One Ingredient Caramel is a simple and decadent treat you can make in minutes!

This is one of our favorite caramel sauces for topping desserts, dipping apples and eating with almost everything!

Once you give this easy recipe a try, you may never purchase store bought caramel again!

Pouring caramel over bananas with a title


Ok, ok I know… its not technically “CARAMEL”.. maybe more along the lines of a dulce de leche.. but it is dang delicious with that sweet caramely goodness!

In this recipe, sweetened condensed milk is cooked until it creates a deliciously rich caramel sauce! The best part is this recipe has ONE ingredient! Just one!  Easy huh?

I personally LOVE sweetened condensed milk in any dessert and this has to be one of my favorites!

Pouring condensed milk into a white baking dish

You’re going to simply pour condensed milk into a pie pan or casserole dish.  Cover it with foil and place it in a larger pan of water and bake.  SO easy!  I put my water level about 1/2″ to 3/4″ (depending on your pan) so just check the oven every now and then to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated.

One more thing, you may get a little crust on the top once your caramel bakes (which is delicious).  You can either just serve it as it, just eat the caramel underneath or blend it with an immersion blender.

In the image below my caramel has been blended with an immersion blender while warm.  Any little crusty bits on the top just melt right into the caramel.

Round white dish with caramel in it

Please note that this recipe has been adapted from the original recipe which included cooking a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk fully submerged in a large pot (1″ above the can) and boiled for 3 hours.  There has been some question as to the safety of the original method (although, like many of you, I’ve been doing it for years and years).  I’ve decided to err on the side of caution and try another method.

I’m more than happy to report that not only was it easy, it was quicker than the original method and it tastes just as amazing.  You won’t be disappointed.

Pouring caramel over bananas
4.89 from 106 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

One Ingredient Caramel

Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel is one of our favorite caramel sauces for topping desserts, dipping apples and eating with almost everything!
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 1 minute
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (regular or low fat)
  • apples for dipping optional


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into a casserole dish or pie plate. Cover with foil.
  • Place in a larger pan and fill to ¾" with water. (Fill water as needed while baking)
  • Bake 60-90 minutes or until condensed milk has reached a golden brown color.
  • Cool completely.


Note: If you caramel forms a thin crust on top, you can either just use the caramel underneath or blend using an immersion blender for a minute to mix it in.
Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
4.89 from 106 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 158 | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 183mg | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!

Follow us on Pinterest


More Recipes You’ll Love

easy caramel sauce being poured into a jar

Easy Caramel Sauce

stack of Caramel Cups with the top one broken open

Homemade Caramel Cups

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Pie Rolls on parchment paper

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Pie Rolls

One Ingredient Caramel with a title


, , ,

Recipes you'll love

About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
See more posts by Holly

Follow Holly on social media:

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Free eBook!

Subscribe to receive weekly recipes and get a FREE Bonus e-book: Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals!

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

latest & greatest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel!
    I was raised with “Sweet Stuff”. My Grandma made this in the 1920’s. My Mom spread this on toast and used it as a sandwich filling. Instead of PB&J you can have PB&C! Or just “C”!

    I only boil it about 1 hour, no more than 1.5 hours if I had to add more water and it wasn’t hot enough and I thought I lost time. If you stand it in your pan try to turn it over about half-way through because it gets a thicker, sugary layer on the bottom where stove heat is more intense. I often lay it on it’s side and move it occasionally. Since you need to keep an eye on the water level it is easy to turn it then too. It takes a long time to cool, so plan ahead.

    Scrape it into a ZipLock or similar covered container and keep it in the refrigerator. It will last several weeks but we usually use it up way before that! LOL

    You’ll want to pull it out of the refrigerator at the beginning of your breakfast or lunch prep to just take a bit of the chill off so it doesn’t tear the bread. Probably good as a dip too – warmed up or cold.

    For other who have asked – this is not a hardened caramel. It is fluid and will leak out of a sandwich so don’t send it in a school lunch. I can see it as an excellent glaze, flavoring ingredient, dip. Think of it as a thick ice cream topping that is thinner than Hershey’s Fudge but thicker that Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.

