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Learning how to make caramel sauce is a trick you will use time and again! Making caramel sauce only takes a few minutes, and the result is so much better than anything you can buy at the store.

Learn how to make caramel sauce so this delicious treat is always just minutes away

I love, love, love all things caramel. Borderline obsessed, ok?

If there’s a new chocolate with caramel in it, I’m trying it. A new caramel coffee drink at Starbucks? I’ll take one, please.

I love salted caramel cheesecake, caramel apples, salted caramel s’mores…I’m into it all.

Sadly, my family can’t stand it. That’s right, my husband and sweet baby girl loathe caramel. So I have to get my caramel fixes in separate from them, and spending $7 on a jar of fancy caramel sauce at the store is something my husband would die over.

Luckily, I know how to make caramel sauce at home, so I can have my own little stash of caramel any time I want, free of judgement from my family.

Today I thought I would share some of my tips for making caramel sauce so that you can also indulge any time you like. Us caramel lovers have to stick together, after all.

Ever wondered how to make caramel sauce? It is easy to make at home!


Making caramel sauce at home really only requires a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand already.

All you really need to make a basic caramel sauce is granulated sugar, cream and butter.

I also like to use a little bit of light corn syrup to make my caramel sauce. Corn syrup helps to stabilize the sugars, making things a little more fool-proof.

As in my Salted Caramel Sauce recipe, you can also add other flavors you’d like to have in your caramel sauce, such as salt or vanilla. You could even add cinnamon or apple pie spice to change things up!

But as long as you have the basic ingredients, you are well on your way to making a delicious homemade caramel sauce.

Knowing how to make caramel sauce is a useful trick you can use any time


So now let’s talk about how to make caramel sauce. I promise that it isn’t as complicated as it seems!

Stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Place this over the heat and stir just until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup starts to bubble. Then stop stirring!

If you've ever wondered how to make caramel sauce, it is easy to learn and only takes a few minutes to make

Let the syrup boil, without touching it, until it is a deep amber color. If you are using a candy thermometer, this will happen around 350 degrees.

As soon as this happens, remove the sauce from the heat and add the cream. Make sure you add it slowly and carefully; the sauce will bubble up quite a bit.

Stir the caramel sauce with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula until it is smooth. Then stir in the butter and any additional flavors or ingredients you are using.

Congrats! You have just made caramel sauce. But I have a few tips and tricks for you that will make the process even easier.

Once you learn how to make caramel sauce, your favorite treat will always be just minutes away


I’ve made caramel sauce enough times that I have accumulated a few tricks to help keep you from going from amber caramel perfection to a burnt sugar mess.

Trust me, I’ve learned some of these things the hard way.

Use a heavy, light-colored saucepan. And make sure it is larger than you think you will need, since the caramel will bubble up when you add the cream. I use at least a 5-cup saucepan to make 1 cup of caramel.

I like to use a saucepan with a light-colored interior, such as an enameled pan, so that I can easily see the caramel change colors. A dark pan will make it much harder to note the color.

It is easy to learn how to make caramel sauce! It only takes a few minutes and a few key ingredients

Which leads me to my second tip: Rely on the color of the sugar before adding in the cream.

You can definitely use a candy thermometer if you have a reliable one. I have 3 and each of them varies by 3-5 degrees, which can be quite a difference when you’re making homemade caramel sauce or candy.

In my opinion, it’s best to look for that deep amber color. But be forewarned – that gorgeous deep amber color can transition to a burnt mess in a matter of seconds.

And lastly, measure out your ingredients ahead of time and be free from distractions. Once the sugar gets going, things move fast! You’ll want to make sure your cream and butter are already measured and you’re paying attention so that you can add them at the right time.

Learn how to make caramel sauce with just a few pantry staples


Knowing how to make caramel sauce is just the beginning. What you do with it after you make it is when the magic really happens.

Homemade caramel sauce is perfect for topping any number of baked goods, such as mini apple pies, mini pumpkin cheesecakes, or gingerbread. And don’t forget to drizzle it over as much homemade vanilla ice cream as you can eat.

It also makes a great mix-in for milkshakes (try my Salted Caramel Pretzel Milkshake) or cocktails such as a Salted Caramel Apple Cocktail.

And then there’s always the dipping possibilities. Apple slices, pretzels, cookies – they’re all great for dipping into homemade caramel sauce.

Or you can just eat it from a spoon like I sometimes do.

Now that you know how to make caramel sauce, how will you serve it?

