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”

  1. Julie on September 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    OMG best thing ever. Did lots of research and stood in front of the stove for awhile before attempting. First time burned a little, 2nd time burned all the sugar, third time Heaven! Watched Alton Brown he recommends no thermometer and adding cream as soon as you see a bit of smoke coming out of the pan. This was much easier than using thermometer which is why I burned it first 2 times.
    Made dark choc cupcakes, filled with this caramel, topped with a slightly different version of caramel buttercream. Friends at the office actually got weak in the knees and had to sit down!

    Reply

  2. Julie on September 9, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Alton brown also used a tblsp of corn syrup to avoid crystallization

    Reply

  3. Jacky on September 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    This recipe looks amazing!! Can’t wait to try this out! I’ve been dying to try to make a caramel italian buttercream. Would I be able to incorporate a bit of this caramel sauce into a batch of homemade italian buttercream?

    Reply

  4. food junky in denver on September 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Wow, OMG, Dangerous, Unbelievable, Oh Soooooooooo Good and Awesome too!!! Thanks for sharing. As is my bad habit I lightly tweaked. 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of real maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and 16 tablespoons of butter (hey look there isn’t anything healthy here to start with). Cannot wait to try this hot on some Paul Prudhomme bread pudding with a couple scoops of Coldstone sweet cream vanilla ice cream! Ought to go straight to food hell for thinking some combination so unhealthy! Wow this is one of the best recipes since Paul Prudhomme’s LA Kitchen Shrimp Enchiladas. Just dangerous good and not that hard to make. TY TY TY

    Reply

  5. Christeena on September 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    OMGosh! I think I have died nad gone to heaven!! Delish! Today the sauce and tomorrow the cupcakes! YUM!

    Reply

  6. Taylor on October 1, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Hi BEB-
    I have a question regarding this sauce. I’m looking for a salted caramel sauce that I can add to buttercream to make salted caramel buttercream, as well as drizzle between layers of cake. My question is if the sauce is drizzled between cake layers (i.e. cake, salted caramel buttercream, layer of salted caramel, repeat) and the cake is then refrigerated and brought to room temperature, would the caramel be so hard that it would be difficult to eat (i.e. biting into crunchy/hard caramel)?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 1st, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Taylor, I used this sauce in the chocolate salted caramel cupcakes I made and it worked perfectly. If you spread the sauce on its own and then refrigerate, it won’t become rock hard. Stored in the refrigerator, it gets very thick, but not hard, if that makes sense. You should be fine!

      Reply

  7. Richard on October 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    quick question how heavy a cream do you use? and where do you get it? :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Hi Richard, Here in the U.S. it is just sold as quite literally “heavy cream”, which is the heaviest available. Otherwise, you have whole milk and half-and-half (which is essentially a mix of whole milk and heavy cream).

      Reply

  8. heidid26 on October 6, 2012 at 3:05 am

    I made this tonight and used it for the Salted Caramel Cream cheese buttercream that you used over chocolate cupcakes. I, however, used it on an apple spice cupcake which I made using my own homemade applesauce. SOOO GOOD!!!

    I used a coarse sea salt and it was almost too salty when eating the caramel plain but not as noticeable when in the buttercream or drizzled atop the cupcakes.

    Thank you again for another wonderful recipe right when I needed it!!

    Reply

  9. jen on October 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I just made half a batch of this to top fudgy brownies – it tastes so decadent! I’ve never made caramel before and a this recipe was excellent + easy to get right.

    Reply

  10. Abby on October 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I just made this recipe! I cut it in half and substituted the cream for evaporated milk. It turned out PERFECT! I will continue to make this recipe. Next time I’ll use the cream as directed but just didn’t have it today. SO if you’re out of cream you can use evaporated milk in a pinch!
    Thanks

    Reply

  11. Sofia on October 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I made this the other day and it is gorgeous!!! Can’t wait to put in in and on EVERYTHING! I linked back to you on my blog post. Love your blog. It was one of the first ones I followed.

    Reply

  12. laurie on October 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I just made this and it was so EASY and tasty!! I did buy a candy thermometer making it goof proof!! Thanks, I am going to make some and put in little jars for christmas gifts.

    Reply

  13. Sue on October 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I got to this blog and recipe via a link on http://www.ice-cream-recipes.com, and I’m so glad I was curious to see this recipe! It’s PERFECTION on a spoon!! Thank You so much for taking the time to share this Salted Caramel Sauce recipe!

    I made a custard-based vanilla (vanilla ice cream recipe #1) from the above-mentioned website, and I swirled a thick fudge through it, along with some oven-roasted cashews and candied bacon! I then let it freeze overnight (it was the longest night of my life!!!), re-warmed the salted caramel sauce and drizzled it (that’s a lie; there was nothing so dainty as a drizzle with this recipe!)

