The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

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The Best Salted Caramel Sauce — This homemade salted caramel sauce is creamy, buttery, rich, thick, smooth, and blows away anything you’ll ever buy. Best of all, it’s done in 15 minutes!

Salted Caramel Sauce recipe

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 way to make homemade caramel sauce, and it’s ready in 15 minutes. The easy caramel sauce is creamy, buttery, rich, thick, smooth, and blows away anything you’ll ever buy. You’ll never want store-bought again, which is usually thin, runny, and lackluster in flavor.

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 homemade caramel sauce doesn’t taste overly sweet.

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

Salted Caramel Sauce in jar with spoon on top

What’s in Salted Caramel Sauce? 

To make this homemade caramel sauce, you’ll need: 

homemade Caramel Sauce in glass with spoon

How to Make Caramel Sauce

To make salted caramel sauce, 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 just whisk in the cream, vanilla, and salt, and dig in!

spoonful of Salted Caramel Sauce 

Can I Make Caramel Sauce Dairy-Free? 

Having never made dairy-free salted caramel sauce, I can’t say for sure if a non-dairy alternative will work in place of the heavy cream. If you find a method that works for you, please leave me a comment so I can try it for myself! 

What Type of Salt Should I Use? 

I used regular table salt, but you can also use kosher or sea salt. Just note that salt with larger flakes tastes less salty than table salt, so you may have to play around with the amount you add in. 

How to Store Homemade Caramel Sauce

You can keep this salted caramel sauce at room temperature for up to a month. If you’re planning on giving it away as gifts, use your best judgement when figuring out how far in advance to make the sauce. 

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

Tips for Making Salted Caramel Sauce

The tiny bit of corn syrup in this recipe helps prevent the homemade caramel sauce from crystallizing, but you can omit it if desired. 

While making this salted caramel sauce, 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.

There are pleasant vanilla undertones in this easy caramel sauce, 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!

Here’s how to make caramel sauce from scratch! 

The Best Salted Caramel Sauce — This homemade salted caramel sauce is creamy, buttery, rich, thick, smooth, and blows away anything you’ll ever buy. Best of all, it's done in 15 minutes!

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4.61 from 63 votes

Salted Caramel Sauce

By Averie Sunshine
This homemade salted caramel sauce is creamy, buttery, rich, thick, smooth, and blows away anything you’ll ever buy. Best of all, it's done in 15 minutes!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 1 1/4 cups
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Ingredients  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup, can be omitted but helps reduce crystallization
  • ½ cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, optional (or substitute with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste (for a true ‘salted caramel’ sauce, I use 1 teaspoon)

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Before starting in on this recipe, tie up your hair, put your phone down, and 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 62kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 108mg, Sugar: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Recipes That Use Caramel Sauce: 

Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins — These easy, one-bowl, no-mixer muffins are soft, wonderfully moist, and the crumb has the perfect balance of density and lightness.

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

Peanut Butter Twix Caramel Bars — In these bars, there’s buttery shortbread, rich and dense peanut butter, sweet and intense caramel, and smooth dark chocolate.

Peanut Butter Twix Caramel Bars

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies — Salty-and-sweet, soft and crunchy. If you enjoy contrasting flavors and textures, these easy blondies are just for you! 

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Caramel Apple Sheet Pan Pancakes – Craving pancakes but not the work of standing at the stove flipping them? Make these EASY sheet pan pancakes!

Caramel Apple Sheet Pan Pancakes

Caramel Macchiato Banana Bread – Banana bread that tastes like a caramel macchiato!! Soft, tender, infused with salted CARAMEL and topped with a brown sugar glaze!

Caramel Macchiato Banana Bread

Caramel Apple Crumble Foil Packs – EASY, zero cleanup, made on the grill (or oven) in record time, and tastes amazing!! Juicy apples, chewy crumble topping, and luscious salted caramel…SO irresistible!!

Caramel Apple Crumble Foil Packs

Caramel Cream Poke Cake — Poke cakes are always supremely moist and this one reminds me of a cheater’s version of Tres Leches Cake because it’s sweet and creamy.

Caramel Cream Poke Cake

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

    1. Perhaps, I have never tried though. I don’t know what you’d exactly do but my guess is a couple teaspoons of very strong instant espresso stirred in at the very end.

