Salted Caramel Sauce

Thursday, December 1, 2011
Homemade salted caramel sauce

Homemade salted caramel sauce

Salted Caramel added to anything is pretty much a secret weapon for success. Pretty sure if you enrobed an old car tire in the stuff I would venture a nibble. Well, I’d at least nibble the clean top layer of salted caramel off the tire before sending it to the scrapyard.

Really though, this salted caramel sauce is good on everything! Drizzle it over ice cream, dip apples in it, whip it into a buttercream frosting, or my favorite, just sneak spoonfuls of it as little treats throughout the day. What? Sometimes a girl needs a treat or two when she’s working hard!

Best of all, it is surprisingly easy to make your own homemade caramel sauce. Swear.

salted caramel sauce in the making

Sugar + Water

Start by heating sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Some recipes don’t call for water, but I prefer adding a bit because it helps the sugar melt evenly. Bring the liquid sugar to a boil and just let it roll for awhile, swirling the pan every once in a while. Just chill out, watch, and wait for the magic to happen.

salted caramel sauce in the works

Amber. Perfect.

When the sugar hits a beautiful dark amber color — this is when you need to hop to it because it can go from beautiful to burnt quickly — add the butter to the pan.

salted caramel sauce in the works

Butter, go.

The mixture will foam up and bubble like crazy. It’s ok. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.

salted caramel sauce in the works

Cream, go.

Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate. The caramel will look gorgeous and creamy.

salted caramel sauce in the works

Gorgeous, smooth, and creamy.

Now add the sea salt (I love the texture of Maldon sea salt flakes or fleur de sel) and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. If you’re into fun frisky things like Bourbon Caramel Sauce you can also add a few spoonfuls of bourbon at this time. Meow meow.


salted caramel sauce

A jar full of happy

Don’t worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, it will thicken as it cools.

I’m going to make like Jersey-girl-hair now and be a big tease. That’s right, I’m going to pull a Snookie and bumpit up. This insanely delicious homemade salted caramel we just made? Yeah, it’s going into a Salted Caramel Apple Pie. Boom.


Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

This salted caramel sauce is good on everything! Drizzle it over ice cream, dip apples in it, whip it into a buttercream frosting, or my favorite, just eat it by the spoonful.

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 cups


1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I prefer Maldon sea salt flakes or fleur de sel)


  1. Heat sugar and water in a 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to help the sugar dissolve, but stop stirring when the sugar comes to a boil. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want.
  2. When the liquid sugar hits a dark amber color, add all the butter to the pan. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.
  4. Add the sea salt and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. (Note: if making Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce, add 3 tablespoons of bourbon at this time.)
  5. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Don"™t worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, it will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving to loosen it up again.

Print Recipe

Stumble It!
Posted by Stephanie at 9:20 pm

78 Responses to “Salted Caramel Sauce”

  1. hua says:

    i want to drink it in a funnel

  2. oh my goodness i think i could eat the whole jar with a spoon!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Looks awesome. By any chance do you know what temperature it should reach before adding the butter? I have the worst luck eyeballing caramel.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rebecca, 

      To be honest, I’ve never made caramel sauce with a thermometer, so I can’t say with certainty.  I’ve read from a few sources that it should hit 350-355 F before adding the butter and cream…at this point, the sugar and water should be nice and brown (amber or the color of an old penny), slightly less brown than what you want the final product to look like.  After you add the dairy the final product should be at the Thread Stage, I’d guess roughly 233-235 F.

      But again…I don’t think this recipe warrants the fuss of a candy thermometer. Good luck and let me know how it goes!


  4. Not gonna lie,
    when I had extra pie crust from Thanksgiving, I threw some into the oven with cinnamon and sugar on top and whipped up a batch of salted caramel. Pie crust + caramel = heaven.
    Love this tutorial, even though I eyeball my measurements, it will definitely be helpful for other people!!

  5. Thanks for the play-by-play on this. I always get a bit nervous about burning things like this. Where did you get the jar? I’ve only come across Mason.

  6. Silvi says:

    I find it really impressive that this recipe doesn’t involve a candy thermometer! I made caramels and things at work. We monitor lots of temperatures, and I love how simple and approachable this recipe is. I think it would make great Christmas gifts!


  7. [...] JARSKumquat Vanilla MarmaladeChristmas Cookie JarsClassic GranolaSavory Granola – The KitchnSalted Caramel SauceHomemade Nutella – Danielle @ Beyond the PlateCardamom Pear Butter – Tracy @ [...]