    The next time I make it, I’m going to coat the bacon with fudge; just looking for the perfect chocolate fudge recipe to complement the bacon…my husband suggested we swirl the caramel into the ice cream as well, but the caramel sauce is the crowning glory of this ice cream treat! I know that bacon in ice cream sounds odd, but it isn’t at all. The salty, smokiness peeks through all of the sweetness surrounding it, and the texture is really delightful!

    Once again, Thank You for this and all you do! I’m a fan!!

    Reply

  14. Heather D on October 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I made this last week and it was wonderful!! I would love to make jars of this for family members and friends for Christmas, but I am wondering about refrigeration. Do you know if this caramel has to be refrigerated or will it be OK left out for a day or two? Maybe others have asked about this already, but there are so many comments to search through, so I just thought I’d ask. Thanks!

    Reply

  15. Amy Davis on October 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I just wanted to say that I now want to bathe in this Salted Caramel Sauce…my whole house smells amazing! Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

    Reply

  16. Jenn Em on October 21, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Michelle, it is no wonder your recipe is the first in google search for salted caramel sauce. This was the quickest caramel sauce I have ever made and it was so tasty. I never realized that the dry sugar method worked so well. Was always worried that it would seize. Could not believe how fast I was able to get the sugar to caramelize. I too like some others found that before most of the sugar had melted, that some of the sugar had turned brownish. I persevered and all was ok. The reason may have been that I had not stirred at the beginning. From experience, one of the most important things when making caramel sauce is that you use a heavy pan since this distributes the heat for even results. One writer also asked whether to heat the cream. However, the cool cream helps to arrest the cooking of the sauce giving you more control in case you did not stop heating in time. Thanks Michelle.

    Reply

  17. Linnea on October 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve never made homemade caramel before other than store bought caramels with cream. I’m thinking about using this for making caramel apples. I’m wondering about how the caramel sets up. Does it set hard enough to use for apples? When it’s soft enough to coat the apples, will it run off before it sets up? Thanks for any info!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Linnea, Yes, you could definitely use this for caramel apples. It will set up stiff, but not rock hard. I would recommend putting the apples into the fridge after you dip them so that they set up before any running (although it’s virtually impossible to avoid at least a little pooling).

      Reply

  18. Mel on October 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Well, I tried to double this… maybe that was my mistake…. now I have 4 cups of beautiful caramel colored sugar blobs swimming in 3 sticks of butter. Wah!!!!!!!! I really wanted this to work

    Reply

  19. Sandra Affleck on October 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Had a trip to Melbourne where I had an amazing dessert,Peanut butter parfait with chocolate icecream on top, with salted caramel over the top sprinkled with crushed salted peanuts.Used your recipe for the parfait and it was perfect.It is now my family and friends favourite dessert.

    Reply

  20. Tanya on November 1, 2012 at 12:09 am

    In first step, shouldnt the sugar be heated with a bit of water?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 1st, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Tanya, Actually, no. There are two different methods for making caramel – “wet” (added water) and “dry” (no water). This is the dry method.

      Reply

  21. Katie King on November 1, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Hi, love your blog and have tried some of the recipes but find they can be a little hit and miss for those of us who do not deal in “cups”, could you give the quantities in grams or oz as conversions for cups vary from country to country whereas the other measurements above are international and constant.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 1st, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Katie, Thank you for the feedback. I try to include ounces whenever possible, but in the event that I don’t, please see the Conversions page (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/conversions/) for resources where you can back into the metric measurements as needed. In particular, the King Arthur Flour master weight chart should be a good starting point.

      Reply

  22. SweetCarolyn on November 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I missed the part about how to store this the best way when finished. It sounds mouth-watering. Will it harden up around apples? It sounds so good and when they talked to eating it by spoonfull I could imagine a long iced-teaspoon dipping into the carmel and then licking the spoon where the carmel coated it. It would sure taste good in hot chocolate or on icecream of any kind. I hope it will last a long time as thereis just my husband and me and a few friends who are older. I can imagine it in chocolate and carmel and fudgey brownie with icecream. Yum!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      You’ll want to store this in the refrigerator, and then warm it up before using it again. I haven’t tried it with apples, but give it a shot! You’ll want to let it thicken up before dipping them.

      Reply

  23. Ashley on November 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Never made caramel before in my life, and this turned out perfectly! Thank you, and I think the best way to serve this is on a spoon. =)

    Reply

  24. Amy on November 7, 2012 at 5:51 am

    No one has asked, but can this be done with margarine? (I’m assuming it cannot – only asking because I live on a mission base in a third world country and margarine is $3.50 for a pound while butter is $5.00 a pound and making the ice cream alone costs a fortune, but if it has to be butter, I’ll buy it because it looks delicious! :) ) Also, no salt like that available here – can I use anything else?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 7th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Amy, The butter adds such a smooth flavor that I would not substitute margarine here.

