This Dulce de Leche Ice Cream is homemade version of the Latin American favorite! Creamy, smooth, sweet, and full of caramel…lots and lots of caramel!
When I was a child, I wanted to own and drive an ice cream truck.
On top of wanting to be a teacher, a cake decorator, a princess, and an unfortunately uncoordinated Olympic gymnast.
Yes, my deepest desire was to drive around my neighborhood every summer, 8-bit circus music blaring all the way, and cater ice cream cones and popsicles to anyone who flagged me down with some quarters in their pockets.
Of course, a few quarters won’t get you anything from those super-rare ice cream trucks nowadays, so I’ve had to improvise.
Check another box off the culinary bucket list and try making your own ice cream with me!
This Dulce de Leche Ice Cream is pure heaven.
It’s no secret that I’m slightly in love with caramel. That sweet, sticky, almost-burned sugar syrup has my heart, and it ranks right up there on my list of favorite things.
Though it will never topple chocolate from the number one spot, it’s still totally up there.
Big shout out to my husband who’s single-handedly nourished this love for the last 15+ years. Many pints of Haagen Dazs later, I knew trying my hand at churning my own version of their insanely delicious dulce de leche ice cream.
Yes, churning. This isn’t a no-churn recipe where you fold whipped cream in to condensed milk (even though that kind is also deeelicioussss). This is good old-fashioned cream-and-egg-custard kind of ice cream that just happens to be loaded with all the dulce de leche.
There’s just something so satisfying about taking ordinary ingredients, cooking them up, churning them for thirty minutes, and ending up with something as lovely and delicious and absolutely perfect as this ice cream.
It’s a real shame that ice cream trucks are endangered.
What is dulce de leche?
A Latin American classic dessert, dulce de leche is a sauce made by cooking down milk and sugar until it reduces and thickens into a creamy, milky mixture that resembles caramel sauce.
A short cut recipe involves canned sweetened condensed milk, which reduces the amount of cooking time needed to achieve that creamy deliciousness that can (and should) be enjoyed on its own, in ice cream, or as a filling for pastries, cakes, and donuts.
Ingredients for Dulce de Leche ice cream
Some ice cream recipes don’t require an ice cream maker, and only 3 ingredients. This is a churned. custard-based recipe, so it will require a little more work and patience, but it’s so worth it!
- Heavy cream – also known as double cream in Europe, this is what gives this ice cream its rich, creamy flavor
- Whole milk – the fat content of whole milk works best here. You can use a lower fat % if you’d like, just expect a slightly less rich end result
- Dulce de leche – this can be found in the coffee aisle at most grocery stores, next to the canned milks. homemade is also great if you’ve got some
- Eggs – only the yolks; you can save the whites for macarons!
- Granulated sugar – this is actually optional and up to your taste. The dulce de leche is plenty sweet on its own, so use your discretion
- Vanilla extract – you can substitute vanilla bean paste or fresh vanilla bean scrapings here
- Kosher or sea salt – just a pinch, or a bit more if you really love salted caramel
How to make Dulce de Leche Ice Cream:
- Warm the heavy cream, milk and 1 cup of of dulce de leche in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the mixture is blended and steam begins to rise from the surface.
- In a large heatproof or metal mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar (if you’re adding it), vanilla, and salt.
- Slowly add the hot cream mixture to the bowl, whisking constantly until fully incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook the mixture without allowing it to boil, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency.
- Pour the mixture though a fine-mesh sieve set over a clean bowl, and use a rubber spatula to press the custard through. Set the bowl in a larger one filled halfway with ice and water and cool the custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate 1 hours until chilled.
- Transfer the custard mixture to an ice cream maker or Kitchenaid mixer attachment and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At the end of the freezing stage, add the remaining dulce de leche into the churning ice cream until it is swirled throughout.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezable container with a lid (like a loaf pan), cover and freeze until firm, 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Love ice cream? Try these frozen treats next!
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Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups dulce de leche
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar optional
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream, milk and 1 cup of the dulce de leche, stirring constantly until the mixture is blended and steam begins to rise from the surface, about 4-5 minutes.
- In a large heatproof or metal mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar (if using), vanilla, and salt until blended.
- Slowly add the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly until fully incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook without allowing to boil, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency, 6-10 minutes, depending on your stove.
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a clean bowl and pour the custard mixture through. Set the bowl in a larger one filled halfway with ice and water and cool the custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate 1+ hours until chilled.
- Transfer the custard mixture to an ice cream maker or Kitchenaid mixer attachment and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. At the end of the freezing stage, add the remaining ½ cup dulce de leche into the churning ice cream until it is swirled throughout.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezable container with a lid (like a loaf pan), cover and freeze until firm, 3 to 4 hours.