Salted Caramel Sauce

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Hooray for hot weather! Time for summer indulgences like ice cream sundaes topped with scrumptious salted caramel sauce. I’m so excited to share these fabulous recipes with you. If you’ve seen a few caramel sauce recipes on Pinterest you’ve probably noticed that some include water as an ingredient while others don’t. So what I’ve done today is make a batch of each type so you can see the difference. Below I’ve included images and recipes for caramel sauce made two ways. Both taste extremely delicious. It’s hard to pick a favorite!

Salted Caramel Sauce

What I love most about homemade salted caramel is that from start to finish it takes about 15 minutes flat. How awesome is that? Both recipes begin with melting granulated sugar over medium heat. The main difference with the two recipes is that one recipe includes melting the sugar along with water. The images below show salted caramel sauce being made with a sugar/water mixture.

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

As the granulated sugar begins to melt it will turn transparent and large bubbles will form. An occasional swishing of the pan from side to side will help the sugar melt evenly. For the salted caramel sauce recipe with the mixture of sugar/water you can use a wooden spoon to stir. However, for the recipe with just sugar I highly recommend swishing only, otherwise the sugar will stick to the spoon. Once the sugar is completely dissolved turn up the heat to high.

When making salted caramel sauce you need to keep all your attention focused intently on the pan. Once you begin, if the phone rings – don’t answer it. If the kids need help with homework – they’ll need to be patient and wait. The divine caramel sauce that’s the result of this 15 minutes of careful cooking will be well worth it! The sugar will remain transparent for several minutes. But all of a sudden you’ll notice the sugar will begin to darken. And here’s where you need to be very alert! You’re waiting for the sugar to turn a deep yellow color. Stovetops widely vary, but on mine it takes about 12 minutes for the sugar to reach this color.

Quickly add in the butter and whisk, whisk, whisk. The mixture will bubble up, but keep going with that whisk! As soon as the mixture reaches an amber color, immediately remove the pan from the heat! It’s important to note that if you wait even 10 seconds too long after the caramel sauce turns the amber color below, it’s very likely you will have burnt caramel. You can stop the cooking process when it’s just a shade or two lighter, but definitely don’t let the caramel sauce get any darker.

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

Quickly add in the heavy cream and start whisking, whisking, whisking until all ingredients are fully combined. Add in the vanilla and salt and whisk again. Transfer the salted caramel sauce to a heat-resistant jar and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes. Put a lid on the jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. As the salted caramel sauce begins to cool off after cooking, and during refrigeration, it will thicken up nicely!

Above is salted caramel sauce made with a water/sugar mixture. It’s beautifully thin and ready to add to a condiment squeeze bottle. It can be used for artfully lining milkshake glasses, and for drizzling over the top of whipped cream on frappes. It’s also the perfect thinness for creating long elegant drips across cupcake frosting.

Above is salted caramel sauce made without water. It’s super thick, rich and fabulous. It’s exactly the same thickness as the bottled caramel sauce available at your local market. And it’s the same type of caramel topping used at ice cream parlors for ice cream sundaes. Which salted caramel sauce do you like most?


How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce >> Best Kitchen Tools

Although I used a wire whisk with my 3-quart Calphalon saucepan, I highly recommend that you use a nylon whisk! The non-stick pan I used for making this salted caramel sauce recipe is my old one, not my nice one. Normally I’d use a nylon whisk, but in April I packed it in my suitcase and took it to my home in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I intended to purchase another one for my California kitchen, but it slipped my mind until today.

  • Calphalon saucepan, 3-quart
  • Nylon whisk
  • Silicone spatula, heat-safe
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Kitchen towel
  • Apron

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Salted Caramel Sauce

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce – Thick Consistency


  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x

Description

If you’ve seen a few caramel sauce recipes on Pinterest you’ve probably noticed that some include water as an ingredient while others don’t.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure Mexican vanilla (or vanilla extract)

