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


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)


  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 - 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

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF)

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars - Easy Recipe at

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

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!


  1. 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! :)

    • 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!

  2. 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! ;)

  3. 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!

    • 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 :)

  4. 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.

    • 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!

  5. 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. :)

  6. 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?

    • 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!

    • I have the same question, did you try a larger quantity? Please let us know.

    • I typically only make the recipe as written and don’t make more than listed so can’t speak to making larger amounts.

    • I make this recipe 5 times in the past few days. I planned to make caramel sauce for my neighbors as Christmas gifts.
      The first batch I made exactly as the recipe stated, and it turned out perfect. The second day I attempted to double the recipe, but it failed miserably. The third attempt was at another double batch, and it also failed miserably.
      Then I went back to the recipe as written, and the next two batches were perfect.

    • Thanks for the feedback on doubling the recipe and that you had two fails but 3 successes when you made the recipe exactly as written. VERY good to know!! I have never attempted a double batch and many people have asked about it, so now we know. Thanks for sharing!

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

    • Oops, meant thick enough.

    • 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.

    • Thank you!!!!

  8. 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 ?

    • 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’.

    • I use dulche de leche for iced coffee. Works fine!

  9. 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!!

  10. 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!

    • 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 :)

  11. I just made this for the first time!! I’m so excited! It was just perfect and so yummy! The only thing is, after cooling, it seemed to have some butter melted around it. Did I not stir hard enough? Never mind, I’ll make it again for sure! Loved it on our chocolate tacos and vanilla Ice cream!

    • Sometimes it can separate, like anything homemade that’s not run through commercial machines or with tons of preservatives and chemicals, separation in caramel sauce is totally normal. It doesn’t ALWAYS happen, but sometimes it does and that’s just the way it goes. Glad it was a big hit for you!

  12. This is awesome!!!! Would I be able to add salted butter to this recipe without ruining it?

  13. Tried this recipe today! It was amazing and so easy. You tips about keeping your eye on it and watching for the color change were super helpful! Can’t wait to share the sauce with others. Thank you!

  14. I love caramel but have never been able to make a caramel sauce successfully. I tried this recipe last night and it tastes delicious, much better than I’ve ever made before, but I left it to cool and when I came back it was very, very hard. Like a hardened soft caramel candy. Any ideas as to why, or tips?

    • Any ideas as to why, or tips? = Yes, you are over-cooking it and/or letting the internal temp get too high so you are making caramel hard candy vs. soft caramel sauce. You may want to invest in a candy thermometer since you’re prone to this and google caramel sauce temperature (and there will be things like the soft ball stage, hard ball stage, etc.) and just be sure not to go above what’s recommended.

  15. Adela Olivero Grassi Reply

    Do you think I can substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar? I’m trying to eliminate the first one from our diet. Thank you!

    • Because this is caramel and you’re working with scalding hot sugar, I haven’t tested the recipe to know if brown will be an okay substitute here. It may be, it may not be…I just haven’t tried it to know.

  16. I’m willing to make my own caramel sauce (hate the store bought honestly). Just one thing – I don’t think we have corn syrup here in Italy. How do you think – maple syrup would work fine? Thanks, have a good day!

  17. It will keep airtight at room temp for one month? Can it be kept in the refrigerator? If I make it as a gift, I’d like to be 100% sure so I can let people know. Thank you.

  18. what size mason jars did you Use?

  19. Averie – this was my first time ever attempting caramel. It turned out perfect!!! But what I really want to thank you for is all of the warning, tips, and descriptions of what to expect. If your recipe had not mentioned to expect the bubbling, expanding, etc I would have assumed I screwed up, or been too nervous and would have abandoned it. Also the tip to watch carefully for the color change was bang on! All of your extra tips were so greatly appreciated.

  20. hello! Just made this and it’s delicious! Just wondering if you recommend storing it in the fridge? Thanks!

    • Glad you’re happy! I store it at room temp. I actually think you do more harm storing it in the fridge because of the condensation and it can crystallize but store as you see fit and what you think is best.

  21. Have you ever used sea salt instead of regular salt? Is this possible?

    • You can use sea salt but because of the coarseness of the grain compared to table salt, you may need to play around with the exact amount to make sure the saltiness level of the caramel comes out like you want.

  22. great recipe. Does this sauce need to be refrigerated once opened from its airtight state? I will be making this for a craft fair and want to label storage instructions. Thanks!!

