Real Mexican Cajeta (Goat's Milk Caramel or Dulce De Leche)

READY IN: 6mins


  • 2
    quarts milk (goat's milk, cow's milk, or a mixture of the two)
  • 2
    cups sugar
  • 1
    vanilla bean, split open (large, plump, preferably Mexican or substitute 1 tablespoon pure Mexican vanilla extract)
  • 12
    teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water


  • In a large, heavy pot (not iron), combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla, and place over medium heat. Stir regularly until the milk comes to a simmer and sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and add dissolved baking soda; it will bubble up at this point, especially with goat's milk. When the bubbles have subsided, return it to the heat.
  • Adjust heat so that the mixture is simmering briskly but not boiling. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns pale golden, about one hour.
  • You will now need to stir the milk more regularly as it begins to thicken and turns a caramel-brown color. Don't allow the milk to stick to the bottom of the pot. You can drop a few drops into a small glass of water. If a soft ball forms, the cajeta is ready.
  • If you take the pot off the heat and allow the cajeta to cool, it should be a medium-thick sauce. If it's too thick, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it is the proper consistency. If it is too thin, return to the heat until it thickens.
  • When the cajeta is cool, remove the vanilla bean. Strain the cajeta through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or wide-mouthed jar, then scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cajeta. Refrigerate until ready to use. Cajeta is best served warm.