It’s almost like turning water into wine, but BETTER. We’re talking about taking a simple run-of-the-mill tin of sweetened condensed milk and turning it into a tin of delectable, thick caramel – all while not even opening the tin. I KNOW RIGHT? Move over Willy Wonka…

Possibly the easiest, CLEANEST way to make a cup of caramel, once you’ve tried it for yourself you won’t turn back. Nope, you won’t even be buying store bought tins of caramel. And WHAT A SAVING. Woolworths Sweetened Condensed Milk is just $1.60 a tin compared to a tin of caramel filling which cost $5.20!

condensed milk caramel
Before and after. Turn condensed milk into a tin of GOLD!

An old school cooking hack 

Turning condensed milk to caramel this way isn’t technically a new kitchen hack. Many of us will remember our parents or grandparents doing it. But alas, we forget. And so we must reignite the cooking hack fire. The difference these days is the ring pull on cans. As a safety measure, make sure that if you try this at home, you have the ring pull side of the tin facing down. Proceed with caution and do not leave it unattended!

SAFETY NOTE: Please know that accidents do (and can) happen. While many people have done this without harm, some have experienced tins exploding for various reasons and suffered burns. This is definitely a proceed with caution and at your own risk cooking hack.

How to turn condensed milk to caramel in 4 easy steps

Step 1: Remove the paper label from the condensed milk tin. You don’t HAVE to, but it avoids the paper mache type pulp in the saucepan at the end.

condensed milk caramel

Step 2: Place the tin of condensed milk RING SIDE DOWN in a pot. Your pot needs to be tall, it’s imperative that the water level is at least 5cm above the top of the tin.

condensed milk caramel

Step 3: Bring the pot of water to a simmer, NOT A BOIL. You want just a gentle rock of bubbles coming to the surface. Leave the can to gently simmer for three hours. Keep a constant eye on the water level – it must always remain above the tin. Top it up if needed. The longer you let it simmer for, the thicker the caramel will be.

condensed milk caramel

Step 4: Turn the heat off and let the tin cool completely. Once cooled, open to reveal your can of delicious gold!

IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT open it while hot. The tin is like a mini pressure cooker – pulling the ring open on a hot tin of caramel WILL burn you. 

condensed milk caramel

You can use your slow cooker too!

If you don’t fancy running the stovetop heat for that long of a time, it’s said that you can achieve the same results using a slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours. Again, you must keep checking the water level so it remains above tin level.

So now what? What do I use this tin of gold for?

You can use the caramel filling for ALL kinds of delicious sweet treats. The obvious is pie, but there are many other uses too:

  • caramel cream pie
  • banoffee pie
  • caramel tarts
  • layering cakes with caramel filling
  • caramel sauce and ice cream

If nothing else, just crack open the can and go hammer and tongs with a spoon straight to the mouth. YUM!

condensed milk caramel


South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

1 Comment

  1. i do this when ever I am having a need for a caramel flan with whipped cream on top for a cheap desert. However I do several tins at once and they keep in the fridge for months. i tell my husband that it is more economical to do it this way but I just really love this caramel.

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