Salted Caramel Sauce

A simple recipe for homemade salted caramel sauce that is the perfect topping for just about anything.

saltedcaramelsauce

Yesterday I was watching The Biggest Loser on the DVR while making mini cheesecakes – the irony, right? Come on, they were mini!

When I was ready to top them, I realized that I was out of salted caramel sauce. I made a batch about 2 weeks ago, but had forgotten that we had used it up last week.

I was feeling a tad bit lazy and totally engrossed in watching the last chance workout – again with the irony. Needless to say, I wasn’t quite up to the task of making a new batch of salted caramel sauce.

However, changing out of my yoga pants and slippers and heading to the market seemed like so much more of a hassle considering it was 10pm. I can’t be the only one.

I ended up pausing the DVR and heading into the kitchen to whip up a fresh batch of salted caramel sauce. It’s definitely more delicious than the store bought version, and who wants to shell out $7 for a small jar at the market?

Not this girl, especially when I can make it at home with ingredients that I always have on hand. And customize it to make it just right for us.

saltedcaramelsaucerecipe

If you’ve never made homemade salted caramel sauce at home, it can definitely seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s honestly not too hard – I promise.

One key tip is to 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. Just be sure to be free from distractions and keep your eye on the pan and you’ll be good to go!

I’m pretty confident that if you follow the directions below, you’ll be a salted caramel sauce making pro in no time!

Salted Caramel Sauce is pretty darn delicious drizzled over just about any dessert. From ice cream and cakes to a dipping sauce for apples, pretzels and brownie bites – it’s addictive!

You can keep it in the fridge for a week or so, if it lasts that long! Once I made it, we were dipping apples and pretzel sticks every chance we got. Dangerous situation, let me tell you.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also add a few spices – cinnamon, or apple pie spice would be awesome, or even pumpkin pie spice if you’re making it in fall. Do a trio of customized sauces and gift them to your favorite hostess!

It’s just so easy to make, I bet you’ll find yourself in the kitchen at 10pm, whipping it up. Biggest Loser or not!

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Allow the sauce to cool for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the vanilla extract.

Notes:

  • 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.

152 Responses to “Salted Caramel Sauce”

  1. caroline — January 8, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I love caramel but not salted caramel. can I make this without the salt? thanks.

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Hi, Caroline! You can absolutely leave out the salt. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Cindy — January 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Could you give me an estimated approximate time it takes to reach the recommended amber color? Thank you.

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Hi, Cindy! It probably won’t take very long for the caramel sauce to darken…probably just a few minutes. I hope this helps!

  3. Jodie — January 20, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Hi, how long will this last for please? I’m going to make it and give as presents. Thank you 

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 23, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi, Jodie! I think it will only last for a few days. I hope everyone enjoys it!

  4. Linda — January 20, 2017 at 5:26 am

    I tried this delicious sauce but it set hard in the jar and I couldn’t get any of it out !!!!  I tried to warm it up to no avail . Can you help me as to why it happened? Did I over heat it ? I’m usually a good cook and can manage most things in the kitchen,I will try again .Love you blog.

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 20, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Hi, Linda! I’m sorry your caramel sauce hardened up. I think maybe it was overheated. Caramel hardening is a common problem and has no reflection on you as a cook! Maybe stop before the caramel reaches 350 degrees…around 330 or 340 maybe? Let me know if this helps. I appreciate your kind words!

  5. Keri — January 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Is this something that can be canned and saved along with jams and jellies?

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 20, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      I don’t think so, Keri. I think the heavy cream and butter in the recipe would be a problem. I hope this helps!

  6. Pat — January 21, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    This is awesome!!!! First time I ever made caramel sauce and I’m in heaven!!! Thank you. 

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      You’re very welcome, Pat!

  7. Jennifer Le — January 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I made this yesterday and I absolutely loved it!  The caramel sauce is truly divine and the cheesecake itself is scrumptious!  I did not use carmel pretzels–I used crushed pretzels and graham crackers for the crust, and put whole salted pretzels on the top with lots of drizzled caramel on top.  I am positively obsessed with this caramel sauce, as it is simply perfection!

