Kajmak: Polish Milk Caramel Cream

Kajmak, Masa Krówkowa

Kajmak (pron. ‘kai-mac’) is a Polish-style milk caramel cream. It’s also known as ‘masa krówkowa’ (meaning: ‘fudge cream’, literally: ‘little cow’s cream’), named after popular ‘Krówka’ fudge candy.

Kajmak is used as an ingredient in various cakes and desserts – most famously, in the Easter Caramel Tart (Mazurek Kajmakowy).

It’s far easier to just buy a ready-made Kajmak in a store. But if you can’t find it anywhere – this caramel cream can be made at home, following a few simple steps.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

In Poland, ready-made Kajmak Cream is sold in cans – usually sized at 14-16 oz (400-450 ml). Jars and plastic tubs are far less common.

South American-style ‘Dulce de leche’ is a very good substitute for Polish Kajmak. Flavour-wise, they’re nearly the same. French ‘Confiture de Lait’ is Kajmak’s close cousin, but its texture is much looser. In the UK, Nestlé’s ‘Carnation Caramel’ is what you need.

Kajmak (Polish Caramel) substitutes abroad

These canned products are very decent, so if you would like to save some time – go on and get them online or from the store.

Good to know: The term “kaymak” is also used in the Mediterranean and Middle East; but it’s a completely different dairy product – somewhat similar to clotted cream.

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Polish Kajmak?

All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk (regular kind, no ‘zero-fat’ inventions), a tall and narrow cooking pot and… a bit of patience (2 hours or so). 

What can be made with this Polish Milk Caramel?

Kajmak can be used for a variety of Polish desserts. Try it in Mazurek Kajmakowy (Easter Caramel Tart), or as a Pączki filling, or a cake / pie / ice cream topping (it’s amazing on a cheesecake!).

Can you make this Polish Kajmak another way?

You could try cooking it in the same manner as the French ‘confiture de lait’, but the texture will be looser. Personally, I’m not a fan of this method, it burned on me twice.

If you want to give it a go, here’s how it’s done:

  • Pour 1.5 litres (1.5 quarts) of milk into a very wide pot with a thick bottom (we need a large evaporating surface). Add 1.5 cups of sugar, pinch of salt and two tablespoons of vanilla extract.
  • Combine with a spoon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum and reduce for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • In that time, the milk will thicken and turn caramel-brown. It will thicken even more as it cools.

What diets is this Caramel Cream suitable for?

This recipe is gluten-free.

Can I freeze this Polish Kajmak Cream?

Yes. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Alternatively, move kajmak into a freezer-friendly container and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To thaw, just leave it out (at room temperature) overnight.

Smacznego!

Homemade Kajmak - Polish Milk Caramel Cream
Kajmak (Polish Caramel Cream)

Homemade Kajmak: Polish Milk Caramel Cream

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes

Kajmak is a traditional Polish Caramel Cream that shines in pies, cakes and other desserts. If you’re familiar with “Dulce de leche”, you’ll know its flavour.

It’s sooo easy to make at home, all you need is a can of evaporated milk, a tall cooking pot and 2 hours of cooking.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (12-16 oz, 354-450 g) sweetened condensed milk, regular (not 'fat-free')

Instructions

Are you making Kajmak with an intention to use it later in a dessert? It’s worth doing so a day in advance. That way it’s well cooled when you’re ready to use it.]

  1. Place the closed can of condensed milk in a tall and narrow cooking pot.
  2. Pour water over the can, enough to cover the tin.  
  3. Cover the pot with a lid. Boil for 2 hours, remembering that the can has to be immersed in the water at all times (refill the water if necessary). Warning: don’t leave the house, don’t have a nap during that cooking time - unless you want for the can to explode and cover your kitchen in caramel.
  4. Carefully remove the can from the pot. Leave to cool completely.
  5. Once cooled, use it in cakes and desserts straight away, or store in the refrigerator overnight. For longer storage, freeze it in a freezer-friendly container.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 127mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 9g

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Kasia Kronenberger

Kasia Kronenberger is the founder of Polonist, where she celebrates Poland’s very best food.
She’s a self-taught home cook, who – through her own culinary attempts – wants to show you how to recreate Polish flavours at home, wherever that is.
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