Salted Caramel Sauce

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Salted Caramel Sauce has earned a special spot in the refrigerator. This sweet sauce makes a terrific addition to countless desserts.

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

Salted Caramel Sauce with Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

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.)

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 White Chocolate Caramel Fudge, Caramel Swirl Cheesecake, and Apple Spice Cake.

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

Salted Caramel Sauce with Brownie Chunk Ice Cream is a treat

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

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Salted Caramel Sauce with Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Sauce

4.72 from 7 votes
Salted Caramel Sauce has earned a special spot in the refrigerator. 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
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 (1) tablespoon servings, about 1 1/2 cups total

Ingredients 

  • 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 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 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. Enjoy!

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
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{originally published 5/9/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 10/16/20}

Homemade Caramel Sauce is better than anything store-bought!

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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!