  1. 5 stars
    What I love about a ‘problem’ like this is then having caramels to eat and the second batch for syrup 👀👀❤️ Think I will go accidentally  cook a batch too long for caramels myself;) with a second for the caramel oatmeal bars I’m making for a picnic;) great recipe!!

  2. I love this caramel without butter! Can this sauce be used for a cupcake filling that the cake won’t soak up?

    1. I am not sure if it would be thick enough to be a cupcake filling and suspect the cake would just soak it up. This is the consistency of caramel sauce you’d find drizzled on top of a coffee from Starbucks or similar, or that you’d drizzle over ice cream. Slightly thicker but not much.

  3. 5 stars
    So delicious! I made this for turtle poke cake, haven’t tried the cake yet but caramel sauce is so good I was burning my tongue “testing” it! Than you.

  4. 5 stars
    So delicious! I made this for turtle poke cake, haven’t tried the cake yet but caramel sauce is so good I was burning my tongue “testing” it! Than you.

    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that even the scalding hot tastes were great!

  5. 5 stars
    I love this sauce! Using it as a base, I make my own caramel chocolate coffee creamer. There’s an ucky taste to the commercial ones that ruin them for me.
    Follow Averie’s recipe with
    3 cups sugar
    3/4 c water
    Half gallon of milk (I use A2 or lactose free milk, either whole or 2%. Make sure to be whisking as you add the milk.)
    Cover while it cools.
    All other ingredients as per her recipe.
    Makes approximately 2.5 quarts.

  6. 5 stars
    I love this sauce! Using it as a base, I make my own caramel chocolate coffee creamer. There’s an ucky taste to the commercial ones that ruin them for me.
    Follow Averie’s recipe with
    3 cups sugar
    3/4 c water
    Half gallon of milk (I use A2 or lactose free milk, either whole or 2%. Make sure to be whisking as you add the milk.)
    Cover while it cools.
    All other ingredients as per her recipe.
    Makes approximately 2.5 quarts.

    1. Thanks for the five star review and what a genius use of this recipe to make homemade coffee creamer that’s much more natural!

  7. 5 stars
    Very easy to make and very yummy. Just thought you might like to know that I made it to go with the salted caramel buttery crumb bars (delish!). Made it in July, and used the rest of the caramel up to make individual chocolates in February. So it obviously keeps for a long time.

  8. 5 stars
    Very easy to make and very yummy. Just thought you might like to know that I made it to go with the salted caramel buttery crumb bars (delish!). Made it in July, and used the rest of the caramel up to make individual chocolates in February. So it obviously keeps for a long time.

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe turned out terrific as is the first time I made it. The second time I made it I increased the cream to 3/4 cup because I love a really cream caramel sauce. I also cooked 1 min longer at the end. This turned oft perfectly as well. Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe turned out terrific as is the first time I made it. The second time I made it I increased the cream to 3/4 cup because I love a really cream caramel sauce. I also cooked 1 min longer at the end. This turned oft perfectly as well. Thanks for a great recipe!

      1. Yes it is supposed to stay soft. If it hardened that just means you boiled it a bit too long and next time can reduce your boiling time a bit.

    1. I indicated that the recipe makes about 1 1/4 cups of sauce total.

      Sooo…depending on the size of your jars, that will determine how many jars the batch makes for you.

  11. 5 stars
    Hi! I made this caramel several times and absolutely loved it! Recently, however, when I leave it to cool it is hardening to the point that you cannot even stir it. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  12. 5 stars
    Hi! I made this caramel several times and absolutely loved it! Recently, however, when I leave it to cool it is hardening to the point that you cannot even stir it. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that you’ve been loving it overall.

      You are just overcooking/boiling it. It’s getting too hot. Ease off the heat and/or cook for a bit less time, and that should soften it up. In the winter with less humidity and dry air, things can actually cook quicker so you can back off heat and/or duration.

    1. Hmmmm hard to say. I never have so cannot say what would happen and the texture of the final caramel.

  13. 5 stars
    The only problem I had with this recipe is that by the time I was making my bars I didn’t have enough caramel for them because I ate so much. I had to make a second batch. So the standard recipe should just be doubled in my opinion… 😂

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that the caramel was so good you had to make a second batch :)

  14. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe numerous times and it’s always turned out great! But the last two times I’ve made it, it’s burned and crystallized. Any idea why that would happen all of a sudden? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad overall you have had success with the recipe.

