Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup
20 min

This easy, homemade salted caramel sauce is so good you’ll never go back to store bought again ;). Perfect for topping ice cream, cupcakes, cheesecake or just eating by the spoonful. I've included 4 salted caramel flavor variations which make great homemade gifts too!

Okay, so I know the whole caramelization process seems intimidating but I promise you making homemade salted caramel sauce is VERY EASY!


Once you make your first batch of caramel sauce you’ll be like O.M.G. why have I never done this before?


It's soooo much better than the store bought stuff. I pinkie promise you ;).


Let’s just say it’s like having jarred marinara sauce your whole life and then suddenly tasting grandma’s homemade sauce…total taste bud game changer!!!


Also, tell me if I'm the only one who has this song doesn't pop into their head while making it:


“I’m hot…sticky, sweet…from my head to my feet…POUR SOME SUGAR ON MEEEEE”…

Guys, I really can't be the only one...


But seriously, this caramel sauce is insanely good, plus it makes an adorable Christmas or hostess gift.


I usually make a big batch of the regular caramel, then divide it an add the flavor variations (mentioned below), pour each flavor into a mini mason jar, wrap some cute bows on them, and wallah, the cutest most delicious presents :).

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
  • granulated sugar
  • water
  • heavy cream
  • butter
  • vanilla extract
  • course sea salt

(For flavored caramel sauce, see below for some ideas!)


How to make easy homemade salted caramel sauce:
  1. In a medium to large sauce pan, combine granulated sugar and water over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. STOP stirring once you see it bubble to prevent crystallization.
  3. Turn heat up to medium-high. Continue cooking for about 7-12 minutes (don't stir!) until sugar turns a deep golden amber color (the mixture will be cloudy at first, then turn to clear bubbles, and then finally to gold). Don't walk away while you're waiting for the mixture to brown as it can happen very quickly!
  4. Remove from heat. Slowly and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, stirring until fully incorporated. (The caramel will bubble up as you whisk in the cream so be extra careful!).
  5. Add in butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until smooth. Add more salt if needed.
  6. Pour into mason jar or heat proof container and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
What to do with salted caramel sauce?
  • drizzle on top of ice cream
  • use as a cupcake filling
  • drizzle over homemade cheesecake
  • serve with cardamom pear apple crisp
  • add to your favorite frosting
  • eat with a spoon 😉
  • use as homemade gifts

Homemade Caramel Sauce Flavors:
  1. Chocolate-add ½ cup chocolate chips (milk, dark or semi-sweet) in addition to the butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until fully melted and combined.
  2. Chai Spice-add 2 teaspoons of chai spice in addition to the butter, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. (Note: the recipe yields ⅓ cup of spice. Store leftovers in airtight container or mason jar).
  3. Coffee-In small sauce pan bring heavy cream to a simmer, remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and set aside while you make the caramel. Add the infused coffee cream just like you would the heavy cream in step 4.
  4. Bourbon-after you add the cream, add 1-3 tablespoons of bourbon, then the butter, salt and vanilla.
  5. Salted Maple-in addition to the butter, salt and vanilla, add ¼-1/2 teaspoon maple extract.
How to store caramel sauce:

Once the caramel sauce cools enough to handle, pour into a glass jar or container. Store in your refrigerator for up to one month. The caramel sauce will solidify as it cools, so just microwave it in 30 second intervals until liquid again.


You can also freeze the caramel sauce for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Tips for Fool Proof Caramel:
  1. Make sure you have your ingredients ready to go before starting the caramel sauce since it comes together quickly.
  2. If one spot starts to brown before the rest of the pot, give it a gentle swirl to avoid burning.
  3. If the heavy cream doesn't fully incorporate, don't panic! Simply place back on the heat and whisk until smooth.
  4. To clean stuck-on caramel on your pot: fill pot with water, bring to boil to loosen up the hardened caramel, then wipe clean.
For more caramel dessert recipes try:

Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownies
Apple Crumb Crostata with Caramel
Chai Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
Banana Pound Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Recipe details

  • 1  cup
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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Ingredients


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½- 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions


In a medium to large sauce pan, combine granulated sugar and water over medium heat.
Stir constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.  STOP stirring once you see it bubble to prevent crystallization.
Turn heat up to medium-high.  Continue cooking for about 7-12 minutes (don't stir!) until sugar turns a deep golden amber color (the mixture will be cloudy at first, then turn to clear bubbles, and then finally to gold).  Don't walk away while you're waiting for the mixture to brown, because it can happen very quickly!
Remove from heat.  Slowly and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, stirring until fully incorporated.  (The caramel will bubble up as you whisk in the cream so be extra careful!).
Add in butter, vanilla and salt.  Stir until smooth.  Add more salt if needed.
Once it has cooled slightly, pour into glass jar or container. Let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Reheat in microwave or on the stovetop.

Tips

  • Chocolate-add ½ cup chocolate chips (milk, dark or semi-sweet) in addition to the butter, vanilla and salt.  Stir until fully melted and combined.
  • Chai Spice-add 2 teaspoons of chai spice in addition to the butter, vanilla and salt.  Stir to combine. (Note: the recipe yields ⅓ cup of spice.  Store leftovers in airtight container or mason jar).
  • Coffee-In small sauce pan bring heavy cream to a simmer, remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules.  Cover with lid or plastic wrap and set aside while you make the caramel.  Add the infused coffee cream just like you would the heavy cream in step 4.
  • Bourbon-after you add the cream, add 1-3 tablespoons of bourbon, then the butter, salt and vanilla.
  • Salted Maple-in addition to the butter, salt and vanilla, add ¼-1/2 teaspoon maple extract.

Wine a Little Cook a Lot
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