Who knew homemade caramel was so easy to make? I had no idea until Stephanie sent in this incredibly easy slow cooker recipe as part of our Crock-tober series.
Sweetened Condensed Milk - You can buy this in a can, but I found it at Trader Joe’s in a plastic bottle, so that’s what I did. It cost about $2.75, so it was not the most frugal choice, but it saved me an extra trip because I didn’t have any at home. And it’s organic, if that matters to you.
Yep, that’s it. Only one ingredient!
HOW TO PREPARE
There are a couple ways you can do this. . . .
Method 1 - If you buy condensed milk in a can, which is how most people find it (more affordable, too). Just remove the label off the can and put into your slow cooker. Place it on a plate or in a glass container to keep it from possibly rusting your slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker with water until it covers the cans. Cook on low for 8 hours. Open cans and you have yourself some caramel!
Method 2 (the one I did) - I feel a little weird about cooking things in cans. I’m no BPA expert, but the chemicals in cans make me nervous. So, I decided to pour the sweetened condensed milk into glass canning jars. (This also has the advantage of you being able to watch the coloring as it cooks – so you can decide if it’s done.) Put the lids on the jars. Place in slow cooker, fill with water until it goes over the top of the jars – fully submerged. Cook on low for 8 hours – make sure water does not boil, but just simmers. Open jars and you have yourself some caramel! Plus they are already ready to store in the fridge. *Just because they are in canning jars – doesn’t mean they are shelf stable. We didn’t technically “can” them and they should be refrigerated.
BE CAREFUL - Cans or jars will be hot. Caramel will be hot. Make sure jars are completely submerged in water. I guess jars can explode if you don’t keep the water level high enough. So keep water level over lids!
Serve with apples or whatever you like dipped in caramel (ideas?).
Pour sweetened condense milk into canning jars. I probably could have just used two jars, but three worked just fine. If you have smaller jars, you could make a bunch of little ones, so you have one for each kid or person in the family. Make sure to get jars small enough to be covered by the water! I guess jars can explode if you don’t keep the water level high enough. So keep water level over lids!
Place in slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours. Notice the coloring when you start.
Fast forward 8 hours and you have a nice brown caramel! I actually let mine cook TOO long – it was more like nine hours on low, so it was a bit too done. It wasn’t burned, but I think I would have liked the consistency if I would have taken it out after 7.5 – 8 hours. Just keep an eye on it. Especially keep an eye on the water level – you don’t want it dropping below the lids.
Carefully remove jars or the cans. It will be HOT. My cans sealed themselves, so I popped the lid and scooped out into single serving bowls with apples. Even if your jars seal themselves, they still need to be refrigerated – they are not properly “canned”.
My daughter LOVED the caramel (could have cared less about apples) and my son just wanted to the apples (he’s a fruit guy, not really so much into sweets). My husband loved both.
This recipe was sent in by Stephanie as part of our Crock-tober series - so she’ll get a $10 Amazon gift card! Send in your recipe and if I feature your recipe on the blog you’ll get a $10 Amazon gift card!
Here are other Slow Cooker Crockpot recipes we’ve recently posted:
- Slow Cooker Strawberry Applesauce recipe
- Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples recipe
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Pumpkin recipe (you can’t taste the pumpkin!)
- Slow Cooker Chicken Santa Fe recipe
- Slow Cooker Breakfast – Overnight Pumpkin Pie Steel-Cut Oats
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Soup recipe