Cajeta Main


Cajeta: Make it at Home

For years, I’ve managed to turn every Mexican vacation into a working trip. As soon as I touch Mexican soil, I set up interviews, plan research tours, library searches, cooking adventures, all the while trying to tweet and instagram. And facebook, pinterest and blog too… My appetite expands outrageously as if giving me a chance to try all that my eyes can see and my mind can gather. Even with the best of intentions to relax and disconnect, they only last so long.

My family had been enthusiastic about it until recently: my husband announced last summer he’s had it. He won’t travel with me to Mexico when he wants us to vacation, together.

So when I suggested we go visit for the December holidays, he said “no, no, no Pati, you can’t control yourself there.”  I kept pursuing Mexico because I missed it so bad, seeking out a place where I wouldn’t be tempted to work. San Miguel de Allende sounded like just the spot.

San Miguel is a beautiful colonial town in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. It’s artsy, has a ton of history, gorgeous views of the mountains, quaint hotels and shops. There are a bunch of activities to do with the boys. But mostly, to my knowledge, it doesn’t have any regional food specialties to incite me to work. With this, I convinced him it was the perfect place to relax and, when it came to food, just enjoy it for once.

San Miguel is only a few hours by car from Mexico City, where we’d be picking up my mom who’d be joining us for a few days. It was in looking at the map to plan our drive that I noticed the city of Celeya is only a stone’s throw from San Miguel.


Celeya is the birthplace of Cajeta: one of the most irresistible of Mexican sweets. I have wanted to go since I was like 5 years old.


I tried to contain my very desperate need to go to Celaya the first day we were in San Miguel. As I got out of bed on the second day, the escapade to Celaya was already on the works.

cajeta 1

Cajeta is a caramel-like concoction, yet more milky and silky, and with a deep, rustic and almost nutty flavor. It’s Mexico’s version of Dulce de Leche, yet we pride ourselves in that Cajeta came to be long before Dulce de Leche and we tend to make ours with goat’s milk (or a combination of goat and cow’s milk) rather than only cow’s milk and ours has a much more intricate and richer taste.

Thankfully, the dynamic woman in charge of San Miguel tourism office has friends and family in Celaya. She knew who to ask and help organize exactly where to go: La Tradicional de Salgado.

cajeta 2

The storefront has sweets made with or combined with Cajeta along with other traditional sweets. The side of the store, is reserved for Cajeta.

At La Tradicional, Cajeta continues to be made the way they started making it in 1860, which happens to be the most traditional way. They make a small quantity, which is sold immediately after, and sometimes even before, it is bottled.

cajeta 3

They have Cajeta de Vainilla (vanilla flavored and the lightest in color), Cajeta Quemada (translates to burnt and it is the darkest in color and flavor), and Cajeta Envinada (translates to flavored with wine but rather than wine it is flavored  with rum).

As the manager Andrés López explained, all Cajetas at La Tradicional begin the same, yet they don’t end the same.

cajeta 4

They all start with 40 liters of fresh goat milk poured into a gigantic copper pot and mixed with brown sugar. It is then brought to a steady simmer at 120 degrees for most of the cooking time. If it will be vanilla flavored, then vanilla extract gets added. If it will be Envinada, then a generous splash of rum goes in.  If it will be burnt, it is just like the vanilla one, yet it is cooked double the time (about 9 hours instead of 4 or 5), to achieve a much more concentrated flavor and thicker consistency: to the point where if it was left to simmer for a minute longer it would practically burn.

cajeta 5

They always use those copper pots that get cleaned after each use and gigantic wooden spatulas. No metal spoons or utensils to stir the milk, as copper is a very reactive material and Cajeta a sensitive product.

Those wooden spatulas are used to stir the milk regularly as it cooks down. The heat is left at a steady temperature to have a consistent medium simmer, adjusting the temperature as the Cajeta reduces.

They know Cajeta is ready first, by judging for the design it leaves on the wooden tool: see the waves above? They have to show up after you stir and raise the spatula. Also, the mixture has to be thicker, like caramel! Lastly, as you stir the pot with the wooden spatula, there has to be a delayed trail behind the spatula, that allows you to see the bottom of the pot if only for an instant.

cajeta 6

The Cajeta is left to gently cool. The glass jars are filled up, immediately closed and turned upside down. This creates a vacuum seal.

cajeta 7

At La Tradicional, they switched the bottle design 30 years ago. It used to be plain and round. They wanted a change that made it look a bit more dressy. I say they look pretty dressed up!

cajeta 8

We tasted all the Cajetas and so many sweets. We stirred the pots, with our heads covered in protective nets and talked to everyone in the store. We all came out with our very favorite one and Juju managed to eat an entire small jar of the vanilla kind, by the spoonful.

As we walked outside, we found a city brimming with food wonders. We ate some of the best Empanadas we have ever tried in a place that had, oh, about, 100 people waiting in line: there were about 30 different kinds! Half a block ahead we ate some outrageous Gorditas, thin and large, they were stuffed with either spicy queso fresco or Almidón (which I had never tried: the inner part of the Chicharrón). Our Celaya hosts brought Duraznos Prensados (Sweet pressed apricots) for us to try as well as Pastes (gummy-jelly soft squares) with such exotic flavors as guava and Rompope.

