Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted caramel is currently the coolest kid in class. It’s the quarterback of the football team. The head cheerleader. When salted caramel is at a party, everyone wants to be there. While foodie crazes like macarons and cake pops are certainly deserving, I think salted caramel has some serious staying power. There is nothing about the combination of sweet and salty that will ever go out of style. You may have noticed over the last year or so, that I have completely and totally embraced the salted caramel phenomenon: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie BarsSalted Caramel Popcorn, Pretzel & Peanut BarsSalted Caramel BrowniesSweet and Salty BrowniesSalted Caramel Cashew BarkSea Salt Caramels with Vanilla BeanSalted Caramel Ice Cream. The best part? I’ve merely scratched the surface. The possibilities are truly endless, which is why I thought it was high-time I settled on a standard salted caramel sauce recipe. I have experimented with different types – dry (sugar only), wet (sugar and water), some with corn syrup, some with sour cream. Needless to say, I’ve run the gamut. My conclusion? I’ve found the simplest to be the best. In 15 minutes, and with only four ingredients, you can have smooth, creamy, salty caramel sauce. Below you will find tips for making the best caramel, and a step-by-step recipe with photos.

Caramel can be intimidating, but the more you make it, and the more you will get a feel for the look and the smell, and it will become second-nature. For those just starting out, here are a few tips:

  • Stir the sugar initially to help it to melt evenly, but stop once it has completely melted to keep it from seizing.
  • If you’re new to caramel-making, you may find a thermometer will help to guide you. The caramel should reach 350 degrees F on an instant-read or candy thermometer. If you aren’t able to obtain a thermometer, you can use visual cues for doneness. The caramel should be a deep amber color and should have just started to smoke. The line is very fine here. If you don’t cook it long enough it will be too sweet with little depth of flavor, but cook it too long and it will be burnt and unusable. Once you’ve done it a few times and see the color and can experience the smell when the thermometer hits 350, you will have a better idea of how to eyeball it when you don’t have a thermometer.
  • Be sure to use a saucepan that is larger than you think you might need. When you add the butter and the cream, the caramel will bubble up violently.

Now that you have a jar of the most amazing caramel sauce, what can you do with it? The short answer? Anything and everything!

Drizzle it over ice cream. Swirl it into brownies and cheesecakes. Use it as a dip for apple slices. Stir a spoonful into hot chocolate. Put it in pretty jars and give it as gifts. Whip it into buttercream frosting (we’re doing that tomorrow – stay tuned!) Bathe in it. Eat it by the spoonful. No one judges when it comes to salted caramel!

One year ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Cupcake Recipes
Two years ago: Polenta French Toast
Three years ago: Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies

Salted Caramel Sauce

Yield: 2 cups of sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)

Directions:

1. Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan, with a capacity of at least 2 or 3 quarts. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You'll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, but that's okay. Just keep whisking and as it continues to cook, they will melt back down.

Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks.

2. Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. If you are using an instant-read thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 350 degrees F.

(The lighting doesn't depict the color perfectly in the photo above, but if you look to the left side, you will see there is some darker caramel underneath - this was the predominant color at this point.)

3. As soon as the caramel reaches 350 degrees, add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously.

Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate.

5. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar and let cool to room temperature. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 weeks. You'll want to warm the sauce up before using.

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438 Responses to “Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce”

Comment Pages 1 2 3 4
  1. Victoria on May 22, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Hello! Your blog is my favorite food blog, keep up the wonderful recipes! I was wandering, is that 12 tbsp butter or a typo?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Victoria, Nope, not a typo!

      Reply

      • Tamela on February 4th, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        I noticed the 12 tbsp of butter was a typo. What is the correction?
        thank you

        Reply

        • Michelle on February 4th, 2014 at 5:04 pm

          Hi Tamela, It is not a typo – the recipe indeed calls for 12 tablespoons of butter.

          Reply

  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 22, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I love caramel sauce and have made my share of burnt messes but when it’s right and the boiling sugar gods love me, all is well. Your caramel looks SO GOOD!

    Reply

  3. Jolene @ Yummy Inspirations on May 22, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Looks amazing… would be amazing drizzled over a little fruit to balance the sweetness!

    Reply

  4. Coleens Recipes on May 22, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Beautifully illustrated, just perfect!!

    Reply

  5. Kathryn on May 22, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Thank you so much for posting this, it looks amazingly rich and delicious!