      Reply

  25. Susan on November 9, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I tried it; on one hand, my jaws dropped when I saw the amount of butter required. On the other hand, your instructions were very easy to follow and those photos helped a lot, too! I ended up drizzling this on home made popcorn, divide them into mini cupcake pans (under the guise of portion control, haha) and brought them to a picnic and to a get together. Needless to say, they were a hit! So, thank you thank you thank you!

    Reply

  26. Flo on November 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Hi,
    Great recipe, I shared it on my page “crepespace”
    http://www.facebook.com/crepespace

    Hope you don’t mind.

    Cheers.

    Florian

    Reply

  27. Laura on November 14, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Are you sure you are supposed to heat the caramel to 350, most recipes say 250….?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 15th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Hi Laura, No, 350 is what I used for this recipe. However, some thermometers can vary due to not being calibrated. I would also pay close attention to visual cues as well.

      Reply

    • Kim on November 28th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      I burned the first batch- no way do you go to 350 with a traditional candy therm. I’ve never used an instant read but I make a tone of candy and 350 was way too hot for this sauce

      Reply

  28. Tanya Martinez on November 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I have always been scared to make caramel. It is so intimidating! Being a Culinary Arts student, focusing on baking, I have to get over my fear of caramel if I want to succeed. I have been searching for quite some time for a fairly easy way to learn to make caramel and I have to say, this is the only one that I have tried that worked! It is absolutely amazing and it tastes fantastic!!! Having the pictures was a big help and I will definitely be visiting your blog every chance I get! Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome recipe!

    Reply

  29. Maddie on November 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I love your blog!

    I find myself coming back to it time after time. Your techniques are flawless.

    Kudos.

    Reply

  30. TheHugsLady on November 19, 2012 at 3:29 am

    How much coarse sea salt if I can’t find the flaked? Thank you for an amazing looking recipe.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 20th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Definitely less, but how much less would really depend on taste. I would add a teaspoon, then taste it to see what you think. Then add more if you’d like it a little saltier.

      Reply

  31. Katie on November 22, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Made this for the caramel apple cheesecake pie, and oh my goodness!!!! I tasted it, and before I knew what was happening I was eating it by the spoonful from the pan! I should mention that I’m 8 months pregnant… and this sauce will not last long!

    Reply

  32. Jennifer on November 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I will be making this for Christmas presents. Once made can it be stored at room temp until I give it as gifts? I be making it like 2-3 weeks ahead. Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 23rd, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Hi Jennifer, It needs to be stored in the refrigerator due to the cream in the recipe. You could keep in the fridge, and then take out the day you plan to give it, with instructions to keep it refrigerated once they get it home.

      Reply

  33. JOANNE JOHNSON on November 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I have never thought to make carmel from scratch for my recipes . I know that
    your photography has motivated me to give this recipe a try and I may buy a new camera! My DSL has to be 30 yrs old. And I have not used it in 20 yrs.
    Thank you.

    Reply

  34. Sarah L on November 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I just found your recipe and the comments make it seem amazing! I have one question. I’m planning on making filled chocolates for Christmas and wanted to make a salted caramel filled one. Do you think your sauce will work for this? If cooled but still room temp would it be thin enough to fill a chocolate mold? Thanks!

    Reply

  35. Leslie on November 26, 2012 at 1:12 am

    I’m going to use this to drizzle all over my chevre cheesecake! Looks AWESOME.

    Reply

  36. Twins on November 26, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Hey BEB;

    I just made the caramel recipe, only a couple of questions though.

    I wasn’t sure about what kind of cream I needed so I used 1 cup of solid cream. The butter was also a lot… The caramel is done but looks darker, like a shade of darker caramel with darker red. Will the cream and color affect the flavor?

    Thanks

    Twins.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 26th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Hi there, As stated in the recipe, you should use heavy cream for the sauce. I’m not sure what solid cream is, but heavy cream is a thick liquid. Depending on how long you cook the sauce, it could go from a toffee color to a dark amber in a matter of seconds. The cream will slightly lighten the color of the sauce.

      Reply

  37. Twins on November 26, 2012 at 6:11 am

    I tasted the sauce… and its very strong… did I burn the sugar? Or was the cream too thick? I’m trying this recipe again tonight.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 26th, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      I’m not familiar with the type of cream you mentioned above, so yes, the cream may have been too thick. If it tastes burnt, then it was probably cooked too long. If it doesn’t taste burnt, though, then it’s probably something else, perhaps the cream.

      Reply

  38. Twins on November 27, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Success on 2nd try! It doesn’t taste like caramel from Brittany, but this is definitely gorgeous!

