My Life in Peru

An Expat Mom Shares Her Experiences with Peruvian Life, Travel and Food

Manjar Blanco

Posted on | April 5, 2011 | 9 Comments

a jar of dulce de leche

Image via Wikipedia

Manjar Blanco is a favorite component of desserts all over South America, not just in Peru. It’s a delicious dessert sauce or filling made of milk and sugar which is heated slowly until it is caramelized – very thick and concentrated. It also has an aromatic ingredient, typically vanilla, added to the mix. The classic preparation of manjar blanco takes patience and long hours of cooking. It’s the most common filling in the popular dessert cookies alfajores.

There are a variety of flavored manjares, made by adding things like almonds or fruit pulp to the basic ingredients.

As you travel around South America, you’ll find manjar made with some local variations and under different names: In Argentina and many other countries, they have dulce de leche, while in Ecuador you’ll find manjar de leche; in Venezuela, Colombia and Panama they serve arequipe and in Mexico it’s known as cajeta.

How to Make Manjar Blanco:

  1. In a sauce pan, put 2 cups of evaporated milk, 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. .
  2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
  3. When you can easily see the bottom of the pan while stirring, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Use it as a topping for ice cream, on cookies or as a filling for desserts.


  • Manjar de Chirimoya: After cooking, stir in 1 cup of pureed chirimoya fruit.
  • Manjar de Coco: Add 60 grams of grated coconut to the ingredients before cooking, cook according to the above directions.
  • Manjar de Lucuma: Blend 1 cup of pureed lucuma with 2 cups evaporated milk before cooking, cook according to the above directions.


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9 Responses to “Manjar Blanco”

  1. Eunice
    April 5th, 2011 @ 16:13

    I loooooove manjar blanco, but it definitely takes a lot of patience to make. The last time I tried to make alfajores the manjar blanco came out perfect, but the cookie part not so much. :(
    Eunice´s last blog post ..Note to Self-

  2. Erica
    April 5th, 2011 @ 16:23

    I love alfajores!! I remember I once asked my Peruvian friend if they were fattening, and she was like, “heck yes they are!” haha. I also went to a manjar blanco factory near Huaraz, and it smelled delicious there. Thanks for the post!

  3. sonia
    April 5th, 2011 @ 22:41


    The easiest way to make manjarblanco is to use cans of sweetened condensed milk. Place the unopened cans inside a big pot and fill the pot with water to cover the cans. Place on the burner and boil for an hour and a half or so, adding water if needed so that the cans are always submerged in the water. Then remove the cans from the water and let them cool, still unopened. When they have cooled to room temperature, I place them in the fridge because I LOVE cold manjarblanco. When you are ready to enjoy a simply delicious treat, open the cans and dip into them with a big spoon! This is the best manjarblanco ever!

    Websites of condensed milk manufacturers warn that boiling their cans might lead to them opening up under pressure, a potentially dangerous situation. But in thirty or more years of making manjarblanco this way, I have never seen a can explode. Just in case, I always keep a lid on the pot and the cans completely under water.

  4. Rob
    April 6th, 2011 @ 04:46

    Hey Kelly,
    I’ve never tried it but it looks good. I’m waiting for the Bill Cosby endorsement.
    Congrats on the year, and keep up the good work.
    Live it LOUD!
    Rob´s last blog post ..70 Ways To Power Your Life Today

  5. Kelly
    April 6th, 2011 @ 06:54

    You know Sonia, I almost added that onto the bottom – I was making it that way at home before I came to Peru.

    Ha, Rob – I’ll send Bill a case, see what he says. 😉

  6. Johanna Coronado
    April 6th, 2011 @ 09:26

    Nice posts, I always think that make Manjar Blanco was more complicated 😀


  7. Kelly
    April 6th, 2011 @ 10:21

    It’s not too complicated – just time consuming. You can’t cook it too fast, it has to be done slowly.

  8. Victor Manuel
    September 22nd, 2012 @ 11:59

    The picture shows dulce de leche .
    Manjar blanco is different.
    It is white not brown.

  9. Kelly
    September 22nd, 2012 @ 19:48

    You’re right – that’s why the photo is labeled as “dulce de leche” 😉

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    I got tired of life happening while I made other plans, so I quit my job and came to Peru. I live here with my Peruvian husband, two sons, three dogs and various other family members, depending on the weather.

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