New & Improved Salted Caramel Frosting + Video

Try the creamiest peanut butter frosting next.

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Slowly but surely, I’m trying to bulk up the new frosting section on my website. Which means I’ll be posting lots of frosting recipes this year. UGH sounds horrible doesn’t it??

I decided to start a frosting section after taking many suggestions from Y-O-U, so thank you for always helping to improved my content. Speaking of improvements, have you tested the new search function yet? In the past, if you searched for “vanilla cake” in the search bar in my sidebar, you’d get every single post where I mention “vanilla” or “cake.” So, like, every post. But it’s been updated! Test it out. Try searching for “salted caramel” using the search bar in the sidebar. First results are all recipes with salted caramel in the title, not posts where I simply mention “salted” or “caramel.” YAY for streamlined searching!

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s get back to this frosting business. I actually posted a salted caramel frosting recipe on my blog 4 years ago. It’s awesomely delicious, BUT I’ve had readers report back with some issues. The frosting is too thick! More like a nougat confection than a silky smooth frosting. I’ve been working at improving it because it’s taste is spot on and I don’t want you to miss out on this luscious decadence.

So, using the same exact ingredients, I changed the timing of when to add the heavy cream. First, we’ll add some when we make the brown sugar caramel sauce. That’s step 1. Then we’ll add a little more when we’re whipping the confectioners’ sugar into the cooled brown sugar caramel sauce. That’s step 2. The addition of liquid in step 2 changes the texture completely, but doesn’t alter the taste at all. With this one minor change, this salted caramel frosting is completely revamped. How’s that for a makeover?

Let’s watch this video to really see what’s happening:

Ab-so-lute perfection.

Salted caramel for salted caramel frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

You only need 5 ingredients: butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, salt, confectioners’ sugar. No candy thermometer for the caramel; just a couple minutes of whisking and bubbling. Let it cool for 30 minutes, then beat in confectioners’ sugar and more heavy cream. And you’ll get this smooth-as-silk magic:

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The best piping tip for this frosting is the Wilton #12 round tip. If you pipe this salted caramel frosting with star tips, it will not hold its shape as nicely since the frosting is sooo creamy. So I suggest a simple round tip.

Two Ways to Pipe with Wilton #12

  1. Like in the video above.
  2. Or what you see in today’s photos (and what I posted on Instagram story on Wednesday if you caught it). All I did was start in the center of the cupcake, apply pressure to squeeze the frosting out, and slowly lift straight up. No swirling around the cupcake– just start on the center and squeeze frosting out while lifting the tip off the cupcake. Takes 3 seconds per cupcake.

Top with salted caramel because everything is better with salted caramel.

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I promise you will never run out of excuses to make this new & improved salted caramel frosting. Here are plenty of ideas for you. And yes, my stomach is growling at EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Salted Caramel Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • 5 - 6 Tablespoons heavy cream, divided1
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (240-300g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • optional garnish: salted caramel sauce

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for about 2 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof mixing bowl, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. With a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat in 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 3 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Slowly add 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Add 1 more Tablespoon heavy cream if you find the frosting too thick.
  3. Frost cake or cupcakes and garnish with salted caramel sauce, if desired.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Heavy cream is required for the caramel! There are no subs that will achieve the same texture and taste in this frosting. Here are all my recipes using heavy cream if you have leftover.

This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9x13 quarter sheet cake. 1.5x the recipe for more cupcakes or a double layer cake. (Doubling the recipe would be far too much.)

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Hand Mixer | Copper SaucepanRainbow Whisk | Glass Mixing BowlsCupcake LinersFrosting BagsRound Decorating Tip

More frostings to love here, including my favorite cream cheese frosting.

The CREAMIEST and easiest cream cheese frosting recipe! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

87 Comments

Comments

  1. Monica @one-way to health on February 28, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Hi Sally, I remember trying your first salted caramel frosting recipe 4 years ago (4years? Where did the time go??) and it was absolutely incredible! I’m finding hard to believe that this is an improved version, I will definitely have to try it!! Thank you for all of you recipes and for inspiring me to open own blog! You are an incredible cook/baker and blogger and I am looking forward to many more posts to come! Monica x



    • Sally on March 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Seriously where did the time go! Excited for you to try this new method. 🙂



  2. Laura on March 3, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Hey Sally:

    I recently discovered your website when I decided to start my own (very small) homemade baking business in the city I live in, Shanghai, China, and was looking for updated versions of my old favourites. I absolutely adore your approach to baking and have since recommended your site to 6 of my aspiring bakers (students) at school. The way you get scientific so the reader actually understands exactly why things are happening in (or to) their bakes is very educational, and your recipes overall are gorgeous and I imagine very delicious. I’m looking forward to testing many of these recipes out myself, and apparently making a lot of buttermilk myself because you sure do like it and I can’t get it here in the ‘Hai. Also, thank you for posting many ingredient amounts in weight! So helpful.
    Keep it all coming! And maybe a new blog post with dog pictures? Franklin is the CUTEST!