    Thank you BEB! ^_^

    Reply

  39. AK on November 28, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Hi, I want to try this out SO bad and I’m just going to order a candy thermometere. I love your hot pink thermometer!
    Can you tell me which one you use? Do you recommend getting it and should I get extra probes ( I read somewhere that some thermometeres need probes replaced). Thanks,
    A

    Reply

  40. Kim on November 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    This is fabulous!!! The first batch I made burned, you really have to watch it. The ONLY way that you can cook this with a thermometer is if it is instant read, 350 on a regular candy thermometer is burnt beyond saving. After several batches, I found that a wooden spoon is better than a whisk and that it takes just seconds from the time that the sugar hits liquid until the sugar is done. Makes great gifts!

    Reply

  41. Karl Anderson on November 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    never made caramel before, so was a little nervous going into it. fortunately, my first attempt came out great! fyi, i kept the heat pretty low, which seemed to help in keeping it from burning. try it on vanilla icecream with grapenuts!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2012 at 12:16 am

      How funny! My dad always used to sprinkle Grape-Nuts on his vanilla ice cream! He’d also drizzle maple syrup on top ;-)

      Reply

      • Karl Anderson on November 29th, 2012 at 10:23 am

        Funny you mention that, back in the day Baskin & Robins used to make a maple walnut sundae that was soooo good. Unfortunately it went away and I’ve been trying to duplicate them ever since. I think the grapenut thing works because of the ‘crunch’ appeal. Anywho, I like it. Great cite, Michelle, thanks!

        p.s. bummer about the hockey lockout…i was really looking forward to the Winter Classic!!!

        Reply

  42. robyn on November 29, 2012 at 5:12 am

    hello, if i wanted to make this a little thicker would i just add less butter? im planning on putting it in stuff rather than on top and i would like it to stay inside instead of slowly oozing out.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      Hi Robyn, No, make it as directed, but don’t use it immediately after making it. Let it cool (you can even refrigerate it to speed up the process) and it will thicken. If you want it pourable again, just warm it up.

      Reply

  43. William on November 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

    As a diabetic OH but this looks great, but unreasonable. So I’m experimenting with Blue Agave Syrup. It boils at a lower temp. I’ll let you know how that goes.

    Reply

  44. Laurie on December 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Any chance this could be canned in Mason jars to give as gifts? Maybe with the cream it just has to be a make it and eat it sauce?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 2nd, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Hi Laurie, You couldn’t can this to be preserved at too temperature long-term. You could still put the sauce in mason jars and give away, with instructions to refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

      Reply

  45. emilyeeg on December 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I just made this on my electric stove. It was the easiest thing ever. Thank you for the wonderful instructions!!!

    Reply

  46. Donna on December 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

    This recipe IS the “real deal”…impressive tutorial, photography and the taste-factor is AWESOME…Question…do you favor a large flake (as in Maldon Salt?) or a finer Fleur de Sel (as one finds easily here in France?)…Also…Could one possibly coat APPLES with this caramel for Autumn or Halloween treats?…Does it “set up” well for this usage?….So appreciative of your sharing this exquisite recipe…really well-done!

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 4th, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Donna, Thank you for the kind feedback, I’m so happy to hear you enjoy the sauce! I use fleur de sel in mine. I have not tried coating apples with this sauce; it does set up pretty stiff in the refrigerator, so you might dry dipping the apples in a slightly cooled sauce, and then refrigerating to allow them to set. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

      Reply

      • Donna on December 5th, 2012 at 3:45 am

        Thanks so much for the rapid reply!…I’ll give it a whirl!..First..I
        want to make batches and put it in pretty jars for holiday
        gifting!!!…This is truly the best caramel out
        there..color…aroma….texture…It’s all there..Your readers need
        look no further!

        Reply

  47. Jane on December 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Hi, I’ m not too sure what you mean by 12tablespoons butter -can you give a weight please? Thanks Jane

    Reply

  48. Rushil on December 8, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Hi,
    Simple is awesome. Agreed.
    A few queries though. This is the first time I’m making it. I used the dry method. By the time the sugar melted, the color was perfect. I added the butter and kept whisking it in. This was when the pot was still being subjected to heat. I continued stirring till the butter had all melted. Then I took it off the flame, and added the cream. Thankfully nothing spilled out, but the consistency of the sauce isn’t smooth. It’s kind of grainy.. Did I do it right? Is there a reason for this?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 9th, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Hi Rushil, If it’s grainy, it sounds like the sugar didn’t melt the entire way. Either that, or there were some pieces of sugar stuck to the side of the pan that got incorporated while you were whisking.

      Reply

  49. Liz on December 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Hi, thanks for a fabulous recipe. I have made a few batches now but each time the salt does not dissolve completely. I have a ‘flakey sea salt’ and in the first batch I made I added the amount stated in the recipe but the majority clumped together and sunk to the bottom. A horrid taste when you ate it by accident! For the following batches I have reduced the salt amount to between half and a quarter of the amount and ground it up, but it still clumps rather than totally dissolving. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 10th, 2012 at 12:31 am

      Hi Liz, That’s really weird that the salt is clumping. The only thing I can think of is – do you live in a particularly warm area? Sometimes salt and sugar can clump up if exposed to too much warm/humid air.

