Salted Caramel Sauce

29 Comments 4.8

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jump to Recipe

Homemade salted caramel sauce is ridiculously decadent and delicious. This sweet sauce makes a terrific addition to countless desserts.

From ice cream to cakes, coffees, and brownies, it is delicious. But this sauce also makes a great food gift for any occasion.

caramel sauce in short jar with spoon

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

I LOVE this sauce. I made it for a special dessert and loved it so much, I just kept making it. I’ll be sharing that dessert soon, but first, here is the sauce.

I made this three times in a month when I first started making this and it rapidly became a favorite addition to a cup of Cafe con Leche. (Authentic? no. pure heavenly caramel latte deliciousness? yes.)

spoon over jar with caramel sauce

This no candy thermometer required caramel sauce is the perfect balance of salty and sweet. While many homemade salted caramel sauces boast of just having 4 ingredients. I am quite okay with this version having 6.

The addition of a little bit of water and vanilla is just right. I like dissolving the sugar completely in the water and cooking it down to an amber color. This will decrease the likelihood of burning the sugar.

My other secret ingredient is vanilla. Whether you use the extract, paste, or scraped vanilla bean it gives it such a warm rich depth, I can’t imagine making salted caramel sauce without it.

caramel sauce ingredients

How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce

You’ll need these ingredients to make this recipe:

  • sugar
  • water
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • fine sea salt
  • vanilla beans OR vanilla extract OR vanilla paste
sugar and water boiling for caramel sauce

To make the caramel sauce, you’ll start by combining the sugar and the water in a medium size saucepan. Stir to combine and then cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves; about 3-4 minutes.

There is no need to stir, simply swirl the pan over the burner occasionally until the sugar dissolves.

sauce simmering on stove

Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is amber colored; about 6-8 minutes. Watch closely!

Caramel sauce can go from perfectly amber colored to burnt in just moments, so keep a close eye on the pan! Set the butter next to the stove, so you’re ready to drop it in the pan the moment the sauce turns amber.

butter added to caramel sauce in saucepan

Add the butter, be prepared for it to bubble and sputter, lightly stir or swirl to melt. Do not scrape the sides of the pan and try not to splash sauce up the sides of the pan.

Scraping the pan can may cause crystallization when the uncooked sugars are added back into the sauce.

Easy Caramel Sauce

Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla, heavy cream, and salt. It will bubble again but will calm quickly.

Whisk or stir to combine (again, not scraping sides of the pan) and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a jar and refrigerating for storage.

pour shot adding cream to caramel sauce

Easy Salted Caramel Sauce

Not that I think you’ll have issues using up a batch of this caramel sauce, but just in case, I highly recommend trying it in this Creamy White Chocolate Fudge filled with pecans and swirled with caramel might be the ultimate treat for a holiday tray.

Stir the salted caramel sauce and brownies into your next batch of homemade ice cream for the most amazing Caramel Swirl Brownie Chunk Ice Cream.

finished caramel sauce in sauce pan

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes start with smooth and creamy cheesecake over a simple graham cracker crust, then they are topped with a swirl of caramel sauce just before baking.

For the frosting of your dreams next time you’re baking a cake, try this Salted Caramel Frosting. It is absolutely finger-licking delicious.

Get New Recipessent to your inbox!
We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
spoon over jar with caramel sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

4.75 from 8 votes
Salted Caramel Sauce is ridiculously decadent and delicious. This sweet sauce makes a terrific addition to countless desserts.
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 24 (1) tablespoon servings, about 1 ½ cups total

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 vanilla beans, about ½ teaspoon scraped seeds OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste

Instructions

  • In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and the water. Stir to combine and then cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves; about 3-4 minutes. There is no need to stir, simply swirl the pan over the burner occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is amber colored; about 6-8 minutes. Watch closely! (This will go from amber colored to burnt in just moments, so keep a close eye on the pan!) Set the butter next to the stove, so you're ready to drop it in the pan the moment the sauce turns amber.
  • Add the butter, be prepared for it to bubble and sputter, lightly stir or swirl to melt. Do not scrape the sides of the pan and try not to splash sauce up the sides of the pan. (This will cause crystallization if you scrape the uncooked sugars back into the sauce.)
  • Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and add the vanilla, heavy cream, and salt. It will bubble again but will calm quickly. Whisk or stir to combine (again, not scraping sides of the pan) and then let cool before transferring to a jar and refrigerating for storage.

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcal · Carbohydrates: 8g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 6g · Saturated Fat: 4g · Cholesterol: 17mg · Sodium: 60mg · Potassium: 4mg · Sugar: 8g · Vitamin A: 191IU · Calcium: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 5/9/13 – recipe notes updated 1/26/23}

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
Homemade Caramel Sauce is better than anything store-bought!

Filed under: , , , ,

Share this Article

PinYummly

Related Posts

Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

Reader Interactions

29 Comments Leave a comment or review

    Rate & Comment

    Rating




  1. Rea Rae says

    Does the swirled caramel set up to where the top isn’t sticky? I want to add small squares to Christmas Goodie bags, for seniors, at a special breakfast I’m giving at our community clubhouse. I can’t have it sticking to the other few candies and cookies in the individual treat bags. I wondered if I could add a tsp of corn syrup or something to your caramel recipe.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Honey this is a sauce recipe for on top of ice cream or other desserts. I would suggest finding an actual caramel candy recipe if you want to include it in a goodie bag.

  2. Nancy says

    Looking to make a Carmel sauce (it has a bit of red pepper flakes in it) to drizzle over sweet potato fries
    So you think minus the salt that it would be good for that?
    Either way can’t wait to try it!