    Thanks for bringing back memories.

  2. I have caramelized sweetened condensed as far back as I can remember. I learned to caramelized this milk from my mother. I always put the cans in my fridge after they cool. I have never had sugar crystals in the caramel. I always boil the water at medium. The cans must be covered with the water the entire time it boils; 8 hours.

  3. I’m going to try this for a community fall party this Sunday! How much does one can of sweetened condensed milk serve with apples? Looking to make quite a bit. And does it stay pretty creamy if not eaten right away?? For example, if I cook it on Saturday, will it still be creamy Sunday, or does it harden like caramel does?

    1. It will stay creamy Natalie, I’ve left it cooked in my cupboard for a long time! Each can will make about 1 cup of dip.

      1. Can this be stored in cupboard instead of fridge. That would be wonderful if so! I wanted to make as gifts and do not have a place to refrigerate.

      2. Originally this recipe featured the can being boiled unopened to make the caramel sauce. As the can was unopened, I would store it in the refrigerator.

        There were concernts about the saftey of boiling a can so the recipe was retested and updated with the new method. Using this methough, I would store this in the refrigerator.

  4. I just tried this (as in i just pulled it out of the crockpot). Its been on low since 11 am and it turned almost the consistency of flan. Did i let it go too long?

  5. Take a pound cake and cut in half horizontally
    Spread caramel over bottom half and return the top half
    Drizzle with rum
    Absolutely amazing!

    1. Absolutely! This would be amazing on cakes… it would not be thick enough to be a frosting but would be fabulous as a poke cake!

  6. A friend introduced this to me as it was her favorite dessert growing up. I’ve done it several times on the stove with success every time. I make brownies and use it as the filling and sprinkle sea salt on it before adding the last layer of brownie mix. They don’t last long.

    1. Come on Shari,
      Lighten up. People have been doing this for 50 plus years. I ate this all the time as a child. People think they are so much smarter now. And much sicker than they were back then.

      1. It has been said for many years that smoking cigarettes was not harmful, even recommended from doctors for some troubles. I think we can learn from new informations.

  7. My mom used to make this for us and we would spread it on toast, I’m talking about maybe 55 yrs ago. Its wonderful..

    1. It’s a much softer type of caramel, more like a dip so it probably wouldn’t work for caramel apples. It is delicious to dip apples into it!

      1. It actually gets really thick if you cook it longer, 3 hours or over and it is spreadable, over 4 and it is like a pudding but thicker.

    1. Hi Ericka,
      This is late, but I have it is delicious. It does work in the crock pot needs to be cook longer.
      I like this method, I also put mine in a jar.

      Hope this helps

  8. A friend served this in a stack on a small plate for each diner, starting with a slice of lettuce, a slice of canned pineapple, a section of the caramel, topped with whipped cream. (By the way, watch the incorrect use of apostrophe. It’s the possessive “its,” not “it’s.”)

    1. Calm down Richard. This isn’t a website about the proper use of the English language. Before you correct peoples us of apostrophes try learning the difference between “diner” and “dinner”.

      1. Richard was correct. He said “small plate for each diner”. Think about it, you’ll get it. :)

      1. I make this all the time. Once I made extra to keep on hand, like you recommend. It actually doesn’t keep. I mean, it doesn’t go bad, but sugar crystals start to form and it has a crunchy, sugary texture to it. I was able to salvage it some by heating it in a saucepan, but it wasn’t the same.

  9. WARNING! This stuff can and will explode if you let the water boil off. Our family calls this Blow Up Pudding because our Grandmother blew up a can of this all over her kitchen. Fortunately no one was in the kitchen when it happened.

    Deliciously Dangerous stuff.

    1. If you let it go for 4 hours it becomes more stiff and you can use it for pie. Scoop it out into a graham cracker crust and top with cool whip. Yummy!

      1. I’ve been making this for years, but I’ve never cooked it for more than 90 minutes. Any longer and it will burn! I use it to make caramel tart. I make my own shortcrust base, top it with the caramel, then top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Delicious.

  10. This is what I use as the base for a banoffee pie. Hmm, now I think I will make one this long holiday weekend!