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I used to take spoonfuls of condensed milk straight from the can as a kid, not thinking it could be used for so much more. My grandmother taught me that properly cooked sweetened condensed milk may turn into caramel or dulce de leche! That day, I learnt the proper technique to boil a can of condensed milk!

  • Fill a large pot with enough water to cover a can
  • Heat the water until it reached a low boil
  • Remove the label from the can of condensed milk
  • Make a small hole in the can to let pressure escape
  • Submerge the can into the boiling water using tongs
  • Place the can on its side so it doesn’t bop in the water
  • Boil the can for 3 hours, add more water if needed
  • Make sure the can is covered by water at all times
  • Using tongs, take out the boiled can to cool
  • Make sure the can is cooled to room temperature
  • Open the can and use a spoon to stir until smooth
  • You know it’s done if the sugar inside turned brown in color

Every time I cooked a can of condensed milk, this step-by-step method helped me get the right caramel consistency! But you’re not done yet. You still need to know some vital facts before you start boiling the can of sweetened condensed milk!

How Do You Bring a Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk to a Boil?

To correctly boil a can of sweetened condensed milk, make sure it is completely immersed in water for the whole 3 hour cooking time. This will ensure that all of the sugar in the condensed milk caramelizes at the same pace.

When you begin boiling the can, make sure there is enough water in the saucepan to completely immerse it. A completely submerged can caramelizes on all sides!

Take remove any labels that are affixed to the can. Removing the label off the can keeps it from becoming wet, detaching, and floating about in your pot of water.

Submerge the can carefully into the hot water with tongs to avoid being burnt by the water. Place the can on its side so that it may roll around and caramelize evenly. The hot water may cause the can to bounce up and down if it is placed vertically.

*By the way, the Double Boiler is fantastic for melting things like chocolate while heating other components. I just published an article that breaks down the three best double boilers that individuals use at different stages of their baking journey.

After researching these double boilers, I decided that the Stainless Series 2-Quart Covered Double Boiler was the Best Overall Double Boiler since it performed well for my dessert requirements in my kitchen. This Double Boiler is available on Amazon!

Although I prefer arranging the cans horizontally within the pot of water, if you have more than one can to boil, you can also arrange the cans vertically. When boiling more than one can in a saucepan, make sure they fit snugly so they don’t bounce up and down.

To make the caramel deeper in color, alter the boiling time in 30-minute increments!

To produce the ultimate caramel result, you must boil the can for 3 hours. Since water evaporates over time, you’ll need to continually adding additional water to keep the can entirely immersed.

After that, remove the can from the water using the same tongs and set it on a cooling rack or other heat-resistant surface to cool for a time.

Before you attempt to open the can, it must cool completely to room temperature. This might take 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature of your area.

Only open the can after it has reached room temperature!

Since the container is closed, the heat generated within will grow in all directions with no way to escape. When you open the can while it’s still hot, the contents will spray out like a fountain.

*By the way, I just published an essay contrasting condensed milk to evaporated milk. This article compares and contrasts condensed milk with evaporated milk, as well as explains how to convert one into the other. This article may be found here!

Be care to whisk the warm condensed milk to ensure a smooth texture!

Is it safe to bring a can of condensed milk to a boil?

When done correctly, boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk is generally safe. Place a can of condensed milk in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Following all of the safety precautions may keep the condensed milk can from bursting.

The following actions must be taken in order to properly boil a can of condensed milk:

  • Completely submerge the can in boiling water
  • Always remove the label from the can
  • Make a small hole in the can to allow the pressure to escape
  • Use cans with solid lids, and do not use pop-off lids
  • Use tongs to turn the can halfway through
  • Make sure the can stays submerged in water for the entire time it is boiled
  • Always allow the can to cool before you open it


You should only boil a can of condensed milk if you can keep an eye on the water level and allow the can to cool completely before opening it! Failure to do so may result in the can exploding and causing physical injury.

*By the way, I have published a detailed post on How to Safely Boil a Can of Condensed Milk. This article discusses what you must do to ensure that the can of condensed milk does not burst when boiled. This article may be found here!

To protect my condensed milk cans from exploding, I boil them in my double boiler to keep direct heat away from the cans. I had no trouble placing the cans on the top pot of water.

*Also, I just published a post on How To Microwave Condensed Milk To Create Caramel. This article will teach you everything you need to know about making caramel from condensed milk in the microwave. This article may be found here!

What Happens When Sweetened Condensed Milk in a Can Is Boiling?

As a can of sweetened condensed milk boils, the sugar within caramelizes and becomes dark in color. When sweetened condensed milk contains more sugar than plain milk, the extra sugar is converted into dulce de leche. Just combine milk and butter to make caramel.

Remember that heating a can of condensed milk isn’t the only option! There are numerous techniques to transform condensed milk into caramel or dulce de leche.

*Side Note: You may also be interested in learning How To Make Condensed Milk Into Caramel. I just published A Comprehensive How-to Guide on Turning Condescend Milk Into Caramel, which you can read here!


Is it possible to boil an opened can of condensed milk?

In general, boiling an opened can of condensed milk has a lower risk of bursting since the pressure that normally collects within due to heat will escape. Ensure sure the opening in the can is not large enough for the condensed milk to spill out during the boiling process.

How Long Should Condensed Milk Be Boiling For Caramel?

On average, it takes roughly 3 hours to cook a can of sweetened condensed milk into caramel. During the boiling process, keep an eye on the water level and add more as required to keep the can of condensed milk covered with water at all times. Keep the water pot uncovered.

How Long Should Carnation Condensed Milk Be Boiling?

On average, you can boil Carnation condensed milk for 40-50 minutes on low heat in a double-boiler pan. Keep the double-boiler covered and periodically stir the condensed milk. Simmer it until the sugar within caramelizes, making it thick and dark in color.

How Long Does It Take To Boil Condensed Milk For Banoffee?

On average, you can make Banoffee by boiling a can of condensed milk for around 3 hours on the stovetop. During the boiling process, keep an eye on the water level and add more as required to keep the can of condensed milk covered with water at all times.

Last Thoughts

Sweetened condensed milk isn’t simply for drinking directly from the can! It may be used to make caramel or dulce de leche, among other things. Following the methods mentioned above will assist you in safely and properly boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk to make these masterpieces a reality!