    Reply

  6. Nancy @ CouponClippingCook on May 22, 2012 at 5:02 am

    What a great recipe. I can’t wait to try this. Looks delicious.

    Reply

  7. Natasha on May 22, 2012 at 5:22 am

    I love this, because I have a very very similar post for basic salted caramel sauce sitting in my drafts waiting for me to press “publish”!!
    I love it. Its just the best when it cools and thickens up in the fridge and you can eat it with a spoon.
    Great step-by-step photos, too!

    Reply

  8. Blog is the New Black on May 22, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Can’t wait to try!

    Reply

  9. Sues on May 22, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Oooh yum! It’s absolutely beautiful! I have a feeling I’d have a major problem not drizzling this on EVERYTHING!

    Reply

  10. Tanya Schroeder on May 22, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Slated caramel is best!! I’m thinking this would make a great teacher gift!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Ooh, yes, Tanya, that’s a great idea! Perfect for the holidays, too!

      Reply

  11. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on May 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Perfect topping for cake, cheesecake, or ice cream. My mouth is watering already! Can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

  12. Jennifer on May 22, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Currently caramel is my archenemy in the kitchen. I’m not giving up, mind you, but it has beaten me down a few too many times. Seeing this post, I’m thinking that maybe I should give it a try again. I really, really love caramel even if it isn’t my friend.

    Reply

    • KateB on June 8th, 2013 at 9:51 am

      I feel your ‘friendship’ with caramel.. I’ve tried it at least a dozen times.. 2x it actually came out :) going to try this one.

      Reply

    • Nicola on August 30th, 2013 at 5:20 am

      If you add a tablespoon of water it slows the heating process down just slightly so you are less likely to burn it :)

      Reply

    • Robyn on November 14th, 2013 at 1:38 am

      I understand that it is a little hard but in class we learned that if you add water at the start then it’ll take longer because all the water needs to evaporate.
      The best way I can describe how to do it is to have all the sugar in a separate cup and gradually add it all in. when the first layer has melted it’ll be a medium amber (it’ll still be really sweet) but as you keep adding the remaining sugar (be sure to do it in small amounts or you’ll end up with a huge clump of sugar) it’ll gradually get darker. after it reaches desired color add the cream (at room temp) in the same fashion but before you add the last bit remove it from the stove.
      the reason why we do cream first is because butter burns if the temp is too high and can solidify the caramel (I did that my first time, tasted like toffee lol)
      after all the cream is added pour it into a metal bowl and allow to cool to 25-30 degrees Celsius and then add very soft butter (not melted) it tastes delicious and my class has yet to mess it up.

      Reply

  13. Katrina on May 22, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I’d like to have a swim in this stuff!

    Reply

  14. Emily @Sweet Bella Roos on May 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Mmmmm this looks delish!! This pregnancy I have been LOVING caramel… just might have to try this!!

    Reply

  15. Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables on May 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

    thanks for this michelle! I really struggle with caramel so I think I will buy a thermometer and give this a try!

    Reply

  16. Meghan @ After the Ivy League on May 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I’m still a little intimidated by making my own caramel, but your instructions are great, so maybe it’s time I try it. And thanks for reminding me about your salted caramel popcorn, pretzel, and peanut bars! I need to make those sometime soon :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Oh Meghan, Those bars are to-die-for! Definitely make them soon!

      Reply

  17. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Pepper on May 22, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Oh, I have never made caramel sauce, I’m to afraid to! I’d pour it over everything!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with that :)

      Reply

  18. Lauren on May 22, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I could drink that stuff down no prob….

    Reply

  19. Catalina @ Cake with Love on May 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I love caramel, I can eat it by spoon, love that this one is salted!

    Reply

  20. Jenn on May 22, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I can’t wait to get back on the horse!! (I’ve tried only once) I was a little too gun shy and it turned out way too light in color and sweet… but now that I have your recipe and step by step photos I feel confident! Thank you! Also – I was once told to heat the cream on the stove top (not boiling) next to the caramel and it will reduce the violent-nes (is that a word?) of the bubble up when adding the cream.. Oooh.. I better make some today so I can be prepared for whatever is coming next :0) You had me at buttercream!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Jenn, I never warm my cream, but I do leave it to sit at room temperature, I will be sure to add a note about that above. Thank you for reminding me!