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 29, 2017 at 11:33 am

      I’m so glad to hear that, Jennifer!

  8. Sandra — January 31, 2017 at 2:46 am

    So I attempted to make this but I burned the sauce so it didn’t have a good taste. My husband tried and he nailed it. It tastes amazing!!! I’m still a little annoyed his was better hehe!! Thank you for the recipe 

    Reply

    • Jamie — January 31, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      So glad to hear that, Sandra!

  9. Katherine — February 3, 2017 at 7:31 am

    “Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel”. What do you mean “Pour over caramel? Are you talking about caramel candies? (Caramel is not included on your ingredient listing?? What did I miss?

    Reply

    • Jamie — February 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Hi, Katherine! The sugar syrup in the pan that’s bubbling is the caramel. Let me know if I can help with anything else. I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Steve — February 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Made this recipe and didn’t get very dark  no big deal but why not also didn’t get very thick is a little issue to me also you speak about hot cream I didn’t see any thing about heat it be pouring in mixings hope you can tell me what I did worong thanks. has a 

    Reply

    • Jamie — February 5, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Hi, Steve! I think maybe the sugar syrup should have cooked longer. Let me know if you give it another try!

  11. Kelly m — February 11, 2017 at 2:31 am

    This is where I have always been confused. When it calls for heavy cream, is it heavy whipping cream or half and half?

    Reply

    • Jamie — February 11, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Hi, Kelly! It’s heavy whipping cream. I hope you enjoy it!

  12. Ayesha — March 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Hi wondering if this will go well over an unbaked cheesecake? Does it get very stiff/hard once cooked ? 
    Thanks you 

    Reply

    • Jamie — March 16, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Hi, Ayesha! I think the salted caramel sauce would be wonderful over cheesecake. If you find the sauce is getting a little stiff, just rewarm in the microwave for about a minute. Let me know how you like it!

  13. Bushra khan — April 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Hw can i substitute corn syrup with to hv a gud stretchy texture 

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 14, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Hi, Bushra! I’ve always used corn syrup in caramel, so I honestly don’t know. Maybe brown sugar and brown rice syrup? I hope this helps a little bit!

  14. Giulia — May 1, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Hi you recipe looks great! Im making mini Hesse cakes for this Saturday and I was wondering how much I need for 24mini cheese cakes? I was thinking of simply drizzling it on top of each mini cheese cake. I should divide the recipe in how many? Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Hi, Giulia! I think one recipe should probably give you enough for 24 mini cheesecakes. Let me know how it goes!

  15. Giulia — May 1, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    *mini cheese cakes. Darn autocorrect haha!

    Reply

  16. Learn2Tally — May 15, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Wow this is such a creative recipe! Beautiful pictures by the way! :)

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 16, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Thank you! I appreciate it.

  17. Dawn — May 17, 2017 at 3:13 am

    G’Day Jamie,
    I cannot find corn syrup here in Australia, can I use maple syrup as a substitute? 

    Thanks, 
    Dawn

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Hi, Dawn! I’ve never used maple syrup in this recipe, but I suppose you could give it a try. Maybe try brown sugar and brown rice syrup? I hope this helps a little bit!

    • Susan — June 24, 2017 at 8:09 am

      I have used maple syrup (as I couldn’t find any corn syrup here) and it works just fine! 

    • Jamie — June 29, 2017 at 7:10 am

      Thanks, Susan!

  18. Ly — May 20, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    oh wow, look at the sauce and I fall in love with it. I will make it and upload the photo for sure.

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 22, 2017 at 6:28 am

      Let me know how you like it, Ly!

  19. Gloria Prine — June 12, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    What do you mean heavy cream? Is that like half an half.or what if you dont have any heavy cream is thete anything you can substitute instead?

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Hi, Gloria! Heavy cream is the same as double cream. I’ve never substituted anything for the heavy cream in this recipe, but I suppose you could try full fat milk. I hope you enjoy it!

  20. Dawn V — June 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    OMG, I just made this, it turned out great and the best part is I dont have to pay 6 bucks for jarred sauce from the grocery store again!!!

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 29, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Wonderful, Dawn! I’m so glad you liked it!

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