This Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce (or Chocolate Dulce de Leche) is perfectly luscious and thick and absolutely amazing as a dip or spread for cookies and fruit. Great for dessert fondue or as a gift also.
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Sweetened Condensed Milk is very popular in Russia. Well, I actually don’t know if it is still popular but it was really popular when I was growing up.
It is called exactly the same in Russian also, each word is just translated. But it also has a more common name that everyone uses, it’s called Sgushenka which is roughly translated as “condensed thingy” or something along those lines. It’s so popular that most recipes online actually use that word, Sgushenka, instead of its proper name – Sweetened Condensed Milk.
In Russia, Sweetened Condensed Milk is one of the most common and popular pantry staples. It’s very commonly used to sweeten coffee or tea, to make hot chocolate, to make delicious cake fillings, or to just eat as a dessert with just a spoon.
Boiled Sweetened Condensed Milk is (or was?) just as popular. It is commonly known as Dulce de Leche in North America or some call it simply caramel. For me, it was one of the most delectable and desirable sweets of my childhood.
This boiled sweetened condensed milk was used to make the most amazing frosting and filling for cakes, it was mixed with softened butter and spread between layers of delicious sponge cake or paper thin wafers. The result was scrumptious! You can read a little article I found on Why Russians boil sweetened condensed milk.
Dulce de Leche is often an addition to chocolate cakes or cookies so I thought why not combine those two flavours to create Chocolate Caramel Sauce or Chocolate Dulce de Leche, whatever you prefer calling this deliciousness.
Of course, I had to use Instant Pot to make it and the result is incredible. The Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce is thick and luscious, it’s perfect to spread over plain biscuits or cake or wafers. It’s great as a dip for apples, it’s amazing with bananas. It’s just plain good to eat with a spoon!! Yes, I’ve done that!
How to make Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce
Making this Chocolate Dulce de Leche is really easy if you use Instant Pot or another electric pressure cooker. All you do is mix all the ingredients, transfer them to a canning jar with a lid, place inside Instant Pot with plenty of water and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
Let your Instant Pot do a Natural Pressure Release (it is very important!!!), let the jar of chocolate caramel sauce cool naturally (also very important!!!), then add a healthy pinch of salt, mix, and enjoy!!
Note: every time I made this delicious Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce, I always used half a jar of sweetened condensed milk. You most likely can double the recipe and use a full jar of sweetened condensed milk but the cooking time in Instant Pot might need to be increased (although, to be honest, I doubt it).
If you’d like to use the full can of Sweetened Condensed Milk but don’t want to experiment with the timing, just use two 1-cup (8-ounce) jars. Just make sure that you add butter to each individual jar so that it’s distributed evenly. There’s no need to increase cooking time if you are using multiple 1-cup jars at the same time.
Important: natural pressure release and cooling
First two times I made Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce, I ended up with the Chocolate Caramel Sauce inside the pot and leaking out of the jar. It took me a few tries before I figured out why that was happening.
I realized that the rapid drop in pressure that resulted from me doing a quick release, made the caramel foam and leak from the jars. Also, opening the jar of chocolate caramel before it cooled completely turned into a delicious disaster with the sauce really splatting everywhere. It was delicious but very messy.
On my third attempt I finally got it right. I let my electric pressure cooker release the pressure naturally which took about an hour since it had a lot of water. I then took the jar with the delicious Chocolate Dulce de Leche out and let it cool on the counter for another hour or a bit more until it was at room temperature.
The long cooling time made sure that the jar was clean and there was no mess. So even though you might be tempted to speed up the process – don’t! The flavour will still be great but it’ll be really messy.
Ingredients to make Instant Pot Chocolate Dulce de Leche
At first I tried just two ingredients: sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder. The resulting Chocolate Caramel Sauce was delicious but not sweet enough, even for me and I like less sweet desserts.
