Brunch just got even sweeter with these mouth-watering Dulce de Leche Pancakes! Easy homemade dulce de leche is drizzled over a stack of fresh, buttery buttermilk pancakes to satisfy your early-morning sweet tooth.
We’ve all been there before; your spouse wants oatmeal, your kids want waffles, and you are stuck cooking it all. What if you already had a recipe in your memory that is decadent enough for the kids but satisfying enough for your partner? The trick is to put a new twist on a popular breakfast item for a harmonious household.
These Dulce de Leche Pancakes are the best brunch for a carefree weekend. Simply make the dulce de leche the night before with this completely hands-off method. Then, pair with some homemade buttermilk pancakes the next morning for a truly indulgent first meal! Perfect for a lazy weekend at home with the family.
What is Dulce de Leche?
Dulce de Leche, also known as caramelized milk in English, is a thickened, caramel-like topping that can be used for ice cream, cheesecakes, churros, cookies, flan, waffles, and crepes, among others. It is made by boiling down milk and sugar for many hours until a thick, spreadable mixture is left. It often takes many hours to make dulce de leche in the traditional way.
Commonly, you will find folks using a can of sweetened condensed milk as the base for dulce de leche, since it already contains milk and sugar. Without even opening the can, you can cook the condensed milk by introducing heat and creating pressure inside the can. The result is a perfectly caramelized dulce de leche that took half the time but still has all the flavor of its time-consuming counterpart.
Where is Dulce de Leche From?
There are many disputed stories as to where dulce de leche originated. One popular legend states that it hails from France, where Napoleon’s personal cook made it by accident from boiling milk and sugar for too long. This is a popular tale that has little evidence, but then again, what origin story doesn’t?
Others say dulce de leche came from Argentina, where a maid of politician Juan Manuel de Rosas invented the dish by mistake. The other side of the world disagrees. Many believe that it originated in Indonesia, where the recipe made its way to the Philippines. Once there, the Spanish conquered the Philippines before bringing dulce de leche to the Americas.
No matter who you believe, it is consistent throughout each story that dulce de leche was made by mistake. If this is true, it is the happiest mistake in all of culinary history!
The Hands-Off Method
Making dulce de leche with milk and sugar is totally attainable, but will likely take your entire waking day. Instead, use a can of sweetened condensed milk for optimal results and little effort. It is totally hands-off and can be used for a wide variety of recipes.
Start with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Peel off the label as best you can. Submerge the can in boiling water for 2-3 hours. The longer you cook it, the more caramelized the sauce will get. Do not exceed 3 hours at the risk of burning the contents inside the can.
Once the can has cooled completely, open it to reveal a golden, caramel-like sauce that smells lightly of toffee. You can keep the sauce in the fridge for about a week for a multitude of uses. But, be sure to use it over these Dulce de Leche Pancakes before it’s all gone!
How to Make the Fluffiest Pancakes
If you picture the perfect pancakes, they are thick, fluffy, tender, and slightly sweet. There is a little bit of science that needs to happen to ensure the right texture, and that lies within the pancake ingredients.
The first essential ingredient is baking powder. This is what gives your pancakes some lift when they are frying in the pan. Too much baking soda can produce a slightly “soapy” flavor, so use the correct amount listed in your recipe.
Next, be sure to use either buttermilk or a liquid that has acidic qualities, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This gives your pancakes the tang that is similar to your favorite breakfast restaurant. Buttermilk also reacts with the raising agent in the batter, giving it more lift and fluffiness.
Lastly, be sure to use a nonstick pan or griddle for your pancakes. This way, your pancakes will release very easily when flipping. They will also get evenly browned during the cooking process, leading to photo-worthy pancakes!
Top your weekend flapjacks with something new by making these decadent Dulce de Leche Pancakes! Kids, grandparents, and siblings will love this twist on a classic American breakfast.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Recipe yield: 18 pancakes
Servings: 6 servings
1 can sweetened condensed milk, unopened
3 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
Extra butter, for serving
Maple syrup, for serving (optional)
Fresh berries, for serving (optional)
- The night before you make the pancakes, make the dulce de leche.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove all paper labels on the can of sweetened condensed milk.
- Submerge the unopened can into the water. If you need to place a weight on top of the can to keep it underwater, do so.
- Boil for 2-3 hours, depending on how caramelized you like your dulce de leche. Check the water periodically to ensure the water is not boiling over or that the can’s seal has not been compromised.
- Carefully remove the can from the water. Allow the can to cool to room temperature overnight.
- When ready to make the pancakes, place the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix to combine.
- Mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter in a separate bowl or measuring cup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold just until all the flour is moistened.
- In a nonstick pan, melt a little more butter over medium-low heat. Add 2-4 ¼-cup scoops of batter into the pan. Cook for 2 minutes until bubbles form on the surface. Flip and cook the pancakes for another 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the rest of the batter.
- To serve, open the can of dulce de leche. Plate a stack of pancakes and top the entire stack with a few spoonfuls of dulce de leche, some more butter, syrup, and fresh berries if desired. Serve warm.