One of the biggest treats: see that red stand in that photo above? The woman in charge was selling Celaya made copper pots, one more beautiful than the other. After much chatting and measuring the different sizes, I bought my very own, which I carried all the way back to DC, to start making this Cajeta below, so that you can also, make your very own.

cajeta 9

Here we go!

There’s my big copper pot, but you can use any wide bottomed and tall pot. Goat’s milk (you can choose to combine it with or use all cow’s milk, but goat’s milk gives it that delicious musky flavor…), dark brown sugar (or shredded piloncillo) and Mexican vanilla.

Also, add baking soda: it helps the final sweet to not have any lumps and it enhances the brown color. This coloring effect is called a Maillard reaction, as described by Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is “a nonenzymatic reaction between sugars and proteins that occurs upon heating and that produces browning of some foods.”

cajeta 10

Bring it all to medium simmer, over a steady medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir occasionally.

Cajeta 11

After hours you can see how much the mixture has reduced and the more it reduces the more the simmer will increase even if you maintain it in the same level of heat, so you have to moderate and reduce the heat.

cajeta 12

You know when to stop, when the Cajeta has thickened like caramel, its drops take their time to let go of the wooden spoon once it is raised, once you see a delayed trail in the bottom of the pot as you gently move the spoon across the pot and you can see the bottom if only for a second, and the Cejeta leaves wavy marks on the spoon.

cajeta 13

Also, your house must be smelling like heaven by now.

cajeta 14

Let it cool, and take note that it will thicken as it cools.

Pour it all in a large jar that will hold at least three cups.

Cajeta 15

I liked these photos, so I kept taking more and more… see the color of the sun hitting the pot and the Cajeta? The light  couldn’t have been more generous that afternoon…

cajeta 16

And there you go…

cajeta 17

Cajeta is not only decadent, luxurious, with a perfectly balanced sweetness and a silky texture, it is also ideal for using with… everything! Crepes, chocoflan, to smear on pound cake, to dip fruit such as strawberries or bananas in. Wait! There’s more! You can make cute little cookie sandwiches (with Maria cookies, graham crackers or vanilla wafers, you can make smoothies and milk shakes, ice creams and glazes. The best way of all: just dip a big tablespoon and lick it off.

And now that I remember, our friends in Celaya told us about some cookies made with Cajeta called Dulce Anhelo (translates to sweet yearning). And since I didn’t get to try them, what a sweet yearning it has become. Celaya: wait for me, I will be back for more.

p.s Don’t want to make your cajeta?  Buy it at the store! There is also another way to make Cajeta starting with a can of sweet condensed milk, I will post that one with photos soon…

Homemade Cajeta

Cajeta Casera

Recipe Yield

3 cups

Cooking time

1 hour 35 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.75 from 4 votes


  • 8 cups (or 2 liters) goat's milk you can substitute or combine with cow’s milk
  • 2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar or shredded piloncillo
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

To Prepare

  • Place a large pot (I use my new copper one!) over medium heat. Pour milk, vanilla, sugar 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 hour and a half, stirring occasionally, every 15 to 20 minutes or so, with a wooden spatula or 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 medium low, to keep it 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 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 or spatula, Cajeta takes it’s 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 (it will thicken considerably as it cools).
  • Place in a glass jar, cover tightly with a lid. It will keep in refrigerator for up to 6 months.


139comments inCajeta: Make it at Home

  1. Kathleen Haas formerly Smith

    Jul 04

    I love your show and look forward to trying your recipes. I was raised in San Diego and I miss the the Mexican culture.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 20

      Thanks so much for the kind word Kathleen, un abrazo!

  2. Lydia

    Mar 15

    Hello Pati,
    Enjoying your cooking show and would like to know which Mexican vanilla you recommend or which one do your prefer cooking with for better taste…😊

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 20

      I am not going to lie Lydia, all Mexican vanilla is simply amazing. Just make sure to get the beans or real vanilla extract, because sometimes they sell some that are just “vanilla flavored”. Enjoy!!

  3. Julie

    May 02

    Hola, I love your show and have tried several of your recipes. I travel to Honduras and fell in love with their version of Dulche de Leche. I like to make many of the foods from that region also. My question is on the copper pot.
    Does it have to be a copper pot or will a non-stick heavy pot work as well. I also have a cast iron pot that I could use. I do love you copper pot though.


    1. Pati Jinich

      May 04

      Hi Julie, to be honest with you I believe that one of the secrets of a great cajeta is the copper pot and the wooden spoon. You can go ahead and try in your non stick heavy pot, and let me know how do you like the result 😉

  4. Doug

    Oct 19

    I commented on cajeta in another recipe, which was really, really good, and you very kindly sent me a link to this page. The result is that I will never buy cajeta again, but make it, since the only thing it requires is for me to be home for a few hours. I’m ready to buy a copper pot to make it. Question: can you tell us how to make the vanilla and rum versions?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 25

      To make vanilla or rum versions, you can add more vanilla or a splash rum to the mix before cooking it. Enjoy, Doug!