      Reply

  21. Stephanie on May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

    hehe Eat it by the spoonful. Don’t mind if I do!

    Reply

  22. Beth Cook on May 22, 2012 at 10:09 am

    You just killed my diet and I haven’t even eaten any. :(

    Reply

  23. Jenn on May 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Do you have a hot fudge sauce recipe too? Was thinking of giving coldstone giftcards with a small jar of caramel and a small jar of hot fudge to my sons’ teacher as an end of year gift.

    thank you!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Jenn, I don’t have one yet, but it is coming!

      Reply

      • Cynthia on December 29th, 2012 at 9:07 am

        I’m a hot fudge fanatic. You might want to take a look at Recchiuti’s hot fudge sauce recipe and Baked’s malt chocolate sauce recipe for inspiration and experimentation. Also, have you ever tried an infrared thermometer? Just shoot the beam of light at the sauce and get an instant reading – no mess, no worries. Also excellent for checking the temp of the oven. For me they have made candy and sauce making and chocolate tempering so much easier and far more precise.

        Reply

  24. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on May 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I could literally eat salted caramel with a spoon; it’s my absolute favourite! Great step by step pics. I have yet to make it with butter, so I will definitely give this version a try!

    Reply

  25. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on May 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

    This sounds fabulous and thank you for the very helpful caramel-making tips and photos! I am also a lover of salted caramel anything!

    Reply

  26. Maria on May 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I want to drink this!

    Reply

  27. Laura Dembowski on May 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Love salted caramel. This looks great. Saw you ask on Twitter if you should post it or not. Glad you decided to!

    Reply

  28. Kristen M. on May 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Ahhhhhh salted caramel…I will never quit it! The color on your sauce is perfect. I am always looking for a winning method so I will definitely try yours out.

    Reply

  29. Tracy on May 22, 2012 at 11:05 am

    This looks amazing and I love how simple it is. I still have never made it at home and this will be the recipe I use!

    Reply

  30. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on May 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I want to eat this with a spoon :) Can’t wait to see what you do with it to make it into buttercream frosting!

    Reply

  31. Villy @ For the love of Feeding on May 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I could definitely eat it by the spoonful!

    Reply

  32. Tracey on May 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I’ve only tried the dry method once and I had really great results. Not sure why I didn’t go back to it… I’m excited to give this recipe a try! Salted caramel is the best :)

    Reply

  33. Rachel @ Bakerita on May 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    This looks amazing. I feel like I always use a different caramel recipe each time I make it, but it’d be nice to have one to always use, and this looks perfect!

    Reply

  34. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on May 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    So glad you did the tutorial! I will have to try this soon!

    Reply

  35. Paula on May 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    This caramel sauce looks wonderful and thank you for telling us how long it will keep in the fridge. Appreciate that.

    Reply

  36. Mimster on May 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Made this today – OMG, the best and easiest caramel I have ever made. Will be my go to recipe from now on! Thanks for a great post!

    Reply

  37. Jenny D on May 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Do you think I could use Sucanat? Its all I have in the house but I do happen to have some left over heavy cream that I need to use it or lose it!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Jenny, You could try it, but I have no idea how it would turn out. It would be much sweeter, since it looks to be more of a brown sugar than regular white granulated sugar. I would recommend using white sugar, if you can.

      Reply

      • Jenny D on May 25th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

        Update! I tried sucanat and I think it would have worked, had I not burnt it! I burned it in the beginning but followed through anyway. It had a nice flavor until the burnt flavor crept in :P Then I tried white sugar and it burned before it hit 350. So my third attempt I ditched the cast iron dutch oven and used an All-Clad and turned the heat down then off just after 300 and its pretty good! Still a slight burnt tinge but not enough for us to stop eating it by the spoonful. I will definitely keep playing with it to see where I can catch that darn spot where it starts to burn. Maybe I need a new thermometer!

        Reply

        • Michelle on May 26th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

          Hi Jenny, I’m glad it eventually worked out! My guess is that because cast iron retains heat so well, it got much hotter than a typical stainless steel pan.

          Reply

  38. Jenn and Seth on May 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    oh my god this is amazing. i am definitely making this next time i make vanilla ice cream!

    Reply

  39. Venesa on May 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    This makes me want to purchase an ice cream maker even more! Imagine this drizzled over vanilla or coffee ice cream….drool!

