Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe

Follow these easy instructions to create sweet salted caramel sauce at home. This 10 minute salted caramel recipe requires only 4 easy ingredients. It’s perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pound cake, ice cream, cheesecake, scones, apple pie, and more!

Salted caramel in a glass jar with a handle

What once intimidated me became the subject of my 2nd cookbook: Sally’s Candy Addiction. As it turns out, homemade candy isn’t all that difficult. And salted caramel is one of the easiest recipes. This truly the best salted caramel I’ve ever had and there’s only 4 ingredients required: sugar, butter, heavy cream, and salt.

This salted caramel is liquid gold. It’s a reader favorite recipe, marking its spot in the top 10 most popular recipes on my website. It’s sweet, sticky, buttery, and tastes phenomenal on anything it touches. (Though you really only need a spoon to enjoy.) Trust me, after trying this 1 time, you’ll be hooked like the rest of us!

Salted caramel in a glass jar with a spoon

How to Make Salted Caramel

Use the written out instructions below, but here’s the basic process: The first step is to melt sugar, which is called caramelization. This requires 1 small pot and a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Stir until melted. Stir in butter, let the mixture cook, then stir in heavy cream and let it boil for 1 minute. Finally, add the salt. That’s it, the caramel is done.

Remember to use caution when cooking over the stove as the hot liquid, butter, and cream may splatter. If needed, kitchen gloves come in handy.

No Candy Thermometer Salted Caramel

Unlike most caramel recipes, this salted caramel doesn’t require a candy thermometer. Instead, I encourage you to follow the recipe and use your eyes to determine when to add the next ingredient. The caramel only requires 10 short minutes, then will thicken as it cools.

Salted caramel in a glass jar with a spoon

What to Eat with Salted Caramel?

You will love homemade salted caramel with recipes like cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, and apple pie bars. Use it as a caramel dip for apples, spoon over ice cream, or pour into decorated jars and gift it for the holidays.

The possibilities for salted caramel are endless:

50 Ways to Eat Salted Caramel

I have plenty more ideas too: here are 50 Ways to Eat Salted Caramel.

stack of apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce on top

How to Store Salted Caramel

I receive this question a lot and I’m so happy to answer it. After the caramel cools down, pour it into a glass jar or container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month. The caramel solidifies as it cools, but you can reheat in the microwave or on the stove so it’s liquid again. You can freeze the salted caramel, too. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm up before using.

What About Caramel Apples?

This caramel is not thick enough to coat apples for caramel apples. Instead, I recommend my homemade caramel apples recipe.

Quick Salted Caramel Video

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Salted caramel in a glass jar with a spoon

Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Made from only 4 simple ingredients in only 10 minutes, this homemade caramel is salty, sweet, and irresistibly buttery. No candy thermometer required and the possibilities for serving are endless. (Though just a spoon is acceptable!) Use caution as the cooking caramel may splatter. Stand back and wear kitchen gloves if desired. Review recipe notes prior to beginning.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) salted butter, room temperature cut up into 6 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately stir in the butter until melted and combined. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. If you notice the butter separating or if the sugar clumps up, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine it again. (If you’re nervous for splatter, wear kitchen gloves. Keep whisking until it comes back together, even if it takes 3-4 minutes. It will eventually– just keep whisking. Return to heat when it’s combined again.)
  3. After the butter has melted and combined with the caramelized sugar, cook for 1 minute without stirring.
  4. Very slowly stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the hot caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. After all the heavy cream has been added, stop stirring and allow to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools.
  6. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Caramel solidifies in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make this caramel in advance. Make sure it is covered tightly and store it for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe. This caramel is OK at room temperature for a day if you’re traveling or gifting it. You can freeze the salted caramel, too. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm up before using.
  2. Special Tools: Copper Saucepan or Stainless Steel Saucepan, Wooden Spoon, Mason Jar Mugs
  3. Butter: Unsalted butter may be used instead, though I prefer salted. No other changes need to be made to the recipe if using unsalted.
  4. Heavy Cream: Heavy cream (approximately 36% milk fat) may also be sold as whipping cream. Light whipping cream (30% milk fat), or double cream (48% milk fat) may be substituted. Do not use milk. Room temperature cream is best.
  5. Salt: Use regular table salt or kosher salt. If using larger flaky salt, add 1 teaspoon, taste, then add more if desired. This recipe works with 1 teaspoon of any variety of salt. You can always add 3/4 teaspoon, taste, then add more if desired.
  6. Caramel Candies: This caramel is great as a sauce, topping, or filling, but won’t set up properly to make soft caramel candies. Here is my soft caramels recipe.
  7. Regular Caramel: If you want to make regular caramel, reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Do not leave it out completely.
  8. Larger Batches: Avoid doubling or tripling this recipe. The added volume could prevent the sugar from melting evenly and properly. Make a couple batches instead.

