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
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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.
4.85 from 70 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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

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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!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I was going to use this for caramel filled brownies. Will it harden into the consistency of a caramel candy or will it stay runny?

  2. Holly you are awesome. It’s so great to have the help to live lavish for less. Looking forward to to keeping up with your ideas

  3. I know this is an old recipe but I wanted to add that I make this all the time but I pour it into little 8oz ball jars, close them up and put them in a large soup pot. Fill with water well above the jars. Bring to boil, reduce heat a bit and boil for at least 3 hours, you will see the color change. Check on it frequently and add more water as it boils off. Last time I made it I cooked it for 3-1/2 and that was well received. The longer you cook the darker and thicker it will become. Remove them and let them cool before opening. I have used these for gifts before and people love them.

      1. I came up with it many years ago when my family was concerned with lead possibly leeching into it.

  4. Thank you for this. I have always wondered what would be the easiest way to make caramel sauce when you may not have all ingredients.

  5. I look forward to trying this. There is no question that the method of heating the milk in an unopened isn’t safe. We know a mother and daughter who were using that method to make caramel and the can exploded in the daughter’s face. After a trip to the burn center and a long recuperation she is much better, but please do not heat any unopened canned item.

    1. Did they allow the water level to go below the can? All recipes state that the water level must remain above the can so it is fully submerged at all times during the cooking process or you risk it exploding. I am so sorry this happened to this young lady, but I do wonder if it’s because they allowed the water to get too low.

    2. You also have to make sure you get the condensed can that does not have the pop open lid. The newer cans have this pull tab to open and these are not safe to cook in the boiling water. You have to use the cans that require a can opener to open, and allow them to fully cool before opening. BTW, there is no lead in the cans. ;)4 stars

  6. I’m going to try your method of sweetened condensed milk caramel, I too have been boiling the unopened can! I love the caramel on crepes!

  7. Yes I have boiled it a pan for year but they now have stab top so not as safe to do it the old way. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Just made this condensed milk caramel for the first time, followed the recipe exactly. It turned out great and was perfect sauce with some apple slices. So decided to play repeat but this time wicked in two tablespoons of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the condensed milk before baking…Husband and 80yr old Dad loved it over vanilla ice cream.

  9. Thank you for the tutorial, it’s great! I don’t have oven so I can make caramel from condensed milk by “cooking a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk fully submerged in a large pot (1″ above the can) and boiled for 3 hours”. Thank you for the information.

  10. This looks so easy! I always have problems with caramel and this recipe might very well be the perfect solution.

  11. I’ve heard that you can leave the milk in the can. put the can in a pan of water that covers the can and bring to a boil, reduce to slow boil, But I don’t remember how long you boil it. Have you ever heard of doing it that way?

    1. Yes I’ve done it that way several times. I boil it for about 3 hour ensuring that the can is completely submerged at all times. You may need to top up the water.

  12. I am trying to get on you site to receive news letter, posts ect. and having a hard time. Can you help me>

  13. I find if the can is left in the same position when boiling it will burn or else some of it will be thicker than the rest of it. I normally turn the can, with a thongs, so it would cook more even. I find it easier to spread if it’s still warm, if it was cold I would stand it in hot water so it would come out of the can and I could spread it.

  14. Questions:
    Will cooking this sauce for 10 hours make it darker?
    How long will the unopened cooked caramel last unrefrigerated?
    Once opened, how long will the sauce stay fresh in the refrigerator?
    I’ve had this sauce before and it’s wonderful! I’m so glad I can make it myself.
    Looking forward to making as gifts for the holidays!

    1. I haven’t tried cooking it longer so I’m not sure what effect it would have.
      I’ve kept it unopened for a month or so as it’s still sealed. Once opened I would suggest using it within about a week.