Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

This is the most delicious Dulce de Leche Ice Cream recipe.

A rich custard base means that this French Style ice cream is extra smooth and creamy, and it’s churned in your favorite ice cream maker with a sweet, rich swirl of dulce de leche syrup. This ice cream is naturally gluten-free and nut-free.

Homemade dulce de leche ice cream with caramel swirl, being scooped with a metal ice cream scoop.

Everyone is going to fall in love this homemade Dulce de Leche ice cream. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, extra rich and creamy, and swirled with bits of milk caramel that are a little bit chewy.

It reminds me a lot of butterscotch ice cream, or caramel ice cream, but richer. And if you like rich ice cream, you’ll want to make this pralines and cream ice cream. For another specialty flavor, try this Black Licorice Ice Cream.

The texture and flavor of dulce de leche ice cream are both completely on point. You might want to make a double batch of this one so that you have some left after your family devours it.

What is Dulce de Leche? If you aren’t familiar, this is a sweet sauce that is similar to caramel. While caramel is made from butter and sugar, dulce de leche is made from milk and sugar. It’s very popular in South American or Latin desserts.

You can make dulce de leche from scratch, but it’s also readily available, pre-made, in a can. That’s what we’re using to make this amazing ice cream recipe.

Why You’re Going to Love this Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Recipe

Amazing Dulce de Leche Flavor – If you’re already a fan of dulce de leche, you know what I’m talking about. This super creamy, sort of caramelly substance tastes amazing. In ice cream, its flavors are elevated by vanilla extract and the creamy custard base.

Step By Step Recipe – This is a French-style ice cream recipe that uses egg yolks and a few different steps to create a creamy custard base. It might seem complicated, but I’m giving you easy step-by-step directions. Just follow along and you’ll be fine.

All of the ingredients that go into dulce de leche ice cream, measured into separate bowls, on a marble counter, viewed from above.

Ingredients in Homemade Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

Egg Yolks – These create the base for our ice cream custard. We’ll gently heat the egg yolks to pasteurize them, but you can also purchase pasteurized eggs if you prefer.

Sugar – For sweetness and amazing ice cream texture, plain, white, granulated sugar is the perfect choice.

Whole Milk – Milk is cooked with the egg yolks and sugar to create our custard base. Don’t try to use low-fat milk. It just won’t work the same way.

Kosher Salt – Just a bit of salt balances the sweetness and makes everything taste a bit brighter.

Dulce de Leche – Look for canned or jarred dulce de leche in the International section of your supermarket. You can also order it from Amazon if you don’t see it in your store.

Heavy Cream – Making dulce de leche ice cream with both heavy cream and whole milk is what gives us the best creamy texture.

Vanilla Extract – Vanilla is a must for almost all of our ice cream recipes. It elevates the simple flavors of milk, sugar, and cream.

a photo collage of 8 images showing the steps needed to make homemade dulce de leche ice cream

How to Make Dulce De Leche Ice Cream from Scratch

Start the day before by making sure that the bowl for your ice cream maker has at least 24 hours to freeze solid.

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color.
  2. Add the milk, salt, and 1 cup of the dulce de leche to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer and then remove it from the heat. Be sure not to boil. 
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk constantly until combined. This is called “tempering” the eggs.
  4. Then, add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk. Heat the saucepan on low. Stirring constantly, heat until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take a few minutes.
  5. Strain the mixture into a bowl to remove any pieces of egg that may have cooked. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap making sure to have the plastic wrap touching the surface of the ice cream base. This will help keep it from forming a skin while chilling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold. 
  6. Churn the ice cream mixture in the bowl of your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer’s instructions (mine took about 20 minutes), until it is thick and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.
  7. Spoon the ice cream into a loaf pan. Add the remaining ½ cup of dulce de leche and swirl with a spatula. Press plastic wrap or wax paper to the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid. 
  8. Let your homemade dulce de leche ice cream sit out at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. This will make it soft enough to scoop easily.

These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.

dulce de leche caramel drizzled over a glass dish of dulce de leche ice cream

How to Store Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

Store this homemade Dulce De Leche ice cream in the freezer in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper pressed on top for up to one month.

