Homemade Cajeta (Tested)

Serves     Makes about 1 ½ cups


Pati Jinich is the author of a blog by the same name, and also the hostess of Pati’s Mexican Table, a national public TV series going on its fifth season -and very recently nominated for two James Beard Awards. She is a foremost expert on the cuisine of Mexico and joyfully shares her knowledge with her readers and TV audience. She has graciously agreed to share her recipe for Homemade Cajeta with us. Make sure you click on the link at the bottom to see her photos of how to make cajeta, and check out the rest of her awesome site for more delicious recipes at http://patijinich.com.


  • 8 cups goat’s milk, you can substitute or combine with cow’s milk
  • 2 ½ cups dark brown sugar or shredded piloncillo
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. baking soda


Place a large pot over medium heat. Pour in milk, sugar, vanilla, and baking soda; give it a good stir and let it come to a simmer. Keep it at a steady medium simmer for about one and one-half hours, stirring occasionally, every 15 to 20 minutes or so, with a wooden spoon. The mix will gradually thicken and darken.


After about an hour and a half the liquid will have thickened and reduced, and the simmer will become stronger. Reduce the heat to low to keep the milk at that constant medium simmer. You want active bubbling, but not over the top angry bubbles. Stir a bit more frequently, as you don’t want the bottom to develop a thicker layer.


You will know the cajeta is ready when: It achieves a caramel brown color; it is thick as liquid caramel or syrup, much like a chocolate syrup consistency; it envelops the back of the spoon; when you gently stir across the pot with your wooden spoon, a slightly delayed trail behind the spoon appears, revealing the bottom of the pot if only for a few seconds; as you slowly lift up the wooden spoon the cajeta takes its time to drop, and lastly, the sides of the pot show how the cajeta has cooked down, and if you run your spoon across that side, you get a fudgy and delicious residue.

Turn off the heat and let cool slightly, pour into a heat proof glass jar (it will thicken considerably as it cools).


This will keep in refrigerator for up to 6 months.


Linda’s note: My timing was less; in about 1 hour my cajeta was finished. I think it depends on how low your simmer burner can go. Mine doesn’t go that low so pay attention and stir often; it may be done sooner than you think.


Notes and Instructions

Recipe and photo credit with permission: by Pati Jinich