      Burned and crystallized…sounds like the heat is too high or too strong for a sustained duration. I would try cooking it over a lower flame, even if it takes a bit longer, that may help but it’s hard to say for sure from afar.

  15. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe, I just tried it and made 2 jars full of caramel sauce. Now it’s cooling down the colour is absolutely gorgeous and I tasted a drop of it and I know I will make this a lot. Also fun to bring as a gift!

    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it turned out great for you! And yes what a lovely gift this would make.

  16. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe many times (with and without the corn syrup, sometimes with half and half instead of cream) and it’s always perfect. It’s actually very forgiving considering how notoriously finicky caramel is.

    1. I agree that caramel can be finicky but glad my recipe is always perfect for you! Thanks for the 5 star review!

  17. I looked for a perfect Carmel recipe for hours before stumbling on this one. I need think it’s perfect! …
    I found myself licking the pan, and then the spatuala and eventually just started eating it by the spoonful once it had cooled.
    I used it on shortbread cookies and banana cake over the holidays, and I’m now planning to use it on my apple pie :)
    I’m going to have to make a triple batch!
    Thank you!

    1. I’m glad that you truly savored, loved, and enjoyed this caramel sauce – and used it on so many things! Love it!

  18. Hello! I just made a couple batches & they came out perfect! Can I use Half & Half in the recipe instead of heavy cream or whipping cream? I have a big container of it so I was just wondering.

    Thanks!

    1. Yes I think that would be okay. Maybe use just a touch less since it’s a bit thinner than heavy cream. LMK how it goes!

    1. You boiled it too long. You created what’s known in candy making as the ‘hard ball’ state. Reduce cooking time and/or boil at a slightly lower temp next time.

      1. 5 stars
        What I love about a ‘problem’ like this is then having caramels to eat and the second batch for syrup 👀👀❤️ Think I will go accidentally  cook a batch too long for caramels myself;) with a second for the caramel oatmeal bars I’m making for a picnic;) great recipe!!

      2. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that you have wonderful “problems” on your hands and that you loved this!

  19. I have a candy thermometer what temperature do you boil the caramel to? Soft boil, hard boil, soft crack etc?

    1. Being that this recipe was intended for those without a thermometer, I cannot even tell you what stage on a thermometer you need to be at. I do it all by eyeballing it. Also watch the video you should be just fine!

  20. If I put this in the middle of an icecream cake would it stay soft or would it freeze solid? Have you ever tried?

    1. Good question – it would probably behave similar to whatever storebought caramel did. I don’t think it would freeze rock solid but it would firm up.

  21. I just wanted you to know that I follow your recipe exactly and make a double batch every couple of months! I use the caramel in my coffee instead of sugar and it is DIVINE :) :)

    I give this out as Christmas gifts and share the recipe with anyone who asks. Thank you!!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it’s a big favorite! I love that you use it in your coffee. Smart thinking! And how nice of you to share as gifts! :)

  22. Not sure what happened but mine completely dried up when boiling, it never got caramel color and then turned into a block of sugar. I must have done something wrong

    1. It’s so hard to say. Caramel making can be a little finicky that’s for sure. I think based on what you wrote you possibly boiled it too long if it dried up and/or too high of heat given the size of the pot. Sorry I can’t help more but thanks for trying the recipe.

  23. I just tasted a little piece of heaven! I made this to pair with your Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake, and I had to stop what I was doing to write you. Amazing! I was literally eating it with a spoon. Thank you so much for your recipe. Now, on to the cake, which I’m sure will be amazing as well.

    1. Thanks for trying both recipes! Glad you’re loving the caramel and I know you’ll love the cake just as much! Thanks for the compliments :)

  24. I read several different recipes and loved how straight forward and clear your directions were, so I chose to make yours. We are having the grilled peaches at our BBQ with your salted caramel sauce. Thank you Averie for your easy to understand and follow directions! I just did a taste test and can hardly wait for dessert!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Thanks for the compliments about how my directions were clear and straightforward (I try hard!) and really appreciate the compliments!

  25. Just made this and when I poured over my ice cream it was like hard candy. Any suggestions?
    Cindy

    1. When caramel gets to the hard state that’s called ‘hard ball’ (google it for more info) and simply means you boiled it too long/too high of a temp for too long – just ease up on the heat and/or duration of boiling next time.

