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Luscious and creamy, this homemade salted caramel sauce is as easy as it gets. Ready in 15-minutes, you can drizzle it over ice cream, cake, pies – or even coffee!
Being a one-pan recipe that’s ready in 15 minutes, you’ll wonder why you never tried making homemade salted caramel sauce before. There’s nothing fussy about it!
Simmered until lovely and golden, you’ll get the same thick creaminess as with store-bought kinds but loads more flavor. As a heads up, you might want to make several batches in one go because everyone will want to eat it by the spoonful.
Warm and toasty from the caramelized sugar and vanilla, it’s full of fall flavors and indulgent sweetness— perfect for drizzling on ice cream, cake, and all your favorite treats.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Caramel Sauce
Aside from its rich creaminess, here are more reasons to love homemade salted caramel above all things:
- Quick. It’s ready in 15 minutes – that means minimum stirring. Do I really need to say more?
- Simple. With only 6 ingredients, it can probably come together with what’s already in your fridge and pantry.
- No fancy equipment. As long as you watch the temperature of the pan and sugar, you won’t need any special kitchen appliances to make this salted caramel.
What You’ll Need
Don’t worry about the ingredient list, it’s only 6 items long! For exact ingredient amounts, check the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Granulated sugar – White and light brown sugar are great. You can also use dark brown sugar but the flavor will be much richer and even slightly fruity.
- Heavy cream – Half-and-half works too. Don’t use sour cream or yogurt.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted butter because it gives you full control over the amount of sodium, but you can also use salted.
- Vanilla bean paste – Feel free to substitute it for 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
- Salt – Skip this if you’re using salted butter.
How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
Making this salted caramel is easy, even without all the fancy equipment to tell you it’s ready. Just keep an eye on the sugar to make sure it doesn’t burn. You can watch a video showing how to make caramel sauce in my Apple Rose Tartlets post.
- Melt the sugar. Add the sugar to a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Don’t stir it. Let it melt for about 10 minutes or until it turns amber.
- Add water. Carefully add boiling hot water and mix until well combined.
- Add the cream. Pour the heavy cream into the pan and whisk continuously until you get a smooth mixture. Reduce the heat to low and let the caramel simmer for 3 more minutes.
- Add the butter. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until fully combined. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then transfer it to a heat-proof jar or container. Bring it to room temperature before storing it.
Tips for Success
Follow these tips to make this homemade salted caramel sauce completely fail-proof:
- Pat the pan dry. If you washed the pan right before beginning with the recipe, pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel. It needs to be completely dry to avoid the sugar from burning.
- Use heat-proof containers. Avoid the cracking of jars and melting of containers by making sure they’re heat-proof.
- Add lemon. Add 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice into the pan with the sugar. The acidity will keep the sugar from crystallizing.
- Avoid stainless steel pans. While they definitely get the job done, the chances of burning and sticking increase considerably. To avoid this, use non-stick pans instead.
Ways to Use Caramel Sauce
Caramel sauce is perfect for drizzling over your favorite sweet treats. In the morning, I’m a big fan of adding a generous dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce to my coffee. In fact, this sauce would be an excellent addition to my gingerbread latte or pumpkin spice latte.
Serving it over ice cream is one of my favorite things in the world. It goes great with my Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream, No-Churn Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, and No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream. For a fancier chilled treat, drizzle it over Strawberries Romanoff Ice Cream Parfait.
If you’re not in the mood for ice cream, you can also drizzle this on top of a slice of cake. Peach Cobbler Pound Cake, Tiramisu Cake, Honey Cake, and Nutella Mug Cake all go wonderfully with caramel sauce.
Or, you can combine the best of both worlds: drizzle this caramel sauce on top of mini rose apple pies and then serve it with ice cream!
How Long Will Homemade Caramel Sauce Last?
Refrigerated in an airtight container or jar, this homemade caramel sauce will last for up to a month.
If it thickens, just microwave it for 5-15 seconds until it returns to its original consistency. Give it a good stir and it should be good to go.
Can I Freeze This?
Absolutely! Once fully cooled, pour it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze it for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it over the counter until it reaches room temperature.
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup boiling hot water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- ½ tsp kosher salt or more, to taste
- Melt the sugar. Place sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat without stirring until sugar melts and turns amber-colored (approx. 10 minutes). Make sure not to overcook the sugar as it might burn. Add boiling hot water and mix to combine (approx. 2 minutes).
- Add the cream. Pour the heavy cream in and combine whisking continuously. Keep whisking, until the mixture comes together. When it is combined, simmer on low heat for 3 minutes.
- Add butter. Remove from the heat, add the butter, vanilla bean paste, and salt and whisk until combined. Transfer to a jar and let it cool completely before storing.