Keywords: caramel, salted caramel

How to Make Easy Salted Caramel

Heat 1 cup of granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat resistant rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.

sugar for salted caramel sauce in a saucepan

Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.

sugar melting in saucepan for salted caramel sauce

Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add 6 Tablespoons of butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.

chunks of butter and melted sugar in a saucepan for salted caramel sauce

Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes.

sugar and butter melted together in a saucepan for salted caramel sauce

Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.

salted caramel sauce after adding heavy cream in a saucepan

Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.

salted caramel sauce after boiling in a saucepan

Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool completely before using. Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.

Salted caramel in a saucepan with a wooden spoon

A 10 minute recipe! You’re going to love this stuff.

collage of images showing how to make salted caramel sauce

770 Comments

  1. This was my first time attempting any sort of caramel recipe and it was so easy. I did have to remove from heat and wisk back together but it only took a minute. The sauce came out smooth, buttery and delicious! Next time I may use a little less salt, or use unsalted butter. Great recipe thanks!

  2. I love your recipe but do you have any tips on how to make the caramel so that it doesn’t pool once added onto a cake or cheesecake? I like a pipeable caramel sauce that does’t pool or become loose on-top of my desserts. Any suggestions? Do I need to cook it longer?

  3. PREMILA VADIVELOO says:

    Hi, does this work when incorporated or swirled into an ice cream base (not as a topping)?

    1. We don’t suggest it– it will turn pretty hard inside frozen ice cream.

  4. After adding the butter, it would not combine with the sugar. As instructed, I took it off heat to whisk, and whisk and whisk, but the mixture just stuck inside the whisk. I switched to a spoon to stir and stir and stir. It ever fully incorporated and there were lumps after adding the cream. I had to boil the mixture for a while to try and get the lumps to dissolve, then used a masher to mash it up and finally strained out the lumps when pouring it into a jar. It was a pain, but tasted great.

  5. Hi there, I just found out my favorite all natural, salted caramel coffee creamer has been discontinued. Obviously, there’s no time to wallow in self pity; I need to find a replacement which is what led me to this gorgeous-looking recipe. Clearly, I’ll be trying the recipe either way (bc daaaaaaaamn!), but have you ever tried making this into a coffee creamer? It’s always better to ask the expert before I wander off to experiment!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katrina, we don’t have a specific salted caramel coffee creamer, but we do love to use the salted caramel directly in coffee! We’d love to know if you give it a try.

  6. I used coffee creamer instead of heavy cream. This meant I had to calculate the sugar in the creamer and subtract it from the cup of sugar. I doubled the whole recipe and didn’t have any issues.

  7. I hope I didn’t just ruin my pan. The butter would not incorporate. Just tossed the entire batch into the trash.

  8. This didnt work for me. I have a bad relationship with caramel making and yet again couldnt make it work. The liquid already turned amber when there were still large clumps. Added the butter and immediately separated then sugar hardened to the point of no turning back.

  9. This was my first time ever making caramel. It’s a rainy morning and I really wanted a caramel latte and so I found this recipe. I know you said don’t use milk but all i had was whole milk…it came out perfect though. Great recipe!

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