Mexican Cajeta (aka Dulce de Leche) and September’s YBR Signup

by Spicie Foodie on September 21, 2012

Authentic Mexican Cajeta, aka dulce de leche, by Spicie Foodie

I’m back! Did you miss me? I missed you guys. Before we get to today’s recipe, I’d like to give a very special thanks to Liz and Vianney for their yummy guestpost. Thank you ladies for your help and for the delicious treats you shared.

September’s YBR submissions are now open, add yours here http://www.spiciefoodie.com/ybr/ybr-signup-temporary-page/

Spicie Foodie Photography eBook

Secondly I would like to thank you for the sweet comments you left regarding my upcoming photography eBook. I read each and every one of your comments. They are so kind and it makes me really excited to share the project with you. On that note, I’d like to tell you that the eBook is in the very last stages before being submitted for final approval. Hopefully I will have a release date or download link by early next, I’ll keep you posted. Okay, let’s get on to today’s recipe.

Authentic Mexican Cajeta, aka dulce de leche, by Spicie FoodieCajeta is one of my favorite things in the world! Cajeta, also known as dulce de leche, is a hispanic sweet thick milk caramel sauce or syrup. In Mexico this sweet confection is know as cajeta and in other Spanish speaking countries it is called dulce de leche. I grew up calling it cajeta so that’s the name I prefer, but I do realize that in some other Spanish speaking Latin American countries the word cajeta is considered to be a not so nice word.

The word cajeta can also mean little wood boxes, and traditionally the cajeta was packaged and stored in wood boxes. So as you can see it has many different meanings and uses depending on the region or dialect of Spanish. There are several areas in Mexico that claim they invented or that cajeta originated there. But since the indigenous people did not really consume dairy products, most likely the sweet originated in Spain and brought to Mexico or introduced by the conquistadores.

Authentic Mexican Cajeta, aka dulce de leche, by Spicie Foodie

My family’s hometown in Mexico is know for it’s cajeta. The cajeta is sold throughout the town center in many confectionery shops. The shops in my town all compete with each other by offering different varieties and flavors of cajeta. Some  shops even carry cajeta boracha or drunk cajeta, which can be prepared with a number of different alcohols. The shops set up extensions of their stores on the side walks, from which they have their employees offering small tastes or samples of their cajetas to passers by. When I was a little girl, and living in or visiting my towm, my sisters, cousins and I took advantage of the shop’s offerings. We would keep walking up and down the street or switching to other streets just to get a free sample. It was a silly thing to do but we were silly kids. I have great memories of eating cajeta in Mexico while visiting our family during our summer holidays.

Authentic Mexican Cajeta, aka dulce de leche, by Spicie Foodie

My family uses cajeta as a topping on almost anything we want, there are even popsicles made with it. My personal favorite is to eat it right off the spoon like peanut butter or Nutella. One of the most popular ways of eating cajeta, in Mexico, is by spreading it on a piece of bolillo, a Mexican bread, just like you would spread jelly on a piece of toast. Another of my favorite ways of eating it is on “pankeis” or pancakes, it’s like an American-Mexican fusion treat. In my family it was a special treat and the kids went crazy for it. We were lucky too because, after we moved to the states, my mother would buy and bring back plastic tubs from her trips to our hometown.

There are many different uses for cajeta and it’s pretty much something to use as you like. Here is the recipe, I make the small portion for the two of us but if you have a larger family you could try the larger version. Either way these are standard recipes that are used by many people.

Authentic Mexican Cajeta, aka dulce de leche, by Spicie Foodie

(If you would like to publish my recipe on your website please quote Spicie Foodie as the recipe creator, and place a link back to the recipe. Please do not copy and paste recipe on Pinterest, Google+, or Facebook. Thank you!)

