Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

A quick and easy recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce. It’s perfect for ice cream sundaes, adding to other recipes, or giving away as gifts!

A gorgeous drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce.

Salted caramel sauce is the coolest kid in class, am I right? It’s the quarterback of the football team… the head cheerleader. When salted caramel is at a party, everyone wants to be there.

While Internet food crazes of the past like macarons and cake pops are certainly deserving of clamor, 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. I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I completely embraced the salted caramel phenomenon long ago; some of my favorite recipes include: 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 salted caramel possibilities are truly endless, especially when you have a no-fail, go-to homemade salted caramel sauce recipe. I’ve found the simplest method to be the best when making caramel sauce. 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, a step-by-step recipe, as well as a video to guide you through!

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How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce

Looking down at a jar of homemade salted caramel sauce.

Caramel can be intimidating, but the more you make it, 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 (I use this one) 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 with a bit of a nutty aroma. 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 degrees, 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.

*Note: Many of you have commented that you think 350 degrees F is too hot to make a caramel sauce, however, I’ve tested and re-tested and compared to other recipes and have confirmed that yes, you want to hit 350 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. I’ve made it many times completely by eye and when I deemed it done, checked the thermometer and it was always 345-352 degrees F. Yes, if you’re making candy and just drop the melted sugar at this point, it will harden. However, you’re about to add butter and cream to make it a sauce. Trust me!

A big jar of homemade salted caramel sauce

Now that you have a jar of the most amazing salted 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. Eat it by the spoonful. There is no judging when it comes to salted caramel!

A big spoonful of salted caramel sauce.

One year ago: S’mores Cheesecake
Five years ago: Apple Pie Ice Cream
Seven years ago: Cowboy Cookies
Eight years ago: Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes

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Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

This easy salted caramel sauce will change your life! It’s perfect to keep in the refrigerator for ice cream sundaes, or package it up and give it as gifts!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (397 grams) granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (240 ml) 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 medium (2 to 3 quart) saucepan. 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, it will be around 350 degrees F.
  3. As soon as the caramel reaches its sweet spot, 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. Remove the pan from heat.
  4. Slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously.
  5. Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate.
  6. 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. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Recipe Notes:

  • To reheat the sauce, remove the lid from the jar and microwave for about 45 seconds, then stir. It should be smooth and pourable, but not piping hot.
  • Do not substitute kosher salt or table salt for the fleur de sel flaky sea salt, as it will turn out much too salty!
  • This recipe is not suitable for canning or long-term storage, so it should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

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A gorgeous smear of salted caramel sauce.