  8. maryam says:

    a) this recipe is amazing.
    b) you’re amazing for posting this.
    c) i may or may not have gone through two batches in one week.
    d) also, great blog!

  9. [...] when the urge to make a Salted Caramel Apple Pie strikes you, you can focus on lovely things like salted caramel and crisp apples.ApplesNow I won’t sugar coat it…this pie is a bit time consuming, but not so [...]

  10. Nicole says:

    Making this as I speak for a topping to a caramel apple cheesecake!!! Yum! Can’t wait to eat it!

  11. Andrea says:

    I LOVE this!!! I drizzled it over my French toast casserole I made for Sunday brunch with my husbands family. Needless to say there was nothing left of anything. Lol

  12. Andrea says:

    How would you make this into caramel candies? Hubby has a pregnant coworker who adores caramel candies.

    • Stephanie says:

      I believe that the difference in texture between caramel sauce and chewy caramel candy results from the difference in temperature you allow the caramel to reach. To make candy you need to get the temp up to the “firm ball stage” — here’s a helpful link I found on making caramels. Experiment and have fun!

  13. [...] Caramel Sauce (recipe taken directly from here – great pics to help, [...]

  14. [...] Recipe adapted from: [...]

  15. LBW says:

    I’ve made this several times in a Calaphalon pot on an electric stove and every time, the sugar just turns to crystals. Then I watched Anne Burrell make it and she added corn syrup which I found out keeps the sugar from crystalizing. I’m going to try it this way next time.

    • Stephanie says:

      huh, i’ve never tried making it on an electric stove…didn’t realize it would make such a difference. thanks for sharing, and let me know if the corn syrup adaptation works for you!

    • Nalani says:

      I saw that same show with Anne Burnell.. Isnt she great?! I wondered why she added corn syrup too…Makes sense though. She also did a wash down of the sides of the pot with water..which is what I thoguht ruined my first batch is because I didnt do that, I did the next time, it worked out fine. Anyone having lumps of sugar in their sauces? Seems to happen when I add the cream, maybe I should l have the cream warmed?

  16. Nalani says:

    Wow! What a delicious sauce! Finally got it down on how to make it.. Burnt the first batch! lol.. Salt didnt melt as well as I would have liked it.. had too much crunch, will use it in salted caramel apple pie. Eating straight out of the container is delicious! Put some in my malt-o-meal.. it was great!

    • Stephanie says:

      Yay! Caramel Sauce success!  What did you do differently to finally nail it? 

      • Nalani says:

        Hey Stephanie, I think maybe the weather may have played apart to my success.. IDK!lol… also, I watched my sauce instead of walking away, which I tend to do (ge bored) .. After the first batch, I knew what I DIDNT want to happen to my sauce, so I made changes as needed. I made two batches of sauce since last week.. they are gone!! haha.. made flat salted apple pie, caramel bread pudding.. topped our ie cream and chocolate cake with it.. put some in malt-o-meal.. and of course some in my coffee!! Yummo!

        BTW.. do you know what makes the difference between caramel and buttescoth? is it brown sugar to butterstoch and white sugar to caramel? Thanks for the blow-by-blow on the process of making caramel!

        • Stephanie says:

          yeah, watching the sauce is a good idea ;)
          regarding caramel vs. butterscotch, it does seem like the brown sugar has something to do with it…also the addition of butter earlier on in the process I’m guessing plays a part in the more brown buttery flavor of butterscotch.

  17. Laura says:

    Wow this looks delicious. I’ve recently rustled some up (and actually blogged on it, it was so good), but Im afraid mine was a complete cheat compared to this! I added cream to mine, so it technically isnt pure caramel.

    (also cheated my mixing in sticky chocolate sauce too – divine tho and worth it)


  18. Jessica says:

    Just made this sauce – finally a perfect caramel sauce which isnt too bitter or sweet. I used only one teaspoon of salt and it is fantastic !

  19. Lauren says:

    Have never made caramel (or many sweet sauces for that matter) and found your recipe so easy to use. Perfect sauce which took very little time and tastes AMAZING. Had a little over ice cream tonight, and the rest is in the fridge. I will hopefully be able to resist eating too much in the next few days!

  20. [...] hopefully beyond.I know this isn’t usually the sort of thing I post about. There are no jars of salted caramel, eat fests, or epic sandwiches involved. I promise, I’ll return to the scheduled programming [...]

