I just discovered the easiest way to make homemade dulce de leche using just a can of sweetened condensed milk and I fell so hard for it that my brain is swirling with recipe ideas! We’re currently going through somewhat of a heatwave here in Portland, so the first thing that came to mind was ice cream. Specifically, no-churn ice cream because 1) it’s so simple and fail-proof to whip up with just a few ingredients and 2) I don’t have an ice cream maker, so it’s my preferred method of ice cream making.
This no-churn dulce de leche ice cream turned out insanely good. Like, better than I could have imagined! I could not stop sneaking tastes during the photo and video shoot. There are subtle swirls of dulce de leche and candied pecans in every single bite. It’s amazing on its own, or topped with more dulce de leche or hot fudge sauce.
You can certainly make this no-churn dulce de leche ice cream without the candied pecans, but in my opinion, they really enhance the recipe. The pecans add a crunch and subtle sweetness to every bite. If you’re looking for alternatives, try chocolate chunks, brownie bits, or waffle cone pieces.
What Does Dulce de Leche Taste Like?
Never had dulce de leche before? Neither had I until just recently, when a friend brought me back a small jar from Argentina. It looks a lot like caramel, only it’s smoother and creamier with notes of toffee and butterscotch. It’s made by slowly simmering together milk and sugar until it turns caramel or amber in color.
Where to Find Dulce de Leche
If you’re not sure where to find dulce de leche, you have a few options:
- You can check the baking aisle at your local grocery store and see if you can find it next to the cans of sweetened condensed milk. La Lechera is a popular brand in North America.
- You can easily make it yourself using a can of sweetened condensed milk, which is what I did! All you need is a big pot of simmering water and 2-3 hours for the cooking process, which is really hands off. Here’s the full recipe.
- You can order dulce de leche on Amazon. I have not tried the vast majority of these brands before, so be sure to read the reviews before you choose one if you’re going this route.
Whichever dulce de leche you choose, I hope you love this ice cream recipe as much as I do! It’s got so many amazing textures between the candied pecans, gooey dulce de leche, and smooth no-churn ice cream. I cannot resist it!
No-Churn Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
- 2 Tbsp (28g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 Cup (50g) packed brown sugar
- 1 Cup (115g) chopped pecans
Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
- 2 Cups (480ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 13-14 Oz dulce de leche, room temperature homemade recipe in notes below
- Place a large metal bowl into the refrigerator and a loaf pan into the freezer to chill for at least 15-20 minutes.
Make the Candied Pecans
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together while stirring frequently. When the mixture is melted and uniform, add the pecans and continue to cook over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the candied pecans from the heat and place them on the parchment lined cookie sheet to cool completely before moving on with the recipe.
Make the Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
- Remove the large chilled metal bowl from the refrigerator and add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla into it. Beat with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Reserve a few Tablespoons of the dulce de leche and fold the rest into the heavy whipping cream until it’s almost combined (you’ll want to keep some ribbons of dulce de leche in the mixture for best results). Reserve a few Tablespoons of the candied pecans and gently fold the rest into the ice cream mixture.
- Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and add the dulce de leche ice cream mixture into it. Use a rubber spatula to smooth it down and press it into the edges of the pan. Top with the reserved dulce de leche and use a toothpick to swirl it around, then add the reserved candied pecans. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 6 hours, after which it should be semi-firm, scoopable, and ready to enjoy!
Did you make this no-churn dulce de leche ice cream? I want to know how it went! Let me know in the comments below and feel free to tag @sugarandsparrowco on Instagram to show me. I love to see what you create with my recipes!