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Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce

Learn the Basics of How To Make the most incredible Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce with this Step by Step Tutorial.  Makes a great Gift!

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

I have posted recipes featuring caramel on my blog so many times.  It’s probably one of my favorite things to bake with.  Besides chocolate.  Or vanilla.  Or stone fruit.  Or apples, or cookie butter, or berries, or nuts, or pumpkin, or rhubarb…

Ok so I have a lot of favorites.  But caramel is definitely up there!  I love how rich it is, and buttery, and that little hint of burnt sugar complexity… mmm!  And I’m a huge fan of the current trend of adding a little salt, to really balance the sweetness.

I have (yet another!) caramel recipe I want to post in the near future, so I thought I’d first share a simple tutorial for making homemade salted caramel sauce.

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

The whole thing is done in probably 15 minutes or less, so it’s definitely quicker than making a trip to the store to buy a factory-made jar.  But it can be a little tricky, if you aren’t paying close attention.  I’ve definitely dorked it before!  But now I’ve made it so many times, I can almost do it in my sleep.  That being said, do not attempt unless your kiddos are at school or otherwise well-occupied.  Second degree sugar burns are no joke.  They don’t call that shiz “culinary napalm” for nothin’.

You’ll want to make sure and have all your ingredients and equipment close at hand.  The process happens very quickly and you wouldn’t want to turn your back to grab a jar and have the whole thing turn smelly and black on you.

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

Warm the cream, butter, and salt over low heat until small bubbles appear around the edge and the salt crystals have completely dissolved.  Cut the heat, add the vanilla, and set aside.  I used Lagrima pure vanilla extract.  Lagrima was one of the sponsors at IFBC 2013 this past weekend, and they offer a truly excellent product.  If you’d like to give it a try, you can use the code TRYIT at checkout for a 15% discount!

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium pot and heat over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally (don’t stir, or it could crystallize!), until a warm amber color is achieved.  I like to let my sugar get pretty dark, just because I prefer a deeper flavor, but you could take it anywhere from a pale golden color to a deep brown.

You’ll notice it goes from looking granular, to melting down to a liquid, to a fierce boil with big bubbles, then smaller bubbles, then tiny bubbles.  When the bubbles get really small, the color should be just about right.

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

Once you’ve got the color where you want it, turn the heat down to low, and pour in the cream mixture all at once, while whisking.  The mixture will bubble up.  A lot.  Hopefully you paid attention and didn’t use your bittiest pot.  😉

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

Keep whisking, over low heat, until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Immediately transfer the hot caramel sauce to a heat-proof vessel, to stop the cooking process.  I like to use a pyrex measuring cup, if I’m going to be pouring it right away for a recipe, or a mason jar, if I’m stashing it for later use (or giving it as a gift :D).

As it cools, the caramel will thicken.  It could thicken quite a bit, depending upon how long you cooked the sugar.  I’ve had mine harden up to be more of a chewy candy-type consistency.  Which can work out great.  Roll and cut into bites, wrap those babies up in little scraps of parchment and you have an awesome treat.  Or, if you really wanted a pourable sauce, just warm it a bit in the microwave, and dribble in a little hot water, a teaspoon at a time, until you have the consistency you’re after.  The flavors in a thicker caramel are super-concentrated, so a little bit of water will not dilute the taste at all.

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

There you have it!  Pretty quick, right?  And there’s really no limit to what you can do with it.  I suggest jarring it up and giving it as gifts!  Your friends and family will love it over vanilla ice cream.  Or on brownies.  Or cream puffs.  Or in their morning coffee…

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 ounces
Learn the Basics of How To Make the most incredible Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce with this Step by Step Tutorial. Makes a great Gift!
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • anywhere from ¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. In a small pot, gently heat the cream, butter, and salt until the butter has melted and the salt has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  2. In a larger pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over a medium high flame, swirling the pot occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
  3. Continue to boil the sugar mixture until the bubbles begin to get smaller and it becomes amber-colored.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, and pour in the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps or crystals.
  5. Immediately transfer the hot mixture to a heat-safe vessel and cool completely.

Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce | Baking a Moment

And stay tuned for future posts featuring this buttery, rich, and sweet/salty sauce!

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  1. There are little things better than homemade caramel sauce, specially if it’s salted caramel. Gosh, that stuff is heavenly, and I love to bake with it as well.
    I really cannot wait for your next posts featuring this sauce, I’m sure they’re great! x

  2. I adore salted caramel- I have been meaning to make some for awhile now (I think it’ll be great topped on those “brownie in a mug” recipes!) I’ll have to try this out- it looks so easy that even I can’t screw it up!

    1. Awesome! I hope they enjoy! I will definitely be giving some away for Christmas this year too. I’m thinking about tripling the batch. If you do that, just make sure to use a big enough pot, because it really foams up a lot when you add the cream, and it’s like 250 degrees F or something crazy like that. If it gets on you, it sticks to your skin so it’s seriously bad news. Good luck, and so happy you liked the post, Amy! Hope you’re having a great weekend! <3

  3. I’m sorry if this is a silly question, but does this need to be refrigerated when done? I’m thinking about making it to include in gift baskets but don’t want to do that if it has to be kept chilled. Thanks!

    1. I don’t think it’s a silly question at all! I think it’s an excellent question and I’m so happy you asked.

      I typically store my caramel in a cupboard. I have never had it go bad, sour, moldy, or rancid in any way. It usually hangs around for around 6-8 weeks, before it’s gobbled up in one form or another.

      That being said, your question got my wheels turning and I couldn’t resist googling it to try and find out *why???* doesn’t it spoil, considering it contains dairy. Most of what I found on the internet recommends refrigeration. Some of what I found suggests that if the sauce contains equal amounts of cream and sugar, it won’t require it. I have not taken the time to weigh the ingredients, but if you want to be absolutely certain, I would recommend doing so. Evidently high-concentrations of sugar can act as a preservative. I’m sure that’s probably why we don’t see candy bars displayed in the refrigerated section at the store.

      Additionally, if you want to really be super safe, I’d suggest sterilizing the jars before filling them, and perhaps even processing them (like you’d do with jam or pickles) by submerging them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. I have instructions here: This would ensure that no germies get into the jars 😉

      So I guess it’s really up to you, and how extra-super-safe you want to be. Evidently, from what I’ve read, I’m living on the edge 😉

      Thanks again for the excellent question, and for reading my blog! I hope you and your loved ones enjoy the caramel! <3

      1. Thank you for taking the time to look into this! I figured it would be ok, but I was just curious as to how you stored it. If you live on the edge (and are still living to tell about it!) then I shall live on the edge too 😉

    1. Hey Lorrie! Thanks so much for reading my blog, and I’m so happy you’re going to try making my caramel recipe!

      You raise an excellent question, and you’re actually not the first person to ask. If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind looking in the comments section of the post? Another reader named Dana asked the same question, and I gave a somewhat lengthy (lol!) explanation. I’m hoping that will answer your question, but if not, just let me know and I’ll look into it further for you. <3

      Good luck!

  4. Perfection!! I’m making a slab apple pie this week, and have been looking for the perfect thing to drizzle over the top, and this is IT! I love your step-by-step photos, and seriously envy your lighting 🙂 Thank you!
    Visiting from Wonderful at Home

    1. OH, April, you will love this on your slab apple pie! It will totally take it over the top!

      I do get decent lighting in my kitchen, although that area by the stove is like a black hole, lol! I had to push the iso waaaaay up for those pics to turn out. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by, dear!

  5. Allie, you’re going to hear this in every single one of my comments from this moment forward: your photos are amazing! I wish I could style food and shoot it as well as you. And girl, salted caramel sauce is one of the best things in life. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  6. I just made this and ohmygoodness, my tongue was singing when I licked the spatula! I’m putting this in a salted caramel apple pie- I’ll let you know how it comes out! (PS- I instagramed the final product, if you’d like to see it @sewin2disney)

    1. Hi Erin! I’ve never really tried it, but I’m wondering if honey could work. Or agave nectar? Or maybe maple syrup? You could actually skip the corn syrup and water altogether, the only real purpose of it is to help keep the sugar from crystallizing. Many chefs leave it out and do just fine without it. I just like that added insurance 😉 Thanks so much for the kind words, for reading my blog, and for the great question. Hope you’re having a terrific week!

