This post contains affiliate links.
Caramel is one of my favorite desserts to eat! Throughout my years of baking, I’ve always wondered about the right way to make caramel. While learning how to make the caramel, I started wondering if it is safe to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk in order to make the caramel.
As a general rule, it is safe to boil a can of condensed milk, but only if you do it correctly. You can boil a can of condensed milk by placing the can in a pot full of water. Following all of the safety steps can prevent the condensed milk can from potentially exploding.
While it is safe to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk, it’s necessary to know how to do it correctly. Understanding these safety tips will also help you get the right consistency in the caramel that you always wanted! In this article, I will be answering this and related questions to boiling a can of condensed milk.
Is It Safe To Boil A Can Of Condensed Milk?
On average, it is safe to boil a can of condensed milk if done properly. However, since heat causes expansion, a closed can of condensed milk can explode while being boiled for a very long time. This could be avoided by completely covering the can with water when it’s being boiled.
Personally, I boiled many cans of condensed milk every single time I wanted to make myself some delicious caramel without any incidents.
You should only boil a can of condensed milk if you can constantly keep an eye on the water level and let the can fully cool before opening it! Not doing this can potentially make the can explode and cause bodily harm.
While there is a proper and safe way to boil a can of condensed milk, many precautions have to be taken. If no precautions are taken, it can lead to injury since the can may explode from the build-up of hot air.
*By the way, the Double Boiler works great when you’re trying to melt something like chocolate while heating up other ingredients. I recently wrote an article that gives a breakdown of the 3 Best Double Boilers that people use in each stage of their baking journey.
After reviewing these double boilers, the Best Overall Double Boiler was the Stainless Series 2-Quart Covered Double Boiler which worked great for the dessert needs in my kitchen. You can check out this Double Boiler on Amazon!
To prevent my cans of condensed milk from potentially exploding, I boil them in my double-boiler to keep direct heat away from the cans. I place the cans on the top pot that’s full of water with no problems.
Can Boiling A Can Of Condensed Milk Explode?
As a general rule, boiling a can of condensed milk has a very low chance of exploding. The boiling point of condensed milk (which is a high-fat, low-moisture substance) is higher than that of water. So even if you put a can of condensed milk in boiling water, chances are it won’t explode.
As you already may be aware heat causes things to expand. Boiling a can of condensed milk for too long can potentially make the can explode.
If you are going to boil a can of condensed milk, make sure that you do so slowly and for a short period of time. This will help reduce the chances of an explosion.
On the other hand, the can may explode when the milk has some moisture and lose it when put in the boiling water. As you understand, heat will make the moisture expand, and therefore the can may explode.
Precautions to Take When Boiling a Can Of Sweetened Condensed Milk
There are a few precautions you should take when boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk to avoid it exploding.
- Make sure the water is not too hot when you place your can in it. This could cause the can to explode because of pressure inside building up quickly.
- Never cover the pot while cooking as this may lead to an explosion due to the build-up of steam.
- If your can boils over and spills out some milk, carefully clean it immediately so as not to have a sticky mess all around you.
- Ensure the can is always completely covered with boiling water. Add water to the pot if it gets low.
- Take off from heat after boiling for about three before taking it out from the saucepan to cool down completely before opening up your can.
*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about How to Boil A Can of Condensed Milk The Right Way. This article gives you a step-by-step outline for boiling a can correctly. You can check out this article here!
How Long Should I Boil A Tin Of Condensed Milk?
On average, the correct time to boil a tin of condensed milk is around 3 hours on low heat. However, there are a few factors to consider in order to know how long to boil the can for: the size of the can, the size of the pot, and the temperature of the water.
To boil a tin of condensed milk correctly, fill a deep saucepan with water and slowly heat it up to the boiling point. Then, place a can of condensed milk in it. Keep heating at low temperature for about three hours.
You should check regularly to ensure the can is always completely covered with boiling water.
Fill up the water if it gets low. If you do this correctly, the can should not explode. You should not cover the saucepan when boiling the condensed milk, as this could cause an explosion.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about How To Microwave Condensed Milk To Make Caramel. This article tells you everything you need to know when making caramel out of condensed milk inside a microwave. You can check out this article here!
Can You Boil Condensed Milk In A Ring Pull Can?
As a general rule, you can boil condensed milk in a ring pull can. Gradually warm up the water before placing the can in. Position the ring pull can on its side for it to not float to the top of the water. Let the ring pull can boil for about an hour before taking it out to cool.
However, extra caution has to be taken as it is easier for a ring pull can to explode. In order to make sure this does not happen, you should take some of these precautions:
Fill a pot with water and place it on a stove or fire to heat up slowly before placing your ring pull can in it. Do not fill the pot too much as that could cause water to spill out and lead to the can exploding.
The condensed milk will start boiling, so you should check it regularly and add some hot water if needed
You should boil for about an hour before taking it off from the heat source and setting it aside for cooling for a few minutes. After that, you can open your can and enjoy the boiled condensed milk.
What Happens To Condensed Milk When You Boil It?
When boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, you get dulce de leche or caramelized milk. The slow addition of heat to condensed milk breaks down its sugars causing the condensed milk to caramelize and thicken. The caramel is done when the condensed milk turns brown in color.
Here’s what happens:
Condensed milk is about 45% of sweetened condensed milk is added sugar. When you heat it up slowly in boiling water, the heat starts breaking down the sugars slowly but not very effectively.
After a few hours, the milk will start to caramelize and thicken. The high sugar content prevents it from boiling over or scorching. That’s what dulce de leche is, sweetened condensed milk that’s been boiled for a long time until it thickens, darkens, and turns into a spreadable caramel.
Some people even call it milk jam!
It can also be eaten as is, without boiling. But if you do want to boil it, make sure you take the necessary precautions so that the can doesn’t explode.
Why Does Boiling Condensed Milk Make Caramel?
Since sweetened condensed milk has about 45% sugar, slow addition of heat caramelizes and thickens the condensed milk turning it into a thick spreadable paste. Boiling also thins the milk down while increasing its sweetness while turning it brown in color.
The resulting product is dulce de leche or condensed milk jam – a very tasty treat you can eat by itself or on toast, pancakes, waffles, etc. It can also be used in various recipes.
*Side Note: You might also want to know How To Turn Condensed Milk Into Caramel. I recently wrote an article about A Complete How-to Guide to Turning Condescend Milk Into Caramel, which you can check out here!
In my experience using a can of condensed milk, I have not had any problems boiling it in water. Following the correct precautions has allowed me to safely boil a can of condensed milk by covering it with water completely.
So I would say it is safe to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk, but you must always take the necessary precautions, just in case. Hopefully, this article has been helpful in answering whether it is safe to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk or not.