Decadent Homemade Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

This is no ordinary dulce de leche ice cream recipe. It’s a rich and creamy, vanilla bean ice cream swirled with soft, dulce caramel and spiked with a little dark rum. This caramel rum ice cream is easy to make in your ice cream maker and it seriously rivals the premium brands you’ll find on the market.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase, you’ll pay no more for the product and I’ll make a small commission. Win-Win.

old fashioned ice cream churn.

Legitimate ice cream

Please don’t confuse this with “nice cream” or the various no-churn wannabes out there.

It’s not.

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This dulce de leche and rum ice cream is churned like the old fashioned recipes and it’s LEGIT.

No, you don’t have to use rock salt and a hand-crank churn, but you will need an ice cream maker.

Unlike most homemade recipes that give you icy, flat or impossible to scoop ice cream, this one uses a foolproof method that produces the richest, creamiest and frankly… BEST ice cream I’ve ever had. Not an exaggeration.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about dulce de leche.

a can of homemade dulce de leche.

Dulce De Leche is the same as caramel, right?

Sort of.

Dulce De Leche may have similar characteristics to traditional caramel, however, it’s made with sweetened condensed milk instead of the traditional French method which uses sugar, cream and butter.

Classic caramel is a French creation that dates back to the 1600’s. It’s made by melting sugar and cooking it to a golden or dark brown and then adding heavy cream and butter.

Caramelized sugar is what gives caramel its deep, complex flavor, while cream and butter make it soft and plush.

Dulce De Leche tends to be thicker and more spreadable than caramel (and it works perfectly as a ropy swirl in this rum ice cream recipe).

Depending on your use (to spoon over ice cream or sandwich between cookies) the two can often be used interchangeably.

Dulce De Leche is considered a Spanish delicacy and is very popular in Latin American countries.

To make the dulce de leche, sweetened condensed milk is cooked until the sugars start to brown and caramelize, transforming into thick, creamy dulce.

For this recipe, I recommend making the dulce de leche a few hours ahead of time or even the day before making the ice cream custard. Check out this dulce de leche recipe.

ingredients for slurry.
making the custard for the rum ice cream.

What you’ll need for dulce de leche ice cream

  • Heavy Cream
  • Sugar
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Dark Rum

Most ice cream recipes start with a custard made with egg yolks. This one doesn’t.

This egg-free ice cream custard avoids the pitfalls of curdling that can occur when tempering egg yolks with a hot liquid (the way most custards are made).

This incredible method came from Jeni Briton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

I’ve turned to this way of making ice creams ever since I first tried it and I won’t go back. In fact, I gave copies of her book to my Mom and other ice cream enthusiast friends this past Christmas because I think it’s a game changer.

You can get a copy through my Amazon Affiliate link here.

heating custard.

Jeni’s foolproof method

These are the broad strokes of Jeni’s ice cream making method. I use them in this dulce de leche ice cream as well as lots of other flavor combos.

You’ll need a small and medium sized bowl as well as a saucepan to make the ice cream custard.

  1. In the medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sea salt until light, fluffy and well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, cream and all but two tablespoons of the milk (and vanilla bean for this recipe). Heat over medium high heat, whisking regularly.
  3. While the cream and milk are heating, make a slurry with cornstarch and milk and set aside.
  4. When the mixture starts to boil, set a timer for 4 minutes and cook, whisking constantly at the boil.
  5. Add the slurry to the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly until the custard thickens.
  6. Remove from heat and add a little of the hot custard (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) to the cream cheese mixture. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth, then continue adding the rest of the custard to the cream cheese.
  7. Once the mixture is combined and smooth, cover with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the custard (to avoid a thick skin forming) and refrigerate until very cold… At least 4 hours or overnight.

So you see there’s no tempering and while this might seem like quite a few steps, none are difficult. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to make the ice cream custard.

adding rum to the ice cream custard.

I did mention rum for this dulce ice cream, right?

The purpose of rum in ice cream

Rum’s “function” for this recipe extends beyond a flavor enhancer.

Rum also prevents the dulce ice cream from freezing into a solid, impenetrable block that even the most industrious scoop and iron-man arm struggle to cleave.

Use a good golden or dark rum to flavor the ice cream custard. It only needs about 1/4 cup, but that’s enough to give a lush rum component to the dessert as well as preventing the ice cream from solidifying into permafrost.

Bonus, the dulce de leche doesn’t freeze solid in the ice cream, either.

churning ice cream.

Churning the ice cream

I mentioned before that this is LEGIT, CHURNED dulce de leche ice cream — which means you need an ice cream maker.

Mine is made by Cuisinart {affiliate link} — and while it’s not their top of the line machine, it does an admirable job. I’ve had this one for years and I think we got it for about $70.

I especially like that it’s very user friendly and not over-engineered. (To me, the more specialized the gadget, the more there is to break and/or go wrong).

The only thing you need to remember to do is put the cannister in the freezer overnight. That way, it’s cold enough to to churn and freeze the custard in short order.

If you have a different ice cream maker, just follow the instructions in the manual.