    • I personally don’t store it in the fridge and prefer room temp but since it’s a homemade product with no preservatives, everyone should use common sense and do what they think is best. Enjoy!

  23. Made this last night! Awesome awesome awesome!

    I doubled the recipe and it worked wonderfully.

  24. What alcohol did you use? Do you have a favorite?

  25. This didn’t work for me. SO DISAPPOINTED! I did everything the instructions told me to do, and not even 5 minutes into the sugar boiling, the consistency suddenly changed and became thick. Then, almost immediately, it all clumped together and solidified as hard white sugar. I was going to give this as Christmas gifts! What did I do wrong???

    • You let the internal temperature of the mixture get too hot, too fast, and you make rock candy :) Not liquid caramel sauce. I would use lower heat, and a heavier bottomed pot if you have one, and definitely take it off the heat BEFORE you think it’s going to that change. All pots and stoves are different so it’s hard for me to say exactly what that moment will be but you’ll know it by experimenting.

  26. I’ve made this several times (yikes!) after taking the caramel plunge. So easy and so delicious! Made a black magic chocolate cake with caramel buttercream frosting using this sauce-yummy to the max! Thanks, Averie!

    • black magic chocolate cake with caramel buttercream frosting <------ can I come over and help with the leftovers?! :) Sounds amazing and glad this recipe is a keeper for you!

  27. My family and I have made this recipe twice this holiday season and it is a real winner. Caramel does not last long here. I did have several questions about usage. Recently we made millionaire cookie bars from a print recipe and for some reason this year the caramel layer went horribly wrong. Do you think I could successfully use your salted caramel recipe in place of the caramel layer for these cookie bars? I was also wondering if there was someway to use the caramel when making turtle candies? Have you tried the caramel in other recipes? I would love to hear how!

  28. I can’t wait to try this out! Now, I’m a canning junkie – is it possible to can this for longer storage? I’m thinking maybe taking it off the heat a little early and let it thicken while the jars are in the boiling water bath. Any thoughts? Thanks! :)

    • You know I think someone has written about this in the comments if memory serves so you may want to read thru them b/c since I haven’t tried to can it, I don’t know what to advise you!

  29. This was my first time making homemade caramel sauce. I think I jumped the gun on adding the heavy cream. When it was boiling, I was staring at it so intently that I zoned out and then when I “came to”, I was afraid it had turned color and I didn’t notice…..LOL!! Also, when I added the heavy cream it almost seemed like it seized before it started bubbling up. There was also a thin layer of caramel kind of stuck to the bottom of the pot after I poured it into my glass container. Has this ever happened to you? It’s cooling now and it tastes awesome but the color is lighter than yours. I will definitely attempt this again, though. Oh, I used pink Himalayan salt. LOVE!!

    • There was also a thin layer of caramel kind of stuck to the bottom of the pot after I poured it into my glass container <--- probably due to not stirring and it just formed, and probably not a biggie. Hasn't happened to me but skins can happen anytime you're boiling things for a long time. Wouldn't worry about it. the color is lighter than yours = could be due to photography and things appearing darker on camera OR maybe you just didn't take yours as dark as mine by cooking it as long...trial and error, have fun playing around and taste-testing :)

  30. Claudia Witteveen Reply

    Great recipe! I recently made one with just sugar, cream and butter, but it thickened a LOT. Do you know how i could make a sauce that’s a bit more runny. By adding water to the sugar?

  31. There’s an easier way without corn syrup and all those other ingredients!!!!!!!!! its called evaporated milk!!!!!! go figure!!!!after heated on stove in can, it turns to carmel

  32. Will the sauce thin down if warmed a little..

  33. Awesome recipe!  I tried a different recipe using the “dry” method.  It failed.  Or, I failed.  THIS recipe, however, was easy!  I did not double anything, and really watched the syrup-boiling stage.  Great, great recipe and I’ll definitely make it again.

  34. By the way, Scott, I believe you’re thinking of sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated. ;)

  35. Holy. Moly. I’m impressed! This was wayyyyy too easy to make for something so delicious! Thank you for such specific instructions – loved the first one especially. I made this for the first time and I’m trying to hard not to eat it by the spoonful! Now I’m off to go make the salted caramel buttery crumb bars. :)

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that my specific instructions helped! Enjoy your spoonfuls of this :) as well as the bars!

