The BEST salted caramel sauce made in less than 10 minutes with 5 ingredients! Learn how to make caramel at home without a candy thermometer. This easy step-by-step recipe makes 1 cup caramel sauce.
Why you’ll love this caramel sauce recipe:
There’s nothing more satisfying than homemade salted caramel sauce! Rich and creamy, each spoonful is delicious straight from the jar and perfect for drizzling over ice cream or caramel cheesecake.
Made in a saucepan, this stovetop cooking method makes perfect caramel sauce every time (step-by-step photos provided below!).
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With just five ingredients (granulated sugar, unsalted butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt) and about 10 minutes, you too can have your first batch of caramel sauce.
This recipe uses the dry method, meaning the sugar is caramelized in a saucepan without adding any water or corn syrup. Another bonus – there’s no candy thermometer required!
Love homemade caramel? Salted caramel sauce is the star ingredient in this round up of Best Salted Caramel Desserts!
How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce
- Melt sugar – Melt and caramelize granulated sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Cook until sugar is completely melted and has reached a light amber color. I don’t recommend cooking to a deep amber color as the finished sauce may taste bitter.
- Add butter – Once all of the sugar crystals have dissolved, whisk in cubed unsalted butter a few pieces at a time until completely incorporated.
- Add heavy cream – Drizzle in heavy cream while whisking constantly. Let mixture boil for 1 minute (the mixture will bubble up rapidly).
- Flavor caramel – Remove pan from the heat and pour caramel into a glass bowl. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon salt (salt balances out the flavor and keeps the caramel sauce from tasting too sweet).
- Cool caramel – Let caramel sauce cool to room temperature before using (caramel sauce thickens as it cools).
Tips for Caramel Success:
- Prep Ahead – Read through the entire recipe before beginning, and prepare all of your ingredients ahead so that you can work quickly.
- Room Temperature Ingredients – Use room temperature unsalted butter and room temperature heavy cream. Adding cold butter or heavy cream directly from the refrigerator to the saucepan could cause the mixture to seize up.
- Saucepan – Use a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan (I recommend a 2-quart saucepan). A light-colored saucepan is best so that you can easily see the sugar melting and the color of the mixture.
- Use Caution – Caramel is extremely hot, so wear oven mitts while handling the saucepan and whisking to prevent burns.
- Larger Batches – Do not double or triple this recipe for a larger batch of caramel. Instead, make a few batches if you need additional caramel sauce.
Step 1: Prep Caramel Ingredients
Measure out granulated sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Cut butter into small cubes so that it melts quickly, and bring heavy cream to room temperature.
Step 2: Melt Sugar
Place granulated sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a spatula, until sugar forms clumps, caramelizes, and then melts into a light colored amber liquid.
Step 3: Add Butter
Whisk in cubed unsalted butter a few pieces at a time until completely melted and incorporated.
Step 4: Add Heavy Cream
Drizzle in heavy cream. Let mixture boil for 1 minute while whisking constantly (the mixture will bubble up rapidly).
Step 5: Flavor Caramel
Pour caramel sauce into a glass bowl and stir in vanilla extract and salt until combined. Caramel sauce will thicken as it cools.
How to Store Caramel Sauce
Store salted caramel sauce covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (I like to store caramel sauce in a glass jar).
When you’re ready to use the sauce, reheat in 10-second bursts in the microwave, stirring until smooth before using. You can also reheat caramel sauce in a small saucepan over medium low heat until warm.
If you plan to use the sauce as a cake filling or in a frosting, it’s easiest to use straight from the refrigerator when the caramel sauce is cool and thickened. For drizzling, warm the sauce to room temperature.
Tips to Freeze
If you have leftover sauce or make an extra batch, you can freeze caramel sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Be sure to use an airtight plastic storage container if you’re freezing the sauce (glass jars or containers may shatter).
When you’re ready to use the sauce again, remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Favorite salted caramel recipes:
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Caramel Fudge Layer Cake
- Caramel Apple Puff Pastry Tarts
- Salted Caramel Crumb Bars
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Cups
- Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- Caramel Apple Bars
- Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
- Caramel Pear Crumble Pie
- Salted Caramel Apple Tart
Did you try this Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment and rating below!Print
The BEST homemade caramel sauce made in less than 10 minutes with 5 ingredients! Learn how to make caramel at home without a candy thermometer. This easy step-by-step recipe makes 1 cup caramel sauce.
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
- 1/2 cup (120 g) heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp (2 g) vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cook sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula. Continue cooking until sugar forms clumps and melts into a light amber colored liquid, about 4-5 minutes.
- Once the sugar is completely melted, carefully add butter a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly until incorporated. (The caramel mixture will boil rapidly at this point, so watch for splatter. Caramel is extremely hot, so wear oven mitts while handling the saucepan and whisking to prevent burns.)
- Slowly drizzle in heavy cream while whisking constantly. (The mixture will bubble up rapidly.) Let mixture boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let caramel sauce cool slightly before using – sauce thickens as it cools.
- Store leftover caramel sauce covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Salted caramel sauce can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in 10-second bursts in the microwave, stirring until smooth before using.
Salt: You can use regular salt or sea salt (I like Maldon).
Larger Batches: Do not double or triple this recipe for a larger batch of caramel. Instead, make a few batches if you need additional sauce.
Freeze Caramel Sauce: Freeze homemade salted caramel sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Be sure to use an airtight plastic storage container if you’re freezing the sauce (glass jars or containers may shatter). When you’re ready to use the sauce again, remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Keywords: Salted Caramel Sauce, Caramel Sauce, How to Make Caramel
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