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Inger’s single Ingredient Caramel Spread

Inger’s single ingredient Caramel spread makes a thick, rich and deliciously, sweet Gluten free caramel spread! This caramel defines gooey goodness and is SO easy to make! You can even use your crock Pot!

The Simplest Caramel Sauce Recipe 3 1

According to our friend,  Inger Svendsen; Caramel is used in Norway as a normal bread spread! (Like Nutella in Australia). They spread it on toast like we do butter. Inger missed her homeland’s traditional caramel spread when she immigrated to the United States many, many years ago.

It’s too expensive to have Norway’s  “HaPå” spread mailed over here; so Inger figured out how to make her own U.S version. This is her method of turning sweetened condensed milk into a luscious thick caramel spread she remembers and loved from her childhood in Norway.

 Inger and Susie sent us the history of the original Norwegian “HaPå” spread Inger was raised on.

The Norwegian HaPå spread is a commercial variant that is thicker and less sweet. The name is an abbreviation of “Hamar” where it originally was made and “Pålegg”(spread). “Ha på” literally means “put on” as a reference to putting it on a slice of bread. HaPå originated during the Second World War when, due to the scarcity of supplies, housewives would boil Viking-melk (a type of condensed milk) to a very similar type of spread. After the war the production was commercialized and continues to this day. -Wikipedia

Inger's Single Ingredient Caramel Spread

Delicious on my 5 grain Butterscotch cookies!

I’ve been keeping an eye out for caramel sauce recipes for a while because I REALLY like caramel ON ice cream as a topping, and IN my homemade  Caramel Toffee Bits ice cream recipe!…and maybe in several others ways too.

Kayti tried making a different, more complex, homemade caramel sauce recipe for her Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Sauce. That fail ended in a quick run to the grocery store for a caramel sauce rescue in a jar! I have looked at several recipes for making caramel sauce and they seem a little tough. Like you have to watch the sauce or it burns and crystallizes. That’s what happened to Kayti and so Inger’s recipe is perfect for us! Easy and delicious! I’m so happy she shared her recipe with us!

Here’s how Inger makes her Single Ingredient Caramel Spread:

Susie photographed her every step!

Inger's Single Ingredient Caramel Spread

A delicious gooey caramel ready to spread on your morning toast, make a caramel filling or topping, or just eat it with a spoon!

This single ingredient Caramel Spread will be finding it’s way into my kitchen recipes in lots of ways. My sister  Susie is a serious choc-o-holic and she says this caramel is very, very similar to that of the Cadbury easter egg’s caramel center. “Sweet, thick, and oh my, delicious”, in her own words. After making a batch or two of my own; I can tell you, I agree. That just opens all kinds of doors in my head for the holiday goodies. 

This caramel spread is really too thick to be used as a sauce. It’s more spreadable, like peanut butter; than a thinner store bought sauce that pours out of a jar. Sounds perfect for layering onto dessert bars and cakes!

Susie looked up Inger’s recipe a while back and found that in Argentina it’s called Dulce de leche. It is also versatile – use it as a dip for apples, graham crackers or or pretzels. It makes a yummy topping for ice cream, cheesecake or pound cake. You can also stir into milk shake. For breakfast it makes a delicious crepe filling, or you can put it on pancakes or waffles. It’s also perfect to drizzle over sliced bananas or grilled pineapple.

For pouring, drizzling and slurping purposes;

Just add a little water and stir it in thoroughly. That creates a dynamite caramel sauce for drizzling over ice cream and other indulgent adventures.

Inger's Caramel Sauce

Thin down the caramel with water, mix it up to your desired consistency. Drizzle some onto your ice cream through a corner of a plastic bag, or with a spoon,fork or knife!, for a delicious Sundae topping. What a yummy gooey treat! Need salted? Just add the salt right on top!

So easy to make this delicious spread from a can of sweetened evaporated milk! Who knew?

One Ingredient Caramel Sauce

Note: The can says don’t heat the can!

Inger has done it for decades and I did it in my own kitchen twice with no ills results. The second time I finally noticed the can said not to reheat it. I took the can out of the pan, let it cool, cut the lid off and set it back in the pan. Then I reheated it and let it simmer for the allotted time. It set up fine with no lid. (I’m assuming the problem is the pressure in the can could conceiveably build and the can could burst.) With no lid this process still works but you will have to keep the pot open and the lid will need to be cut off the can right at first. It’s easier maybe to pour the milk into another container, if you’re concerned about heating the can, and then heat it that way.

Lol I can feel a crock pot recipe being born right here!