The churning process will simultaneously lighten (adding air into the mixture) and chill the ice cream to a semi-frozen soft serve consistency. In my machine it takes about 20-25 minutes.

dulce de leche being layered into the ice cream.

Before you begin assembling the rum dulce ice cream, you need to choose a container to store it in.

I found this cool quart sized container, or here’s a larger 1.5 quart version. {both are affiliate links}. You can also use a standard sized loaf pan (metal, not glass) to assemble.

Assembling dulce de leche ice cream

  1. Transfer the dulce de leche into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, or spoon into a zip-top plastic bag and snip off a corner of the bag with a pair of scissors. (You can get this ready about 5 minutes before the ice cream is done churning, for quick assembly).
  2. Spoon some of the ice cream into whatever ice cream container you’re using, about 1 cup is plenty.
  3. Pipe several generous swirls of dulce de leche over the rum ice cream, then top with more ice cream.
  4. Pipe more dulce de leche and continue alternating between the two in this manner until you fill the container. Swirl with the remainder of the dulce de leche and freeze for 4 hours or until the ice cream is set.
a container filled with dulce de leche swirl ice cream.

The waiting is the hardest part

I know… just when you’re ready to dive in with a spoon, it needs to freeze again. Boo. Hiss.

That said, you’re the cook, and there’s absolutely no reason you can’t grab a spoon and scrape out every inch of the ice cream that’s still stuck to the canister and use your best rubber spatula to remove every scrap of dulce from the storage container.

Consider it your reward for a job well done.

scooping the ice cream with an ice cream scoop.

You won’t find a rum/vanilla/dulce de leche ice cream combo out there in the supermarket or in specialty shops (at least not that I’ve seen), but it’s sublime.

It’s so creamy, so rich and so full of that decadent caramel-y dulce that you can’t take a bite without getting a luscious swirl.

The rum flavors the dessert, but not in an overpowering way. In fact, it makes the simple vanilla custard more nuanced and tropical.

You’ll love the way this home churned confection scoops so easily, even straight from the freezer — and unlike most of those measly “pints” of premium ice cream, this recipe makes a full QUART of dulce de leche splendor.


Can I skip the rum?

Yes. It won’t be as easy to scoop, but you can skip the alcohol.

Can I make the custard in advance?

Yes! And I’ve done this several times. The custard will keep in the refrigerator (with the plastic wrap seal) for up to 5 days. Then you can make the ice cream at your leisure.

How long will the ice cream last in the freezer?

In my experience, not long — but that’s because it just gets eaten so fast. Theoretically (and I have to use theoretically because it’s never happened to me) it should keep well (covered and frozen) for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

a dish of ice cream with wafer cookies on the side.

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A container of dulce de leche ice cream.
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5 from 3 votes

Dulce De Leche Rum Ice Cream

This makes the most luscious dulce de leche ice cream. It’s soft and scoopable right from the container, thanks to a splash of dark rum (which also adds a lovely flavor to the ice cream base).
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword brunch dessert, ice cream, rum, vanilla
Dietary Restrictions Egg Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours
Servings 8




  • ounces cream cheese
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups whole milk divided
  • cups heavy cream
  • cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract)
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 1 Dulce De Leche recipe chilled



  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sea salt together until well blended. Set aside.
  • Reserve 2 tablespoons of the milk in a small separate bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, remainder of the milk and heavy cream.
  • Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a sharp knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds and the vanilla bean pod to the cream mixture.
  • Transfer the pot to the stovetop and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.
  • While the cream mixture is heating, add the cornstarch to the bowl with the reserved milk and whisk together to form a slurry.
  • When the cream comes to a boil, set your timer for 4 minutes and continue to cook the mixture at a boil, stirring constantly. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat.
  • Use a pair of tongs to remove the vanilla bean pod and discard. (note: you may want to strain the custard through a mesh strainer if the vanilla pod has fragmented into smaller pieces that are tougher to fish out with tongs – ask me how I know that).
  • Add 1/2 cup of the cooked custard to the cream cheese mixture and using a hand mixer or whisk, beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the remainder of the custard and beat until smooth.
  • Stir the rum into the vanilla custard and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Note: if you have an ice cream maker that requires a frozen canister, it needs to be chilled in the freezer for 24 hours before making the ice cream, so if you haven’t done that yet, freeze it now and let the ice cream base chill until the next day.


  • Set up your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instrucitons. Add the base to the churn and start the machine. Churn the ice cream until it’s thick, frozen and starts to come away from the sides of the ice cream maker. Usually 20-25 minutes, depending on your machine.


  • Choose an ice cream container that will hold a quart of ice cream. You can use a loaf pan or other sturdy plastic based container. Spoon about 1/2 cup of cold dulce de leche into the bottom of the container, followed by a large spoonful of the ice cream. Alternate the layers between ice cream and dulche de leche, finishing with the dulce.
  • Transfer the ice cream to the freezer and chill until firm, about 4 hours.


Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 116mg | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 717IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 98mg

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  1. 5 stars
    Amazing ice cream recipe. Truly one of a kind.

  2. 5 stars
    Spectacular! Rum, ice cream!