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 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

What is the Texture of This Salted Caramel?

The caramel is liquid as it comes off heat. As the caramel cools, it solidifies into a chewy texture. After refrigerating, the caramel is hard and you must heat it up to bring it back to a liquid consistency. Do you need a thinner caramel? Feel free to add 2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream to the recipe.

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


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.


  • 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


  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. See “What is the Texture of This Salted Caramel?” above.


  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. Butter: Unsalted butter may be used instead, though I prefer salted. No other changes need to be made to the recipe if using unsalted.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Regular Caramel: If you want to make regular caramel, reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Do not leave it out completely.
  7. 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

The sugar will be clumpy as it begins to melt:

sugar for salted caramel sauce in a saucepan

It will begin to turn amber in color:

sugar melting in saucepan for salted caramel sauce

Once sugar is completely melted, stir in the butter:

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

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

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

salted caramel sauce after adding heavy cream in a saucepan

Remove from heat and stir in the salt.

Salted caramel in a saucepan with a wooden spoon


  1. Many thanks for sharing this recipe. I have been on the hunt for a delicious caramel sauce to use for drip effects – this is brilliant. Only PROBLEM – I can’t stop sampling it 🙂 Thank You!

  2. Kimberly Bouchu says:

    Wonderful recipe. I used coconut whipping cream in place of the heavy cream (not for preference, I just didn’t have any heavy cream on hand), it worked beautifully, tasted amazing, so buttery and rich. It was a hit with homemade salted coffee ice cream.

  3. Good caramel recipe. But WAY too much salt, and I only added 3/4 tsp salt. If you are using salted butter, I would recommend 1/4 tap salt. 🙂

  4. I make this and love it. Today I don’t have heavy cream, would evaporated milk work?? Saw it in another recipe (not yours so I didn’t trust it). Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sam! It’s best to stick to heavy cream for this recipe.

  5. Hello is this caramel suitable to use for the middle of a cake as well as buttercream ?

    Thanks x

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carla, This caramel isn’t ideal to layer between cake layers – it will just spill out the sides under the weight of top layers. It’s great as a filling for cupcakes, though.

  6. Hi,

    This recipe looks delicious! I’m wondering if I could try mixing it into cookie dough to make proper caramel cookies, i.e. not just stuffed but with salted caramel in the dough? How much sauce would you recommend adding? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cecily, We have never tried mixing this into raw cookie dough and it would take additional recipe testing for us to give you a confident answer. Let us know if you test anything out!

  7. I love the simplicity of this sauce. It’s just right. I made a jumble of a bread pudding this morning with some cooked apples and this will be its crowning glory. Delicious and easy.

  8. Deonna Harmon says:

    Hello! I love your recipes! Could chocolate be added to this recipe for a chocolate caramel sauce???? Thank you!!!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Deonna, we haven’t tested a chocolate + salted caramel version of this recipe. It might be best to find a recipe that is specifically formulated to incorporate chocolate into the salted caramel — let us know if you find one you love!

  9. I made this recipe today and it came out really thick, any suggestion?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maria, it sounds like your salted caramel may be slightly over-cooked. Which is an easy fix for next time — lower the heat and / or remove from the stove a bit sooner. Note that the caramel will begin to thicken as it cools. Simply reheat in the microwave as needed. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  10. After several failed attempts at a different salted caramel recipe I stumbled across this one and I am SO happy I did! Super easy and taste just like the liquid form of the caramels my Mom made every Christmas as a kid! Can’t wait to use it in my cupcakes!

  11. Jennifer Ablitt says:

    I just made this caramel, it’s amazing and so creamy I can’t wait to make it for family and friends as gifts

  12. Hi I was wondering if I would be able to fill chocolates with this.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Donna! We often use this caramel as a filling, including for homemade chocolate candies. Shouldn’t be a problem. It solidifies into a chewy consistency.

  13. I don’t understand all the positive ratings: this recipe did not work at all for me. The melted sugar clumped when the butter was added and no amount of whisking would help. It turned into hard pellets of sugar that looked like driveway gravel. I never made it to adding the cream.

    1. I just had a similar disaster. I added the butter and was ready with the whisk, but the butter separated into pools of liquid and a huge clump of caramel would glom onto the whisk whenever I tried to whisk it it together, making the whisk useless. I couldn’t get it to work! I don’t think it’s the fault of the recipe since it’s apparently worked for plenty of others, but I’d be interested to know where I went wrong here.

      I think I’m going to make my next caramel attempt using the “wet” method though; it sounds less tricky.

      1. this tastes really amazing! i almost gave up as same as the other comments when i add the butter it didnt combine and i used the whisk the sugar formed a big clump in the whisk, but i decided to turn up the heat and continue to mix using a wooden spoon until it looks liquid again it never really mixed well with the butter so was a bit worried but i dont want to throw it away so i decided to add the heavy cream and thats when it actually come together. tastes really great!

      2. I would add 1/3 cup water to the sugar as the water cooks off the sugar shouldn’t have clumps. Have to make sure crystalization doesn’t form
        Then follow as directed by recipe
        I am going to try this

  14. Hi, I have a few chocolate bunnies left over from Easter and was wondering if you had a chocolate sauce recipe that I can use them instead of cocoa powder.

    1. Hi Jennifer, chocolate candies usually have quite a lot of sugar so I would steer clear of using them in a sauce. I fear ganache wouldn’t set up properly, but you could certainly try it. I would chop them up and use them instead of chocolate chips in cookies!

  15. I tried this and it was awesome!
    Question! Can I use a sugar substitute? Like Splenda? I want to make it for someone and they cant have regular sugar

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rani! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a salted caramel recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  16. Love this recipe ❤️ I was not paying attention this morning though and I put in 6 oz. of butter instead of 6 tablespoons. … double what I needed. Doh! Still delicious but what would you use this for as the consistency is quite different? Would you still put in buttercream for instance?

    1. Hi Fiona, with about double the butter, I fear the caramel (after setting) will be quite greasy. Is that what you are experiencing? Right off the stove or when warm, I’m sure it would be fine as a little drizzle on brownies, cookies, and bundt cakes.

  17. I think this recipe must be very much a hit or miss based on the other comments, but personnally, mine just wasn’t all that. The sugar became rock solid on The bottom of my paneven though I stired constantly and I ended up dumping it out emediatly.

  18. There’s no reason to make caramel like this. It takes forever to melt the sugar, it takes FOREVER to reconstitute the melted sugar and butter. Just buy a candy thermometer and make it the real way.

  19. Can I add rum to this to make a rum caramel?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Aaron, you can try adding 2-3 Tbsp to this caramel. The more liquid you add, the thinner the caramel will be. If you want a thinner caramel, no need to reduce the heavy cream. If you want to keep it thick, replace some heavy cream with the same amount of alcohol. We haven’t tested it, but we would add it when you add the heavy cream. Let us know how it goes!

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