Instructions

  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, melt granulated sugar over medium heat. Swirl pan so the sugar melts evenly. The sugar will bubble up and turn translucent.
  2. Don’t take your eyes off the pan. Keep swirling occasionally as you wait for the sugar to begin changing color. As soon as it turns a deep yellow, almost amber, quickly add in the butter and start whisking, whisking, whisking. The mixture will bubble up like crazy and heat will rise from the pan, but keep going. As soon as the butter has completely melted AND the color of the caramel sauce is amber, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Do not overcook or you’ll have burnt caramel.
  3. Quickly add in the heavy cream. Briskly whisk, whisk, whisk as the caramel sauce continues bubbling up. Add in the salt and vanilla. Continue to whisk vigorously until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. If there are several large stubborn lumps, put the pan back over medium heat for about a minute as you continue to whisk, whisk, whisk. If lumps still remain, simply remove them with a spoon.
  5. Pour the salted caramel sauce into a heat-safe glass jar and allow it cool completely. Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
  6. The caramel sauce will thicken as it cools and further thicken in the refrigerator. Once it hardens it can be gently softened up by briefly microwaving it before use.

Notes

This thick, delicious caramel sauce is perfect for ice cream sundaes! It’s the same thickness and taste as the caramel sauce you buy in jars at the market. You can compare it to the type of caramel sauce used at ice cream parlors.

  • Category: Dessert, Topping, Ice Cream
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: salted caramel sauce, thick salted caramel sauce, salted caramel sauce recipe

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Salted Caramel Sauce – Thin Consistency for Drizzling


Description

If you’ve seen a few caramel sauce recipes on Pinterest you’ve probably noticed that some include water as an ingredient while others don’t.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 + 1/3 cups heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure Mexican vanilla (or vanilla extract)

Instructions

  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, dissolve water and sugar over medium heat. During this process either stir with a wooden spoon or gently swirl the pan to evenly melt the sugar.
  2. Increase the heat to high. Bring the water/sugar mixture to a roiling boil. Allow the liquid to boil undisturbed while you carefully watch for a color change. Don’t take your eyes off the pan! You’re waiting for the color to turn deep yellow, almost amber. Cook times on stovetops vary greatly. On my stove this takes about 13 minutes, but it could be different on yours.
  3. As soon as the bubbling mixture turns deep yellow, quickly add the butter. Rapidly whisk, whisk, whisk. The caramel sauce will bubble up like crazy, but keep going. As soon as the butter is melted AND the color of the caramel turns amber, remove the pan from heat. Immediately add the heavy cream. Whisk, whisk, whisk until the caramel sauce stops bubbling. Add the salt and vanilla. Whisk again until incorporated.
  4. Pour the salted caramel sauce into a heat-safe jar and allow to cool completely. Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. The salted caramel sauce will thicken as it cools and will continue to thicken in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • “Heavy cream” is the same as “heavy whipping cream”.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: salted caramel sauce, thin salted caramel sauce, salted caramel sauce recipe

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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Salted Carmel Sauce


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How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce >> Your Thoughts

Which salted caramel sauce recipe do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

50 thoughts on “Salted Caramel Sauce”

  1. I’m just hoping for trouble shooting help – which part of the process determines how thick the caramel will be?

    I’ve made this recipe MANY times & I always follow the recipe (without water one) and though I read through and follow along every time my caramel is inconsistent. Sometimes nice & thick & sometimes much more thin! Hoping for as thick as possible as I use it for between cake layers!

    SOS!
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Angelica! I’m so excited that you will soon be enjoying a scrumptious batch of salted caramel sauce. Unfortunately, Half & Half will not work. But when you’re at the store looking for “Heavy Whipping Cream”, just know that it’s the same exact thing as “Heavy Cream.” How the carton is labeled just depends on where you live. :-)

      Reply
      • Ok. I use heavy whipping cream often but don’t have any on hand, but i have plenty of half & half in the fridge. I was trying to avoid going to the store but since I’m so excited to try your recipe, I’m about to put on my shoes now! I’ll let you know how it comes out.

        Reply
  2. Tried this after two failed trials of other recipes. The instructions are so clear and it tastes absolutely divine!! Definitely my go to salted caramel sauce recipe!!! Thanks a ton!!! I tried the thicker version.