    1. No I haven’t but I’m sure there’s a way to make a caramel corn of sorts with some trial and error!

      1. it actually isn’t right for caramel corn- you’d want it to be as heated as an actual caramel candy gets in order to not be left with an obey goes popcorn mess. Allrecipes has an EXCELLENT, very forgivable recipe for old fashioned creamy caramels I’d recommend. If you do Averie’s recipe correctly it is not meant to set up- it is meant to remain “saucy”… Just like her! lol! The recipe I’m referring you to is VERY close in composition to this one, with few small differences, and quite a bit of additional cooking time. additionally it uses brown sugar & white sugar- but I’m quite surte you could just use white if that is what you want/have around!

  26. I’m looking forward to trying your Salted Caramel Sauce! What kind of salt do you suggest for this recipe? 

    1. I use regular table salt because it dissolves easily but I’m sure you could use other kinds, noting all salts are different in their saltiness level so play around as needed, to taste.

  27. Hello thank you for the salted caramel recipe. It looks delicious! I was wondering if it needs to be refrigerated? I would like to make a big batch and use it for favors for a bridal shower.

  28. 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!  

  29. 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!

  30. 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?

    1. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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 :)

    1. Please read step 8. of the directions for my thoughts on storage. Since there are no preservatives, to each her own with exactly what you want to do. Enjoy!

  33. 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 (http://lifemadesimplebakes.com/2015/08/no-bake-snickers-cheesecake/) 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!

  34. 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!!!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad you had the confidence to try it and thanks for the compliment about my explanations!

  35. 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.

    1. 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!

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Salted caramel bars with the apple butter sounds amazing!

    1. I haven’t ever doubled or tripled the recipe nor have I boiled/canned it so cannot speak for sure as to the results.

  38. 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.

  39. 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

    1. 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.

  40. 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! 

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that my little tips are helpful!

  41. Used your caramel sauce for my 365 Day Challenge to a Homemade Home. http://www.homemadedaybyday.com/2015/05/homemade-caramel-sauce.html

  42. 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?
    Xx

  43. 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. :)

    1. 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!

  44. 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.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out perfectly for you and was easy! Ive tried the ‘dry’ method as well and I prefer this way too :)

    1. Yes like most sauces, if you nuke it for a few seconds it will thin down if that’s what you mean.

  45. 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

    1. You are referring to sweetened condensed milk- not evap- Think about it, no matter how much you heat up milk, it’s still just going to be MILK. There HAS to be a sugar involved to get anything “carmeley.” However, This canned milk does NOT make caramel sauce, it makes a close cousin called “dulce de leche”, Scott. They both have their place in the kitchen, and I think it’s just a matter of preference. If you’ve only ever made the Dulce, I’d recommend you try this at least once, so that you get to understand the difference between the two. They are both nummy though!

  46. 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?

    1. Mine isn’t overly thick. I mean it’s thick but not TOO thick…I think it’s just right :) Try mine and I bet you’ll be pleased!

  47. 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!!

    1. 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 :)

  48. 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! :)

    1. 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!

  49. 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!

  50. 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!

    1. 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!

  51. 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???

    1. 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.

    1. Personally I am partial to bourbon in this recipe if I don’t use vanilla extract, but it’s very individual so go with what you like.

  52. 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!!

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  53. 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.

    1. So glad it turned out perfectly for you and that you appreciated all my tips and tricks. I find that with recipes, the more details given, the better! Glad it all helped!

    1. I have all sizes from 2 oz to 16 oz, just depends on what I am using it for (actual real storage, photos, gifts, etc.)…it varies what I use.

  54. 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.

    1. With any homemade food product that has no preservatives, you have to do what’s best for you. For me, it’s lasted a month at cool room temps.

  55. 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!
    xx

    1. I haven’t tried it with maple syrup so I can’t say for sure. Let me know if you do try it that way!

  56. 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!

    1. 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.

  57. 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?

    1. 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.

  58. 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!

    1. Salted butter is fine but you may want to scale the salt at the end back some. Be sure to taste it so you don’t make it overly-salted salted caramel sauce!

  59. 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!

    1. 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!

  60. 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!

    1. 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 :)

  61. 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!!

  62. 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 ?