    Reply

  40. Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen on May 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Since it’s in a mason jar, does that mean I can drink it!? All I need is a straw :) Looks great and I always love when the simple version is best!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Yes, drinking it is perfectly acceptable :)

      Reply

  41. Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} on May 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I recently made caramel for the very first time when making my latest creation (on my blog). I used a different recipe using condensed milk and it came out perfectly but I’m so glad I saw this post as I can see where it’s so easy to go wrong.

    This sauce looks so delightful. I can’t wait to try it and then think of ways I can add it to almost everything I eat! :)

    Reply

  42. Tracy {Pale Yellow} on May 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Beautiful sauce! What a great staple to have on hand!

    Reply

  43. Emilie on May 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I just made this and it turned out fabulous! I’d been thinking about trying the “dry” method for making caramel, just to see how it compared to the “wet” versions I’d made before. I decided to take the plunge tonight so I could take little jars of it to two friends tomorrow. And I’m happy to say that I’m officially a “dry” convert! I think it was less time consuming, plus for some reason it seemed like it was easier to tell when it was “just right” without edging too close to burning it. So thanks so much!!!

    Reply

  44. Kim Bee on May 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    This is fabulous. When I first saw the photo I thought it was a straw. I was thinking “finally someone who likes caramel as much as me”. Lol. Great recipe.

    Reply

  45. Amber on May 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I totally want to stick my apple in that beautiful jar and drench it in your homemade salted caramel sauce….my mouth is watering…. oh yea…. :)

    Reply

  46. RisaG on May 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Salted Caramel is amazing stuff. I adore it. You are making me seriously hungry and I just finished dinner.

    Reply

  47. Victoria on May 23, 2012 at 12:17 am

    I just made this, and even though It’s overdone it’s amazing! Thanks for the great recipe! A warning to fellow readers though: don’t get your stove too hot or else it will get to 350F before you’re done whisking.

    Reply

  48. Christy @ {noelle grace designs} on May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Looks delicious! I’m thinking a mocha base with this frosting would be divine (kinda like a Salted Caramel Mocha from St@rbucks). I’m partial to vanilla beans so I may try it on a vanilla bean base as well. :)

    Reply

  49. Ann on May 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    So I’ve made salted caramel sauce several times, but this was my first attempt at the dry method. Oddly, even though I was trying to wisk the sugar as it melted, all the sudden I had very amber colored melted sugar at the bottom while half of it hadn’t melted! Needless to say, by the time I got it all melted (within like a minute or 2?) it was already the right color, but of course it seized up pretty bad when I added the butter and the cream. I salvaged a decent amount of it and I know it’s still going to taste amazing, but I lost a pretty big quantity of sugar to the bottom and sides of my pan :( Not sure why this happened so quickly. When I’ve used the wet method it’s taken 10-20 minutes to get amber-colored. I’m going to blame my old electric stove. Maybe I should keep the heat much lower next time?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Ann, The dry method takes a lot less time than the water and sugar method. That being said, I constantly have trouble cooking on electric stoves. They take longer to get to temperature and then maintain, making it very difficult to truly control temperature if you need to bump it down. Next time I would try lower heat and see if that helps.

      Reply

  50. Jessica on May 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Hi! Love your blog!
    This looks and sounds absolutely delicious, and I would love to try it. However, I am very new to baking and I don’t know if I could handle this. What do you think?
    Should I just give it a try or keep working with simpler recipes?

    Also, are there any tips you have for new bakers trying to become experts? Any recipes that are good starters?

    Thanks you so much!!
    Jess

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Jessica, Absolutely give it a try! If you just keep making simpler recipes, you won’t get experiment with anything else ;-) The worst that will happen is the sugar will burn. If you’re nervous, halve the recipe so if it doesn’t turn out the worst case scenario is you lose 1 cup of sugar. Not so bad! As for tips – just keep trying new recipes. The more time you spend in the kitchen, the more confidence you’ll have, and the more you’ll start to understand how the ingredients are working together. If you’re trying a new or more challenging recipe, do some Googling, see if there are variations, any common problems that people run into, etc. The biggest thing is just trial and error. Happy Baking! :)

      Reply

  51. Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch on May 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Please pass the caramel! Yum!

    Reply

  52. DB-The Foodie Stuntman on May 24, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I’m bookmarking it for a future recipe. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

    Reply

  53. sandi on May 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Great tutorial. Looks so yummy! Must try.

