodness for a banoffee pie!!

  10. Hi when u put the can in the instapot do u poke a small hole in the can,
    I am so scared to put a can in the insta pot

    Please get back Thank you

    • Hi Leeann,

      We did not put a hole in as the condensed milk is runny before it gets cooked so would just go into the water and dissolve. If you are really scared then please do not do the recipe, we did it because everyone was asking us to and it was so much quicker than doing it on the stove top 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I will admit to being just a little scared the first time I used this method, but I figured (a) it’s been done before, and (b) if a can of condensed milk is going to explode in my kitchen, I’d rather have it happen inside a solid stainless steel pressure vessel (the Instapot). Safety first! Happily, I’ve never had a can explode on me, and the resulting caramel (dulce de leche if you’re being pedantic) is always delicious.

    Just one word of warning though – do NOT try to open the can of caramel before it’s completely cool. Don’t ask me how I know.

    • Hi Matthew,

      Glad you took the plunge and tried it. Yes i did the same when it first came out and it exits the tin very rapidly and is very very hot all over the work surface, but even though the waiting to cool is long it is so worth it 🙂

    • Hi Melody,

      We have not tried it, I would only say that there needs to be sugar in the milk for it to turn into any kind of caramel/Dolce De Leche 🙂


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