Knowing how to make caramel sauce is a useful trick for any time a caramel craving hits

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Salted Caramel Sauce

By: Jamie
4.44 from 108 ratings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 16
A simple recipe for homemade salted caramel sauce that is the perfect topping for just about anything, from apples and ice cream to brownies and cheesecake.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup heavy cream heated until warm
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • In a heavy saucepan (at least 5 cup capacity), stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened. If you are using a candy thermometer, place it into the pot taking care that it is tip in immersed into the sugar mixture.
  • Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the sugar syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber (like the color of Bass Ale) (see notes below). This will occur right around 350 degrees. Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.
  • Use a high-temperature heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter and salt. The mixture will be streaky but become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.
  • Allow the sauce to cool for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the vanilla extract.


  • Keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; refrigerated, about 3 weeks. To reheat, simply place in a microwave safe container and heat for about 45-60 seconds. Stir well.
  • I have 3 thermometers and they all register different temperatures. In my opinion, it's best to rely on the color of the caramel as opposed to the temperature. You want to look for a dark dark amber color. However, dark amber goes to burnt in a matter of seconds. If using a thermometer, start paying close attention at about 340 degrees. Once the color deepens, pull the mixture from the heat.
  • Yields just over 1 cup


Serving: 1tablespoon, Calories: 91kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 149mg, Potassium: 8mg, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 153IU, Vitamin C: 0.04mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.02mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Lorelei says:

    Hi there! I screwed up somehow. I did not see any crystallization in the sugar when I was cooking it alone, but after I added the cream, as the mixture cooled, it got grainier and grainier. Is there any way to fix caramel sauce after you’ve added the cream? Thanks so much for any tips!

    1. Jamie says:

      Hmmm, I haven’t had this happen so I’m not quite sure what the answer would be. Replying in hopes that another commenter might have some ideas for you!

    2. Dee says:

      Same thing happened to me twice. On my first attempt the cream separated I threw it out because I thought it was from me not warming the crean; so on the second try I warmed the cream but it happened again so I just used an immersion blender and it came out smooth as butter. Hope that helps

  2. cc says:

    hello! i am wondering, how can caramel be used in bakes? like baking into a cake?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi there – Within the post I list a number of ways you can use the sauce as a topping or a mix-in for recipes. You should be able to substitute this sauce in any recipe that calls for caramel sauce. Hope this helps! Happy baking –

  3. Janet Leone says:

    I’ve sugared so many batches of caramel over the years, but not tonightWent to the orchard yesterday and opted for apple crisp as my pie crusts are as hit or miss as caramel sauce (prior to this gem of a recipe!). Looked to the internet for ideas and chose this. Definitely a keeper!
    Followed your directions and all went accordingly. The hardest part was NOT STIRRING after the bubbling began. With a few burned batches and a few more ruined kettles under my belt, I did stay close while it morphed into a most beautiful dark amber! It really was just that easy ❤️
    The apple crisp itself would have been delicious on its own, as well. But, why? . Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the caramel, Janet! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback!

  4. Sheila says:

    Can you use condensed milk instead of cream to make caramel?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I haven’t attempted this recipe with this substitution, so I am not sure of the result. If you happen to give it a try, I’d love to know how they turned out. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  5. Allison says:

    I’ll put this on anything and EVERYTHING! It is heavenly!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the caramel sauce, Allison! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback!

  6. Jenni LeBaron says:

    I can’t believe your husband and daughter hate caramel, I thought it was universally beloved! This sounds like a fantastic recipe and I appreciate all of your sounds advice for making your own.

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Jenni! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  7. Foodiewife says:

    Caramel sauce is speaking my language loud and clear. My husband is pretty ‘meh’ about it, but I adore it. I finally conquered my fear and learned to make caramel– though I haven’t tried the corn syrup method. Beautiful post with great tips!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  8. Pegi Hug says:

    I live in Europe and corn syrup is not readily available. Any suggestions for substitutes? Or can I just leave it out?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I have read that golden syrup can be used as a substitute for corn syrup in most recipes. However, I have not tried it myself so I can’t be 100% sure of the result. If you happen to try it, I’d love to hear how it turned out. Happy baking!

  9. patty says:

    would 1/2 1/2 work? i never have heavy cream on hand

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I haven’t attempted this recipe with this substitution, so I am not sure of the result. If you happen to give it a try, I’d love to know how it turned out. Thanks so much for stopping by.