Confiture de Lait (caramel milk jam)

April 15, 2009

The French call it Confiture de Lait – a luscious caramel milk jam from Normandy, France that can reduce any sane person into a quivering mess. It’s similar to the more commonly known milk caramel Dulce de Leche although there are subtle differences between the two – the use of vanilla cited as one of them. Confiture de Lait is made from boiling whole milk and sugar for hours; rather than the common Dulce de Leche method of boiling metal tins of condensed milk. I rather save the condensed milk to eat with a spoon and frankly the thought of boiling metal cans scares the crap out of me. And imagine! You’ll never need to worry about exploding cans and flying metal trajectories. There are just too many nightmares about picking metal shards out of my forehead. (Plus shaving a caramel-covered dog is such a pain!).

There are so many uses for this milk jam than I know what to do with. Use it simply as a topping over ice cream, sandwich cookies, spread it on sweet bread or buns (as the French do!) or just eat it with a spoon right out of the fridge. If you are using it for baking and in other recipes, cook it for a shorter amount of time to get a runnier consistency for ease of use. Nevertheless, the caramel will soften with a blast in the microwave.

And before you ask, skim milk burns like buggery, so yes, it has to be full fat milk or nothing. And please, please, wait until it’s cooled before you dig in (it’s tough but doable!). Believe me scalded lips are just not fun.

Confiture de Lait (Caramel Milk Jam)


(enough to make one jar – around 250-375ml)

1 Litre (4 cups) whole milk
300g caster sugar
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract


In a pot large enough to fit the liquid with at least 10-15cm from the top of the pot to the level of the milk, add milk and stir in the sugar, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract.

Turn heat to med-high and bring the milk mixture to a boil without stirring. Once you see the milk start to boil and bubble slightly, get ready to turn the heat right down because the milk may froth and rise if it is overboiled.

Once it’s boiled, turn the heat down to the lowest (until it’s barely a simmer) and skim the foam. Continue to simmer uncovered for around 2 – 2.5 hours, stirring constantly (around every 10 minutes or so is best if you’re free) and skimming the foam when necessary.

1: milk starts to foam as it heats up
2: getting frothy and rising as it boils
3: overboiling will cause the milk to rise fast (and spill over so be careful)
4: bringing it down to a simmer
It’s best to cook it as low and slow as possible. If the heat is too high, the milk will boil and form a skin that won’t disappear no matter how much you whisk it.
Check the consistency at about 2 hours. I usually stop it now when I want a runnier caramel to use in other recipes. Cook it a little longer if you want a thicker jam to use as a spread or to sandwich cookies. Just remember that it’ll thicken up more while it cools and when it’s in the fridge.

Top row L-R: starting to colour at about one hour; thickening up at around 1.5 hours; at nearly 2 hours
Bottom row L-R: ta-da! Once it looks gloopy, it’s ready; checking consistency on the spoon; a frantic whisking will smooth things out!
Once it’s thick and gluggy and just about ready, you need to keep an eye on it to prevent it from scorching on the bottom of the saucepan. When it’s ready, take it off the heat and whisk the confiture until it’s glossy and smooth.

Pour into a clean jar and cool uncovered. When it has cooled completely, stick the lid on and store it in the fridge (it should keep for around 1 to 3 weeks).


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Samuel December 28, 2014 at 21:16

I am cooking this right now and it smells like heaven!


Dani H March 22, 2013 at 22:26

I’m just learning about caramel sauces ~ this is the first I’ve seen using whole milk. Definitely have to give it a try!


candy December 19, 2012 at 00:39

your recipe looks great , but what is the useful of adding carbonate to this recipe?
thank you


Poppy August 17, 2012 at 05:33

I couldn’t find Whole milk in the market, was told full cream was th
Th same as whole milk , so I bought that back.
After constantly of stiring every 10min fr 3 hours
the caramel seem watery not as sticky as it shld be, could be the
Milk problem or the temperature ? Thankyou .


Citrus and Candy August 18, 2012 at 13:43

Hi Poppy, just so you know, whole milk is just simply normal full cream milk that you get at any shop. And no cream is NOT the same as milk. For one thing the fat content is totally different. Milk can never ever be substituted with cream.


Saskia February 7, 2012 at 12:25

This morning I made some… you are absolutely right… I was once a sane person, but now I am a quivering mess!!


sara f September 12, 2011 at 01:45

i’m giving it a go right now and it smells heavenly : )


Sonja July 15, 2011 at 03:05

Surfing the internet for a recipe of Confiture de Lait/Dulce de Leche I found the Citrus and Candy site and of course subscribed immediately ! But I still need the recipe with canned sugared condensed milk ! Bought three cans of it to try it out, not throw them out ! Anybody ?


Lorelai March 15, 2011 at 10:13

I made a batch of this yesterday and it is beyond delicious! I'll be sandwiching it between cookies and swirling it into brownies later this week!