  5. Luciana

    May 16

    Hi Patti,
    What’s the baking soda purpose on the recipe? Thanks!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 21

      Great question, Luciana. It helps the cajeta to not have any lumps, and it enhances the brown color.

  6. Barb

    Feb 22

    Hi Pati,

    I may need to try your recipe. I love Cajeta and bought a plastic jar full in the market in Guadalajara 5 months ago, I have noticed it has an odd flavor now, and thinking I may need to throw out. I have not refrigerated it and maybe this is the problem?

    The person who I bought it from says it was made with cow’s milk. It was so delicious in the beginning, but now I am unsure I should eat it?

    Your thoughts?


    1. Pati

      Mar 05

      If its commercial it can be kept without refrigeration, but if it was homemade it does need to be refrigerated.

  7. Tsume

    Aug 01

    How many grams of piloncillo do you use? Cups can be very inaccurate, especially depending upon how the piloncillo is grated or the brown sugar is packed. Muchísimas gracias.

    1. Pati

      Aug 02

      It is about 17.5 ounces.

      1. Tsume

        Aug 02

        That’s 496.117 grams – just a little short of half a kilo.

        Thank you for your very quick reply (especially for an older post). I’ve seen blogs where the blogger doesn’t even respond to questions asked the same day as the post.

        Thanks again! Muchísimas gracias y que le vaya bien.

  8. Glynda Sharp

    Jul 07

    This looks so yummy! I’m going to make some today!

    1. Pati

      Jul 07



    Jul 05

    This reminds me of making caramel. I will try this, thank you Pati

    1. Pati

      Jul 06


  10. Rosalie

    Apr 30

    My question is this. I am Lactose Intolerant which causes stomach distress.
    What can be substituted for cow’s milk? There are so many now such as Almond, Soy, Casu, Coconut Milks.
    Would the outcome make the same delicious recipe?

    1. Pati

      May 08

      I usually use goat’s milk, but I have heard of people making it with different milks. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

  11. Cynthia Perez

    Dec 09

    I tried making this tonight and it’s very chunky. I’m thinking I over stirred and I pulled off the layers that were building on the bottom and sides of the pot. Is it still OK to eat? Would it just be a textural issue? It took me FOREVER to shred the piloncillo and I’d hate for all the effort to go to waste. What could you suggest for next time I try this?

    Also, would it be a huge difference if I just use brown sugar instead of the piloncillo?


    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      ​Hola Cynthia! Surely you can use brown sugar instead of piloncillo. You may have cooked the cajeta a bit too much, or stirred it too little, but of course it is still good to eat!​

      1. Cynthia Perez

        Dec 14

        Hi Pati. Thanks for the reply! I did taste it and it was AMAZING! It’s all gone now. The chunkier texture was easy to get over with the flavor. I think it was definitely cooking for too long. I had the heat pretty low and it didn’t thicken for a couple of hours. I’m trying it again this weekend, as I want to give some away for Christmas. Thanks for posting this. I’ll definitely be a regular visit of your site.

        1. Pati

          Dec 29

          Thank you for trying it, Cynthia

  12. Patmay1122

    Nov 22

    Let me know when you want to go to Mexico. I’ll go with you!
    Cajeta is one of my favorites from Mexico. I never knew it was from Celya!

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      Let’s go!!

  13. Ita Andehui Lopez Alonso

    Oct 14

    Cajeta Seriously??…. Pati you’re killing me.. Cajeta is an other of my favourite Mexican treats that I hold dear to my heart.
    Please tell me that your recipe is as good as the one in Celaya??
    I would love to use it for Christmas presents!

    1. Pati

      Oct 18

      I hope you like it!

  14. Karen Simpson Davidson

    Apr 18

    Help I’m so very frustrated I’ve managed a handful of times to make it successfully without curdling but for some reason hich I cannot figure out it seems to curdle flavor is till good but texture isn’t as smooth as I would like I’ve tried heating over low heat and medium doesn’t seem to make a difference plastic or wooden spoon

    1. Pati

      Apr 27

      It is ok if it is not completely smooth! =)

  15. Dellena J. Bishop

    Mar 28

    Patti, would love trying this recipe, but I am diabetic… I am going to try to find the sugar free yellow cake mix and banana pudding mix… Do you have any idea on how I may try the Cajeta sugar free???

    1. Pati

      Apr 06

      Hola Dellena! You can try making it without the sugar and just let the milk cook down to its natural sweetness. ​

  16. Helga Mc Cracken

    Jan 21

    Patti thank you so much for the Cajeta recipe. Would you please tell me what is Pilloncillo and where can get it? Thank you again for your help.

    1. Pati

      Jan 26

      It is similar to brown sugar! You should be able to find it at your local Latin market or specialty foods store. Thank you for trying the recipe!

  17. C. Buckner

    Jan 13

    Hola! I want to make this cajeta recipe so badly but have a dairy intolerance. I recently tried cajeta that had a subtle coconut flavor. Can I expand off of this and substitute coconut milk or even almond? Muchas gracias

    1. Pati

      Jan 30

      Yes, absolutely!