    Reply

  54. Sandra's Easy Cooking on May 24, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Oh this looks fantastic! Love, love this!!!!! congrats on top 9!

    Reply

  55. zxc on May 24, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Which salt is better for this recipe , coarse or grounded sea salt ?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 24th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      I would argue neither, as ideally you’d really want to use a flaky sea salt such as fleur de sel or maldon. If you can’t find either, use a fine sea salt.

      Reply

  56. Eric @ Happy Valley Chow on May 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Wow, great job! My favorite drink, well was until they pulled it, was the Salted Caramel Mocha at Starbucks….now that it is gone I guess I’ll just have to make my own! Love your blog, keep up the great work :)

    Reply

  57. Amanda at the red table on May 24, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I’ve made salted caramel frosting before with homemade salted caramel, similar to yours above, but mine always ALWAYS gets chunks of caramel in it — like strings of solidified caramel — I pick them out and use the rest of it, and it’s fine — but I cannot seem to master the art of caramel making. Maybe I need a thermometer?

    Reply

  58. Alya on May 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

    What miraculous luck to come across this post (and your blog) at random just as I was thinking about adding an element to a soon-to-be dessert with both a sweet and salty spark! Plus I have been in search of a perfect and simple approach to caramel, and this seems to fit the bill. I look forward to trying it out… Thanks so much for sharing!
    and I look forward to reading through your blog more. :)

    Reply

  59. Kate on May 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Looks delicious! Congratulations on the Top 9!

    Reply

  60. Gretchen on May 24, 2012 at 9:32 am

    what is the difference between caramel and dulce de leche? I’ve made DDL many times and it tastes pretty caramel-y…ish. Are they at all interchangeable?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 24th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Gretchen, Caramel is essentially cooked sugar, while dulce de leche is cooked sweetened condensed milk. They don’t taste exactly the same, but you could probably use one for the other in a pinch.

      Reply

  61. Stacey on May 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Yum! My mind is spinning with all the things I could put that caramel on…a spoon for starters. I’ve only made cooked sugar mixes for toffee. One thing I learned is that a good pan helps–like you said “heavy bottom.” it makes a difference in the even heat distribution.

    Reply

  62. Surabhi on May 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Your step by step instructions were fantastic! Even without a candy thermometer, I was able to pull off a beautiful looking caramel. The only thing I found though was that with 1 tbsp of fine sea salt, it was waaay too salty :-( Any tips on how to salvage the remaining amount? Should I make a new caramel without salt and mix the two or is there something I can just add to this to tone down the saltiness?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 24th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Hi Surabhi, I’m sorry you felt it was too salty. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do once it’s finished, but yes, you can make a new batch, omit the salt, and then mix the two.

      Reply

    • Franny on December 26th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      I agree ! I made first batch for book club holiday gifts and had to redistribute with results from second batch with waaaay less salt. Overall.. 7 very happy bookies who r now eating this straight from jar.

      Reply

      • Catherine on March 9th, 2013 at 12:05 am

        I just made this and it is goooood! But I am afraid it is a bit too salty. Maybe it was the salt I used? I don’t have the fluer de sel, I used a different sea salt. Making a second batch and mixing the two may be just about perfect. You can never have too much caramel sauce, right?

        Reply

        • Michelle on March 11th, 2013 at 12:39 am

          Fleur de sel and maldon salts are very flaky and therefore dissolve into sauces. Other types of sea salt can be gritty and taste much saltier. If you used a different salt, then that could have definitely altered the final product.

          Reply

  63. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on May 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Great recipe… I love salted caramel sauce (especially on ice cream in the summer!). Love your step by step photos, too!

    Reply

  64. Jenna @ Littlekitchenbigflavors on May 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    You started the salted caramel trend! I am seeing it everywhere now, and I can’t get enough!

    Reply

  65. Genola on May 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Michelle-I generally love your recipes but this one defeated me twice this afternoon. The first batch burnt almost immediately so I tried again and turned the temp way down. It took forever to melt the sugar and when I added the butter and cream I had a mess. I was able to put it back on the burner and get the sugar to melt down. I now have a decent tasting caramel but not sure that it can be used in the salted caramel icing. I can still use it on ice cream but I think I’m going to have to keep searching for another recipe. I do have an electric stove which may be a big part of the problem. I’m an experienced cook and baker and even following the instructions exactly, I was not able to get it to turn out :-(

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 26th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Genola, I use a gas stove regularly, and tend to encounter all sorts of issues when I have to cook on an electric. I think they all should be put into retirement ;-) What I would do is turn the heat down and start closer to medium or even edge toward medium-low. It sounds like the burner is just too hot, so starting at a lower setting should help.