And By Golly I am happy to report I invented this crock pot method because I’m lazy, and because of the warning on the can label not to heat the can; and it works perfectly! No cans to worry about. Just pour the milk into a waterproof container, use a plate or lid to keep the condensation off the milk as it cooks. Check it after 4 hours and it should look like the darker, firmer picture below. If it’s still milky, keep cooking another couple of hours.

Inger's Single Ingredient Caramel Spread
Yield: 14 servings

Inger's Single Ingredient Caramel Spread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes

Ingers single ingredient Caramel spread makes a thick, rich and deliciously, sweet Gluten free caramel spread! This caramel defines gooey goodness and is SO easy to make! You can even use your crock Pot!


  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Peel off the label and place can in a medium pot
  2. Fill the pot with water, until can is completely covered by the water
  3. Set on high until the water comes to a full boil
  4. Turn down the heat to a slow simmer
  5. Continue to simmer for 3.5-4 hours
  6. Remove the can from pot and allow it to cool to room temperature
  7. Open the cans and enjoy


  1. Pour the milk into a waterproof container, and place into a crockpot. Fill with water until the container is submerged to the level of the milk inside the container. Place a lid on the container of milk. Put the lid on your crockpot and set on high for four hours. Continue to cook until the caramel is dark and firmly set.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 123Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 13mgSodium 49mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 0gSugar 21gProtein 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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This sauce is thick when finished, like a spread. I did make it in half the time once. It was thinner, as I wanted it for my purpose, and caramel colored, but the flavor was milky:(
I recommend finishing it completely, as Inger directed. To make a sauce, add water and mix to desired consistency. It will have the deep caramel flavor without the milkyness!
Try heating it up and cooling it in the fridge for various consistencies as well.
This spread will hold at at least a month, in an airtight container in the fridge. I have also left it on the counter for days at a time with no ill affects!

The Simplest Caramel Sauce Recipe-Pin Image

This single ingredient caramel spread makes a thick, rich and deliciously, sweet gluten free caramel spread! Caramel defines gooey goodness and is very easy to make!


Monday 4th of September 2023

Heating an unopened can sounded scary to me. I know many people who have prepared dulce that way for ages and got excellent results. However, I didn't want to become the catastrophic failure statistic so many, many, many years ago (waaaay before the cans had the "do not heat" warning), I decided to use a crock pot to make my dulce. Complete success and safer than heating a sealed can, in my opinion. The crock pot method allowed me to achieve whatever consistency I wanted since I was able to monitor the cooking progress. Plus--and this is a big plus--I could add flavorings. My two favs: vanilla and espresso. For the vanilla, I just add extract (mine is a homemade blend of bourbon and Tahiti) to the condensed milk before cooking. For the espresso, I add fresh espresso shot(s) to taste. Alternatively, I could also steep split open vanilla bean(s) and/or lightly crushed coffee beans while cooking the condensed milk and strain them when done. Tip: I have found that I need to check the water level of the crock pot occasionally since the cooking time is quite long and water level drops significantly during that time.


Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Hi VB, What EXCELLENT suggestions for this recipe. Thanks so much for contributing your thoughts and experiences with Inger's single ingredients Dulce spread. She was definitely an old school cook. It's great to have new ideas. Happy cooking!


Monday 28th of September 2020

Inger died this month, 3 years ago. Almost to the day your email came thru. I saw the "Inger Caramel" recipe and was so happy to see you sharing one of her recipes. She was tickled to know her videos/recipes were on the internet. Thank you for reminding me of her on this beautiful sunny fall day.


Monday 28th of September 2020

Hi Susie, I think about Iger sometimes and miss her. Even though our association was brief. She was a great lady. Thanks so much for introducing her into our lives.

Banoffee Pie - Homemade Food Junkie

Wednesday 4th of November 2015

[…]  and I made it from boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk. You can get the easy recipe for it HERE. It’s simple, you just toss some unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk in a big pot of […]

Brian Jones

Thursday 24th of September 2015

How wonderful, I bet you this would be awesome spread on some crumpets!


Thursday 24th of September 2015

Brian I have never had crumpets, but you'll have to let me know if you like it. This spread is a lovely dip or spread for apples, toast and I LOVE it in homemade ice cream! I have a recipe using this caramel right in the ice cream. It also makes a wonderful sundae topping. I'm going to put it with cheesecake and peanut butter. Chocolate! How bout chocolate? So many possibilities!

April @ Girl Gone Gourmet

Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

This is such a great short-cut! I've had a few scary experiences making caramel sauce - normally I have to make it twice because I always burn it the first time around.

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