    Laura 🙂



    • Sally on March 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Laura, Welcome to the blog!! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope I can continue to inspire you and you find recipes that you love! Good luck with your new baking venture 🙂



  3. Kaushika Parmar on March 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I wanted to know if the salted caramel frosting can
    Be frozen for later use



  4. Laura | Tutti Dolci on March 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Be still my heart – this frosting is absolute perfection!!



  5. Jennifer L. on March 5, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I love your recipes!  They are so yummy and easy to follow for a novice like myself.  I’m feeling brave and want to try making filled cupcakes. Could this be used to fill cupcakes?  Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel filling sounds soooooo good!



    • Sally on March 5, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      This would be fantastic for filling cupcakes!



  6. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture on March 5, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you for the video! As always, the video helped me realize how super easy this is, and that I can totally handle this! 🙂 Can’t wait to give this frosting a try!



  7. Laura on March 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Help me trouble shoot please! I tried this frosting two times in a row and it was grainy both times, what did I do wrong? I resorted to a vanilla buttercream for my cupcakes instead, but was sad this didn’t work out for me. 



    • Sally on March 7, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Hi Laura! Try constantly whisking the brown sugar caramel mixture as it boils– and boil an extra minute. This will help! You can also try sifting the brown sugar before adding. This will break it down nicely.



  8. Arlene Massey on March 8, 2017 at 5:06 pm

     I tried the new improved icing version . Left it on counter 30 minutes and I saw the butter separating out as it cooled. Should probably have heated it again but silly me, tried to stir it & to proceed anyway and all I made was a grainy mess. I put it into my stand mixer thinking I could but but no amount will take the graininess away once it’s cooled.
    Threw it out, started with the original version, letting it cool only 15 min, exactly as written – perfect! Mine was stiff enough to pipe with a wilton star tip & I added the bit more salt – creamy smooth, held its shape beautifully. For this version, once it comes to a bubble I do not stir at all and do not stir at all while it cooled for 15 min. When I added the icing sugar it was still warm, ans tastes & smells very caramel.  thanks for this great cupcake recipe.



  9. Lisa L. on March 9, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Sally: Well, I wanted to report back to you about my experience with this frosting in case anyone else might have issues with it. I made the caramel 3 times and each time it was very, very grainy. I just couldn’t get the brown sugar to smooth out nicely. I was in a hurry and finally iced my cake (your incredible Best Ever Banana Cake, by the way!) with your vanilla butter cream frosting, which I literally made in 5 minutes as fast as I could! Anyway, back to the caramel frosting. I really think I have figured out my problem. I always buy Trader Joe organic brown sugar. It is a VERY coarse sugar and though it did melt, it never completely smoothed out. I will try this again with regular brown sugar. I really hate it when a recipe just doesn’t work for me, but usually it is “operator error”! So, I just thought I would give a heads up to everyone on this.



  10. Manda on March 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    This frosting tastes delicious, but for whatever reason it would NOT stick to the cake I made. This made frosting it impossible. I gave up after a quarter of the cake and just left the rest of the sides uncovered. It would just roll off and take a layer of crumbs with it. So bizarre. It also wasn’t sticking to the spatula either. Just kind of fell off it. Anyway, I think next time I’ll just pipe it onto cupcakes and not try spreading it on a cake.



  11. Caterina on March 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Sally, don´t you think this frosting is too creamy for a cake? I´m planning to use it for my birthday and I want to know if it´s going to be ok! 

    Thank you! Amazing website 🙂 



    • Sally on March 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      I’ve used it on cakes without an issue!



  12. Maggie on March 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I made this frosting yesterday and everything went fine but when I tasted the final product, it seemed very bland. It was just like overly sweet. Do u think maybe I needed to let boil longer?



    • Sally on March 30, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Boiling longer to really seal in that flavor would help. Are you using brown sugar and real butter (not margarine, correct?)



    • Dedra on July 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Yes, mine did the same. The consistency is great, it’s the taste.  I let my caramel boil for 2 minutes. Now, after appxly half the sugar, it was very tasty and believe it could have held up as a frosting. However, it wasn’t enough to ice a 9×13 cake. So, as suggested, I went ahead and added 2 cups of sugar and the taste ended up being bland…a sweet bland!  I think next time I will double the caramel recipe…or something, I’ll have to experiment!! But I appreciate this post for my starting point. Thanks! 



  13. Sandra Young on March 31, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    How long can this remain at room temperature once I frost my cupcakes?