Tips for Making This Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Recipe

Use quality ingredients – When making homemade ice cream, you’ll want to make sure you are using high-quality ingredients for the best outcome.

Chill out – If possible, always start with chilled ingredients. This is important for homemade no-churn ice cream recipes and ice cream maker recipes.

Don’t skimp on the fat – High-fat milk and cream are essential when making homemade ice cream. Opting for a low-fat option often leads to icy ice creams and inconsistency in the texture.

Don’t go crazy with the add-ins – If you’re adding in additional ingredients, pick one or two and make sure they are chopped into pieces no larger than a blueberry or pea.

Don’t skimp on the sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness to homemade ice creams, it also helps with the texture. Sugar is essential for the creamy texture of ice cream.

Can I make Ice Cream with Homemade Dulce de Leche?

You absolutely can! If you have a recipe for making your own dulce de leche, use that.

I’ve never made it from scratch myself, but I did find this very good explanation of how to make dulce de leche with a can of sweetened condensed milk.

It takes at least 3 hours to make dulce de leche from scratch, so keep that in mind if you plan to go that route! Using a pre-made product will simplify your ice cream recipe quite a bit.

two bowls of scooped homemade dulce de leche ice cream, next to a bowl of dark caramel.

No Churn Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Directions

Chill a shallow container or a loaf pan in the freezer while you mix the ice cream ingredients.

Pour the ice cream mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 3-4 hours. Stir the ice cream every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours to help add air. This will help create a creamy, smooth texture.

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Add-Ins

Just like all of our homemade ice cream flavors, this ice cream is perfect just as it is, but can handle a few extra ingredients if you’re feeling creative.

Try mixing in chopped peanuts or walnuts, or some shaved white chocolate.

Crushed shortbread cookies would also be delicious with dulce de leche ice cream.

Can you think of any other ice cream add-ins that would go well with dulce de leche? Leave a comment and let us know!

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

We have tons of delicious ice cream recipes that you can make at home! Try one of these next:

Our Favorite Ice Cream Making Tools:

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Homemade dulce de leche ice cream with caramel swirl, being scooped with a metal ice cream scoop.

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chilling/Freezing Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes

You'll fall in love with this rich, creamy recipe for dulce de leche ice cream, made from scratch and churned to perfection.

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups dulce de leche, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Chill the ice cream bowl for at least 24 hours or until solid. You should not hear any water sloshing around when you shake the bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color.
  2. Add the milk, salt, and 1 cup of the dulce de leche to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Be sure not to boil. 
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk constantly until combined. 
  4. Then, add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk. Heat the saucepan on low. Stirring constantly, heat until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take a few minutes. 
  5. Strain the mixture into a bowl to remove any pieces of egg that may have cooked. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap making sure to have the plastic wrap touching the surface of the ice cream base. This will help keep it from forming a skin while chilling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold. 
  6. Churn the ice cream mixture in the bowl of your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer’s instructions (mine took about 20 minutes), until it is thick and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.
  7. Spoon the ice cream into a loaf pan. Add the remaining ½ cup of dulce de leche and swirl with a spatula. Press plastic wrap or wax paper to the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid. 
  8. Let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

    • I like to add additional dulce de leche after the ice cream churns because it makes such a pretty ribbon of sauce when you scoop the ice cream. You can omit if you prefer.
    • It's easiest to buy premade dulce de leche that is sold in a can or jar. You can also make this ice cream with your favorite homemade dulce de leche if you prefer.
    • Plan ahead by making sure that your ice cream maker bowl is in the freezer at least 24 hours before you're going to make ice cream.
    • Homemade ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to one month. Keep it in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper pressed to the surface of the ice cream to keep ice crystals from developing.
    • Homemade ice cream should be easy to scoop if you let it soften at room temperature for 5 minutes after removing it from the freezer.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 602Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 250mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 0gSugar: 59gProtein: 13g

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4 Comments

  1. This recipe is amazing! I was looking for something to replicate my favorite big brand dulce de leche ice cream that I can no longer eat due to food allergies, and this is actually better than the store bought version. It’s so rich, I didn’t add the swirl at the end.

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