The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

I love caramel sauce and could literally eat it by the spoonful.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, it’s fast and easy to make.

The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

I’ve tried lots of recipes and methods, and I’ve found this is the best, easiest, least fussy, and it’s ready in 15 minutes.

The caramel sauce is creamy, buttery, rich, thick, smooth, and blows away anything you’ll ever buy. You’ll never want storebought again, which is usually thin, runny, and lackluster in flavor.

The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

To make it combine sugar and water with a tiny bit of corn syrup (reduces the likely of crystallization) and whisk until smooth. Then just let the mixture boil away until it turns caramel-colored.

Depending on what size pot you use and the conductivity, the boiling time could range from about 5 minutes on the low end to about 10 to 12 minutes on the high end. I have an electric stove and because I always use a pot much larger than I ‘need’ as insurance against bubble-overs, boiling usually takes about 10 minutes.

The final stage where the sauce turns from pale amber to that perfect shade of caramel can go quickly, in less than 30 seconds, so keep a watchful eye and don’t let it burn. Super stinky and you’ll have to start over.

The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

Then whisk in cream, vanilla, and salt. I love salted caramel and for salty-and-sweet treats, and always add a pinch of salt to my caramel. Even if you don’t want it ‘salty’, a pinch of salt helps balance the sweetness so the sauce doesn’t taste overly sweet.

There are pleasant vanilla undertones, which are heavenly for a vanilla fiend like myself, but the vanilla can be omitted or swapped with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur.

The alcohol burns off quickly, and it’s a mere 1 tablespoon for the whole batch, and what remains is an extra layer of subtle flavor.

The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

The Related Recipes below highlight some of my favorite ways to use it including Carmelitas, Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins, or Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies. It’s great on No-Ice-Cream-Maker Salted Caramel, Bourbon, Nutter Butter and Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Or just eat it by the spoonful. No shame.

It makes great gifts and keeps for months, but I doubt it will last long enough to give away.

The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

Print Recipe

The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

I've found this salted caramel sauce to be the best, easiest, least fussy, and it's ready in 15 minutes. The sauce is creamy, buttery, rich, thick, smooth, and blows away anything you'll ever buy. Even if you don't want it 'salty', a pinch of salt helps balance the sweetness so the sauce doesn't taste overly sweet. There are pleasant vanilla undertones, but the vanilla can be omitted or swapped with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur. Depending on your pot and stove, the boiling time could range from about 5 minutes on the low end to about 10 to 12 minutes on the high end. The caramel sauce makes great gifts and keeps for months, but I doubt it will last long enough to give away.

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 5 to 12 minutes, or until caramel-colored

Total Time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup (can be omitted but helps reduce crystallization)
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, optional (or substitute with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste (for a true 'salted caramel' sauce, I use 1 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Tie up your hair, put your phone down, get small children out of the kitchen. Have all the ingredients in place including hot mitts and a glass jar or heat-safe container nearby. You're working with boiling sugar and your full attention on the recipe is necessary.
  2. In a medium to large saucepan (use a pan much larger than you think you'll need because the sauce will bubble very vigorously at the end), add the sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 to 12 minutes, or as necessary, for it to turn caramel-colored, at which point it will likely be smoking slightly. The final stage where the mixture turns from pale amber to that perfect shade of caramel can go quickly, in less than 30 seconds, so keep a watchful eye and don't let it burn. Super stinky and you'll have to start over. Throughout the boiling time, you can swirl the pan gently every minute or two if necessary, but the less the sugary mixture gets on the sides of the pan, the better in preventing crystallization in the final sauce.
  4. As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
  5. Very carefully and slowly, add the cream. Stand back because mixture will bubble up considerably.
  6. Optionally, and very carefully, add the vanilla and salt, to taste. Stand back because mixture will bubble up again.
  7. Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined, and let it boil another 1 minute, which helps thicken it up.
  8. Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe container (easiest to pour into a 2-cup measuring cup and then easily pour into glass jar). Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens considerably as it cools. Sauce will keep airtight at room temp for at least 1 month, although will likely last much longer; use common sense if giving as gifts with storage considerations.

Related Recipes

Dark Rum Caramel Sauce – Step-by-step photos, rum optional but it sure makes things more fun

No-Ice-Cream-Maker Salted Caramel, Bourbon, Nutter Butter and Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

No-Ice-Cream-Maker Salted Caramel, Bourbon, Nutter Butter and Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream - Pairing dessert with booze. Dangerously easy with rivers of salted caramel woven throughout! No words.

Carmelitas

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF)

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars - Easy Recipe at averiecooks.com

Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins

Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins - Soft, fluffy muffins that are dripping with salted caramel! Best breakfast ever!

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars (almost no-bake)

Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

10-Minute Homemade Hot Fudge – Thick, rich & supremely fudgy! So fast and easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been making it at home!

10-Minute Homemade Hot Fudge - Thick, rich & supremely fudgy! So fast and easy you'll wonder why you haven't always been making it at home!

Marshmallow Caramel Oreo Cookie S’Mores Bars – No campfire needed to enjoy this version of Smores with caramel, an Oreo crust & lots of gooey marshmallows

Marshmallow Caramel Oreo Cookie S’Mores Bars - No campfire needed to enjoy this version of Smores with caramel, an Oreo crust & lots of gooey marshmallows!

Pistachio, Salted Caramel, and Oreo Dark Chocolate Bark

Pistachio, Salted Caramel & Oreo Dark Chocolate Bark - Salty-and-sweet & so good! Dangerously easy & make in 5 minutes!

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels – The recipe really works and they’re the best caramels ever

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels - Never fear candy-making again with this no-candy-thermometer recipe made in the micro. Rich, buttery, soft & chewy. The best & easiest caramels ever! Perfect for Valentine's Day!

194 comments

  1. Hi,
    Your recipe looks delicious and I am going to try to make some for Christmas gifts. I was just wondering how long before christmas would you recommend making them and how would you store it? Thank you :)

  2. Have you had any issues with botulism?  I’ve read a bit about canning caramel sauce and this seems to be a serious issue with canning heavy cream.

  3. You said the sauce thickens up but does it stay thin enough for dipping things in or would you have to heat it back up?

    • It doesn’t get THAT thick, but it does thicken up somewhat as it cools. But you will totally be able to use it for dipping things into it upon cooling and won’t need to re-heat it.

  4. Hi,
    Just wondering if there was a typo missing in your salted caramel sauce….missing the butter?

  5. I just finished a double batch – came out AMAZING!  Second batch will be even easier I am sure.  Need 3 more double batches for jars of love for friends and family.  They are sooooo gonna love me! Thanks for another great recipe!

  6. I should have waited to send the comment but I was just so darn excited (food does that to me).  But I quadrupled the recipe and guess what?    It came out perfect  Your directions are just so fabulous.  Honestly, once you smell a bit of smoke its done!  

  7. I just tried this recipe with brown sugar and it turned out beautifully! Thank you!

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