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!

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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!

   

101 Responses to “The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce”

  1. #
    51
    Mae Cross — June 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    This looks so easy, and I have all the ingredients in my home! I tried to make caramel, but I did something REALLY stupid.. it was taking a while so I just watched TV for a while until I smelled something burnt. So I will try making caramel again with this recipe! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 19th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      And that is exactly why I wrote what I did in step 1 of the directions! With caramel, you can NEVER take your eyes off it or get distracted even for a minute or two, because that’s when it will burn and the smell is just horrendous!

      Reply

  2. #
    52
    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — June 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve always been afraid of making my own caramel sauce after hearing horror stories about it crystalizing, burning, or boiling over and making a mess, but your method sounds fool-proof, even for a kitchen stove klutz like me! I was making fudge last Christmas to give away as gifts, and since I hadn’t made any in a year, I accidentally used a smaller pot than I should have… It was pretty tense there for a few minutes as I tried to keep the liquid right at the rim without toppling over! ;)

    Reply

  3. #
    53
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — June 26, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Okay seriously, this is just too easy to not make. And once I make this, you know I’m slathering this on anything and everything. Hell, I’ll drink it right out of the container!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 26th, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      It’s kind of like balsamic reduction. Once you make your own, it really is pretty amazing how easy it is. This is a little more complicated than balsamic reduction, but same concept :)

      Reply

  4. #
    54
    Jay — June 27, 2014 at 10:24 am

    hey averie
    last night i made caramel ice cream and wanted to swirl in some homemade caramel sauce but what was supposed to be the sauce ended up as an amber block.
    the recipe i used is a lot like this one but it didnt have water; it had butter instead. do you think the butter made it thicker? im kind of reluctant to try this one bc all the caramel recipes i’ve tried either got burnt or turned really thick after 2 to 3 mins.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 27th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      I think you’re overcooking/overheating. In order to keep caramel in the liquid/pourable consistency range, the temperature can’t get as hot as it would as if you were making solid caramel candies. And if yours is turning into a block, you’re way overcooking/overheating it. Ease up on the heat and duration, and I think things will go more smoothly for you!

      Reply

  5. #
    55
    Iram — July 10, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Hi Averie,

    I want to make the “millionaire bars” or the “twix bars” on your site. (the one with the shortbread crust, caramel and the chocolate.)

    My ? was that do you think I can use this caramel recipe for the caramel part for the bars? Would it be too salty or the flavor be balanced?

    **Thank you so much in advance. :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 10th, 2014 at 4:02 am

      Flavor would be just fine and it will work great in the bars!

      Reply

  6. #
    56
    Steph — July 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I want to make these as gifts for my housewarming party. Will it change anything if I make this in a larger quantity at one time?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 27th, 2014 at 2:26 am

      I’ve never tried it as a bigger batch. I would hate for it not to turn out as a bigger batch so don’t want to blindly say oh go ahead…I think you will be okay, but not speaking from personal experience. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply

  7. #
    57
    Kelli — August 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Hi, This sounds great. Is it think enough that I could use it for caramel apples?

    Reply

    • Kelli replied: — August 2nd, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Oops, meant thick enough.

      Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 2nd, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      You can make it VERY thick by continuing to let it simmer and reduce…you don’t want to go too far or else you’ll end up with ‘caramels’ rather than caramel sauce but with candy-making, every few degrees at a certain point, it will thicken up. You’ll have to experiment and/or use a candy thermometer to know where those critical points are.

      Reply

      • Kelli replied: — August 3rd, 2014 at 12:12 am

        Thank you!!!!

  8. #
    58
    Wendy — August 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I’m looking for a caramel recipe that can be stirred into iced coffee, but everything homemade so far solidifies and sinks to the bottom. Do you think this recipe might work ?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 12th, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Cold coffee (or cold liquid) will cause most any real caramel sauce to just get hard/cold/sink. The only way around it is to use ‘cheap’ caramel ice cream sundae sauce in a squirt bottle and it will dissolve more easily since it’s not really true ‘caramel’.

      Reply

  9. #
    59
    jani — September 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I use a recipe just like this but I heat the salt, vanilla, and cream to just below boiling as it lessens the bubbling up of the cream when added to the sugar. A great recipe. Stores in the fridge too. If there’s any left!!

    Reply

  10. #
    60
    Danielle — September 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Made this tonight for some apple tarts. Turned out amazing! Well the second batch did, make sure you watch it very close five seconds can make the difference. My first batch was not terrible, just a little bit of that burnt sugar flavor. The second batch was perfect! Oh and I definitely suggest the full amount of salt. My family loved it! I was a hero tonight! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 21st, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Yes with caramel even 5-10 seconds can do it because it’s SO HOT that all that carryover heat is still cooking it at such a high high temp and so every few secs can really impact things, even after you shut the burner off. Glad it came out great for you on the second time and that you’re a hero. And p.s. slightly burnt caramel is really trendy in food right now. I don’t get it, but hey, it’s trendy :)

      Reply

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