This Mexican caramel cajeta is creamy, decadent, and amazingly delicious. It is made with only 4 ingredients and is perfect to enjoy as a spread or to use to make other Mexican desserts.

Mexican caramel, also known as cajeta, is a traditional sweet spread or sauce that is made from caramelized sugar and goat’s milk. Its flavor and texture are similar to dulce de leche but with a more delicious and richer taste.

Making cajeta at home is easy as you only need to cook all the ingredients together in a pot or saucepan. After cooking them, you’ll have a delicious spread perfect to top your favorite desserts or to eat as a snack spread on warm bolillo rolls.

You can also use the preparation to make other recipes like tamales, empanadas, or atole de cajeta!

Close-up of Mexican caramel cajeta texture.

Ingredients Needed

  • MILK: The traditional recipe is prepared with goat’s milk, sometimes using only this and sometimes using a mixture of goat and cow’s milk.
  • SUGAR: Granulated white sugar. Sometimes I also use a combination of white and brown sugar for a smoky touch.
  • BAKING SODA: Bicarbonate of soda helps to give it that golden and deeper color.
  • VANILLA EXTRACT: This is an optional ingredient but it surely adds a deep flavor to the recipe.

How To Make Mexican Caramel Cajeta

In a medium saucepan, pour the milk, and add sugar, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.

Placing ingredients in a pot to make Mexican caramel cajeta.

When the milk starts to boil, set the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from spilling out.

Stirring the milk with a spoon.

Use a slotted spoon or a fine strainer to remove some of the foam that forms on top.

Removing the foam formed on the top of milk.

As it simmers, the milk will reduce and change its color to a deeper hue. Keep cooking, but make sure you don’t leave the pot unattended or it will burn.

Collage with two photos of Mexican caramel cajeta preparation in a pot.

After an hour, the milk will have completely changed color, taking the classic brown color and texture of cajeta.

Mexican caramel cajeta after 1 hour of cooking.

Keep cooking for 5-10 more minutes over high heat to achieve a dense texture.

Taking the Mexican caramel with a spoon to show the texture.

Once ready, let it rest for about 10 minutes and then transfer it into a container and let it cool completely.

When the preparation has completely cooled down, it will have a thicker consistency, similar to dulce de leche, and perfect for spreading.

Recipe Notes

  • It is important to not stop stirring, otherwise, the milk will stick to the pot’s bottom and burn.
  • You need to “play” with the heat, raising it and lowering it from time to time to allow the water from the milk to evaporate slowly.
  • You can let the caramel cook for more than an hour, it will acquire a darker color and a thicker consistency.
  • For a saucier texture, cook the preparation a little less than the recipe calls.
Mexican Caramel Cajeta in a jar.

Recipe Variations

  • QUEMADA – Meaning “burned”, this flavor is one of the most popular around the country. It’s deeper and as the name indicates, it tastes a little burnt and has a darker color.
  • ENVINADA – This type has a light liquor aftertaste. Originally, the recipe was prepared with wine (vino), but now many artisanal producers have experimented with Brandy, Cognac, and even Tequila.
  • DE VAINILLA – Adding vanilla to the preparations makes Cajeta de Vainilla or Avainillada. The taste has a subtle flavor with a delicious aroma.

How to Eat

Enjoy this Mexican caramel spread on your favorite cookies, or like we do it in Mexico, on warm toasted bread and paired with pot coffee.

In Mexican cuisine, this preparation is often used to make other recipes such as atoles, and empanadas, or as filling for Coyotas cookies.

If you make it a bit saucy you can pour it over corn ice cream or Mexican flan, it’s so decadent!

How To Store

This Mexican Caramel sauce will last for up to 2 months in the fridge nicely stored in a glass container with an airtight lid.

I’ve been making this recipe over and over and never disappoints! The only thing I’ve noticed is that it gets a little hard after sitting for a while in the fridge.

When that happens, I usually place the jar or container inside a dish and pour a bit of hot water, then I’ll leave it there for an hour or so and mix from time to time until the caramel becomes soft and spreadable again.


What is the origin of cajeta?

Its origin comes from the colonial era of New Spain in Mexico. At that time, milk-based sweets were already made using cow’s milk. 
However, the Bajío zone was known for its abundance of goat cattle, so it was easier to produce this dessert using that type of milk.

How does it taste?

This Mexican caramel sauce has a sweet and smoky taste with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. The texture is smooth, dense, and somehow creamy, very suitable for spreading on bread or cookies.

What means cajeta?

Cajeta’s name comes from cajete, a type of box (in Spanish, caja) made of tejamanil which is a very thin and malleable wood. Those little boxes were used to store and sell the dessert, giving the name dulce de cajeta de Tejamanil.

More Mexican Desserts


Mexican caramel cajeta recipe.

Mexican Caramel Cajeta

2 jars (250 gr each)
Make this delicious caramel sauce at home with this easy recipe. It is creamy, sweet, and so decadent! Spread on warm bread or use it to make empanadas, atole, or cookies!
prep 5 minutes
cook 1 hour 5 minutes
total 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 4 ¼ cups Goat's milk (or cow's milk)
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)


  • In a medium saucepan, put the milk, sugar, baking soda, and vanilla extract.
  • Place the pan over high heat and bring it to a boil.
  • When the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly for about an hour.
  • As it simmers, the milk will reduce and change its color to a deeper hue.
  • After one hour, the milk will have completely changed color, taking the classic brown color of the cajeta.
  • Let the cajeta rest for about 10 minutes and then transfer it to a container and allow it to cool completely.
  • When the cajeta has cooled down it will have a thicker consistency, perfect for spreading on cookies or bread.
  • You can now store it or enjoy it right away.


  • It is important not to stop stirring, otherwise, the milk could stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
  • You can let the cajeta cook for more than an hour, it will acquire a darker color and a thicker consistency.
  • If you want to make Cajeta Envinada you can add 2 tbsp of Cognac or Brandy at the end of the preparation.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 jar | Calories: 941kcal | Carbohydrates: 173g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 1062mg | Sugar: 173g | Vitamin A: 1027IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 696mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Mexican Caramel is totally new to me! I love the texture and the thought that it is. spread! What a lovely colour. I suppose the flavours will be awesome. I wish I can make it but first will have to hunt for a goat! :D

  2. 5 stars
    This looks so good! Would be perfect on any fall dessert, such as apple pie, cheesecakes and pretty much anything.

  3. Love the blog. Love the history. The recipe seems pretty straightforward. I was not familiar with this desert, although I have had dolce de leche several times and love it. Would love to try this as well.

  4. 5 stars
    I’d love to try the cajeta envinada. I can’t imagine what the taste would be. But some liquor in combination with this caramel can only be delicious.