  14. Amanda on April 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Sally! I am obsessed with your recipes. I have made the old recipe for the frosting many times and just tried the new one today! The new one seems very grainy! I boiled for a full two minutes, maybe I’ll increase to 3 minutes like the old recipe. How long do you beat the frosting for? Mine always seems to have more of a playdough texture compared to the fluffy decadence of your video! Thanks for all of your recipes!



    • Sally on April 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

      I’d increase to 3 minutes and if the frosting is too stiff, add more heavy cream when you beat in the confectioners’ sugar 🙂



  15. Krish on April 20, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Made this today. The frosting tasted nice but it hardened up pretty quickly. It was spreadable but it was stiff. Any tips for next time?



    • Sally on April 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

      More heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency 🙂



  16. Jen on April 30, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I made this today and, unfortunately, also had problems with it. The butter separated out and the resulting frosting was gritty and thick and fairly tasteless. I think it would actually would be very helpful to have a temperature goal for the caramel–I live at high altitude, and the usual times given in recipes don’t always for me, as things boil more quickly here.

    I may try it again tomorrow, boiling it for slightly longer and also letting it cool for only 15 minutes, as suggested above. I’ve had great luck with your other recipes, so I’m hopeful on this one!



  17. Kristen on June 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Sally, I’ve had a lot of trouble with this recipe. The first time, as others have mentioned, it was gritty and tasted fine but the consistency was off. The second time, I did it for 3 minutes, whisking constantly but it was still a bit gritty…? So I put it back on the stovetop and then it burned… whoops! I’m using a non-stick pan, but I noticed you used copper. Do you think this could make a difference in the boiling time or overall results? What should I be looking for in the result prior to mixing in the confectioner’s sugar / second heavy cream? What type of consistency, etc.?

    I also want to know how to store this frosting? In the fridge? Room temperature? I put the first version in the fridge and it has frozen.



    • Sally on June 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Hi Kristen! A syrup-like consistency that is perfectly smooth. I store it in the refrigerator. The type of pan shouldn’t be an issue, but I never recommend non-stick pans for caramel or caramel sauces.



  18. Kelly on June 17, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Hi Sally,
    Love your blog!
    Just wondering what I can add to make it not so sweet? All 5 of us in our family tasted it (Including kid’s) and all agreed it was overly sweet.



  19. Rai on June 21, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Hi, Sally. Can I use whipping cream (30-33% fat) as substitute for the heavy cream? Can’t find heavy cream in the supermarket. :-((



  20. Caeley on July 6, 2017 at 2:16 am

    My caramel turned rock hard before I could make frosting.



  21. Tex on July 9, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I’ve tried this recipe SIX times. Gritty every time. Tastes delicious, but crunchy frosting is gross. I’ve tried everything. I’ve blitzed the sugar in a food processor before adding it; boiled 2 minutes, boiled 3 minutes, boiled 4 minutes; whisked occasionally, whisked constantly; used two different brands of brown sugar. I’m giving up. Could it be the humidity where I live?



    • Sally on July 10, 2017 at 11:39 am

      I’m shocked this is happening! Is the brown sugar melting down and dissolving in step 1? Because after step 1, there shouldn’t be any more sugar crystals.



  22. klara on July 24, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Can I sub white sugar for the brown if I let it brown in the pan before adding the molten butter and cream? Brown sugar is just super difficult to come by where I live and over the top expensive once you find it -_-



    • Sally on July 24, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I don’t recommend it– brown is best!



  23. Becky Barulich on August 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    My Grandmother used this very similar recipe to frost her homemade cinnamon rolls!  Never have I received more compliments than when I make homemade cinnamon rolls with this frosting!    Her recipe is about 125 years old!!



  24. Kelly on September 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Bit of a disaster for me.  I could never get the caramel to a non-grainy consistency and then I overcooked it.  I’ve never made caramel before, so maybe I just have to practice more.  



  25. Mary Jo Carrier on September 25, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    This is my first visit to this blog, just came across it today. Like it a lot !!!!!!



  26. Sarah on October 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I made your salted caramel sauce, and added peanut butter…then I put some on your Chunky Peanut butter cookies…..amazing!!! Pretty sure u should try it.



  27. Carrie West on October 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I was wondering if I can use Sea Salt in this recipe? I prefer this in most of my sweet/savory baking but wanted to ask first because I really want to make this but don’t want to mess it up! Thanks in advance!



    • Sally on October 9, 2017 at 7:31 am

      You sure can!



Reviews

Questions

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Top 5 Recipes

grateful-creator-logo

Recipes You'll Love

Categories

Archives

sallys-cookie-palooza

Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More...

fabruary-challange

Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More...

pie-week

Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More...

My Cookbooks

@sallysbakeblog