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!
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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.
4.89 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

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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 did exactly what the recipe said and it DEFINITELY did not smell like caramel. It doesn’t smell very good and i’m scared to taste it. But the milk wasn’t expired..?3 stars

  2. I used to boil tins. This is now my preferred method. It’s quicker and more consistent. My banoffee pie was a hit because of this thanks!5 stars

  3. This sounds amazing! Could this possibly be done in 2 of the flat 16oz mason jars instead of a casserole?

    1. We have not tried this recipe using those Susan. But as long as they are oven safe and shallow it should work okay. Let us know how it turns out!

      1. Hi Isabel, other readers have boiled is for 2-3 hrs but there is a safety risk with that (as mentioned in the post) so for this recipe, we bake the condensed milk for 60-90 minutes, or until it has reached a golden brown color.

  4. Dont try in a mason jar in microwave like it showed on pinterest i just did and it boiled all over in the microwave in less than 2 mins. Made a mess. Suposed to be done in 5 mins.

  5. I need to make 6-8 cans worth. Will it extend cooking time significantly to put it all in one pan? Shall I split it between separate pans? Cooking for 100. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Natalie, we have never made this recipe in such a large quantity, maybe another reader can help! I would imagine it would increase the cooking time for all of that caramel to reach a light golden brown color.

  6. Leave it in the can, lay can on side, submerse in cool water by 2-3 inches, simmer for 2 or even 3 hours or more (add water if needed). Cool. This eliminates all the nonsense in this recipe as published.

    1. Yes you can certainly cook it in the can if you’d like. There is a safety risk (as you can read in the post just above the recipe) so I’ve opted to include another method for those who choose not to boil the can.

    2. Thank you but I don’t want to boil my condensed milk for ages and end up with toxic caramel , that’s why Im following Holly’s recipe.

  7. I am an expat living in Mongolia. Sweetened condensed milk is very popular here along with several versions mainly imported from Russia. They sell an already boiled and caramelized can of condensed milk!! It is already done for you and is great! Even has some crystalized bits. They also have a cocoa version and a coffee flavored version.5 stars

    1. I usually store it in the fridge. It can be warmed on medium power in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

  8. Mom always cooked her sweetened condensed milk right in the can. She would cook at least 8 cans at once, submerged in water for 2-4 hours on the stove. 4 hours gives it a darker spreadable consistency that will be perfect for european water cakes. Its so good!

    She would use the number of cans she needs and leave the rest ready in her pantry for whenever she would need it again. Always ready and handy.

  9. Mine is only at 35 mins and looks burnt already. Poured milk into glass pie plate, put our plate in aluminum pan with water and then put the pan on a cookie sheet for support while putting into and taking out of the oven. I’ll let the hour finish but this looks like a huge waste of product, time and effort. Loved the idea of faster but somethings can’t be rushed I guess 

    1. How disappointing, this is an old recipe that’s been around for many years and I’ve always had great success with it. What temperature was your oven set at?

      1. Hi Sara, the longer you let it cook the thicker it gets. When filling the larger pan with water you can check it and remove it when it reaches your desired consistency. I hope that helps!

  10. Holly, loved this recipe!!!    I melted Carmels for a group to serve with apples, but the Carmels stuck to everyone’s teeth.  Lol.     Thank you, I’ve boiled it a few times & always afraid it will explode.   You can just eat in from the can.    However this is great & I feel a lot safer. 5 stars

  11. Works great! I let it cook about 1h and 45m, nice color and a bit on the thick side! Faster and safer then the traditional way.3 stars

  12. Ours turned out amazing! We used a regular circular cake pan. It took only 1 hour too compared to 8 hours in the crock pot. This was perfect for drizzling and this is now my go to caramel recipe. Thanks a bunch!5 stars