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!

Follow these easy instructions to create sweet salted caramel sauce at home. Perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake, sweet breads and more! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Follow these easy instructions to create sweet salted caramel sauce at home. Perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake, sweet breads and more! sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Salted Caramel

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. Add butter and heavy cream, then let it boil. Finally, add the salt. That’s it, the caramel is done. It’s SO EASY.

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.

4 minute, 5 ingredient salted caramel!! The best salted caramel recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Apple pie bars

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

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.


Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium 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 add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
  3. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes. If you notice the butter separating, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine it again. (If you’re nervous for splatter, wear kitchen gloves.)
  4. Very slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of 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. 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.

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel

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

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel-2

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.

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel-3

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

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel-4

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.

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel-5

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

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel-7

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.

Follow these easy instructions to create sweet salted caramel sauce at home. Perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake, sweet breads and more! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

10 minute salted caramel sauce-- this stuff is the BEST I've tried and it's so simple to make using easy ingredients.

The BEST and easiest homemade salted caramel sauce I've ever made! 5 ingredient salted caramel on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The BEST and easiest homemade salted caramel sauce I've ever made! 5 ingredient salted caramel on sallysbakingaddiction.com

283 Comments

  1. I’d like to use this recipe for a caramel oreo cheesecake but I’m worried the caramel will harden up in the fridge. Do you have a fix for this?

    1. The recipe says it can be stored in the fridge then reheated. What if you stored it separately and poured it over the cake just before serving the cake? You would only need to warm it enough to make it flow.

  2. Love this recipe! I tried making caramel sauce with brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, butter and whole milk. Supposed to be an easy recipe, but the sugar was so grainy!

    I gave this a shot tonight! WOW! So easy! I’m using it for deconstructed Carmel apples. Thin slices of Granny Smith apples drizzled with Carmel, top with pretzels, and Reeses’ Pieces, drizzle with milk chocolate followed by white chocolate drizzle! Carmel Apple Nachos!!! Thanks again!

  3. First things first: I love and enjoyed every recipe I’ve made from your site so far.

    I’m not sure if this comment/concern has been said before. I’ve followed your recipe precisely but my caramel is coming out darker than pictured… Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Brittney! I wonder if you’re cooking the caramel too long. That could result in a darker color. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed it!

  4. I’ve never made caramel before and this recipe was very beginner-friendly! I strongly recommend this recipe, I’ve actually made it twice now!

    I love letting it cool and pouring it over brownies. It thickens enough to hold its shape while chilled and tastes devine!

    Thanks for a great recipe Sally!

    Lillian Caza

  5. Love this recipe! I found it a couple months ago and have used it since. We are a family that doesn’t love store bought caramel so we’re always on the lookout for yummy homemade caramel sauce recipes. This one has definitely been added to our family cook book. I keep it in a airtight container in the refrigerator. The longest I have kept it in our fridge is a month and a half without issue.

  6. Such an easy recipe and tastes oh so good!! I used it with your apple galette recipe for a dinner party dessert and it was perfect!! Love all of your recipes, thank you!!

  7. I made 11 batches of this yesterday for a caramel apple bar for the teachers at my sons school. Everyone LOVED it. It’s soooo tasty!

  8. Ive used this recipe countless times and it always turns out wonderfully (unless i get distracted and wander away, leaving it to burn). I love that it’s a simple and “pure” caramel that doesn’t use water or corn syrup.
    I personally prefer to only use a quarter of the butter, but it still works great.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe!!!

  9. Hi, Sally, this has been my go-to salted caramel recipe for years, so thank you! I’m wondering now, if I substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar, would it make an equally lovely butterscotch sauce? Xx

    1. Yes! And it’s even easier than the caramel (less whisking)! You can see how I make it here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/brown-sugar-butterscotch-cupcakes/

  10. Would this work in iced coffee? I’ve been trying to find a recipe that will work without crystallizing before I get a chance to drink it

  11. I loved this recipe but I made it a little too salty! Any way to remedy this after the fact? It tastes so good, I hate to toss it!

  12. Love the simplicity of this caramel. I’m making a caramel slice and in the past have had issues with the caramel being too runny to set. If I use a thermometer can you tell me what temperature it should be before adding the cream please?

    1. Hi Marion! In all the years I’ve been making this caramel and cooking candy, I’ve never taken the temperature of this caramel at any stage. It’s simply not necessary. If you follow the recipe closely with no substitutions, the caramel is guaranteed to set.

  13. Hi Sally!

    I love your website and recipes! I have some leftover salted caramel from this recipe and am wondering how I can make it into frosting for muffins?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Trish, You can whip it with confectioners sugar and a bit more heavy cream to make a super creamy frosting! You can see how I did it here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/salted-caramel-frosting/

  14. I have tried so many times making caramel and this is the first time it has came out perfect! I love it and will never make another caramel ever again!

  15. Hi Sally,

    I am wondering if this recipe would be appropriate to drizzle over cookies. I typically bake a big batch of cookies then freeze them. Could I drizzle the caramel on top of them, freeze them in a single layer and then bring to room temperature slowly? I’m wondering, specifically, if the sauce is thick enough to do this?
    Thank you!

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