Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Oh, the goodness that is salted caramel… anything. Sauce, frosting, cupcakes, brownies, caramel apples, ice cream. It seems that whatever salted caramel touches in the kitchen turns to gold. There’s something about that smooth, buttery, sweet, salty and almost nutty flavor that transforms just about anything into the best version of itself. I have had salted caramel ice cream on my to-make list for quite some time, and after spending my vacation eating ice cream almost every single day, I definitely the ice cream-making bug once I got back. I took a quick poll on Facebook to see what types of flavors readers might be interested in seeing, and I was pleased to see so many were thinking along the salted caramel line as well. To the kitchen I went!

I even splurged on fancy European butter for this occasion! I concluded that since it’s David Lebovitz’ recipe and he fashioned it after ice cream he’s had in Paris, that it was appropriate :)

I was tempted to stop the ice cream process after the caramel sauce was made and just eat it by the spoonful. Holy wow. And I won’t lie – I did steal more than a few tastes. But the sacrifice for the good of the ice cream was definitely worth it. If you’re any type of caramel fan, you’ll want to stash this away and not share it with anyone. Such a deep, creamy and perfectly balanced sweet and salty flavor with tiny bits of praline that turn gooey and perfect.

I do believe this ice cream deserves a partner in crime. I’m thinking brownies would be a perfect pairing!

One year ago: Triple-Chocolate Cookies
Three years ago: Fresh Orange Cream Tart

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active), 8 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes (churn time)

Total Time: 50 minutes


For the caramel praline (mix-in):
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel

For the ice cream custard:
2 cups whole milk, divided
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons salted butter
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
5 egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. To make the caramel praline, spread the ½ cup of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, heavy duty saucepan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or brush it sparingly with unflavored oil.

2. Heat the sugar over medium heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later.) Continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.

3. Without hesitation, sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon salt without stirring, then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and lift up the baking sheet immediately, tilting and swirling it almost vertically to encourage the caramel to form as thin a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.

4. To make the ice cream, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts) over the ice, pour 1 cup of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

5. Spread 1½ cups sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over medium heat until caramelized, using the same method described in Step #2.

6. Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go. The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of the milk.

7. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F.

8. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

9. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

10. While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into very little bits, about the size of very large confetti (about ½-inch).

11. Once your caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.

Note: As the ice cream sits, the little bits of caramel may liquefy and get runny and gooey, which is what they’re intended to do.

(Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)


90 Responses to “Salted Caramel Ice Cream”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Lori @ RecipeGirl on April 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Oh yes, pair w/ brownies! Perfect idea!


  2. Lauren at KeepItSweet on April 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I can’t get enough salted caramel, this ice cream looks amazing!


  3. Christina on April 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

    So good! I love caramel!


  4. laura on April 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

    this looks incredible – can’t wait to try it!


  5. Jenny Flake on April 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    This would make me so happy today!! Looks delish!


  6. what katie's baking on April 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    oh wow… this looks delicious!
    how about brownies topped with caramel?!?


  7. jen @ the baked life on April 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

    looks amazing. I agree with brownies it would be amazing. or maybe a shortbread cookie?


  8. Monica on April 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Oh yes!! That looks delicious!!


  9. Emily on April 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Mmm I want to try that! It looks delish.


  10. Island Vittles on April 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

    oh dear — I think I’m going to have to make that this weekend. Out of control yum. Theresa


  11. Susan on April 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I had a taste of this in a restaurant last week and haven’t stopped thinking about it – now I can make my own! Thanks so much. Looks delicious.


  12. Maria on April 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    One of my favorite flavors!


  13. Brooke (Baking with Basil) on April 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    OH MY!!! I must try this!


  14. RavieNomNoms on April 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    That is divine, sweet and salt….DELISH!


  15. Evan Thomas on April 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Yum! Definitely bookmarking this for the Summer.


  16. Heather on April 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I tried salted caramel ice cream for the first time this week and it is absolutely divine!


  17. Lauren on April 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Fabulous, just fabulous!


  18. Janet @ From Cupcakes To Caviar on April 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Oh, that looks awesome! I got an ice cream maker recently and was getting bored with the usual chocolate and vanilla variations. I’m definitely going to have to make this one!


  19. Johanna on April 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    oh sweet mother! I was seriously JUST imagining a browned butter ice cream last night as I scooped some boring vanilla bean next to a pan of melted browned butter. I refrained from putting the browned butter ON my ice cream, and now that this recipe exists – I shall indulge in delicious salty, caramelly goodness! :) Lovely. Thanks!


  20. Tessa on April 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Yum! I recently made a caramel ice cream that was pretty good. My only complaint was that it didn’t have egg yolks and wasn’t quite as creamy as I wanted. I will have to give this a try!


  21. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie on April 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I’ve made this recipe before and loved it! I never thought to it with brownies but that’s a wonderful idea!