      Reply

  66. Amanda on May 26, 2012 at 2:16 am

    When I went shopping for the ingredients I couldn’t find fleur de sel sea salt or and sea salt flakes. Can I use regular sea salt? Should it be coarse or fine? I have never made caramel before. I hope my caramel comes out like yours!

    Reply

    • Amanda on May 26th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Ohhh when I went through and read all the comments I see that I should use fine sea salt. I decided to half the recipe for the first time because I have an electric stove. I read that some people had problems. I hope it works!

      Reply

      • Michelle on May 26th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        I was going to recommend fine :) Let me know how it comes out for you! I curse electric stoves ;-)

        Reply

  67. Kelly on May 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Made this just now, on my way to buy some vanilla ice cream >D

    Reply

  68. Amanda on May 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    It came out way to super sweet. So I am guessing I didn’t cook it long enough. I’m am going to try again in a couple of hours after I clean everything up.

    Reply

    • Amanda on May 26th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Do you have an tips when it comes to cleaning burned caramel from the bottom of a pan? Hehe

      Reply

      • Michelle on May 30th, 2012 at 10:14 am

        Haha! Burnt or not, I always end up with it stuck to the bottom of the pan! I just drizzle dish soap over the bottom, fill the pot with super hot water, and let it soak for a couple of hours. It’s usually super easy to clean and comes right off after that.

        Reply

        • Ann on February 21st, 2013 at 12:27 pm

          I always just fill the pot up with water and place it back on the stove and boil it. It only takes a minute or two and all the excess caramel is dissolved.

          Reply

  69. Amanda B. on May 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Just made this sauce now, and it came out wonderful! I was nervous to make it…I’ve burnt my fair share of caramels in the past, but this was so easy! Now, to make goodies to drizzle it on!! I used fine sea salt, and only half a tbsp, and it still worked out really well. Thanks for all the great recipes!

    Reply

  70. KitchenMason on May 28, 2012 at 2:50 am

    This looks fab, I love your blog! The way you explain things is very to the point but pleasant to read too : D I have seen so many recipes for this “salted caramel” craze and have always wanted to try it. Think yours might be the winner! *bookmarked!*

    Reply

  71. Mirela on May 28, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Oh my… I could eat it just with spoon. I have my recipe but I am curious how this one tastes so I will try it.

    Reply

  72. Susan on May 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I made the caramel sauce and served it over vanilla frozen yogurt on Sunday. All of my party guests were amazed. It tasted so good! It thought this was funny… My neighbor asked how to make it and when I told her she said “When do you add the caramel?” I told her the cooked sugar is the caramel. I guess everyone is used to caramel coming out of a jar! Thanks for a great recipe. Now I’ve gotta figure out what to do with the leftovers!!!

    Reply

  73. Megan on May 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I made this last night and was a little cranky about it…I felt like things moved way too fast and I had no idea when I should move on to the next step (even with your helpful guidelines)…then I burned my finger blisteringly bad from the splatter after adding the butter…then the sauce seemed WAY too thin and when I sampled it it tasted funny. I put it in the fridge and poured myself a glass of wine in defeat.

    Cut to this morning…and I found I had thick, delicious, perfect caramel! The cooling process really worked wonders! :) I’m making these cupcakes for my moms group tomorrow. They went NUTS over your Irish cupcakes, so I hope they’ll like these ones, too!

    Reply

  74. Beckie on May 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t have any flaky sea salt, but I do have a flaky kosher salt. Would that be an acceptable substitution?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 30th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Hi Beckie, As long as it’s flaky, it should work. I’ve only ever seen traditional kosher salt, which is very coarse and crunchy.

      Reply

      • Beckie on May 30th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

        I went and checked the label just to be sure of what I had :) Its Kosher style Flake Salt from Penzey’s.