For my other attempts I tried a few combinations of ingredients and this one is my favourite:
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Brown sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Vanilla extract
- Healthy pinch of salt
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry. It really is not. All you do is mix sweetened condensed milk with brown sugar and cocoa powder until it’s smooth and turns beautiful chocolate colour. You then add some vanilla, diced butter (no need to melt) and pour it into the jar. Add some salt after the sauce is cooled and mix well.
Do you need to add salt to Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce?
Yes and no. You can definitely omit the salt but I strongly recommend adding at least a tiny pinch. Salt really brings out the flavour of chocolate in this Chocolate Dulce de Leche and, surprisingly, makes the sauce sweeter.
I am not a big fan of salted caramel or salt with chocolate but in this particular Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce Recipe I really found that salt played an important role and I would advise to add more than a tiny pinch. If you prefer, just add a few granules to your own serving.
More Instant Pot Dessert Recipes:
- Instant Pot Nutella Cake Bites
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Pudding Cake
- Instant Pot Baked Apples
- Instant Pot Brownies
- Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Hot Chocolate
- Instant Pot No Knead Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Instant Pot Strawberry Chia Jam
What is the texture of this Instant Pot Chocolate Dulce de Leche?
I struggled whether I should even call it a sauce or not but decided to keep the sauce in the recipe title. The texture of this Chocolate Caramel Sauce (or dip if you’d like) is quite thick, especially after refrigeration.
If you’d like the sauce to be a bit thinner, then you can microwave it a little bit (I don’t have specific timings as I don’t own a microwave) or you can use a water bath to melt it a little bit. This is what I do.
For a runnier sauce that you can drizzle, add a little bit of cream to the Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce and heat up over a water bath until smooth and luscious.
How to use Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce
This Chocolate Caramel Sauce is extremely versatile. Use it like you’d use regular caramel sauce but here are a few examples:
- Make Chocolate Caramel apples
- Add a splash of cream to thin it out a little bit and serve as fondu with fruit and cookies for Valentine’s Day
- Turn plain cookies into sandwich cookies
- Make Chocolate Caramel Buttercream by adding it to softened butter (you might need to make a triple batch of this Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce recipe for it)
- Mix in with some mascarpone cheese and turn into a delicious dessert dip
- Use to make Chocolate Banoffee Pie
- Give as gifts
- Eat with a spoon out of the jar!!
Fun variations for Chocolate Dulce de Leche
- Add some cayenne pepper for a fun twist
- Add cinnamon to make it into a warming fall sauce
- Add peppermint extract to turn it into a holiday favourite
- Mix in some chopped nuts for a fun textural contrast
- Add a few drops of orange oil for a classic chocolate and orange flavour combination
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Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce
- In a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Whisk well.
- Add the vanilla extract, unsalted butter that is diced into small pieces, and mix to combine.
- Transfer the mixture into a clean 1-cup (8 ounces) canning jar, tightly close the lid.
- Place a trivet inside Instant Pot. Put the jar onto the trivet.
- Add enough water to the Instant Pot to come up to just below the lid of the jar.
- Close and lock the lid.
- Turn the vent on the lid to the sealing position.
- Press Manual or Pressure Cooker button (depending on your model) and using the arrow buttons set the cook time to 20 minutes. Depending on your Instant Pot model and how much water is added and how cold/hot the water is, it could take up to 30 minutes (or even more) to come to pressure.
- Once 20 minutes of pressure cooking are done, let the pressure release naturally, which means to just leave the Instant Pot alone until all the pressure releases and the little valve indicating the pressure drops down. This could take up to an hour.
- After the pressure is naturally released, open the lid and carefully remove the jar out of the water. The jar will be hot so be careful.
- Let the jar with Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Sauce cool for a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably an hour until it's at room temperature.
- Open the lid of the jar. The Chocolate Caramel will look a bit spongy at the top. Don't worry, it's supposed to. Mix really well with a spoon or a spatula until the caramel gets smooth and luscious.
- Add a pinch of salt and mix again.
- Cover and keep in the fridge for up to a week.