  7. I stumbled across this recipe in a search a while back, finally made it yesterday. Oh MY GOSH. So unbelievably delicious!! I have made my own chocolate syrup for years, and this will now be a staple right beside it! I believe there will be many jars handed out this Christmas.

    Have you ever tried making caramels, like the kind in a box of chocolates? I once got some vanilla caramels from Fannie May and they were the best I’d ever tasted – until now! I’d love to be able to make some with the flavor of this sauce. I know the recipe would have to be tripled or quadrupled, but I don’t know what to do to make them set up a little firmer – still soft and chewy, but slice-able.

    Thank you for such an amazing recipe and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

    1. Thank you, Patricia, for bookmarking one of my most favorite recipes ever and making it! I’m so happy to hear that you like it as much as I do.

      I have made caramels before, and it’s really easy! Basically, you just use the same recipe, keeping an eye on the temperature with a candy thermometer. You want to get it to the soft ball stage, which is around 235 degrees. I actually blogged this recipe waaaay back when, early on in my blogging career when I was over at YinMom YangMom. You can check out the tutorial here:

      I hope you enjoy and thank you so much for the great comment! I hope you enjoy the season as well! xoxo

  8. Allie girl! This recipe is stellar grade A, awesome! I quadrupled the recipe since I made the sauce for Christmas gifts, and it is pure perfection!
    Thanks again!

  9. Thank you soooo much!! You saved my batch of caramel sauce!! I came here looking for a new recipe because my sauce turned into caramel candy but you told me the trick about adding water and now my sauce is saved!!! Yay!! I promise I’ll try yours next time!!!

  10. Hi Allie, I tried to make the caramel sauce once before without the corn syrup and it worked out, I did it again yesterday and it didn’t turned out well. i made twice the amounts and when melting the sugar it never turned darker, so i got desesperate and added the cream, the sauce ended up yellow, with a strong flavor from the butter and after that the whole sauce was like cristalized, but i don’t think that I moved the sugar. I did it again later whith another sugar and it got darker, not quite enough but it also turned kind of cristalized at the end. i wonder why if the first time was great

    1. Hi Maria! If you’re having trouble with crystallization, I would not recommend leaving out the corn syrup. The purpose of the corn syrup is to prevent crystallization. There is something about the molecular makeup of corn syrup that will prevent the crystals from forming. Also once you add the cream there is no going back and getting that amber color. The addition of cream will halt the caramelization of the sugars. I hope that explains it for you! I really think the recipe is perfect as is. I wouldn’t change a thing- it really gives optimal results with as little margin for error as possible. Thanks so much and I hope you have better luck next time!

      1. Thank you so much for the explanation. I will try to make it again soon and will start searching the corn syrup. Regards from Colombia

    1. Hi Mandy! This recipe makes approximately 8 ounces of caramel sauce. You’ll want to be sure to check the capacity of the jars you are looking to use. The ones in my pics here are 8 ounces, so that’s one jar. The recipe can be doubled or tripled and it works well! Just be sure to use a big enough pot because it really bubbles up a lot when you add the cream 😉

  11. I am wanting to make these brownie sundae cupcakes for my daughters kindergarten graduation. My question is since her graduation is in the morning should I make everything and put it in the fridge overnight or just make the brownie icecream cones and get up extra early to frost and drizzle the caramel? I don’t want them to end up not looking like a sundae by the time we make it to school and wait for graduation to end…

    1. Hey Amy! If you want to make these ahead I would suggest baking the ice cream cones, frosting them, and refrigerating. Then you can also make the caramel sauce and store it in an airtight container at room temp. On the day you want to serve, just drizzle on the caramel and top with a cherry. I hope that helps! Good luck and congrats to your daughter!

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