        Reply

    • Megan on May 30th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      I used flaky margarita salt…closest substitute I could find at my local store . Turned out awesome. :)

      Reply

  75. Vanessa on June 5, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Hi Michell’s I was wondering wat kind of thermometer u used? Is it a candy one, or does it even matter?? Thx

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 5th, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Hi Vanessa, I have used a traditional candy thermometer, and I have used an instant-read digital as well. The candy is easiest in that you can just clip it on the side of the pot and don’t have to worry about holding your hand over the bubbling sugar, but I do find the instant-reads to be more accurate.

      Reply

  76. Deb Jamison on June 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I have a challenge for you…Sweet and Salty Caramel Swirl Ice Cream. Blue Bunny makes this flavor and it is my all time grocery store favorite. I think you can do better!! It is basically a vanilla ice cream with caramel swirls and chocolate covered pretzel pieces. Totally yummy. The thing that makes it really great is that the caramel stays soft. I was just looking at your Tin Roof Sundae article and I thought this would be right up your alley. Have you made this caramel sauce without the salt? Don’t know if it would be too salty with the chocolate covered pretzels.
    Love your blog.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 12th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      Oh, that sounds amazing! I will definitely add it to my list of summer flavors :)

      Reply

  77. Shannon Wallace on June 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hey BEB!

    I must agree that you have the best food blog! :)

    I have a question. Tomorrow I will be making this sauce and the cupcakes you made and posted about on your other blog post. To make the sauce, do you think organic granulated sugar would work as well as regular g.s.? Thanks! :)

    Reply

  78. Shannon Wallace on June 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Just made the sauce…THANK YOU so much!!! Your detailed step-by-step instructions saved me! I messed up the first go around (I didn’t pay attention and used cold butter). I waited a few hours and started over again once butter and cream were at room temp. Works like a champ! Delicious! :)

    P.S.: I ended up using just regular granulated sugar.

    Reply

  79. Brittany on June 17, 2012 at 1:07 am

    This is my first time making caramel sauce and this recipe made it so easy! I got a perfect batch of yumminess with one try. Thanks a lot for making it easier on us first time chefs.

    Reply

  80. Kramer on June 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    This is a great recipe! After one false start, I think the problem many people face is whisking too long, which will definitely cause the caramel to seize. In my case, there was still be visible lumps of sugar as the caramel starts to turn medium brown. The first time I kept on whisking, trying to whisk all those out, and the caramel seized up and then the bottom burnt. The second time I stopped whisking once a good portion of the sugar was melted, and let the rest of the sugar melt naturally. I guess this is why many people consider the wet method easier — you can make sure the sugar is equally distributed and heats at the same time….. but I think your instructions are a little bit off about continuing to whisk until all the sugar is melted…..

    Reply

  81. Cat Davis on June 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I’m absolutely kicking myself right now. I just attempted this sauce and it looks just like yours but it tastes burned. :( I think I went beyond 350, I think I’ll try again this afternoon.

    Reply

  82. Stasia on June 27, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Thank you, it’s delish! I made this & created a caramel sundae cupcake to go with it! Linked your recipe on my blog! I think everyone should try this! Sugars!!

    Reply

  83. Angela on June 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I made this a couple of weeks ago hoping it would taste like the salted caramel sauce from my favorite restaurant. It tastes even better!! The only modification I did was using turbinado sugar instead of white granulated. Love this stuff!! Absolutely delucious on granny smith apples. ;) Thank you Michelle for an awesome recipe!

    Reply

  84. Kristin on July 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    This recipe looks amazing. I just pulled a homemade apple pie outta the oven and I’m gonna attempt ur salted caramel sauce to serve with it!

    Reply

  85. Deepa on July 5, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Awesome recipe, my first attempt and I loved it!! Thank you for tips and this recipe.

    Reply

  86. Stasia on July 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Michelle I posted for everyone to make this!! Thank you again!!!

    Reply

  87. My Inner Chick on July 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Absolutely AMAZING. Sinful. I like.

    Reply

  88. Jane on July 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I may be dense (probably), but does this recipe fail to say what to do with the salt?!?

    Reply

    • Jane on July 22nd, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      O ya…duh…flaky sea salt aka “fleur de sel”.
      “Add the fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate.”

      Reply

  89. Monica on July 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I stood in from of my stove afraid and planning on ruining this concoction. However, your instructions were so wonderfully explicit and perfect. I’m a good cook but caramel sauce has been something I have never attempted because…. It’s a thin line between love and scorching.

    It turned out beautifully. Dark amber and lovely. Seriously, your instructions were amazing. Thank you! I can’t wait to take this to my ice cream party potluck tonight.