  22. Kellyn on April 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Michelle, this looks DELICIOUS! If you like this flavor, check out Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, they’re a homegrown small biz here in Buckeyeland, I think you’ll LOVE LOVE LOVE her flavors!!!


  23. Erin @ Art + Food + Life on April 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Am I missing something? I am reading the recipe wondering where the butter comes in for the praline. I know it should be in with the sugar but I did not see it in the directions.

    Help! I want to try this one! :)


  24. Erin @ Art + Food + Life on April 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Nevermind…i had to read it a third time. I blame it on Friday tiredness 😉


  25. Aleida on April 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t even like ice cream and I want some of this! Absolutely delicious! Thank you for using one of my favorite things in the entire world.


  26. Allison on April 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Oh, my word. I must try this. It’s salted caramel, it’s David Liebovitz, and it’s ice cream. What is not to like. It’s the best invention ever.


  27. Brandi on April 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    How necessary is the ice bath for the milk?


    • Michelle on April 10th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Brandi, The ice bath helps to speed up the cooling process, but it’s not absolutely necessary – I’ve done without when my ice maker was broken 😉


      • Brandi on April 10th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

        Great, thanks!


  28. Rodzilla on April 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Looks greats, I immediately thought of Jeni’s in Columbus. Did you use any special salt?


    • Michelle on April 10th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      I used Sicilian sea salt (couldn’t get fleur de sel or maldon near me).


  29. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen on April 9, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I need this is my life. It would make my bad hair day to a good day. *sigh*


  30. Fran {The Flavorful Fork} on April 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I really do need to get an ice cream maker now. So yum!


  31. Sandra on April 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Never had salted caramel before but you’ve piqued my interest. And, everything is better with brownies!


  32. The Food Hound on April 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I love salted caramel ANYTHING!! Can’t wait to try this now that it’s ice cream season!!


  33. Julia on April 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I was looking around for recipes to try with my new ice cream maker and I think I found a winner! Yummy! The picture put it over the top as I am running out ASAP to get some more butter!


  34. Sharlene on April 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I am definitely a card-carrying member of the salted caramel fan club and this is topping my to-do list!


  35. Jennifer on April 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Bi-Rite in San Francisco makes Salted Caramel ice cream and it’s my absolute favorite. I’ve always wanted to try it — thanks for the recipe!


  36. Tiffany on April 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I love salt and sweet… so awesome to make an ice cream with that combo!


  37. Felice on April 11, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Well, there goes the diet (again). I love salted caramel anything, and ice cream sound so good right now.


  38. jaclyn@todayslady on April 11, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I. Want. This. Now! Mmmmm sweet and salty-best combo! I definitely would’ve had trouble not eating the caramel before it made it into the ice cream. Really, I just think its absolutely impossible not to eat caramel when its staring at you in the face with all of it’s wonderful aroma and creamy look.


  39. Adriana on April 11, 2011 at 5:52 am

    You are right! Brownies are a great pairing. I made them together a few weeks ago to rave reviews from friends.


  40. The Café Sucré Farine on April 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Oh my, this looks and sound divine – I am such a sucker for anything caramel and will definitely be needing to try this – SOON!!! It would be so delicious with my poppy seed pound cake, yum!


  41. Joe The Baker on April 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    My ice cream maker is a 6 quart maker….Can someone update the recipes accordingly for me please?
    Thank you :)


  42. Forks Knives and Spades on April 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    There is nothing better than salty and sweet together. I make fleur de sel caramels often and they’re out of this world delicious….so, salted caramel ice cream can only be equally delicious. My husband would love this too. It would be good with some toffee bits incorporated as well. Yum!


  43. Tracy on April 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    This ice cream sounds absolutely divine! Putting on my list to make this summer for sure!


  44. Star on April 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    You make me want to bake/cook! I awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. Love your site. ;-))


  45. Cookin' Canuck on April 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Michelle, this looks so good. Actually, it might be the perfect snack food to enjoy during the playoffs.


  46. Nicole on April 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm! I have just discovered this caramel salt phenomenon. It is amazing! There is a Sea Salt with Caramel Truffel ice cream I discovered a few weeks ago that is to die for. This recipe look fabulous! I am totally going to try this soon! Thank goodness my girls over at Couple of Crumbs spotlighted your site or I may have never found you! Already on my list is snickerdoodle popcorn, s’more cookies, and THIS! And I haven’t even checkout the other caramal salt recipes. Did I see brownies?!! Ahhh!

    Love this site and I adore the name!


  47. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on April 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Fabulous! I think I need to make some of this ice cream myself!


  48. Amanda S on April 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Yum with brownies!!! This ice cream looks really great!


  49. momgateway on April 14, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I think your ice cream is fantastic..I buzzed it!


  50. Suzanne on April 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    wow, can’t wait to try this on out!


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