  18. Oscar

    Dec 14

    Dear Patti, I love your show and the opportunity to learn about the food from Mexico. There is such a great secret to be discovered about the organic farming and wines from all the different regions. I enjoy listening to you while I am in my kitchen and driveway grilling. I was wondering if you might point me in the right direction for a piece of beautiful cookware? Your copper pot or kettle, where could I buy one like that? It would be perfect for soups and seafood for me. Thank you, The Rooter River Chef.

    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      I bought my copper pot in the town of Celaya in the state of Guanajuato and lugged it back to the State, but you can find great options online! I have a lot of luck through Amazon.

  19. Connie

    Oct 21

    Hi, Patti!
    Can canned evaporated goats’ milk be used?
    Also, I’d like to make Milk Candy (Leche ??) like we used to get at the Monterey Mexican restaurants in Pasadena, Texas. It was soft & not sticky, like pralines. Lovely end to the meal!
    Thanks for your great show on PBS!

  20. Laura

    Aug 06

    Hi Patti!!
    Cajeta.. Oooh it’s soo good. But have a question to ask u.. Can use cajeta for flan?

  21. Cristina Abigail

    Aug 03

    HI PATI ! Me encanta ver y seguir tus resetas y mas sentir tu buena vibra siempre tan feliz gracias …

    1. Pati

      Aug 03

      Que linda por tu mensaje, Cristina, gracias!

  22. violeta

    Jul 18

    I have seen a few of your presentations in the PBS station and I like it very much. I love the culture and food, but what I do not like is that I don’t hear the mexican music which is wonderful. I always hear music from Spain. I teach spanish and I always make sure the difference among the different countries. I say I would like more to hear the mexican music. With such a great variety of composers, musicians it will be nice to hear some of them.

    1. Pati

      Jul 19

      Thank you Violeta for your great input, I will pass this comment on to our production team.

  23. Rob

    Jun 05

    Hi Pati –

    I’m anxious to try your cajeta. I’m sure the flavor is better than the sous vide dulce de leche I made a couple years ago, although it was good. It called for processing canned sweetened condensed milk in canning jars at 185 deg. for 12 – 15 hours. Do you think your recipe would work if processed longer (allowing for more time with the thinner fresh milk to thicken)?

    1. Pati

      Jun 08

      Hola Rob, I would make the cajeta as the recipe is written, then follow the instructions for canning given by the manufacturer of your canner.

  24. martha

    Mar 30

    ive made cajeta 3 times. the first time it was awesome the second and third time it came out liked cooked eggs in homemade pudding. what am i doing wrong? thank you martha

    1. Pati

      Mar 31

      My first hunch is the heat: It should be at a steady simmer throughout. Mi next hunch is the milk, make sure you taste it before you boil it.

    2. EM

      Jun 12

      Also, be absolutely certain every granule of sugar is dissolved…? I also don’t stir, I use a crock pot, then skim the foamy stuff off the top when it’s done. You might try it.

  25. Jorge

    Feb 05

    Hola Pati,

    As kids we used to eat cajeta by the spoonful right out of the jar. I don’t remember it being stored in the fridge yet it lasted for a long time and never spoiled since it is so sweet.

    Is the above recipe from La Tradicional de Salgado or did you come up with your own?

    Why does it have to be kept in the refrigerator and even there only last for 6 months?

    Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Feb 06

      Hola Jorge, Thanks for your message! I used eat it out of the jar, too (still do)!! My recipe is an adaptation of what I learned at La Tradicional. I keep it in the refrigerator because it is not processed for canning.

  26. Karen

    Aug 30

    Love your show! Would this recipe for cajeta work in an electric crock pot slow cooker? I’m unsure if the temperature would be high enough if cooked on the high setting. I wish you were on TV more often. Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Aug 30

      Hi Karen,
      I have not tried it in a slow cooker… now that it’s the weekend, you can give it a try on just about any pot. Doesn’t have to be a copper pot!

  27. Kim Tobin Webb

    Aug 21

    I love watching your show. I recently made your Dulce De Leche Cheese Cake. It won a Blue ribbon at our county fair. When the cherries around here were ripe I used the same recipe without the caramel topping and made a cherry topping everyone wanted the recipe. Donated the Caramel Cake to an auction for a boy in our area that was badly burned. It sold for $8.00. I will be trying more of your recipes. I will continue to watch your shows when I can.

    1. Pati

      Aug 22

      Hola Kim, Oh my goodness, so happy to hear your version of my cake won a blue ribbon!

  28. Elsa

    Aug 09

    Is “cow’s milk” whole milk or can any percentage be used?

    1. Pati

      Aug 11

      Hola Elsa, Yes, I mean whole milk by cow’s milk. You may try with any percentage you like.

