This salted caramel sauce is rich, sweet, and salty and perfect for adding to your favorite desserts. It’s great on ice cream, brownies, cheesecake, and more.
You will love this homemade salted caramel sauce. It’s the perfect addition to your next dessert. It’s indulgent, rich, smooth, sweet, buttery, and has a light touch of saltiness. It’s perfect for drizzling on top of a bowl of ice cream, or for your ice cream sundaes, to go on your brownies, add to your favorite warm drink, or just to eat by the spoonful. It really is that good!
I adapted this recipe from Sally’s Baking addiction, and tweaked it a little bit. I was a little intimidated by this recipe the first time I made it, but the end results are well worth it. And it is actually an easy to recipe to make, with simple ingredients you probably have at home, or can easily grab from the grocery store.
This is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this Easy Salted Caramel Sauce recipe. Specific measurements and full recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card below.
- granulated sugar – this is the base of the recipe, the sugar cooks, and browns, and creates a rich caramel flavor
- unsalted butter – I recommend using unsalted butter, since different butter brands have different amounts of salt. And we add our own salt later
- heavy cream
- salt – regular table salt works fine, or you can use a flaky sea salt like fleur de sel
- vanilla extract
How to make Salted Caramel Sauce?
- Arrange all your ingredients, so that they are measured out and ready to go. Everything moves quickly with this recipe, and you want to make sure you don’t burn the sugar. Add the sugar to a medium sized heavy duty pan over medium heat. When the sugar dissolves and starts to form clumps and melt you need stir it constantly. Continue to stir as the sugar melts completely. Once it it is melted continue to stir gently until the sugar turns a nice amber color.
- Then you will add the butter, and stir until the butter is melted into the sugar.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream, whisking it into the mixture as you pour it in.
- Add the salt and vanilla extract and stir them into the caramel sauce. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer it to a large jar to cool to room temperature. Use as desired, or store covered in the fridge till needed.
Tips and Tricks:
- I’ve never used a candy thermometer for this recipe, but if you are worried about it burning you can use one for preciseness. You want the temperature to reach between 320 and 335 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature goes above 350 F it will burn and won’t taste good. Most importantly you want to watch the color of the mixture, and watch for a dark amber color.
- Make sure you are prepared to make this recipe because you don’t want to step away from the stove while it is cooking. Measure out your ingredients beforehand and go to the bathroom, and take care of any other issues that may come up so you are ready to make this liquid gold.
- Make sure to stir the sugar until all pieces and chunks of sugar are dissolved. This will ensure you have a velvety smooth caramel sauce.
- This would be a great food gift for the holidays. Double the recipe and pour it into small 8oz mason jars to give to friends and neighbors as a nice food gift.
- If you don’t like sweet and salty you can make an unsalted caramel sauce by simply leaving the pinch of salt out of the recipe.
What is butterscotch vs caramel?
Butterscotch and caramel are both made by heating sugar, the biggest differenct is that butterscotch is made with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
When to Use Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce:
Caramel sauce is a versatile topping that can be used in a variety of ways, here are some of our favorites.
- Ice Cream: A classic ice cream topping, I especially love it on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream
- Brownies: A little caramel drizzled on top of brownies makes them extra indulgent.
- Apple Pie: Drizzle some hot caramel sauce on top of a slice of apple pie, or use it in our caramel apple pie recipe.
- Cheesecake: A popular cheesecake topping, this sea salt caramel sauce is great on no bake cheese cake, or a traditional classic cheesecake.
- Fruit Dip: Dip apple slices, strawberries, or bananas straight into this sauce. Or it’s a great addition to our cream cheese caramel apple dip.
- Poke Cakes: Homemade caramel sauce is so much better than store bought drizzled all over the top of poke cakes. Try it in our Pumpkin Better than Sex Cupcakes.
- Breakfast Foods: Instead of syrup, try this sauce on your favorite pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
How to store?
Allow the caramel to cool to room temperature in your airtight container. I like to use a glass jar with a lid. Once it is cooled down it can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
The sauce will get hard in the cold fridge, so when you are ready to use it on your favorite desserts add it to the microwave for about 30 seconds, then stir. If it needs longer in the microwave you can microwave in additional 15 second increments until it is smooth and pourable, as needed.
This homemade salted caramel sauce is such a great versatile sweet sauce that adds a nice rich flavor to so many desserts. It is sweet and salty, and the perfect topping to keep on hand for your next ice cream night or dessert night at home.
More Sweet Sauce Recipes:
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Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 TBS unsalted butter (room temperature, and sliced)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Measure out all the ingredients and set them aside, so that they are ready to go when you need them.
- Add the granulated sugar to a medium sized sauce pan and heat over medium heat on the stove top.
- Stir the sugar constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the sugar is melted.
- Continue to stir the sugar gently until it turns a nice amber color.
- Add in the butter pieces and stir them into the caramel until melted and combined, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the heavy cream into the mixture, while stirring constantly. It may steam and splatter a little with the temperature change, so be careful.
- Pour in the salt and vanilla extract and stir them into the sauce.
- Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Then transfer it to a large jar to cool to room temperature.
- Keep caramel sauce covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Warm the caramel for about 30 seconds in the microwave and stir, when ready to use.
This salted caramel sauce was first posted on April 4, 2015. The photos and blog text were updated for clarity on July 3, 2023.