  36. Hi Averie,
    your recipes are really great, thanks for sharing!! :-)
    In this recipe, can I use agave instead of corn syrup?Does it reduce crystallization too?

  37. Used your caramel sauce for my 365 Day Challenge to a Homemade Home.

  38. Do you use light corn syrup or dark corn syrup?

  39. Hey!  Thanks for the recipe!  Super easy to do and follow, plus the ingredients needed are easily found at home, no need for extra cash! 

    Really works and thanks for the little tips along the way, such as leaving the phone away, checking the colour of the mixture. Taste really nice! Many Many Many thanks! 

  40. Hi Averie,

    Is there a way to make this sauce into icing for cookies?

  41. hi there, i’ve just made this and it’s amazing – by far the easiest and nicest salted caramel sauce i’ve ever made!! I’m just wondering about storage as most other recipes i’ve tried require the sauce to be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and gently reheated to use (those recipes involved butter) but yours is store at room temp for 1 month which is great and another bonus as i’d like to give this as christmas gifts, so the question is has that been tried and tested and does stored at room temp in an air tight container mean a sterilised unopened jar in which case once the jar is open does it have to go in the fridge? sorry if i’m just not getting it but thank you for taking the time to read this essay and hopefully reply, x

    • In theory, if the jar is clean, and the product was boiling going into the clean jar, under normal circumstances, yes, I think a month is realistic. Now, I haven’t batch tested this and made a ton of jars of it in Nov. and then handed them out in Dec. hoping for the best.

      But in my own kitchen, I may make a batch and it may sit 3-4 weeks before I make another batch. Basically use common sense and good judgment about food safety and what you think will work and what won’t. Everyone’s comfort levels with things like this are different so do what you think feels right.

  42. This is the standard caramel recipe, but I disagree it’s the easiest one. The easiest one is the pioneer woman recipe where you just heat brown sugar, butter, cream, vanilla and a little salt for about five minutes, and you’re done. No disasters if you stir instead of swirl, no disasters if a crystal forms someplace it’s not supposed to, no angry hot mess trying to happen when you pour cold cream onto your mixture after taking it off the heat, no seizing up and then having to re-heat. You just put your ingredients in the pot and stir.

  43. Candace recipe be doubled or tripled? Boiled and sealed in jars?

  44. Never made caramel before but this came out perfectly! Thank you for this straight forward recipe. Making your salted caramel bars tomorrow for a girls night in, adding some apple butter to the caramel layer. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

  45. Just got finished make this caramel and I had to comment! This turned out amazing, reminds me of my grandmas caramels, simple and delicious.  


  46. If you are making this for someone who has to avoid dairy, you can use canned coconut milk instead of cream.  You will not have a coconut taste.  My daughter hates coconut flavor of any kind.  She can not taste the difference.

  47. I’ve made this twice now and the first time it turned out perfect but this last time (today) it was really grainy and sort of had a “separated” look to it. Perhaps I didn’t whisk enough after I added the ingredients at the end. However, after it had cooled for about two hours I zapped it in my food processor and it homogenized nicely.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you the first time. The graininess the second time could be a result of so many things – humidity, traces of sugar molecules stuck to the sides of the pot and then didn’t want to integrate fully, etc. Candy making can be temperamental! But glad that the food processor did the trick! Great thinking!

  48. I made 3 separate batches my 1st time. I couldn’t believe how simple it was. After reading so many stories of how difficult it is to make caramel sauce I was intimidated to try it. You have a real talent explaining each step. You gave me the confidence to try it. For that I thank you!!  Each time I cooked it just a few seconds longer so I could try them & find the one I liked best. Needless to say,  each one was amazing!  Everyone who came over that day happily left with  some!  I had to make more. I read that some had troubles with doubling the recipe so I was apprehensive to try it. I watched it carefully & used a large pot & it turned out perfect! So I hope others will not be afraid to double this incredible recipe. It’s delicious!!!

  49. Want to try all.

  50. O.M.G!!

    I did not realize making caramel was so easy! This was my first time– thank you for the first point about being focused!  I gave this recipe all my attention and it turned out -so- well.

    I am prepping for a no-bake cheesecake for Thanksgiving Dessert ( and in lieu of buying caramel sauce I decided to make my own and save a couple of bucks. This is delicious– I want to try adding whiskey or bourbon to the next batch. It’s definitely going to be part of my christmas gift giving this year. Bravo!

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