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Dulce de Leche (Caramel Milk Curds)

A sweet and creamy traditional Cuban dessert. If you like cottage cheese, you'll love this dessert. Milk is curdled and slow cooked until it turns into golden milk pearls in a cinnamon sugary syrup with floral citrus notes!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Caribbean, Cuban
Keyword Dulce de Leche, Milk Dessert, Sweet Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author The Tiny Fairy


  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt prefer Diamond brand
  • 3 12-ounce cans evaporated milk (not skim milk) prefer Borden or Pet brand
  • 2 ¼ - 3 cups granulated sugar, depending on desired sweetness mom uses 1 cup of sugar per can of evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • ¾ cup pulp free orange juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle a pinch of salt over each and and beat well.

  2. In a separate container, whisk the milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the beaten eggs, distilled white vinegar, orange juice and blend well. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the milk to curdle slightly.

    Note: You can use a 3/4 cup of sugar for every can of evaporated milk to reduce the level of sweetness.

  3. Cook in a wide heavy-bottom pot over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add the cinnamon stick and reduce heat slightly so you have a consistent simmer.

  4. Stir infrequently so milk curds form, but it doesn't stick to the bottom. When stirring, do so gently in a brush stroke motion north to south instead of a circular. Watch it, don't walk away from the stove. About an hour later add the vanilla extract and gently stir to combine.

  5. When the liquid has evaporated and the milk curds are a golden caramel color and the sugar is the consistency of a simple syrup, remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving or storing.

  6. Best served cold, but some enjoy it at room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving. Serve in demitasse cups or shot glasses.

Recipe Notes

Mom's Original Small Batch Recipe

  • 1 large egg 
  • a small pinch of salt 
  • 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk 
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup granulated sugar, depending on desired sweetness 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of white distilled vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of orange juice (no pulp) 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Follow the same instructions above.  Cooking time will be shortened.