5.0 from 13 reviews
Authentic Mexican Cajeta (aka Dulce de Leche)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: snack, dessert, sauce, topping
Serves: 2-8
Small Portion Ingredients:
  • 2 cups or 16 oz. or 500 ml goat milk*
  • ⅓ cup or up to ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract or ¼ tsp bourbon vanilla powder
  • one cinnamon stick
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp whole fat cow milk
Large Portion Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts or 1.90 liter goat milk
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract ¾ tsp bourbon vanilla powder
  • one cinnamon stick
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp whole fat cow milk
Equiptment Needed:
  • large heavy pot
  • wooden spoon
  • clean jar
  1. Pour the goat milk, sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon (if using) into a large heavy pot and bring to a light boil over medium heat. Stir to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the cow milk and baking soda until the baking soda has dissolved. Remove pot from burner, pour baking soda mixture into the goat milk, stirring fast, be careful because the liquid will quickly froth and overflow. Stir until the bubbles have subsided then turn the heat to medium and bring the pot back to the heat.
  3. Continue to cook the goat milk mixture, stirring very frequently because the mixture may bubble and pour over the pot. After another 20-30 minutes the mixture should begin to a darken and start thickening into a thick sauce consistency. Continue simmering and stirring frequently until the mixture turns a dark caramel color and coats the wood spoon, this may take another 20-40 minutes depending on liquid left in the pot. The cajeta should the same consistency as maple syrup.
  4. Pour into a jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The cajeta will keep fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
  5. The cajeta taste best if warmed up a little bit before using as desired.
*Whole fat cow milk may be substituted for the goat milk. Or a mixture of half goat milk, half cow milk may also be used. **The process is the same wether making the small or large version. The only difference is that it may take a bit longer for the larger version.** (P.S. I forgot to include the cinnamon stick in the ingredients photo. Oops!)


Authentic Mexican Cajeta, aka dulce de leche, by Spicie FoodiePhotography Notes:
Unfortunately I ran out of sunlight and didn’t get a chance to shoot more photos. I was just too tired to set up my artificial light stand. For these photos I pushed myself to shoot and move out of my confort zone. Instead of shooting in my signature style I tested out a lighter color palette. Though I still prefer my moody dark colors it was a fun experiment. What do you think?

September’s YBR submissions are now open, add yours here http://www.spiciefoodie.com/ybr/ybr-signup-temporary-page/

in Desserts-Sweets,Mexican

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa September 21, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Lovely clicks! I am a big fan of this paste. Addictive!




2 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Thank you Rosa and yes it is very addictive.


3 Laura (Tutti Dolci) September 21, 2012 at 8:18 AM

I missed you! :) A perfect recipe to share with us – I *love* dulce de leche. I’ll be dreaming of this tonight!


4 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Thanks Laura, I missed you too:) Sweet dreams, hehe.


5 Ala September 21, 2012 at 8:26 AM

This looks and sounds absolutely delectable–street food cultures are the best! Unfortunately, every time I go abroad (usually with my family), everyone gets paranoid about our stomachs not being able to handle the street food quality and sanitation, so I seem to miss out on a lot…but it’s nice to know I can make this in the comfort of my kitchen. I’ve linked up on YBR too, thank you for hosting!


6 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Too bad, because experiencing street food is experiencing a bit of the culture you visit. It does pay to be cautious, but I also think that something are exaggerated.

Great, welcome to the YBR:)


7 mj@cardamomhills September 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Welcome back :-) dulce de leche is called cajeta in mexico….i like tat….vigorously reading about mexican cuisine since couple of week….its been fascinating me….thanks for sharing!


8 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Thank you MJ! Yeppers. Glad to hear you’ve been learning and finding Mexican cuisine fascinating.


9 Sandra September 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Eating this off the spoon sounds like a plan to me!


10 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM

A favorite activity, naughty too:)


11 Angie@Angie's Recipes September 21, 2012 at 2:01 PM

wow Cajeta made from the scratch…you are SUPER! Thank you for sharing it. Gotta get some goat milk!


12 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Thanks Angie. I hope you do try it soon.


13 Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb September 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

OH I imagine walking down the road of your town in Mexico and try out different cajetas. hehe. that would be fun. I am not sure if I overlooked it in the post, but can the cajeta be made with cow milk entirely. I dont really enjoy goat milk. Why do you use goat milk in the recipe? something to do with the thickness or fat amount?


14 Spicie Foodie September 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Hi Helene,

Oops, I forgot to include the text about milk substitutions. Thanks for catching that:)

Yes, you may substitute the goat milk for cow milk. Try to use whole fat cow milk, as it will have the best consistency-not to mention taste better.