  29. Carol

    Aug 08

  30. Tara

    Jun 10

    I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve actually commented on a recipe, but this is that good it deserves special mention….I have Argentinian friends who put dulce de leche on everything, but to be honest I can’t handle it, the flavour is overwhelming for me, and I adore caramel in general. Fast forward to this summer, I now own dairy goats, so I got the notion to make cajeta for our friends with extra milk on hand. Needless to say this blew my mind and if any of it leaves the house I’ll be shocked. What a perfect mild, sweet, caramel for everything. i ate it on apples for breakfast and I think a pumpkin/cajeta cheesecake recipe is brewing in my heat ATM…anyhow thank you for the recipe, you can definitely add a convert to your list of followers. As for the jar of store bought (gifted to us) dulce in the fridge, adios!!!

    1. Pati

      Jun 10

      Hahaha! There are some pretty amazing Dulce de Leche versions though…

  31. Judith

    May 07

    Dear pati,
    The show with your girl friends that you made the ribs and the drinks out in your back yard was great. But you made a dressing with Chile’s that you used in the salad you made with I think was files onions oil vinegar not to sure , but you and your sister tasted it out side your house you kept it in the fridge. In a jar. Can you give me the recipe it looked so tasty you cut the child with scissors. Thank you in advance would appreciate a response. Thanks again. Have a great Mother’s day!!!!

    1. Pati

      May 07

      Judith, thank you for watching & for your message! The ancho chile vinaigrette is the salad dressing included in this recipe:

  32. K. Pittman

    May 06

    Pati – I thoroughly enjoy your cooking show! Loved your Agave Chicken Wing and Cajeta recipes. San Miguel de Allende & Celaya are wonderful small Mexican cities that offer so much. Was able to spend 3 yrs there when my sister-in-law lived in San Miguel. If visitors “wander off” the traditional tourist places: Mexico City & Cancun, Mexico is an amazing place to immerse oneself in art, history, culture and great food. My mom also loves her copper pot from Celaya and her beautiful dishes for Comfort! Keep up the great work!!

    1. Pati

      May 06

      Hola K, San Miguel is one of my favorite cities in Mexico! You must have loved it there. Thank you for watching the show!!

  33. Carol Holley

    May 04

    Pati – I thought you would give us the easy way to make cajeta! Take a can of condensed milk, set it in a saucepan with water and boil for a couple of hours (in the can), turn the can over and boil it for another couple of hours. Open the can and enjoy!!!! No watching or stirring except to keep the water up and boiling.
    Pour over apple crisp – or mix with a little brandy or Grand Manier and spread over plain, crisp cookies

    1. Beth

      Dec 18

      That’s what my mom made for us as kids. My brother tried it a few years ago, silly man let the water boil away,…his glass-top stove cracked!
      So anyone who wants to try this, please make sure to keep the water level up at least half way up the side of the jar.👍

  34. Laura

    Mar 31

    Hi Patti!
    I truly love to watch your show but I haven’t seen you make caramel on show yet but so happy saw the recipe homemade cajeta. Yay … but question …have to have copper pot to make caramel (cajeta)?…
    Want you know that I have glass stove top as it s electric..
    So have to use copper pot or not matter pot?

    Thank you Pati so much!

    1. Pati

      Mar 31

      Hi Laura, Thank you for watching my show! No, a copper pot isn’t required to make cajeta; you can use any large pot in your pantry. 🙂

  35. DTrevino

    Feb 13

    Wow. This brings back so many childhood memories. I did not realize that cajeta was so easy to make. It was our favorite treat to buy when my family went to Mexico. Oddly, as kids we called it, “cow candy.” Not sure where we got the name.

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

      Maybe because when it is hardened, there is also a version called “dulce de leche”!

  36. Nikki

    Feb 02

    I wanted to know how to make red chili for enchiladas. I watch your show whenever I can and love your recipes.

    1. Pati

      Feb 03

      Hola Nikki, I will try to post a recipe for red chili enchiladas soon! Maybe you will like to try my Enchiladas en Salsa Roja:

  37. Cynthia Spolidoro

    Jan 20

    Can you explain the difference between cajeta, leche quemada, and jamoncillo. I think I’ve got that the differences are mostly the milk and sugar quantities and color, but there are so many variations on each that I am confused. And I don’t see how to add colors to the jamocillo if it’s brown like the leche quemada and the cajeta.

    Thank you.

    1. Pati

      Jan 25

      Hi Cynthia,
      Cajeta is as you saw here, cooked down milk, be it goat or milk or a combination of both, with sugar and some added flavors like vanilla or rum optional. Leche quemada is more like a pudding that is finished off by being broiled, sometimes with sugar on top: think creme brûlée a la Mexican. Jamoncillo is the same thing as cajeta, but pecans or other nuts added many times, and cooked down until it thickens a bit more, then placed in a mold and left to solidify, then cut and wrapped in different kinds of paper.

  38. Gerry Shelhamer

    Jan 08

    I really enjoy your program Patti. I love cooking, have always loved it. Tonight your sister and you made a pound cake, and you put the chocolate in the top layer. I can’t find your recipe.
    I am 82 years old, and cook every day.

    How much is the cook book?

    1. Pati

      Jan 08

      Hi Gerry!
      Here is link where you can get cookbook online

      And here is link for you to print marble pound cake:

      Thank you for watching!

