Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce

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Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce has earned a special spot in the refrigerator. I’ve made it three times already and I now use it almost every morning in my Cafe con Leche. (Authentic? no. pure heavenly caramel latte deliciousness? yes.)

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 tomorrow, but first, here is the sauce.


Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce

4.72 from 7 votes
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  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 vanilla beans about 1/2 teaspoon scraped seeds OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and the water. Stir to combine
  • and then cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves; about 5
  • minutes. There is no need to stir, simply swirl the pan over the burner
  • occasionally as the sugar dissolves.
  • Raise the heat to medium high and cook the sauce, swirling the pan
  • occasionally, until it is amber colored; about 7-8 minutes. (It will go from amber to burnt in just moments, so keep a close eye on the pan!) 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 or 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 is melted, remove from the heat and add the vanilla beans,
  • 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. Enjoy!
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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.

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  1. Anonymous says

    This tastes really good, however, I added more water in the beginning because it was looking "granita-ish".

    Now in the fridge, it has crystallized, doesn't pour, doesn't look like yours. Do I need to add heat? What did I do wrong?

    • Mary says

      Unfortunately, the water is the reason it crystallized. It might liquify when warmed, but it won't be pourable from the fridge. The caramel sauce tends to look grainy or somewhat like a granita until the sugar melts over the heat. I hope that helps!

  2. Annette Shaw says

    What am I doing wrong?? Last night made the Bourbon sauce and it came out wonderful. This morning I have tried 4 times to make the vanilla sauce and it always crystallizes before it turnes amber. I have tried lower heat, hot water, cold water etc. Nothing is working.

  3. Natalie says

    Have you tried covering the pot with a lid for a few minutes, while it is hot but not at the edge of caramelizing? This will wash down those sugar crystals and dissolve them. 🙂

  4. Jo says

    I just made this but mine hasn’t turned out into that brown colour as in the picture. What type of sugar did you use? Thanks in advance. 😊

    • Mary DeNunzio says

      I had the same problem! Was so afraid of burning the sugar water mixture that I think I didn’t let it get Amber enough. I didn’t want to scrap the whole thing….so I added a tablespoon of dar molasses and the color is good and still tastes great!4 stars

  5. Kim says

    This did not turn out at all!!! I did not scrape the sides of the pan once and when I put the cream, salt and vanilla in it wouldn’t even mix in as the sugar, water and butter went very gooey and hard. I must have cooked it too long?? The second it turned amber I put the butter in, followed directions very carefully!