  21. Josh says:

    I love you!! Haha! My minister and I recently got talking about caramel rolls. I love to bake but never ventured that side of the spectrum. Did a lot of searching for good recipes and zilch, nothing, nada. Finally came up with a good roll recipe and then came across this jewel! Thank u!!!! This is exactly what I was looking for! I have to get these outta the house ASAP though so my German Shepard and I don’t go into a diabetic coma. Thanks again!

  22. sallycake says:

    could you put it in cupcakes?

  23. Amanda says:

    After several failed attempts at the “dry” method of caramel sauce – I found your tutorial and SUCCESS!!! Thank you so much. This is now my go-to recipe!!

  24. JMR says:

    This is easy AND delicious!! Last weekend I made a batch and it was so good, I immediately made another! Although….I just realized I used a stick of butter instead of 6 TBS. I guess I’ll just have to make it again to taste test it :)

  25. b says:

    thanks for the tips! although the recipe was too bourbony and salty for my taste, the method you used to cook was a great help in learning how to make it! texture and consistency were perfect.

    next time i make, i’m going to cut the bourbon down to 1 tsp and salt down to 1/2 teaspoon. thanks again!!

  26. [...] the recipes I used (and I didn’t change a single thing in either recipe) here (brownies) and here (sauce.) I took caramel pictures and not brownie pictures because caramel is a lot more finicky [...]

  27. cindy says:

    how much water should i add with the sugar ?

  28. Linda says:

    Oh my goodness. This recipe is easy, quick, WONDERFUL. I topped a new recipe that I developed, something I call Apple Enchiladas. I just made an oatmeal, flour, butter, cinnamon mix, tossed in chopped Gala apples, rolled the mixture into flour tortillas and baked until done, then topped with the caramel. Everyone thinks I’m a genius, but I just tell them to Lick My Spoon.

  29. [...] hours. Plate with remaining caramel sauce. Print RecipeUpdate (11/16/12): Use this recipe for the Salted Caramel portion of the pie. Just do it.Related posts:Skinny Banana Chocolate Malt MilkshakeBanana [...]

  30. Malerie says:


    I have no idea what I’ve been doing wrong, but I’ve tried twice now and both times have been a failure. The first time, the sugar/water mixture didn’t turn amber.. it just solidified at the bottom of my pan in a white lump. So the second time, I put in the butter earlier….and I now have a yellowish butter sauce. Any suggestions?!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Malerie, ok let’s try to figure this out.

      The mixture could have solidified because of too much stirring. This can cause the sugar to lump up before it has a chance to melt/liquify. If that happens again, continue cooking over very low heat, stirring as little as possible. It should liquify. Don’t add the butter until the melted sugar is a nice amber brown color. Good luck, and hopefully third time’s the charm!


  31. [...] Salted caramel sauce – like giving someone crack for Christmas (but legal) [...]

  32. Dwayne says:

    tried this a few weeks ago…amazing. Just made 8 jars for Christmas gifts.

  33. [...] the sugar so badly I’d have to throw out my pots. However, this recipe by Stephanie at the Lick My Spoon blog was stupendously easy to follow, and the results are gorgeous. Clean-up was a cinch. No [...]

  34. Faith says:

    I make this often. Easy and delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  35. Char says:

    Can you can something like this?

  36. Marnie says:

    How long does this keep? Planning on making it and canning for gifts.

  37. […] vanilla? That’s another story. You’ll see. This is the perfect ice cream for pie, for drizzling salted caramel over, and for milkshakes! Oooh, I love a good vanilla malt […]

  38. […] sticks, cardamom, and cloves. As if this isn’t delicious enough as is, we then bring on the salted caramel. Oh hell […]

  39. Karen B says:

    This was AMAZINGLY easy and delicious!!!! I had to cut back on the salt, first batch was way to salty but may have just been the kind of sea salt I used.

    Have you tried making larger batches? I am wary to try it, but want to make tons of this to jar and give out as gifts. 

    • Stephanie says:

      So glad you like it, Karen!
      I’ve made as much as a quadruple batch before :)

      Hope you didn’t throw that salty batch out! You can always make a second batch without any salt and mix the two ;)

  40. […] Rachel of A Southern Fairytale Shawn of I Wash You Dry Stephanie of Queen Scarlett Stephanie of Lick My Spoon Wendy of 101 Gourmet […]

  41. […] Salted caramel sauce – like giving someone crack for Christmas (but legal) […]

  42. […] never get it up to temp.  So I decided to try a new recipe.  I found one that looked simple on Lick My Spoon for Salted Caramel Sauce.  There are good step by step directions.  And you don’t have to monitor the […]

Leave a Reply