Servings: 3cups


  • 2quarts goat's milk or a combination of goat’s milk and cow’s milk—or even with all cow’s milk (use whole milk in all cases)
  • 2cups sugar
  • A 2 inch piece ofcinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon water


In a medium-large (6-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican copper cazo), combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick and set over medium heat. Stir regularly until the milk comes to a simmer (all the sugar should have dissolved by this point). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda—it’ll foam up if the goat’s milk is acidic. When the bubbles subside, return the pot to the heat.

Adjust the heat to maintain the mixture at a brisk simmer (too high and the mixture will boil over; too low and the cooking time will seem interminable). Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns pale golden, more or less one hour.

Now, begin stirring frequently as the mixture colors to caramel-brown and thickens to the consistency of maple syrup (you’ll notice the bubbles becoming larger and glassier). Stir regularly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Test a couple of drops on a cold plate: When cool, the cajeta should be the consistency of a medium-thick caramel sauce. If the cooled cajeta is thicker (almost like caramel candy), stir in a tablespoon or so of water and remove from the heat; if too runny, keep cooking.

Pour the cajeta through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl or a wide-mouth storage jar. When cool, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Warming the cajeta before serving (a microwave oven is efficient here) makes it extra delicious.

Working Ahead: Cajeta keeps for a month or more in the refrigerator. Keep it tightly covered to keep it from absorbing other flavors.


  1. I really enjoy watching your show! Mexican culture is so interesting , and I LOVE to cook. I just ordered a Cazo de Cobre copper pan and intend to make Cajeta. Do you think cazo copper is safe? I am reading quite a bit of negative info online about copper being toxic. I wasn’t aware of this and ordered the cazo copper for its beauty and to make the Cajeta the authentic Mexican way. I am still awaiting my pans arrival, but I am having second thoughts about using it. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated and respected. Thank-you!

    1. Hi Kelle –
      Rick’s take on this issue is that people have been using unlined copper pots in Europe for centuries. They are the preferred cooking vessel for sugar work. We use it here in our test kitchen. However there are risks for everything – so you have to decide what it right for you.

      Best of luck!

      And if you are interested – in Rick’s new cookbook, More Mexican Everyday – we have an amazing recipe for 24-hour cajeta.

    2. I have been using unlined copper for beating egg whites, coooking turkey and making jam for forty years and I’m still here!

      Seriously, just make sure there is no verdigris anywhere on the inside of the pot before using it (verdigris is the green stuff that copper gets when exposed to the air. It’s actually copper oxide and it’s very toxic.)

  2. I made Cajeta today and all went beautifully. It tasted and looked amazing. However after it cooled, it became a bit grainy. The strange thing is the drops that fell off the spoon on the stove remained beautifully smooth and tasty. Do you know what went wrong? Can I reheat to reduce the sugar graininess?

    Thank you,

    1. Hello Michele- When heating the milk and sugar make sure to keep stirring the mixture until all of the sugar is dissolved. I wouldn’t recommend heating it up again, I would start all over.. Let us know how it turns out!

    2. From another website: “I’ve found that ultra-high-temperature pasteurized (UHT) goat’s milk works particularly well—look for purple cartons of Meyenberg in the refrigerated case of supermarkets like Kroger and Whole Foods. Raw or low-temperature pasteurized goat’s milk (often found in local markets) will coagulate toward the end of the cooking process, giving the cajeta a slightly grainy consistency, so save those delicately flavored milks for fresh applications.” Also, not recommended to use cow’s milk.

  3. I started making the 24 hour cajeta from the new cookbook last night. It’s just been 12 hours but the caramel is already a rich golden brown. However, the caramel is still very thin. I’m not sure what to do. Turn the crockpot to low? Could this have happened because I used all goat milk or is my crockpot just set a bit high?

  4. Years ago while watching Mexican-One Plate At A Time Rick showed cajeta filled crepes at a restaurant. I can’t remember how he said they were made. Only they were so simple you don’t need a recipe. Could you place tell how they were made. I have leftover cajeta from making his Celebration Cake and would like very much to make these crepes. Thank you.

  5. What is the function of the baking soda? I’m attempting the cajeta recipe today and am curious. Thanks!

    1. The baking soda “slows down” the cooking process so the caramel browns slowly and you get a beautiful color.

    2. A pinch of baking soda lowers the temperature at which goat’s milk can brown, helping it develop a rich caramel flavor despite a cooking temperature well below the traditional point of caramelization.

  6. As I do when I find a widely-known recipe that I want to make, I looked at several recipes, finding Rick’s first. Several others included a whole vanilla bean per 1 qt milk, and even a bit of salt. Knowing how vanilla flavors many Mexican desserts, why is it not part of Rick’s recipe? Is the traditional cajeta a simpler flavor? (If so, that’s what I would prefer…but I always need the ‘why’) 🙂 Thanks!

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