Gluten Free Dulce de Leche Recipe (Caramel Sauce)

I keep hearing rave reviews about every homemade dulce de leche recipe (thickened, sweetened milk). I even read one review that stated, “the only thing I would trade chocolate for.” I knew I just had to make some. It’s much like a caramel sauce, but not as sweet and without the concern of barley malt sometimes found in caramel coloring. However, caramel coloring is usually made from corn. That’s another thing I like to avoid when at all possible, corn, and especially corn syrup which is sometimes called for in a dulce de leche recipe.

Having the need to use up some whole milk I had purchased for a guest whose visit was postponed, and having had some hardened brown sugar (easily softened using a microwave), I thought this was the best time to make dulce de leche. The twist to this recipe is the use of brown sugar instead of white sugar. It’s a twist on the Dominican version which calls for equal parts of brown sugar and milk and is made into a more caramel candy consistency.

Meanwhile, this gluten free dulce de leche was decadently delicious! Use it atop cakes or ice cream, in cheesecake, or as a dip for fruit, to name a few ideas. I used it to top off some sauteed bananas. It was so delicious!

Dulce de leche may be purchased in cans. I have confirmed Hershey’s to be gluten free. However, it contains artificial coloring and corn syrup.

Dulce de Leche Recipe


Yield: Makes 8 to 12 ounces

Dulce de Leche Recipe

Dulce de leche recipe with a guaranteed caramel color


  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder** (See Gluten Free Product List for brands.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat; cook for about 15 minutes while bringing to a simmer; stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, add the baking powder and soda; and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered at almost a low simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Just skim it off as it forms. Continue to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and until the mixture is a dark caramel color, has reduced to about 1 cup, and has thickened to almost a pudding texture. At this point do not cook any longer or it will harden too much to strain.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine metal strainer.
  4. Store in mason jar or other glass container, sealed. Store in the refrigerator or if using within the next day, it may be left on the counter. Reheat by either boiling the jar in a sauce pan of water or microwave (without metal lid) on low until softened.


*Brown sugar may be either refined-free or less refined, depending upon the brand.

**If you are allergic to corn you may substitute the baking powder for 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, or use a corn-free baking powder. Hain Featherweight brand is corn-free.

Rather than waste time in the kitchen watching and occasionally stirring this mixture, make it while you're already in the kitchen whipping up something else.

Dulce de leche may also be made by using condensed milk (not evaporated milk), and will take less time to thicken, but it is at a higher cost.

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