I was so excited to see a recipe 'from scratch' – none of those cans of condensed milk required!

Many thanks! :)


Anonymous November 23, 2010 at 19:57

Actually, the real recipe for dulce de leche is very similar to this, milk and sugar boiled for hours, but most commonly with cinnamon. That boiling of that condensed milk can is an invention of the people who didn't know how to make dulce de leche like our grandmothers.


Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 18:25

This stuff is great. The first time I made it- I messed up a little and stirred a lot at the beginning. But I wound up with a delicious carmel-y concoction. The second time I made this, I followed directions perfectly, and wound up with an entirely too dark potentially burnt sugar syrup. I'll try again! I've got lots of milk to use!


tagabacolod May 8, 2009 at 12:29

Thank you for this! I’m making some tonight to fill my choco cake. :-)


CDP. April 30, 2009 at 17:06

This was amazing! I wonder, though, if it would taste amazing too with some fleur de sel? If I wanted to try that, how do you think I should go about it?


Karen | Citrus and Candy April 29, 2009 at 18:32

Hi Sylvia – thanks but try making it at home then you can have the whole bowl!

Hi Brittany – then you should def try asap :)

Hi Howard – it’s not as fragile of a recipe as you think. Trust me it’s easier than it looks!

Hi Kevin – Thanks and I hope you enjoy it!

Hi Lorraine – that’s why it helps cooking something else at the same time, that way I stay in the kitchen :)

Hi FFichiban – aww you might surprise yourself!

Hi Jo – in the case of desserts sinful is a good thing!


Jo April 20, 2009 at 13:09

Sounds great and am sure it’s equally as sinful! :)


FFichiban April 19, 2009 at 06:15

Mmmmmmm it looks so gooey, sweet and rich XD but yeah I won’t have the patience haha


Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella April 17, 2009 at 10:36

You are so patient! I have to admit I don’t have the patience for the stirring and often get bored and walk away which is a big mistake.


Kevin April 17, 2009 at 01:24

I have been wanting to try making my own. This is the first recipe that I have seen that does not use sweetened condensed milk. Bookmarked.


Howard April 16, 2009 at 23:07

Damn this is a case of the ingredients look simple, but you have to keep an eye on the cooking process or else it screws up! Top effort, looks delish.


Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) April 16, 2009 at 15:48

I still haven’t tried to make my own, but I LOVE dulce de leche.


Sylvia April 16, 2009 at 10:31

Looks perfect. Even , just watching the photo I can guess that is home made dulce de leche (no condensed milk)just mil and sugar.Please send me a spoon right now :)


Karen | Citrus and Candy April 16, 2009 at 05:49

Hi Simon – I know what you mean. There’s just so many recipes involving condensed milk but it’s all the matter of taste. I much prefer making it from whole milk because you can adjust the sweetness of it if you like and it’s not as cloying or ‘gummy’ (as you said) as condensed milk. Thanks so much :)

Hi Belle – Thank you so much :) The closer thing to a caramel I ever got was sticking a thick jar of the stuff in the fridge to harden and get chewy, then dig in with a spoon!

Hi Shez – lol at ‘caramelly nonsense’. I hate making boiled sugar caramels but I love making confiture. Usually I make it while I’m doing something else in the kitchen so no pedantic monitoring needed! You should def try it :)

Hi Ricardo – Cheers mate!

Hi Brooke Haggerty – Thanks! As long as it’s in a clean, airtight jar in the fridge then it should def keep for a week. Someone I know even says a month but my caramel never lasts that long to confirm!

Hi Chaitali – Whoops! My bad! The post has been edited and corrected, thanks for pointing it out! It’s baking soda you should use.


Chaitali April 16, 2009 at 03:50

Looks delicious!
Should I use baking powder or soda? I’m a bit confused because you’ve mentioned baking soda in the ingredient list but in the recipe you said to add baking powder.


Brooke Haggerty April 16, 2009 at 03:28

Wow… that looks sooooo good! How long do you think it will keep in the fridge? A week, maybe longer?


Janet Holmes January 28, 2012 at 15:43

With that amount of sugar in it I expect it would keep almost forever in the fridge. The sugar may start to crystallize a bit that’s all.


Ricardo Fay April 16, 2009 at 01:51



shez April 15, 2009 at 23:01

such patience karen! i’ve thought (multiple times) about making a caramelly nonsense on the stove top like this but just couldn’t bring myself to monitoring a pot for that long. it looks delicious (and i’m very hanging out for the recipes to come!)


OohLookBel April 15, 2009 at 22:36

Fantastic photos and instructions! Have you tried making caramels yet?


Simon April 15, 2009 at 18:49

I’m so glad someone has bothered to do it the traditional way! I think it makes a huge difference to the end product as well, as it doesn’t have that thick “gumminess” for lack of a better word that dulce de leche in a can can have.

Much kudos to you for doing so :)


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