The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

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! 

Salted Caramel Sauce

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!

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup (can be omitted but helps reduce crystallization)
  • 1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, optional (or substitute with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste (for a true ‘salted caramel’ sauce, I use 1 teaspoon)

Instructions

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
    4. Very carefully and slowly, add the cream. Stand back because mixture will bubble up considerably.
    5. Optionally, and very carefully, add the vanilla and salt, to taste. Stand back because mixture will bubble up again.
    6. Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined, and let it boil another 1 minute, which helps thicken it up.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 62Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 0g

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.

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

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 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 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 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.

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

  1. 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!

    Rating: 5
  2. 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.

    Rating: 5
  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. Where can I get cute jars like that? Are they 1 c capacity?! I’d love to pass them out as Christmas gifts!

  6. my came out harder not dipable… do you know what i did wrong?

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

    • 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!

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

  9. 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!!

  10. 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

    • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

    • 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!

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

    • 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.

  14. Mm delicious, this turned out just right. Thanks for sharing.

    Simon

  15. Have you ever tried on popcorn?

  16. Excellent directions, I was nervous to make this but it turned out well.

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

    • 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.

  18. 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.

  19. I just tried this recipe with brown sugar and it turned out beautifully! Thank you!

  20. 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!  

  21. 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!

  22. Hi,
    Just wondering if there was a typo missing in your salted caramel sauce….missing the butter?

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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 :)

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