      Reply

      • Liz on December 10th, 2012 at 7:49 am

        Thank you for replying so quickly!
        Ah, if it’s humidity, it could be that the salt is damp, or as I am transferring it from the mortar it absorbs the moisture evaporating from the caramel. I live in the UK and it hasn’t been particularly dry here for a while either, so the air could be damp!
        I think as long as the last jar is always reserved for me no-one will ever know! ;-)

        Reply

  50. Brandy on December 12, 2012 at 12:20 am

    So I looked all over for a caramel recipe that didn’t contain corn syrup or honey. I never found one and decided to try boiling your recipe to a firm ball stage. These have to be the smoothest caramels I have ever had! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

  51. Uzo on December 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for your sharing so many delicious treats!
    I made this sauce yesterday and it was nothing short of beautiful. Come this morning and it was thiiiiiick! Really thick. I had to warm it up in the oven to drizzled over a cupcake. Is this normal?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 12th, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Hi Uzo, Yes, once it’s finished and you refrigerate it, the sauce will become very thick. To re-use, just microwave until it’s a pourable consistency again and drizzle over anything you’d like! The same is true for homemade hot fudge sauce.

      Reply

  52. Lisa on December 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I am an accomplished cook, and I gotta tell you, this recipe is a BEAR! I have made caramel sauce many times in the past, and it took me 3 times to get this one right (and may I say, it is by far the best caramel sauce I have ever tasted)! My problem was that the sugar browned quicker than it melted…I tried saucepan and skillet on low heat. I altered the recipe a bit, and I think it will be easier for those who posted that they are intimidated by caramel: I added enough water just to dissolve the sugar (about 1/4c) and added 1 Tbsp light corn syrup (helps prevent the dreaded “crystallization” ). Let it boil until it reaches 350 (you may need to *carefully* whisk a bit to even out the browning), then proceed with the recipe as posted (my palate is very salt-sensitive, so I only used 1 1/2t). I found there is no difference in the taste whatsoever…the butter is what makes this wonderful! Also, remember that when it comes to hot sugar, non-stick pans and silicone utensils are your best friend! LOVE your site!

    Reply

  53. Kharis on December 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    This recipe is amazing. I love it! I have made a few different ones, and this is by far the most delicious and best explained. The pictures and instructions are extremely helpful. And I had never used my candy thermometer until this time, and it turned out perfect. Thank you!

    Reply

  54. ExpatFriend on December 15, 2012 at 3:38 am

    My daughter and I tried this recipe and it came out with a perfect color and flavor! We are going to make caramel and give jars as gifts to our friends. I will put it in my permanent recipe box. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply

  55. Maria on December 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I am never buying store bought caramel sauce again! I just made this for the salted caramel apple cheesecake dip recipe and this caramel sauce is unbelievably good (the dip is awesome too I think it’ll go over well at my work party). I didn’t have a thermometer but I was able to eyeball it based on your tips and pictures, thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  56. Jess on December 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    This is seriously awesome and very easy, even for novices. I just finished eating my homemade apple crisp with this, and deemed the recipe of worthy of sharing :)

    Reply

  57. Keri on December 20, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I have just made thre batches of this beautiful salted Caramel and it is so so ood! Have bottled it as gifts for ll of the boys on Christmas Day!

    Reply

  58. Lisa on December 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    made your recipe for ” salted caramel” last night, my first attempt ever and its PERFECT! thanks, such an easly reipe!!! going to add it to creme patissier for profiteroles!

    Reply

  59. kimberly on December 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you Thank you!!
    I have made this twice now and it turned out perfect each time.

    Reply

  60. Audrée on December 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I burned it the first time around, but it turned out real nice the second time :) I used organic sugar so it was a little tricky to go by the color since its naturally a little darker than white sugar but i think I got lucky and nailed it.

    Thanks for the recipe :)

    Reply

  61. Dorothy T on December 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I just made this caramel sauce so that I could use it for your Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie recipe I’m making tonight, and it came out so great! I only used half a tablespoon of salt in fear of it coming out too salty, and it came out delicious. Thanks so much for all of your recipes; they’re wonderful.

    Reply

  62. Mindy on December 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Just made this sauce tonight and it couldn’t have been simpler or more delicious. This is my first time on your site and now I’ll be a loyal fan! Thank you!

