Instant Pot Caramel Sauce is an easy and delicious sauce for ice cream, pound cake, apple slices, or any other sweet treats. It’s made with sweetened condensed milk and yes you can cook it in the unopened can. I’m sharing all the keys to success.
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Key to Success #1 – In Can Or Out
One of the most frequent questions about this recipe is whether or not you can cook the caramel sauce in the unopened can?
The answer is “Yes, you can!”
However, use this advice to cook the caramel sauce in the can at your own risk.
If you’d feel more comfortable, you can pour the sweetened condensed milk into a mason jar then cover the jar with foil and cook as directed.
I have made this caramel sauce in the unopened can many times, both in the Instant Pot and on the stovetop, and I’ve never had a can explode or leak at all.
The caramel sauce has turned out perfect every time.
You can also cook more than one can of sweetened condensed milk at the same time without adjusting the cooking time.
The sweetened condensed milk cans with the pop-top lid will also work just as well.
Key to Success #2 – Instant Pot or Stovetop
I love making this caramel sauce in the Instant Pot because it cooks so much faster and you don’t have to babysit the water level.
To cook Caramel Sauce in the Instant Pot, place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in the inner pot of the Instant Pot then fill the pot with water to cover the bottom 2/3 of the can.
Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure and set the pressure valve to Sealing. Cook for 35 minutes then quick release the pressure.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make the caramel sauce on the stovetop in a large saucepan or a stockpot.
Place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in the pot then completely cover the can with water.
Heat on medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil, then boil gently for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Watch the water level carefully and make sure the can remains completely covered with water.
Key to Success #3 – Let It Cool … Completely
After the cans of caramel sauce have finished cooking, use a pair of tongs to remove the can from the water.
Set it on the countertop and let it cool completely before opening the can.
Let me repeat that again – let the can of caramel sauce cool completely before opening it.
Let the can of caramel sauce cool completely before opening it.
One time, I opened one of those pop-top cans of sweetened condensed milk before it was completely cool.
I’d let it sit for a while, but it was still warm. And I was impatient.
I opened the can anyway. And the caramel sauce shot up about 8 feet in the air.
So, don’t be like me. Be patient. Let it cool.
This caramel sauce is so thick and creamy and luscious.
You’re going to love it served over ice cream, with pound cake, with churro chips, or drizzled over an apple crisp.
Save this Instant Pot Caramel Sauce recipe to your favorite Instant Pot board or your Caramel Desserts board.
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Remove outer label from can of sweetened condensed milk. Place unopened can into inner pot of Instant Pot. Add water to cover the bottom 2/3 of the can. Set Instant Pot to High Pressure, set valve to Sealing, and set timer for 35 minutes.
- After 35 minutes, quick release the pressure. Use tongs to remove the can from the water. Allow to cool completely on the counter before opening.
- Once cool, carefully open the can and pour caramel sauce into a small bowl or jar. Stir in vanilla.
You can cook more than one can of caramel sauce at the same time without alterning the cook time.
No Instant Pot? You can cook this caramel on the stovetop in a large saucepan. Cover the unopened can(s) completely with water and heat on medium-high heat to boiling. Boil 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Add more water as needed to keep the can(s) completely covered.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Don’t miss our FREE Printable Instant Pot Cook Times chart.