If you’re looking for a way to make an easy homemade caramel sauce, you’re at the right place. This recipe takes only 2 ingredients, and your Instant Pot does (almost) all the work!
This recipe starts with sweetened condensed milk, so it is more like dulce de leche type caramel sauce than the kind you buy in a jar for an ice cream topping. Both are delicious, but in a slightly different way.
Once you make this Instant Pot Caramel Sauce, you’ll want to keep a can of sweetened condensed milk on hand always, so you can make your own caramel sauce whenever the urge strikes!
Why I love this recipe
Can you say easy? Just a jar of sweetened condensed milk and a little vanilla. Cooking done by the Instant Pot and then you need to stir. Really not tough at all, and the result is a smooth and delicious caramel sauce, ready to top your ice cream or maybe to make chocolate caramel bars.
It can’t get much easier than that!
Yes, only 2 ingredients needed!
How to make Instant Pot Caramel Sauce
To prep, remove the top from a can of sweetened condensed milk. LOL. Complicated, right? We are going to cook this right in the can!
Then, cover the can tightly with aluminum foil.
Place a trivet in the Instant Pot, and set the wrapped can on the trivet. Add water to the Instant pot; enough to reach the half-way level of the can.
If you want to make a big batch, you can cook multiple cans all at the same time!
Close and seal the Instant Pot and set the cycle for 40 minutes on high pressure. I usually use the manual setting for this. It will take about 15-20 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and the cycle to start.
After the cycle is done, allow the Instant Pot to natural release for no more than 10 minutes, then manually vent to release the pressure the rest of the way.
Carefully remove the can from the Instant Pot (it’s HOT) and remove the foil. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla to the can and start to stir.
The mixture will be lumpy at first but the more you stir, the smoother it will get. And you can do all the stirring right in the can, or pour it all into a bowl for the stirring – I’ve done both and I personally find using a bowl a little bit easier, but that might be my personal preference.
I definitely recommend a bowl if making more than one can. You can pour them all into a bowl and use a hand mixer to do all the stirring - mine has a whisk attachment which made it super easy to get the caramel sauce silky smooth!
This recipe is very easy, but the timing is important. One time I left the Instant Pot to naturally release for a long time, and really regretted it. The caramel sauce had an almost burnt taste to it – not pleasant. You can manual release right away or wait up to 10 minutes. I have not tested beyond the 10-minute mark, so extend beyond that at your own risk!
If you want even more Instant Pot caramel sauce, you can add additional cans of sweetened condensed milk to the Instant Pot (prepped the same way) and cook them together.
Dulce de leche is Spanish for sweet [made of] milk. It is also known as caramelized milk or milk jam. Other types of caramel sauce are made from sugar and water, or corn syrup, which give it a slightly different texture and taste. Caramel lovers will likely enjoy both versions.
Instant Pot Caramel Sauce
- 12 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Remove the lid from the can of milk and then use tin foil to cover/wrap the can.
- Place a trivet in the Instant Pot liner and place the can of milk on the trivet. Add water to the Instant Pot until the water level is about halfway up the can of sweetened condensed milk.
- Seal the Instant Pot and set a manual cooking cycle for 40 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 15-20 minutes to come up to pressure before the cycle will begin.
- Once the cycle is done, either manual release right away or up to 10 minutes after the cycle is done.
- Carefully remove the can from the Instant Pot, remove the tin foil, and let the can of milk cool for 20 minutes,
- Add the vanilla extract and begin stirring the sauce. It will be quite chunky to start, but the more you stir the smoother the sauce will become. You can stir entirely in the can or transfer to a bowl if preferred.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.