Have you ever made salted caramel sauce from scratch before? Try this recipe! It is sweet with notes of vanilla and brown sugar and a hit of salt. Plus, it's actually really easy to make!
Making your own caramel sauce has never been easier. There is no need for a candy thermometer.
Don't have years of pastry experience? No worries! Even beginner bakers can make delicious salted caramel sauce at home.
Homemade caramel sauce is like liquid gold. There is really no reason to use store-bought. This easy caramel sauce comes together in no time and has so much flavor!
Once you make your own, you'll find it makes nearly every other recipe better. Try salted caramel sauce on my caramel apple coffee cake, drizzled on pecan pie, or poured over this chocolate caramel cake.
But Like, How Do You Make Caramel Sauce?
To make caramel, you have to cook granulated sugar. You are literally caramelizing the sugar by melting then cooking it over a heat source. It's a very hands-off process.
To turn it into sauce, you add butter and cream. A pinch of salt and dribble of vanilla add extra flavor. That's about it! Easy, right?
Ingredients in Salted Caramel Sauce
You'll be surprised at how short the list is for caramel sauce. Here's what you need:
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
Tools and Equipment
Thought the ingredients list was short? These are the only tools you need:
- Wooden spoon or heat-safe spatula
- Heat-safe jar or container
Instructions for Making Caramel Sauce
If you're a first-timer, then there are some visual clues you don't want to miss. Take a look at how the sugar transforms during the caramelization process:
Begin cooking plain granulated sugar until it melts.
Stir the sugar every so often so that it melts evenly into a dark golden color.
Carefully add the butter and stir to melt.
Whisk in the cream before finishing with sea salt and vanilla.
Hint: Cook the sugar until it turns a medium amber color. The longer and darker it becomes, the more pronounced the caramel taste will be. Go too far, and the caramel will have a slightly bitter taste.
What About the Wet Method?
Some recipes, including my recipe on this chocolate caramel brownie cake, include water and corn syrup. This is the wet method for making caramel.
The wet method is very similar to the dry caramel method, except the sugar is cooked with water and corn syrup before adding the cream and significantly less butter. Corn syrup helps keep the caramel from crystallizing.
Honestly, I like both versions! Give them both a try and see which you prefer.
Heavy Cream - replace the cream with coconut milk or coconut cream
Vegan - try using coconut cream or milk with non-dairy butter for a plant-based version.
Coconut Caramel - swap the heavy cream for coconut cream or canned coconut milk
Boozy Caramel - add a tablespoons or two of bourbon or rum at the very end of the recipe
Plain Caramel Sauce - decrease the salt to just a pinch
Spiced Caramel Sauce - infuse the cream with cinnamon or other spices by simmering and letting steep before starting the recipe.
Extra Vanilla Caramel Sauce - stir in the seeds of a vanilla bean pod or add vanilla bean paste at the end of the recipe.
Caramel sauce will be very hot and runny just after making. Pour it into a heat-safe jar and allow to cool at room temperature until just warm.
Store salted caramel sauce in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. It will thicken as it cools.
To use, gently reheat in the microwave, 10 to 20 seconds at a time, until desired consistency.
Salted Caramel Recipe FAQs
No, you don't need any extra tools to make caramel sauce at home. Look for visual clues when melting the sugar.
Caramel sauce it mainly made of sugar. Adding a bit of salt balances out the sweetness. It taste of brown sugar, vanilla, and sea salt.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter diced
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
- Place the sugar in a large, dry skillet or saucepan. Set over medium-high heat.
- Cook the sugar until it melts. Stir gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to get it started and cooking evenly. Once melted, do not stir.
- Continue to cook the melted sugar until it turn a medium gold or amber color.
- Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the butter. Be careful of splatters.
- Whisk in the heavy cream. It may boil up and foam, so be careful.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and cook until thick, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Carefully pour into a heat-safe container and cool. Sauce will thicken as it cools.