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.

MY OTHER RECIPES

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!

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.

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.
Only Eats

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

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Pistachio, Salted Caramel, and Oreo Dark Chocolate Bark

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

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221 comments on “The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce”

  1. Beautiful caramel sauce – love the color of the caramel in your photos – so pretty and will look great when drizzled over desserts!

  2. salted caramel is my weakness and this recipe looks perfect! yum!!

  3. I would eat this up with a spoon for sure!

  4. I love all your recipes and your pictures are awesome! So inspirational! I’ll be trying this recipe pretty soon!

  5. I’m a salted caramel fanatic and make it often! I’m intrigued by the corn syrup — I usually just use a spot of lemon juice to help with crystallization. It looks delicious!

    • I’ve never tried lemon juice but I’d imagine that could work too. Didn’t know if it could actually alter the flavor though but sounds like it must not if that’s what your normal trick is!

  6. This caramel sauce looks amazing! Oh how I wish I was holding that spoon – I don’t think I would be able to come up for air in that yumminess! And only 15 minutes? Sign me up – pinning :)

  7. gosh remember back, just 5 years ago no one would make caramel sauce because of all the steps, the temp watch, etc…?
    now it’s like easy-peasy breezy!
    I will not make this Av, I’m a salty caramel junkie, and being very good about my eating habits this summer! (trying to get back on the surfboard)

  8. Sigh….I’d eat that by the spoonful, but I have found that caramel makes me more sick than almost anything. Real caramel that is. The sugar/butter combo isn’t nearly as bad, but doesn’t taste as good either.

    This….on ice cream….heaven.

    Much better than buying a jar and dropping it and having it shatter on the ground, no? ;)

    • Oh god, you remember that post! The shattered glass jar of caramel. Gah, seems like a lifetime ago but I will never forget that day or that post!

      As for the dairy, so there’s only 1/2 cup for the whole recipe and if you’re eating 1 tbsp of caramel at a time (knowing you), it’s such a small amount you’re really ingesting, like maybe 1 teaspoon or less? But I know if you’re truly dairy intolerant, that’s 1 tsp too many. But seriously wish you could try this!

  9. I like to think of the corn syrup as a cheap insurance policy! I don’t always use it, but there have been times when I really wish I had! This recipe looks delicious and almost foolproof, because, let’s be honest, caramel can never be completely foolproof! :-)

  10. I love step one on your directions! No excuses for burnt caramel, right?

    • And you’d be surprised how many people cook with their phone in hand, their kids pulling at their legs, and sometimes it’s unavoidable but with a recipe like this, safety first since this stuff is so scalding hot!

  11. I need a spoon and a jar of this salted caramel sauce and I think I’ll be set for dessert tonight. Looks great, Averie. And pinned, of course. :)

  12. There’s nothing better than salted caramel sauce, this is heaven in a jar. Pinned!

  13. Yum!! Caramel can be tricky to make, but super easy it’s mastered. I remember the first time I made caramel. It totally burned! But once I mastered it, I never wanted store bought again.

  14. so glad to see an easy caramel recipe. Too many have too many steps. Love yours!

  15. Hey Averie! I hope you are doing well :) Just letting you know Happy Valley Chows hiatus is officially over! Feel free to stop by and say hello :) This salted caramel sauce definitely looks like the bees knees! Great job

  16. Oh Averie, I may or may not have licked my screen! That spoonful of caramel sauce looks fantastic. It’s my weakness! Pinned!

  17. INSANE-loooove this gooey perfect caramel! homemade caramel is like a whole different thing from storebought-SO GOOD!

  18. “Tie up your hair, put your phone down, get small children out of the kitchen.” <– LOL, I'll definitely take your advice, Averie, but not for safety reasons. I don't want to share my caramel with the children, nor do I want to get the stuff in my hair or on my phone, cause you know I'll be spooning it madly into my mouth when it's done! This caramel looks rich 'n luscious 'n amazing. Pinning!

  19. I may have missed it, but how long does a jar keep? Does it need to be refrigerated before opening? Any storage tips or requirements?

  20. Love the corn syrup trick! It looks so smooth and extra thick and gooey!!! Will have to try it… the perfect excuse to make ice cream sundaes this summer!! You’re the best, Averie!

  21. Made this recipe today, but unfortunately, my caramel “sauce” turned into solid caramel when it cooled? The taste is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not very happy about having a huge Werther’s Original in an old marmelade jar…. Any tips how to remedy the situation? Melt in in more cream maybe?

    • You cooked it too long and/or the internal temperature got too high. So you made caramels, or one big caramel, rather than caramel sauce. I am not sure if trying to add cream to it over low heat (put the whole thing back into a saucepan) will thin it back out into liquid caramel or not; it may work, it may not. Thanks for trying the recipe. Just less cooking time/lower heat next time and you’ll be fine!

      • Awesome, I will definitely try that. Plus, I haven’t used Corn Syrup (we don’t have it here in Germany). Oh well…next time with a lower temperature then!

      • Yes the corn syrup is like ‘insurance’ against the problem you had so…yeah, that may be why it was prone to happening for you. I bet with the lower heat/less time, you’ll be in good shape!

  22. This looks amazing! Your photos are beautiful too, love caramel sauce, never made it as I’m worried I’d burn it, but I may have to try this!

  23. You are right again Averie…. this is the best and easiest caramel sauce. I have tried other receipes using butter but this is my favorite. Thanks so much.

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