The goat milk does impart a distint taste but I know it will taste just as good with cow milk. Enjoy!



15 Ramona September 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I love both your darker “moody” photos style as well as this lighter style. You make both look so easy and do it so well. :) I wish I had your eye for styling. Now onto the recipe… I would love to just stick my finger into that dulce de leche and eat it all up. YUM!!! I signed up for your YBR this month…. I don’t won’t to miss that out again. :) Have a wonderful weekend my friend! ~ Ramona


16 tania@mykitchenstories.com.au September 21, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Cant wait for your book. I was just thinking yesterday that id like to find a recipe for dulce de leche and here it is. I was surprised by the light style, very nice


17 Victoria of Flavors of the Sun September 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Thanks for posting this recipe. Nearby Celaya in the state of Guanajuato claims to be the home of cajeta in my part of Mexico. I adore it and use it all the time–and I always take some to the states as gifts when I visit there. My favorite brand is Coronado, the Quemada type (we have several “flavored” versions available), but now I may have to make my own! Also, here (and perhaps only here in SMA) we differentiate between Dulce de Leche and Cajeta, with the latter using only goat’s milk. I enjoyed the history as well.


18 skinnysimplerecipes September 21, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Street food represent always authentic food…it’s a must to try when I travel.
Your pics are so appealing!!Meriem


19 Ruby September 21, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Looks gorgeous Nancy! I might give the goats’ milk a a try next time I make dulce de leche – I’ll definitely try adding in cinnamon. I notice you have a link to the WFP – love that! Also it seems we both found our way to the same configuration of nRelate’s link widget. Great minds! I’m finding it to be so much better than linkwithin, but have yet to test it on different browsers. My site’s not back up yet, but the pieces are falling into place – I’m just tweaking back posts to fit the new layout and I’ll unveil October 1st (if not sooner…). Looking forward to your ebook! :-)


20 Catherine September 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Dear Nancy, I will have to show this post to my daughter..she’ll love it! Your dolce de leche looks wonderful. All I need is that and I’m in heaven. Blessings, Catherine xo


21 mjskit September 22, 2012 at 5:19 AM

What do I think of the lighter style in these picture? I love everything you shoot! These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing this authentic recipe! I had the privileged of tasting real cajeta once and there is nothing else like it! Yes, the preferred method would be to eat it right off the spoon, but I would also love to pour it over some sweet tamales I make. YUM! Good luck on the final review of your book! Can’t wait for it to come out!


22 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen September 22, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Dulce de leche is one of my absolute favorite things, I could just eat it with a spoon and I do!


23 Frank @Memorie di Angelina September 23, 2012 at 1:04 AM

Welcome back, Nancy! We missed you…

You know, to be honest, I’m not much on cajeta (or sweets in general) but this looks so good I want to give it another try…


24 kitchenriffs September 23, 2012 at 3:47 AM

Thanks for teaching me a new word! I never knew Dulce de Leche was also called cajeta – very cool to know. I love this dish too. Nice post, and welcome back!


25 anna September 23, 2012 at 6:10 AM

oh my goodness, my mouth is WATERING! it looks so light and creamy, and so rich at the same time. this on pancakes sounds like a dream.


26 Holly September 23, 2012 at 10:19 AM

The photos are lovely as always, but I did notice the different background. :)

Thanks for sharing a bit of the history surrounding Cajeta – I love learning about these types of things. I really want to try to make this sometime soon, the idea of putting it on pancakes sounds so yummy. Or maybe a plain vanilla cake…


27 Veronica of Muy Bueno September 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I too loooooove cajeta and love it the most right out of the jar, onto a spoon and into my mouth…..thanks for sharing your lovely recipe…gorgeous pix too.


28 Nami | Just One Cookbook September 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Welcome back! Glad to hear you’re almost done with the ebook. I can’t imagine how much work you have to put into! Nice Mexican dulce de leche recipe! I’d love to taste it. :)


29 Viviane Bauquet Farre September 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Nancy, this is a great recipe for one of the best sweets that exists! Cajeta is a welcome addition to nearly any pastry. Your food photography is gorgeous and I love the anonymous quote too!


