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Spoon lifting caramel sauce from a jar as it drips downward.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 1 Cup 1x


This luscious salted caramel sauce is thick, rich and super tasty. Use it to top ice cream sundaes and brownies, or drizzle on the glasses and whipped cream of your favorite drinks.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed in microwave for 15 seconds to bring to room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter (at room temperature), cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


RECIPE PREP: Pre-measure ingredients. Place them next to the stove with a whisk, pastry brush, and a ramekin of water for the pastry brush. Review all recipe steps and notes before starting.

  1. Add sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Don’t stir or whisk ingredients. Instead, use a few gentle strokes or taps to assist the water with (mostly) soaking in. Place pot over medium heat.
  2. Brush interior of pot with a damp pastry brush. The water droplets from the brush will keep the sides clean to prevent hard bits from forming. As the sugar melts, large transparent bubbles will form. Do not stir. Gently swirl the pan.
  3. Like a hawk, focus intently on the pot. The sugar will bubble vigorously. Patiently watch for the color to change, from transparent to a light-golden blonde. The color will continue to deepen super fast. Don’t allow mixture get any darker than a deep-golden brown or it will scorch. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Immediately, start slowly drizzling room-temperature cream into the pot while whisking vigorously. Use caution: The mixture will bubble and sputter like crazy. Giant billows of steam will rise from the pot. While still whisking, blow air (like blowing out candles) to disburse the steam away from you and the pot.
  5. Add room-temperature butter to the pot. Whisk as it melts. Turn heat to medium-low. While whisking, cook about 2 to 3 minutes – just until caramel sauce bubbles vigorously. Remove pan from heat. Add vanilla and salt. Stir briefly, or swirl the pan to combine.
  6. Carefully pour salted caramel sauce into a heat-safe jar. Let it cool completely. Attach lid and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. 


Best pot to use: The best pot for making caramel sauce is a heavy pot to protect the mixture from scorching. It’s a big plus if the pot has a white interior so it’s easy to see color changes in the mixture as they occur. If possible, avoid using a non-stick pot.

HOW TO MAKE REGULAR CARAMEL SAUCE: Even if it’s not officially called “sea salt caramel sauce”, the mixture will still need some salt to balance the flavors and tamp down sweetness. Salt helps caramel sauce become super tasty but not overly sweet. Reduce salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.

CAN I DOUBLE THIS RECIPE? This is not recommended. It would be much too hard to control the added volume on stovetop and keep it from scorching. It’s best to make several individual batches rather than double the recipe.

  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

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