How to Make Dulce de Leche in a Pressure Cooker

A sweet staple of Latin American cuisine, dulce de leche (which literally translates as ‘sweet from milk’ or ‘sweet of milk’) is a delectable concoction of milk and sugar. Traditionally, it is made simply by heating up milk in a saucepan with a little sugar until the milk changes its consistency and color and becomes a gooey, viscous, light brown treat. However, it is also totally possible to make dulce de leche in a electric pressure cooker – so why not give it a try?

The science-y bit

One important thing that you need to know about dulce de leche relates to that almost magical change in color and texture. What is the trick that turns plain old runny white sweetened milk into something thicker and richer with a caramel hue? Well, this is where some science comes in handy (yes, the transformation from sweet milk to creamy dulce de leche is not magic at all, I’m sorry! but, the science is perhaps even more exciting than any magic could be).

Dulce de leche is made using something known as The Maillard Reaction. The Maillard Reaction describes a change in color and flavor which occurs when sugar reacts with amino acids (proteins) in foods. In simple language, it can be described as the ‘browning’ and ‘sweetening’ that you notice when you heat up marshmallows, bread or popcorn and they acquire a light brown color and a sweet, toasty taste. The Maillard Reaction is the reason why, when you simmer milk and sugar together there comes a point where the mixture goes brown, thick, sweet and slightly ‘toasted-caramel’ in taste.

As you may have guessed, The Maillard Reaction requires heat to work, and this is where your pressure cooker comes in! You need to be able to get the heat just right so that the Maillard Reaction occurs and the milk and sugar you pour into your pressure cooker convert into dulce de leche.

It’s simple!

Thankfully, it is actually pretty easy to make dulce de leche in a pressure cooker. What you need to remember is that you should mix the milk and sugar together first (say about one tablespoon of sugar per cup of milk – though you can vary to suit your taste) until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, pour the mixture in to your pressure cooker and turn the cooker up to a medium heat. Now, the mixture will begin to reduce – you want to wait until it has reduced to about a 6th of its original volume, and is a light brown hue. And voila! You have made dulce de leche.

A basic Guide to Candy Making Equipment for the Hobbyist

Upon glancing at the various spectacles of candies at your local candy store, you may have become entranced by the shapes, sizes, and textures of the various candies; but have you ever wondered how they were made or how they got their shapes? Well, it’s more than just mere chance, using specifically tailored equipment, hobby candy makers can achieve factory perfect candies, in their very own homes.

The secret really isn’t a secret at all. It’s all behind the equipment and supplies that are used during the crafting process of the candy. After the ingredients have been mixed, the mixture will be poured into specific molds that help shape the candy into the delectable creation you hold in your hand today.

Candy molds are one of the many tools you’ll use to shape the candy into the decorative shapes that we have today. Candy molds are a form of candy supplies, which is a utensil which is used during the candy making process. While you may not be able to find the supplies at your local grocery store, you may find all of these candy supplies at select craft stores or even specialized candy making stores online or in your town. Although, the internet offers a much larger range of selection compared to your local craft stores. This is my favorite place to shop for new candy making utensils.

Molds can be made from everything, including wood, plastic, silicon or even nonstick metal sheets. However, the typical mold tray is made from silicon or plastic because of its ability to not grab hold of the candy (nonstick qualities) which can severely damage the representation of the candy if it becomes stuck in the mold. These molds come in a variety of shapes and may even come in specialized molds that are specific to the holidays (Christmas for instance). Regardless of what you wish to create, there’s a high chance that you’ll find a mold for it. Whether it’s pumpkins for Halloween, or dove moldings for a wedding, if you look hard enough for it, chances are you’ll find the mold to meet your needs.

Of course, there’s more to know about molds. There are two types of candy molds; the first one being flat which is ideal for beginner hobbyists. The other is an actual mold like that of your muffin pan tin you’re accustomed to. Only, instead of being round hollow holes in the pan, the holes in your candy mold will reflect the shape you wish the candy to look like.

Aside from the candy molds, every hobbyist should have a few utensils and equipment on hand, even if they’re just getting started. While it’s not a comprehensive list, the following utensils are the basic necessities to have on hand.


  • A Candy Cutter- Used to help cut the candies into their perfect shapes, some come in a variety of designs which can help add creative flair to your candies.
  • A Candy Thermometer- Some candies such as taffy require a specific cooking temperature in order to turn out correct. Taffy is one candy that is particularly “picky” about this. Unless your ingredients are at an ideal temperature, the taffy won’t turn out.
  • Candy Paint- Not necessary unless you want to paint designs on your candies * typical choices are chocolates and even fudges*.
  • Spatulas- They’re typically made from a nonstick material that helps remove candy easy.
  • A Candy Scoop- Helps make pouring and scooping of candy easy. They’re typically used to transfer bulk quantities of candy to one container to another.
  • Dipping forks- Ideal for making truffles, and even lollipops. They come in a variety of flavors and colors.

Of course, this small basic list will get you started with your candy making endeavors, but the most important thing about this list is that it’s more affordable than to get halfway through creating some candy and realizing that candy making isn’t for you. My advice is to purchase the minimum of candy making supplies and truly get out there to determine if candy making is for you. If you do decide you want to make it a serious hobby, you can invest more money of course.

Happy candy making!