  39. Maria ortiz

    Dec 15

    I love cajeta! I was born in a town called Cortazar. Right next to celaya where you can find the best cajeta in the state of Guanajuato. I grew up eating cajeta! It’s soo yummy with a bollillo doradito.

  40. Theresa Gonia

    Dec 11

    Love the Cajeta recipe! A little tip for those who are concerned with over cooking or are unsure when its done. Whenever I make anything that thickens upon cooling and I want to check if its done. I keep a bowl of cool water with a smaller bowl floating inside on my counter next to my stove. This way in by dropping just a teaspoon full into the floating bowl I can see what the cooled consistency is in seconds without removing the entire batch from the heat. Hope this helps.

    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      This is such a great tip, Theresa!

  41. Jason Eskin

    Dec 10

    Pati- this post was a PERFECT find in my quest to order some of this super authentic cajeta from its place of origin. Wondering if you could recommend somewhere online (or a store such as one of these) where I could order it? I’m looking forward to making it, but I’d like to get the authentic stuff FIRST as a baseline and really want to order it. Any tips?

    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      Hola Jason, Just google Cajeta! See what options pop up… Making your own isn’t complicated at all ; )

  42. Grace

    Dec 05

    Hi Pati! I’m excited to make my first batch of cajeta. I am hoping to gift the cajeta in petit ball jars for the holidays but with traveling etc, I’m not sure I can keep them refrigerated. Can I can the cajeta in a hot water bath without changing the flavor? Also, I was thinking of flavoring with sea salt, vanilla and bourbon-do you have a suggestion of how much bourbon to add and when?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Pati

      Dec 09

      Yes you can Grace! And as far as the amounts of flavoring, I would go with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt, vanilla as is in recipe and about 2 to 3 tablespoons of bourbon: YUM.

  43. luisa abreo

    Sep 06

    Hola,me gusto mucho la receta de cajeta,me quedo muy sabrosa,solo que muy liquida,aunque tomo un color casi de chocolate,no espeso,quisiera que me de in buen tip para que me salga espesa la proxima vez,muchas gracias

    1. Pati

      Sep 11

      Puedes poner un poquito más de baking soda. Hay quienes utilizan un poco de “corn syrup” para hacerla más espesa. Puedes probar ponerle una o dos cucharaditas…

  44. Lora

    Jul 08

    Hi Patti,
    I’ve only had plain flan so the Impossible Chocolate Flan recipe on the show sounds heavenly! Thank you for sharing it on TV which I record. Do you allow the baked flan to cool slightly or to room temperature before inverting? Also, do you invert them just prior to serving? Can they be kept cold in the refrigerator before serving or will the cajeta simply become too hard?

    1. Pati

      Jul 11

      Hola Lora, Thank you!! I hope you will try the chocoflan recipe! You want to keep them in their ramekins and wait to flip out until you are ready to serve them. After baking, carefully remove from the water bath and let the flans cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Then, still in the ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

  45. Susan Williams

    May 04

    Hi Pati I saw your show on Create channel. I love your show. I will make the Homemade Cajeta in a week.

    1. Pati

      May 06


  46. Darlene

    May 04

    Hola Pati,
    I’ve never tried cajeta before I saw it on your show. I made a small batch and it was delicious!!! Both my husband and daughter loved it. Thank you for the recipe!!!

    1. Pati

      May 06

      My pleasure!

  47. Cathy Hall

    May 02

    Great seeing you again on TV, The Chew, making those delicious looking ribs.

  48. Melissa Schaub

    Apr 29

    Just wondering if you have ever made the cajeta with coconut milk, coconut creamer, cream of coconut, almond milk, or other non-dairy milk substitute for those with milk allergies, and if so, which one seems to work the best for flavor and for consistency? Please let me know which works best as I have never eaten cajeta before (if I made it the regular way, I would not really know if I made it correctly, to be the best of judges for the susbtituted way). Thanks for your time and reply. Melissa

    1. Pati

      May 02

      Hi Melissa,
      I have not made the cajeta with a non dairy substitute. However, I encourage you to experiment and try!

  49. Sergio

    Apr 17

    Hi Pati, I really enjoy your show and thanks for sharing this recipe. I was curious if I wanted to make envinada, how much ron would I add and when?
    also, not sure if you would know but my father has one of those copper pot. He uses it for carnintas, do you think if I use it for the cajeta will come out tasting porky?? lol.
    Have you made it using piloncillo? I tried making Jamoncillo and used piloncillo and it curdled the milk. Do you have a recipe for jamoncillo? The recipe I have is very much like cajeta. I’d like to try making jamoncillo again as it didn’t set firm and was curious if you had made it before.

    1. Pati

      Apr 18

      Hola Sergio, Thank you so much for watching the show! You can use your father’s copper pot to make cajeta; before using, clean it with mild soap and water and polish with a lime & salt like I do here: And, yes, you can use piloncillo to make the cajeta. To make Jamoncillo, just let it thicken more. For envinada, add 1/2 cup of rum when you put in the other flavorings too.

  50. Angelica

    Apr 16

    I truly love the way you write about food. The process, the experience, the flavors! Ordering your book now.