    Reply

  90. Jessica on July 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I was just wondering if you knew of a vegan alternative to the cream used and if vegan margarine would work?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 28th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Jessica, Unfortunately I am not aware of any vegan substitutes, and am not sure if vegan margarine would work. If you try it, come back and let us know how it worked!

      Reply

  91. Caroline J. in MA on July 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I stumbled across this recipe on pinterest.

    I made this last night, twice! The first time I made it, I used the thermometer, paying attention to visual cues and also smelling. ;) I burnt it. Completely. Tried again a little while later WITHOUT the thermometer, just using the visual cues as I KNEW where I had messed up, and it came out awesome! This is one of those recipes where things move along quickly once they GET moving. You need to have all your ingredients out, measured and ready.
    My husband, who is NOT a sweets eater, could not get enough of this! I’m making chocolate cupcakes for my friend’s daughter and using this as a filling. So. Delicious. You will NEVER buy caramel sauce again!
    Thank you for sharing!!!
    xo

    Reply

  92. Tanya on July 26, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I made this recipe this week. I’ve just started baking and I’m always hearing people go on about salted caramel. Now I know why. I just used the visual cues (burnt the first batch second guessing myself) but the second batch was perfect. I made the chocolate cupcakes with them and they are to die for! Thank you thank you!

    Reply

  93. Trish Vanaria on July 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Question for you: I’m making oatmeal bars that call for a caramel middle. The recipe has us using the store-bought caramels melted with half and half. I wanted to use homemade caramel so I followed a recipe similar to this (I will try this recipe next time; the other had corn syrup I’d rather not use) but the resulting bars (they were baked with an oatmeal crumble on top) seem to have caramel melted all the way through them, rather than a layer of gooey-ness in the middle as they were supposed to. I poured the caramel into the middle while it was still very warm. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 28th, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      Hi Trish, From what I have experienced, recipes for a caramel “sauce” made of melted caramel candies and cream tend to end up much thicker than your typical homemade caramel sauce. This could be the difference in your consistency.

      Reply

  94. Jennifer on August 5, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Any tips for getting crystallized sugar off the edges of the sauce pan? lol I didn’t burn it but some of the sugar just became big clumps and never melted

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 9th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Jennifer, I usually run the pot under hot water right away to see what I can rinse off, and then I’ll put a little dish liquid in there, fill it with hot, soapy water and let it soak for an hour or two. After that it usually comes right off.

      Reply

  95. Sukaina on August 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Hi!

    Thanks so much for this post – I have been making salted caramel buttercream for my macarons – and I’ve been having a hit or miss experience – I do everything the same each time – but sometimes the cream separates and sometimes it incorporates. But I do add the milk before the butter, as in your case.

    My question is: If we let this set in the fridge, would we be able to whip it into a buttercream consistency, instead of a syrup?

    Thanks soooooo much!

    Reply

  96. Monica on August 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I was wondering…. have you tried this caramel sauce over popcorn? Is so how didn’t turn out and how did you work it? If you haven’t tried it, do you think it could work? Any tips on how to work with it?

    This salted caramel is FREAKING AMAZING! LOL! I’ve made it several time since my first try. This recipe alone could win you the presidential election.

    Reply

  97. Melis on August 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Hi!!! I tried doing it the first time and didn’t pay attention, so I forgot to get heavy cream. DOH!!!! So, I substituted heavy cream. I used Nestle media crema instead and tasted wonderful! I also used kosher salt and added just a little extra. I loved the sweet taste at first and finishes salty!!!

    Reply

  98. Stephanie Layson on August 19, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This looks great! I am looking for a salted caramel sauce with dark chocolate. Do you have any ideas about adding dark chocolate to this recipe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 4th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Stephanie, I haven’t played around with any chocolate adaptations to this recipe yet. If you do, definitely share your results!

      Reply

  99. Donna on September 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I had a question. If I was gifting this to someone, how long is it good for? Does it need to be refrigerated?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Hi Donna, This sauce is good for a few weeks, and yes, it does need to be refrigerated.

      Reply

  100. Sam on September 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I’ve just made this and have to say it was so easy and absolutely delicious! I’ve used it in an apple pie which turned out fantastic, and this recipe made plenty so looking for other things to do with the leftovers before I make myself sick just eating it out of the pan!

    Reply

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