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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
- Very carefully and slowly, add the cream. Stand back because mixture will bubble up considerably.
- Optionally, and very carefully, add the vanilla and salt, to taste. Stand back because mixture will bubble up again.
- Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined, and let it boil another 1 minute, which helps thicken it up.
- 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.
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