30 Priya February 25, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I tried this today – with cows milk. It turned out so wonderfully. Thanks a lot for the recipe :)


31 Spicie Foodie February 25, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Hi Priya! That’s great, and so glad you liked it. Thanks for letting me know:)


32 Tammy K/Proverbs Farm February 27, 2013 at 9:19 PM

I’m wondering if cajeta can be successfully canned using a water bath. Anyone know?


33 Spicie Foodie February 27, 2013 at 11:29 PM

Hi Tammy, I’ve never done it myself but hopefully someone can chime in with advice for you.


34 J in Oz April 8, 2013 at 2:28 AM

I tried this for a family mexican-themed lunch at the weekend and it did not disappoint! It was also my first ever excuse to buy goats milk (have been a goat cheese fan for a long time and certainly recognised the distinctive taste). The photos were very helpful in determining how long i needed to keep cooking and stirring for – I probably would have gotten nervous and underdone it otherwise. I don’t know about the authenticity of such things but I wanted to serve it with apple enchiladas and wasn’t sure how to best go about it. I ended up spooning a generous amount on top of the apples before I rolled each enchilada up, baking the lot (which resulted in some escaping cajeta) then using what was left served on top with condensed milk ice cream. Mmmmm, just delicious!


35 Spicie Foodie April 8, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Hi J! Thanks for letting me know and I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. Wow, your apple enchiladas sound fantastic! Now I want to give them a try.;)


36 cheryl s. April 21, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Just found your site while looking for a recipe for dulce de leche…the long version (i.e. not using a can of sweetened condensed milk…)
Thank you for posting this one and, I love your photos.
Here are my questions. What is the shelf life of dulce de leche before it goes bad ?
Which part of Mexico did you come from? I would love to visit that town if they have a dulce de leche festival as in Papantla, Veracruz at vanilla harvesting time.
And, third, what kinds of alcohol where people putting in to their dulce de leche? I never thought of doing that but I imagine rum or cognac would be great.


37 Spicie Foodie April 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Hi Cheryl,

Glad you found my recipe and I hope you give it a try soon. I never keep mine longer than a couple of weeks — we usually eat it before then. Well, I am not from there but I know Celaya in the state of Guanajuato is the most famous place for cajeta. I’m sure they have many festivities around cajeta. As for the alcohol I’ve seen red wine but I think rum and cognac would work fantastically. Enjoy your cajeta!


38 Megan June 20, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Hi! Thanks for the detailed recipe. I think I may’ve cooked it too long though. It’s still cooling and is very stringy. Is there something I can do to bring it back to a more syrupy consistency? I browsed the comments, and didn’t see anyone with this issue, so I apologize if this is a repeat question! Thanks again for the awesome recipe! I’m planning to drizzle it over my husband’s tres leches birthday cake :)


39 Spicie Foodie June 21, 2013 at 10:33 PM

You could try adding some more milk and see if that thins it down. Yum, the cake sounds like it will be wonderful.


40 Olive January 11, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Absolutely amazing, made a large batch just yesterday using this recipe and it filled the house with the most wonderfully spiced aroma. Thank you ever so much for sharing this family gem.


41 Spicie Foodie January 14, 2014 at 7:23 PM

My pleasure Olive, glad to hear you enjoyed both making it and, I’m sure, eating it too.


42 Germaine March 16, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Just made this recipe with my cousin, The Freckled Foodie….our lives are forever changed. I can honestly say there will never be a time when there isn’t a jar of this amazing stuff in my fridge.


43 Spicie Foodie March 18, 2014 at 12:07 AM

Hi Germaine! Hehe, I know exactly how you both feel. Thank you and enjoy putting cajeta on just about everything.:)


44 Germaine March 22, 2014 at 10:33 PM

I meant to ask, mine actually turned out a bit gelatinous; is that normal or did I do something wrong!


45 Spicie Foodie March 23, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Hi Germaine,

I’m sorry to hear that your cajeta turn gelatinous. That has never happened to me and I don’t really know how that could have happened.

Did you add extra ingredients or used different ones than called for in my recipes? Did the gelatinous texture happened after cooking or when did it happen? Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it so that it doesn’t happen again.:)



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