    Reply
    • Woo-hoo! Sandy, I’m super happy that your salted caramel sauce turned out so beautifully. Thanks so much for letting me know you achieved a great result. Your sweet comment has just made my day! :-)

      Reply
  3. I can’t get the sugar to cook correctly without water. I put it in a pan over medium heat but it “melts” on the bottom and edges and immediately turns amber while the rest of it is still granulated. The first time I let it go until it all dissolved but it was quite burnt. The next time I used the tip of a knife to try and move the clumps of sugar around and managed to dissolve it before it burned, but it was amber from the start, no transparent boiling phase. In fact the sugar never fully dissolved before I jumped ahead to add butter before it burned again. I then continued with the recipe (thick version) and while it tastes fine it’s quite dark (doesn’t bother me, just odd) and very thin even after a couple hours in the fridge. I’ve made caramel sauce many times before, always using water to boil the sugar, but I wanted a thicker sauce this time.

    What am I doing wrong? How do I get the sugar to dissolve without burning?

    Reply
    • Hello Skylar. I’m so sorry to hear that your sugar burned when preparing this recipe. As soon as I read your comment/question, I headed straight to my kitchen and pulled out the sugar and my old non-stick pan. I’d love to help you find a working solution so you can successfully cook up a yummy batch of salted caramel sauce. So this evening I cooked the sugar using a lower temperature as maybe this might solve the problem you’re experiencing. I took several new photos this evening while testing this out. I sent a personal email to you with the photos attached! I hope it helped. :-)

      Reply
      • Oops! You’re so quick I posted without seeing your response. lol! I’ll go check my email and try again. It’s a popular request so I’m sure an extra batch won’t hurt. ;)

        The last batch has a great flavor. Thanks for sharing the recipe! And for your fast reply.

        Reply
    • Update: the last batch did finally thicken. Still hoping for tips on melting the sugar without water. Thanks!

      Reply
  4. I love caramel in almost anything but drizzled over ice cream is divine! Your recipe looks easy to make and delicious too.

    Reply
  5. I have never been brave enough to attempt a caramel sauce before. I do love caramel though, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and salty!

    Reply
  6. Ugh Denay, why are you doing this to me??? Here I was trying to eat more healthy and now this recipe pops up. Well I guess I have to try it now ;) Love your content girl!
    Sending love from Austria, Theresa

    Reply
  7. Oh my goodness, does your caramel sauce look good! You’re right, I always equate caramel with summer. When I was a kid it was my favorite on homemade ice cream, and now that I’m all grown up, I love it drizzled on apples (ps: your food photography is beautiful!) x

    Reply
  8. You had me at caramel.I love a good tasty caramel and this is right up my alley. I’m going to try making this. I appreciate recipe that’s easy to follow. Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Wow, how fast is to do this yummy sauce! Love how it looks from your pictures, seems so creamy and delicious!

    Reply
  10. I always wanted to make salted caramel sauce at home. I want to make this asap. Thanks for sharing.
    XOXO

    Reply
  11. These are great! But honestly, I can’t get over the little amount of actual salt it takes to make the caramel ‘salted’! SO crazy, I definitely will file this recipe away.

    Reply
  12. I’m a huge fan of salted caramel sauce so I’ll be making this soon! I love how it’s simple with only 5 ingredients., and doesn’t take much work to make.

    Reply
  13. I love anything salted caramel based! like macaroons! I had never thought of a sauce but it’s a great idea! xx corinne

    Reply
    • Oh yes! Even though I can see flabby arms and dappled thighs through my too tight dresses, who can resist a little (or a lot) of salted caramel?! Love this post!!

      Reply
  14. Thank you for sharing this recipe and all of the tips! I love caramel, but have struggled to achieve the right consistency. Going to follow your advice and give this a try this weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes :)
    xoxo,
    Liv

    Reply
  15. This is great! I never knew it only took 15 minutes to make caramel sauce! And those cookies look awesome. I pinned it to pinterest :)

    Reply
  16. After googling Salted Caramel Sauce, I came upon your post. This is just what I needed; thank you for sharing this amazing recipe! It’s on the menu to try this weekend.

    Reply
  17. I love experiments like that (that’s the chemist talking). I’d go for the water-less one it looks more like the caramel I am used to. Question: is the whisk you used a metal one or the one shown in the end of the post? What’s best?

    Reply

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