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. 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
  • 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

386 Comments

  1. I LOVE this caramel!!!! I double this recipe and keep it in the fridge so we are ready to drizzle at a moment’s notice on anything. Don’t use cheap butter when doing this. I think it makes a difference. Great recipe, Sally!!!

  2. Oh my…I’m in trouble now!

    I stumbled upon this when reading the Salted Caramel Apple Galette recipe…this is just about the easiest, most delicious thing I’ve ever tried…bar none.

  3. Came together pretty easy. Had a few lumps I boiled out with no real stress. I followed the amounts exactly and it’s a great texture for my poppyseed cake!!

  4. Total 5 star recipe. Made this to satisfy my son’s request for caramel sauce to go on his ice cream. My only problem is that I can’t stop myself from taking bites here and there as I pass through the kitchen! I doubled the recipe successfully. Make this caramel. You won’t regret it.

  5. I made this with white sugar, dairy free ‘butter’ and soya cream in order to create a dairy free alternative for my daughter – it went down a treat! The soy cream is like a single cream so you don’t get the very thick consistency but it still thickens as it cools and is totally delicious….very easy to make and extremely forgiving if you don’t measure quantities exactly! A recipe I’ve now added to my repertoire…

  6. OMG thank you so much for this recipe I’ve tried it twice now and both times it came out perfectly I’m in trouble now as my family keep asking me to make caramel desserts! Thanks for all the extra tips I’m so happy been thinking of making caramel but never tried it because all the recipes are so complicated but thsi is so easy especially if you read the extra tips included

  7. Fantastic! It really is delicious, and easy. It’s so smooth and creamy, and just enough salt. I doubled the recipe, so I could freeze some for when drop-in company comes.

  8. amazing and SO easy!!! As a college student, I often opt for cheaper snacking meals, including apples & peanut butter. Now I’ve upgraded to apples and CARAMEL…. living the high class life! Thank you!

  9. Absolutely great.

    For a quick vegan/dairy free version I recommend using coconut milk instead of heavy cream and coconut oil instead of the butter. (my girlfriend is allergic and I’m sure she’ll love this)
    Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  10. Turned out great. I made 1/3 batch because I was down to 2 tbsp of butter, but it still came out perfectly, and it’s the first caramel I’ve ever made!

  11. This is a great sauce! I lessened the salt to a 1/2 tsp and added 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla after removing from the cooktop.

  12. As promised this is simple and delicious. I halved the recipe – knowing if it turned out I would likely be sneaking spoonfuls. I am.

  13. All your recipes are amazing and the way you explain every step with tips makes it easier even for someone like me who does not know baking as part of culture. Great fan of your blog from Pakistan.

  14. I’m soooo sorry I made this over the weekend because it is ridiculously good!! I’ve never made “real” caramel sauce before because I just don’t want to be bothered with candy thermometers and worrying if I’m doing it right. This was so easy. I made it to go with the chocolate chip cheesecakes (which are really good and easy as well). Then I made chocolate chip pancakes the next day and we tried a little on those. That was dangerously delicious too!

    My only problem was with the bottom of my pot having that hard sugar ring like some others have mentioned. I used a stainless steel saucepan and I’m wondering if I can just use a non-stick pan next time. Or maybe I should have used a spatula to get into the corners easier instead of a thick, wooden spoon.

    It gets really thick after it cools so I’m thinking of making the leftover into little balls and rolling it in dark chocolate to make truffle-like candies.

  15. Do you need to add water to the sugar when starting the process? I’m getting ready to try making this; however, most of the other recipes I’ve seen call for mixing the sugar with a 1/4 cup cold water, and less butter (2-3 tbsp vs 6)…does the higher amount of butter in your recipe compensate for the water with regard to ease of “spreadability” in the final product?

    1. Hi Ana, this is a very soft and thick caramel. Other recipes you are looking at may be for harder, thinner caramels. This caramel drizzles wonderfully when it’s warm but will become chewy as it cools down. (Just reheat it!)