    Reply

  63. Katie Davis on January 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I made this last night for New Year’s Eve. After searching the internet for an easy-to-follow recipe, found yours. Not only was the end result specTACular (!) but the recipe gave tips like the sugar balling up and how quickly it could go from reddish brown to UH-OH. Your site is lovely, beautifully designed, and well written. You’ve gained a fan! Thank you so much for helping me celebrate the new year! PS I used Maldon salt flakes…what do you think of adding less than a pinch more of the salt flakes – like maybe to the top when you serve, to get that salty bite?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 1st, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Katie, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the sauce! I don’t see anything wrong with adding another bit of flakes to the top of the sauce.

      Reply

  64. Sahar on January 5, 2013 at 6:17 am

    I love your blog! I’m making this sauce for the umpteenth time to drizzle over cheesecake. I was always intimidated by making caramel but using your recipe it turned out perfectly the very first time!

    Reply

  65. Debbie Baker on January 7, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Amazing. My daughter has made this many times. Delicious. So I tried it today and it is definitely better done on a gas range, although my 1st attempt isn’t too bad.

    Reply

  66. Angie@ConsciousEatery on January 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Well, this may not be my typical allergy-free treat, but wow – it’s soooo good! I just made it, and LOVE it! I’ve never made caramel by melting the sugar first (the dry method?). It’s so much easier than boiling everything together, which often ends up resulting in burned butter or cream. I’m going to try to come up with an allergy-free version of this!

    Reply

  67. Venus on January 18, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Mine came out waterly… how?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 18th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Venus, Did you make any changes or substitutions to the recipe at all?

      Reply

  68. Armando on January 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Hi, I’ve tried this a few times and I can’t even get close to a smooth cream: it ends up being very liquid, heavy butter smelling and with a really light color, not the wonderful ambered color it should be.
    Which can be the mistake?
    I live in Italy and we use grams instead of cups/tps, I used the conversion tables and it was 300gr sugar 100gr butter and 230-240ml of cream.
    Thank you in advance :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 18th, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Armando, Unfortunately those conversions are incorrect. See below:

      2 cups granulated sugar = 7 ounces = 198 grams
      12 tablespoons butter = 6 ounces = 170 grams

      Your cream amount is correct (8 ounces is about 237 ml)

      I think making the measurement corrections will make all the difference! Good luck!

      Reply

  69. Cathie Duncan on January 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    This recipe looks awsome! Could one use black Hawaiian salt? or Himalayan Pink salt? Also Could it be canned with a pressure cooker?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 27th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Cathie, You can experiment with different types of salt, but know that the flaky sea salts, such as fleur de sel and maldon, will dissolve more readily into the sauce, so you won’t be left with a gritty or crunchy texture. Keep that in mind if you opt for coarser salts. I would not recommend canning this, as I can’t guarantee that the acidity levels would be safe for canning and consuming at a later date, especially since there is cream in the recipe.

      Reply

  70. Shannon on January 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Whatever is the equivalent to a black thumb in the kitchen, I have! I went into this trembling and sure I would fail, but am happy to report it turned out perfectly! I feel so accomplished and can’t wait to give these as teacher gifts beautifully packaged with a dipping spoon and apples. Thank you for the detailed instructions and photos for without them, it would have been another defeat in the kitchen for me. Cheers!

    Reply

  71. Genevieve on February 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    This caramel sauce is incredible… I used it to make a caramel cheesecake and it was to die for. Thanks :)
    http://www.genevievekitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/caramel-swirl-cheesecake.html

    Reply

  72. Susan on February 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Great recipe.. tasty and works well.. ladies .. its an easy one

    Reply

  73. Julia on February 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Found your salted caramel sauce recipe last weekend. With the combo of your simple yet wonderful step by step recipe (text & pictures) & some beginners luck, my first attempt was delicious! I added some of the sauce to my apple pie recipe & it was oh sooo good a combination! The rest of the sauce is in a jar in my fridge calling my name, but I am holding off until next weekend to bake the next batch of salted caramel apple pie.
    Thank you Brown-Eyed-Betty!

    Julia Farrell-Breit

    Reply

  74. Jo on February 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Wow – at last! A delicious recipe and method THAT DIDN’T CRYSTALIZE!! Thank you.

    Reply

  75. Fran on February 10, 2013 at 12:10 am

    OMG this recipe is great. I just tried it and it turned out perfect. The taste is devine. I thought I didn’t like caramel, I made this for my kids and was really surprised at the results. I am not buying caramel again. Thanks.

    Reply

  76. Dyann on February 11, 2013 at 10:03 am

    THIS recipe is THE best! My favorite on the site! Had great success with other recipes on the site that call for caramel, using this sauce. I agree with the comments about 350 being too high on a regular candy thermometer. Go with the color and texture as your guide for when it’s done. Don’t wait for it to thicken up a lot–then it will burn. Time in the fridge does the thickening. Love it!

    Reply

  77. Fernanda on February 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Just made it, and was perfect! Loved the recipe, thanks!

