How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce is easy to make at home! You can use it to add flavor to a wide variety of desserts, such as cookies, or as a topping drizzled over ice cream. It also makes a great gift! Trust me, you’re going to love this salted caramel sauce recipe!

I’ve loved salted caramel sauce for ages now (how could I not?), but I’ve been on a huge kick recently after having some amazing salted caramel ice cream during the final weeks of summer.

I can’t get enough, and I want to use it in every dessert. It’s so easy to prepare, and I’m thinking about giving decorative jars of it away as gifts during the upcoming holiday season.

If you’ve never prepared caramel sauce before, I have several tips for you. While it’s not exactly difficult, it can be intimidating at first because there are a few specifics you’ll want to keep in mind.

I’ve also included a video tutorial to help demonstrate a few things, such as the dark amber color you should be seeking before adding butter.

A photo of a whisk dipped into the finished caramel sauce.

Recipe Notes:

  • Caramel can go from perfect to burnt very quickly. Don’t walk away from it. It might take one or two tries to get the hang of it the first time. That’s ok! This is a fast and inexpensive recipe, so don’t worry if you need a practice round (think how much money you’ll be able to save in the long run by skipping jarred versions). Many people nail it the first time.
  • Keep an eye out for a dark amber color, but don’t let it get too dark. Watch my video to see the color I’m aiming for. If you halt the cooking process too soon, the caramel will be overly sweet as opposed to slightly bitter. You’re looking for a perfect balance of those two flavors. (One time I had a french onion soup that was too sweet. This was because the onions had not been caramelized enough.)
  • Watch your fingers. I recommend using a slightly larger saucepan than you think you need, because the butter and cream will cause the caramel to bubble up and possibly splatter. If this is your first time, you can always wrap a dish towel around your hand while you whisk as an extra precaution. Don’t drop the butter into the caramel out of fear; that could also cause a splatter. I like to lean a cutting board toward the saucepan and use a spatula to slide the butter in.
  • The sauce will be very thin when you remove it from the heat, but it will thicken as it cools. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot over an ice bath while stirring.
  • You can reheat the caramel in a saucepan over medium/medium-low heat, or the microwave in 30 second increments. Aim for warm, not hot, or the caramel will be too thin.
  • The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month. Mine never lasts that long, though.

Wondering how to use this sauce? Try it with my Salted Caramel Apple Cake!  

5 from 9 votes
Salted Caramel Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
7 mins
Total Time
12 mins
This quick and easy recipe for salted caramel sauce will beat any store-bought brands by a mile! Use it to flavor desserts or simply as a topping!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 cups (approximately)
Calories: 1294 kcal
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (room temperature is best, but cold will work)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Add sugar to a medium or large-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat. Using a whisk, stir constantly as the sugar begins to clump and then melt. This will take 3-5 minutes. (Note: the whisking isn’t entirely necessary, but it will help the sugar caramelize evenly).
  2. Once the sugar is completely melted, it will quickly begin turning a dark amber color. This is the critical moment, as caramel can become overly bitter very quickly.
  3. Carefully and gently add in the butter. It will sizzle and bubble up, so watch your hands. Whisk until the butter is completely incorporated, approximately 20-30 seconds. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the cream in 2-3 slow pours. The mixture will bubble up again so be cautious. Remove from the heat and whisk in the salt. The caramel will thicken as it cools; if needed, you can speed up this process by placing the pot over an ice bath and stirring the caramel.
  4. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to one month. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until the sauce is room temperature or slightly warm, but not hot.
Salted Caramel Sauce is so easy to make at home! You can use it in a wide variety of desserts or as a topping drizzled over ice cream!

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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