  16. I have made this recipe and it turned out as hard as a rock. Absolutely tasty, but I couldn’t use it for the cake recipe I wanted to, because after warming it immediately thickens in lower temperature. Now I see in the comments that it’s probably because of the lack of water in the recipe, but then you should’ve put at least one photo of the ready caramel at normal, room temperature. Though posting only the photos of warmed, creamy caramel are misleading for the reader.

    1. Hi Pola, thank you for trying this caramel recipe. It hardens when refrigerated, as explained, but thins out when warmed again. It shouldn’t be hard as a rock at room temperature unless it was over-cooked. This caramel is a topping and used mostly as a sauce (unless you use it to fill cakes, cupcakes, or bars) where it would be warmed into a drizzle-able consistency.

  17. I have tried making caramel many times in the past and have never been successful…until now! This recipe is not only easy but it is DELICIOUS! It will always be my go to recipe from now on. Thank you!

  18. It did separate and I had to whisk like crazy, all the while it was sputtering everywhere. I’ll use a large sauce pan next time, and there will most definitely be a next time; it’s so good! I drizzled it over your chocolate Bundt cake recipe. I’m the queen of desserts at church potluck thanks to these recipes!

  19. I’m what you might call a novice in the kitchen. I’ve been looking to surprise someone special for valentines by making salted caramel chocolates so I’ve been looking for a recipe to make my own caramel and here it is. I can honestly say, I read it twice, prep’d and took the plunge. Wow, wow wow. So simple, so happy and so chuffed.
    Thank you Sally.

  20. Would this work to fill homemade chocolate hearts? Im making some for my kid’s teachers for valentines day.

      1. Thank you. I tried this recipe last night. And it was looking great til I added the cream. Then it like was whitw with caramel chunks in it. I just kept stirring and it eventually melded together. Inwas like oh no!! Cause I didnt want to do it again. Gives your arms and hands a work out. Lol. It tastes amazing.

  21. SO AMAZING AND EASY! I’ve tried to make caramel several times before…and failed. While this required constant attention, Each step was simple and there were simple solutions for common problems. It is absolutely delicious and decadent. I am putting some in small mason jars for gifts for valentines day! And filling some chocolate hearts, of course.

  22. I’ve made caramel several times and always had it turn out great. I tried this one – the first recipe without any liquid to melt with the sugar – and it didn’t work. As soon as the sugar melted, I added the room temp butter and it clumped into hard rocks. Was it too hot? I had it on medium heat. Just wondering…it seems to works great for everyone, but I sadly had to throw it out.

    1. Hi Drea, thanks for trying this caramel recipe! If you decide to try it again, it may be helpful to lower your stove heat. Whisk the sugar constantly as it melts and caramelizes. Keep whisking even as you add the butter. If it clumps up, keep whisking because it WILL melt again. Trust me, I’ve made this more times than I can even begin to count in the past 10 years. It always comes together if you’re following the recipe closely. Thanks again!

  23. I have forced myself to release the spoon and back out of the kitchen, lest I have no salted caramel sauce left for the tops of the butterscotch pudding cups I’ll be making tomorrow. I used just the fat layer from a can of coconut milk instead of the heavy cream, and added some vanilla. It’s great!

  24. Hi i have tried this twice but went wrong, is it because I’m not aiming long enough for the sugar to melt enough? It’s brown but very lumpy should I be completely smooth before adding the butter?

    1. Hi Taryn! Happy to help. Yes, make sure the caramelized sugar is melted before adding the butter. It may be helpful for you to use a thicker saucepan or turn down the heat so it cooks slowly and more evenly.

  25. Followed the recipe exactly. I find my gas stove to be a little too hot at medium, so I reduce to medium low so the sugar doens’t burn or cook too fast. I can’t believe how easy this is! It’s delicious! I’m going to use it to fill cupcakes as you suggest. Thanks Sally!

  26. I’m looking for a caramel sauce that won’t just run off my cheesecake once it hits room temperature. I keep having the same problem of sauces being too thin. Would you suggest this one, for what I’m looking for?

    1. This caramel is nice and thick when it cools to room temperature. It’s my choice for filling cakes and cupcakes and for a thicker caramel sauce on cakes.

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