    1. Pati

      Apr 16

      Thank you so, so much, Angelica! I am thrilled to hear you are getting my cookbook!!

  51. nancy

    Apr 16

    Got the Book and loved it should have order it.. instead of second thoughts. hope you come up with new book with new recipes of Mexican cooking’s..

  52. Yelitza

    Apr 10

    Hello Paty 🙂 I was looking forward to this receipt when you made the crepes. I can’t wait to try..Congratulations on your show I love it. I try a few receipt and my husband and I, love them all. Thank you so much for sharing all this delicious receipt and making me loving more Mexico. p.s. a place that I love to visit..

    1. Pati

      Apr 11

      Delighted to hear!

  53. Henry Smolinski

    Apr 04

    Hola Pati,

    I enjoy watching your show. I started watching in the hopes of getting an authentic – Mexican recipe for simple tacos and ended up getting so much more! The recipes are perfect for more because they’re so easy to make. I just wish there were more places to get the real Mexican ingredients around here! Well, I did find one place that’s kinda far from me. But at least there’s that.
    Thanks again for your show and I hope you’re on forever!

    1. Pati

      Apr 04

      Aww!!! Thank you so much, Henry! I enjoy doing the show so much & I’m excited to start working on season 3.

  54. Dani

    Mar 22

    Thank you for the generosity of detail in all the recipes you share and for your never setting smile.

    1. Pati

      Mar 26

      Thank you so much, Dani!!

  55. Cristina Ts

    Mar 18

    Hola Pati! Thank you for the recipe!! I live in a small condo in DC and do not have room for a new kitchen toy (copper pot). Can you suggest an alternative?

    1. Pati

      Mar 18

      Hola Cristina, Any metal pot you have in your kitchen should be fine, especially stainless steel or aluminum. Go for it!

    2. EM

      Jun 12

      I actually make it in a crock pot and don’t have to stir. Set it on low for 8-10 hours or so overnight and skim the foam before jarring hot. Call me lazy, but it’s just as wonderful and way easier!

  56. Hilary

    Mar 16

    Thank you so much for the recipe! We live in a very rural area and store-bought cajeta simply isn’t available.

    I also made your dressed up chicken milanesa, and two of my three picky eaters absolutely loved it. Now a family favorite, along with several other of your recipes!

    1. Pati

      Mar 18

      Oh…good!! Thank you, Hilary.

  57. Cathy Hall

    Mar 16

    Hi Pati
    I loved you on The Chew a few days ago. Didnt know you worked at PBS and know Diana Kennedy. I have a few of her cookbooks that a bought in San Miguel de Allende. We vacationed there 2 yrs ago and wanted to stay and live there. We met the guys that own the little kitchen shop that sells her cookbooks. We love San Miguel and all its culture. Thanks for your blog

    1. Pati

      Mar 18

      Hola Cathy, Oh my goodness, we did not want to leave San Miguel either!! Thank you so much for writing to me!

  58. Lucretia Roletta

    Mar 05

    Patti, Love your show, interesting and classy, I can’t ait to try cajeta. I love anything caramel. I eat Salamandra dulce de leche right out of the jar!!!!

    1. Pati

      Mar 06

      Thank you, Lucretia!! If you eat dulce de leche out of the jar, you might find yourself eating cajeta out of the jar, too, like me.

  59. Cynthia

    Mar 04

    Hello In the recipe for cajeta it says baking powder in one place and soda in another. Which is correct? Thanks

    1. Pati

      Mar 06

      Baking soda! Thanks for pointing out, Cynthia. Oops 😉

  60. Sanni

    Mar 04

    Dear Mrs.JInich,
    I don’t know where else to put this but today your book arrived! I had almost forgotten about it since I preordered a long time ago and now I’m soooo happy. It is a wonderful book with so many do-able recipes for which I can get most ingredients even here in Germany. One question though: what would be an acceptable substitute for Poblano chiles? Anyway, thanks for your wonderful introduction to real Mexican home cooking, I’m looking forward to shopping and trying out recipes! Susanne

    1. Pati

      Mar 13

      Hola Susanne, Thank you so much for ordering a copy of my cookbook!! I’m so happy to hear you received it all the way in Germany! It would not be the same flavor, but fresh Anaheims would work as a substitute for poblanos. Prepare them in the same way the recipe calls for.

  61. Nancy

    Feb 28

    Hola, I am curious about pot using… if we are using that copper pot to make that Cajeta, after using that could we be able to use that copper pot for cooking meat and other foods? or does it have to be use only for making Cajeta?
    Cause I know that on the clay pots are sepeated for using meat and rice and beans… let me know before I buy only one copper pot… help

    1. Pati

      Feb 28

      Hola Nancy, Of course, you can cook other foods in your copper pot! However, since copper is a highly reactive metal, I recommend it only as a specialty pot for sweets, like cajeta, and making carnitas. If you want a copper pot that’s suitable for everyday cooking, look for one that is lined with tin or stainless steel. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on this subject; you can read it here:

  62. Lucia Bocanegra-Claxton

    Feb 27

    Wow, this was amazing. It is so nice to see how traditional food items are made. When I saw San Miguel, my first thought was how did I miss that. We have been to Sn Miguel, Cozumel many times and realized this is not the same one. =)
    I don’t think I would ever make cajeta, but I do buy it.
    I love your posts


    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Thank you, Lucia! San Miguel de Cozumel is lovely, too.