    1. 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’.

    1. 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.

  63. 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?

    1. 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!

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

      2. 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.

      3. 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!

  64. 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. :)

  65. 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.

    1. 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!

  66. 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!

    1. 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 :)

  67. 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! ;)

  68. 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! :)

    1. 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!

  69. 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.

    1. Thanks for trying this, Sylvia, and glad you found that it lived up to its name. Thanks for letting me know!

  70. 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!

  71. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

      2. 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!

  72. 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!

  73. 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?

  74. “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!

    1. I totally love your sense of humor! Not sharing, not hurting the phone, and spooning it right in…Amen!

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

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

  77. 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

  78. 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.

    1. And it’s one of those food trends I don’t get, but burnt caramel is sort of a trend right now. I’m with you though, no burnt stuff, just the homemade that turns out!

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

  80. 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. :)

    1. 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!

  81. 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! :-)

    1. You’re right about the not always foolproof and the insurance policy parts – right on for both :)

  82. 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? ;)

    1. 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!

  83. 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)

  84. 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 :)

  85. 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!

    1. 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!

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

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

  88. You’ve got me craving caramel sauce now and it’s barely past noon! Looks amazing and I bet it tastes way better than store-bought.

  89. The first time I successfully made caramel I couldn’t stop jumping up and down! I literally forced everyone to “look at it!” (I also caused a few burnt tongues.) ;)
    This version looks refreshingly easy! My spoon is ready to dive in.

  90. Just, OMG. 15 minutes to the best thing ever??? I’m in. I swear, just give me a spoon, no ice cream needed!

    1. And you have those pretzel bites with the caramel and every time I see those pics, I drool :)

  91. I am all about easy caramel sauce! Looks fantastic, Averie! And the drips in your related recipes – mesmerizing!! Pinned!

  92. Omg. Shut up! This is amazing!!! I can so see this for Christmas and little party favors for cookie exchange get-togethers.

  93. The corn syrup is a great tip to avoid it all crystallizing! That’s the number one hardest part of making salted caramel, and your solution is great!

    1. And the less the mixture splashes and sloshes on the sides of the pan, the better. Many suggest wiping the sides with a pastry brush or damp paper towel but honestly when the mixture is boiling like crazy, I am NOT getting that close to it!

  94. We love homemade caramel sauce! It really is so easy and it tastes so much better than store bought. Never going back! As always, looks gorgeous, Averie! Happy Monday. :)

  95. Love, love, love salted caramel sauce! This is almost how I make mine, though I usually use a little butter. Regardless, this makes me want to whip up a batch.

  96. The easiest salted caramel and ready in 15 minutes? I’m totally on board with that! :) This looks amazing Averie! Pinned!

  97. Wow this looks delicious, I want a jar of this for breakfast! I could eat caramel by the spoonful too, and have been known to…but that’s what it’s for, right? :) I never realized just how easy it was to make home-made caramel, so I’m definitely trying this recipe out! Pinned!

  98. I LOVE a good homemade caramel sauce and it sounds like you have definitely found a keeper recipe! Love how dark and gooey this gorgeous caramel looks. I’ve never added vanilla to mine before, but now I’m thinking the flavor would be even better! Can’t wait to try your version, Averie. :) Pinned!

  99. ooh I had forgotten about those no ice cream maker ice creams you made last summer this post just reminded me and that caramel sauce oh yes..must have.

  100. I love how it clings to that spoon–I could do some damage with a jar of this! I have used butter and half and half (like your dark rum caramel sauce) but haven’t tried heavy cream. Just curious how you think the 2 compare in terms of taste (though the flavor profiles are different)and maybe texture.

    1. I would say (from memory because I haven’t made that other one in ages) but this one is definitely thick, rich, and luscious! If you’ve ever had Trader Joe’s salted caramel/fleur de sel, it’s along those lines, but with a definite homemade taste and richness.

  101. Averie, I think I might fall into the “unfortunately” category. I’m totally pinning this but I’m not sure I can be trusted around this stuff! YUM!

  102. I made my own caramel sauce awhile back for the first time, using coconut milk instead of cream, and it was so easy! I still haven’t tried anything “Salted caramel” so I can’t wait to try this! Pinned!

  103. Oh this is fabulous! Ive always had trouble getting the perfect caramel sauce. Will have to try!