    Reply

  78. Shoba Shrinivasan on February 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Wow.

    that looks so so amazing…so the only difference between the salty caramel and the regular caramel is the addition of salt? I am only asking as in baking, I am a complete novice and I wanted to make sure. You have a lovely website and I am still grappling with all the posts and the delicious pics!

    Shobha

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 19th, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Yep, salted caramel includes salt, while regular caramel sauce does not.

      Reply

  79. Crystal Belle on February 19, 2013 at 3:01 am

    You just inspired me to create salted coconut caramel. First time making caramel. It is delicious. I just replaced the cream with coconut cream. Yum! Now the only problem is to keep it safe from hubby and the kid..hahaha…

    Reply

  80. kathy on February 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    you list fleur de sel (flaky sea salt) as the final ingredient. is it possible to get away with using regular sea salt instead?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 21st, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Kathy, I would really stick with a flaky sea salt here; it dissolves better and will ensure that the sauce doesn’t have a gritty texture.

      Reply

  81. ACakeStory on February 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I just made this last weekend for a big family get together. Dark chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting and drizzled with this caramel sauce. To die for! And your instructions made it so easy – thank you!

    Reply

  82. Ann on February 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    This looks so amazingly good.
    New to this site—and my daughter and I are really enjoying baking together.
    Again I want to thank you for the impending weight gain…LOL.
    I recently lost about 100 pounds–am seeing some of that coming back on with these fantastic recipes. (seriously–moderation in all things and it will be just fine)

    Reply

  83. Jessi on February 25, 2013 at 2:08 am

    I just made my 3rd jar of this in 6 weeks! I’ve almost stopped going to Starbucks, because I put this in my coffee everyday! I’ve also tried it on ice cream, popcorn and apples! It is SO delicious!
    I had never made caramel before, but this pregnancy (my baby is 5 weeks old) I craved salted caramel like crazy!
    Thank you for the easy instructions and pictures!

    Reply

  84. dely on March 1, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Hi. Your shared recipe of salted caramel sounds fantastic. I want to use it for a fundraising gift pack. Is there any way you can preserve this sauce to last a few months? Pasteurize or vacuum pack or whatever? like the store bought bottles.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 2nd, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Dely, Unfortunately, I am not well-versed in food science, but I do know that a key to preserving foods is having some type of acidic component to them. I have no idea if you could make this sauce and process it and have it be fine for a period of months. You might want to check with your local department of agriculture, or just search for a recipe that has been specifically formulated for processing and long-term storage.

      Reply

  85. shayla on March 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    i just made a batch of this and it is to die for!! i am a baker by trade and have never in my 8 years been able to make a good caramel until tonight. thanks so much and the pics helped out a lot. i poured it in between and on top of a caramel apple cake and it’s amazing

    Reply

  86. Ladi on March 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I think your caramel tastes totally burnt.
    I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but you must be crazy taking the caramel to 350 F. That’s temperature when sugar starts to burn. 295 F (hard crack stage) will give you a pretty brittle or hard candy. Caramel shouldn’t go beyond hard ball stage, certainly not more then 270 F.
    Am I being ignorant and your technique is just fine? I really want to know and would appretiatie you getting back to me.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 21st, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Not sure what to tell you. I’ve made multiple batches and it’s always turned out perfect and there are a lot of comments above from people who have made it with great success.

      Reply

  87. Pam B on March 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I made this sauce last night, with my husband standing over me holding the butter. (0: It was very delicious! And I managed to only eyeball. The instructions were very helpful. I want to make this cupcake for a baby shower, and don’t want to drizzle this over the cupcake for decor purposes. Can I inject this into a cupcake without it getting soggy? And does it harden for a garnishment?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 26th, 2013 at 12:28 am

      Hi Pam, You might want to let it set up for a bit before piping it. If you let it sit at room temperature, or even refrigerate for a short time, it will get much thicker, which will make it easier to pipe and keep the cupcakes from getting soggy. It doesn’t ever get rock-hard.

      Reply

  88. Dru @ Teenage Cakeland on March 26, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I made this last night and it came out absolutely beautifully! I am writing a post on it for tomorrow, and used it ti make caramel frosting for a German chocolate cake :)

    Reply

  89. Mo on March 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I have made numerous batches of this since Thanksgiving. It is wonderful! I used at least 15 jars for gifts, a alot over ice cream, used some in thumbprint cookies, dipped apples, and ate spoonfuls when I walked thru the kitchen. I am making some tonight for Easter, just incase….
    Thank-you! I have meant to make my own caramel sauce for years, but never got around to it.

    Reply

  90. Mo on March 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I should add – just made another batch and noticed a couple things I do.
    I use a 6 quart Farberware pot. I frequently double the recipe in this pan, but also use it for single batches. The sugar cooks easier when I make a single batch. (Less caking and lumps.)
    I stir 1 teaspoon of salt into the cream while the sugar is melting. It seemed to settle when I added it to the caramel. I also use salted butter.
    I thought the salted caramel brownies were fabulous with this sauce. I drizzled a little bit over the brownies after they were baked and cooled in addition to the caramel in the recipe.