  63. Lily

    Feb 27

    Muchas gracias por tu pronta respuesta tratare otra vez y no la voy a dejar cosinar mucho y ya te cuenta como me quedo 🙂

  64. Pam Crystal

    Feb 27

    This looks amazing! I’m going to make this. And how do I get a signed copy of your cookbook?

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Hola Pam, I’m so happy you are interested in the cookbook! I’d love to send you a signed book plate to affix to your copy of the cookbook. Just email me at with your address & any special message you would like me to write! I also have several signing events coming up:

  65. susan pope

    Feb 27

    Dear Pati:
    I bought an advance copy of your cookbook. I love your show, as does my husband. I try everything I see you make, and decided I will never buy store bought tortilla chips again, they are so easy to make. Thanks for this recipe for the Cajeta. Is there a recipe you know of for making flan with it?

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Thank you Suzy, and your husband too!!!!! Yes I do and will try to post soon…

  66. Lily

    Feb 27

    Hola pati…Im from Mexico too and love ur show but I have a cajeta didn’t end up like urs it was really thick( like the texture of sour cream) and I was looking other recepies and they always add corn syrup to prevent cristalization is that truth and make a difference?

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Hi Lily!
      I know some other recipes use corn syrup…. but that really is not necessary in my view (there’s enough sugar in there for one thing!). It is just a matter of not letting it cook too long. Remember it will thicken as it cools, so stop the moment it looks like a fluid caramel sauce.

    2. EM

      Jun 12

      Hi there,
      I’ve been experimenting with slow cooker cajeta for the last year and I think I have the solution to this problem. It’s just like any other candy making… if there are any granules of sugar that go undissolved, or are on the edge of your container, they recrystalize the rest of your caramel. I have taken to sitting my milk and sugar out for an hour or two together and stirring occasionally, then wiping carefully the edge of the cooker to make sure there are no bits of undissolved sugar.
      I put my cajeta into swiss meringue buttercream frosting for chocolate cakes, or on popcorn, ice cream, pancakes & whipped cream, or in coffee, etc… it’s amazing stuff and my whole family loves it! I even use goat milk that is “goaty” and it fixes it so you can’t tell.
      Best of luck!!

  67. R.C. Smith

    Feb 26

    Hello Pati;
    Just finished a batch of french toast rolls…OH,MY,GOODNESS!
    If all your designs are so good my wife and I will be on the “fatboy diet” all too soon. Love what you do.
    Thanks, R.C. & M.S.Smith

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Hola R.C., I’m so happy you and your wife like the French Toast Rolls! I’m laughing over your “fatboy diet” comment. I do have some healthy recipes!! 🙂

  68. Anne

    Feb 26

    Hi Pati, thank you for the great recipes, love your TV show, my husband and I watch it several times a week. You do a great job!
    I am from North East corner New Mexico. My mom made hamonsillo which looks like cajeta.
    We lived on a cattle ranch, mom made hamonsillo with fresh milk or raw milk, sugar.. Best taste ever………. Loved the hamonsillo mom made we ate it on rice, homemade bread, spread it on home made tortillas or homemade ice cream or just spooned it out of the jar 🙂

    I had never tasted Cajeta until recently. You mentioned it on your TV show so we bought some. It does taste somewhat like Hamonsillo but I noticed the taste of goats milk. The goats milk taste took me back a few years, we also had goats on the ranch and mom made goat cheese and also drank some of the milk.

    I am thinking of making your Cajeta recipe with cow milk instead of goats milk like you suggest.
    Do you have a recipe for hamonsillo?
    Thank you muncho

    1. Pati

      Apr 05

      I will try to post it soon!

  69. Kirsten

    Feb 26

    I am coveting the copper pot! So beautiful and the Cajeta looks amazing! Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Thank you, Kristen! Did you see my post on the copper pot?

  70. Dana Lee

    Feb 26

    Hola Pati!
    I so love watching your cooking shows on PBS. I love the history and cultural aspects that you put into your TV shows.
    I grew up in the southwest and showing off a few dishes spoiled my husband, he will no longer eat chips from a bag. I fry them crispy for him, and for parties I make “suns” I cut 1/2 inch triangles out on the rim one neatly resting against the other, then cut two holes for eyes and cut a smile out. They are worth the effort.
    Ok my question,I made a pretty good Mole from Dona Maria (a friend from Oxaca taught me) but I am vegetarian now and miss my Mole. My happiest meals was a big plate of rich thick mole and tortillas. I am having Mole withdrawal symptoms. Thank You Pati for the shows, they are wonderful.

    1. Pati

      Feb 26

      Hola Dana, You are so sweet to spoil your husband with your homemade tortilla chips. I am so happy you like the show and really appreciate you watching and supporting it!! You can make mole vegetarian by mixing it with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It will be just as tasty!!

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