    Reply

  91. Susu on March 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I just made some and it came out delicious! Finally a opportunity to use the Fleur de Sel de Guérande I got for christmas :)
    I substituted the cream for some semi skimmed milk (because I hade no cream and it was late in the evening and I wanted to have this stuff NOW.) and it is probably a bit more runny than the version with cream, but still gorgeous sauce.

    Reply

  92. Tracey on April 3, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Hi, I tried this for the first time this weekend and, while it tastes fantastic, its almost solid. It HAS to be eaten with a spoon…no way is that being drizzled on anything!!! Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to thin it down so that it’s more of a sauce and less of a solid? Or what could have caused this in the first place?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 3rd, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Hi Tracey, Once it cools and is refrigerated, yes, the sauce thickens to the point of needing to eat it with a spoon. For drizzling, simply re-warm it gently on the stove or in the microwave.

      Reply

      • Tracey on April 3rd, 2013 at 3:34 pm

        Phew!!! Thanks for the reply. I was worried I’d messed it up somehow :)

        Reply

  93. Annette on April 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I made this yesterday using raw (turbinado) sugar, since that’s what we have switched to. It turned out way too dark and hadn’t even melted all the way before it looked over done. I was using an electric stove since that’s all I have. I have always loved cooking on electric and it’s all I’ve ever known. Anyway, when I added the cream it turned into a huge lump and would not incorporate with the rest. I put it back on the burner on low-med heat and it finally did melt together enough to salvage most of it. It’s really dark and strong tasting, not burned, but over done for our taste. When I added the salt (I used Maldon Crystal Sea Salt Flakes) it seemed to mix in fine, then later I noticed that most of it was clumped up in the bottom of the glass jar. I am an experienced cook/baker and love your recipes. This one just didn’t turn out great like they usually do. I am going to use the caramel to make the chocolate chip cookie bars so maybe they will be sweet enough to counter the strong caramel taste. Do you think part of the problem was the raw sugar? Thanks. :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 8th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Annette, It could very well have been due to using the raw sugar; I have never used that for caramel sauce.

      Reply

      • Annette on April 10th, 2013 at 11:01 am

        Well, Michelle, I used the dark caramel sauce in your Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar recipe and OH MY WORD! They are fabulous! Redemption… :)
        Like I said, it wasn’t really burned, just dark, and probably because of the raw sugar. I am SO glad I put it back on the burner and waited for it to melt back together instead of throwing it out. It tastes amazing in the cookie bars! Thanks again!!

        Reply

  94. Sandi on April 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I saw this recipe about 2 weeks ago and have been dying to try it. I have never made caramel before, but am adventurous with my desert making so what the heck right? Well, the first attempt was a bust, I looked away for about a second and it boiled and created a hideous stench. LOL. The second attempt went better, but I still burnt it; just barely though. I think I know how to do it this time, so here it goes again. I will probably have to stop at this attempt, it’s getting expensive.

    Reply

    • Sandi on April 9th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Third time’s the charm. This sauce is beautiful!!! I gave my honey a spoonful when he got home and he took the jar from me…SCORE!!! We spent last night thinking of ways to use this lovely sauce. Thank you!!!

      Reply

  95. thebakingcup - carolina on April 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    awesome post! i love salted caramel because it’s so versatile!

    Reply

  96. Vivien on April 10, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I love your salted caramel brownies! I made this and it turned out so delicious! Looking forward to try out more of your recipes.

    Reply

  97. Kara D on April 10, 2013 at 9:25 am

    When making caramel sauce I found that it is much easier to go by color. If I let the sugar get to 350 I would have a lot of burnt sugar!

    Reply

  98. Kait on April 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Just wondering, in the pictures what is the brand of the thermometer you use?

    Reply

  99. Kathy on April 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Been dying to make salted caramel cupcakes for so long so I found this recipe and it looked so good so i made it today and twice because the first time it left a bad after taste like it was burnt at the bottom the second time it left the same bad taste and it even turned the color you said. Don’t know why so I just used a recipe in my Georgetown cupcakes cookbook that took less time and came out tasting amazing.

    Reply

  100. sylvie on April 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I can’t tell if I burnt it or there’s too much salt. Had to use a fine sea salt. Any advice before I waste the rest of my butter? I also made my own heavy cream with full milk and unsalted butter.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Sylvie, I’m not sure you’re question. I really have no way of knowing if you burnt it or used too much salt. However, if it didn’t turn out correctly, you may want to try traditional heavy cream and see if it works any better. I can never guarantee results when there are ingredient substitutions made or the recipe hasn’t been followed exactly.

      Reply

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