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 or if the sugar clumped 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.)
  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. 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.

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

481 Comments

  1. I’m not a huge caramel fan but holy cow this is so good! So buttery and smooth. I can’t believe how easy it is to make caramel from scratch.

    1. Made this a day or two ago…but wanted to be sure and circle back…it was SO GOOD. It takes me back to childhood and my British fathers remarkable desserts. He was a master at simple base recipes; rice pudding, bread pudding…but he made a hard sauce that this truly reminds me of. It’s better than the “icing on the cake”, this is the tuxedo, the Champaign AND the confetti. Thank you❣

  2. I am going to try this recipe to put on chocolate cupcakes. Can you use half and half instead of cream?

  3. First time ever attempting to make salted caramel and it turned out amazing! Very easy although I must say I found it to be a little bit too salty (for my taste at least!), I will reduce the salt amount next time.

    1. This recipe was so easy to make and is absolutely delicious. I used pink Himalayan salt which makes it sound fancier. Doesn’t need more than 3/4 tbs. Gavee it out to all my office mates and the ended up sitting at their desks with spoons. Never even made it home.

  4. Brilliant instructions and i made the heavy cream with milk which was just turning and it came out beautifully!!
    Then used it to make your delicious double crust salted caramel apple pie which was to die for… also because of the calorific levels!! Leftover salted caramel went into a salted caramel chocolate brownie

  5. While it’s a lovely caramel, it took longer than 10 minutes just to melt the sugar on medium heat. I timed it. It took 24 minutes and 17 seconds.

  6. Followed your tip to keep whisking if the butter separates and you’re right, it comes back together. This caramel is excellent and we love it warmed up on fresh apple slices.

    1. You can definitely use this as a filling for chocolates after you let it cool and thicken for a bit. Using chocolate candy molds would be best!

  7. This is delicious and way easier than I thought it homemade caramel was! Reheated in the microwave and poured over your pound cake. It was the best treat!

  8. I was a little skeptical making this as I’ve always heard making caramel was tricky but this was super easy to follow with the detailed instructions and images and turned out wonderful !! Thanks for the great recipe

  9. This didn’t work for me at all 🙁 when I added the butter everything seized up and all the sugar solidified onto the pan with a layer of melted butter floating on top! I followed the instructions exactly so not sure what went wrong.

    1. Hi Olivia! thanks for trying this caramel recipe! This has happened to me as well, but you can save it. If you decide to try it again, it may be helpful to lower your stove heat. Stir the sugar constantly as it melts and caramelizes. If it clumps up when you add the butter, whisk it endlessly (as the recipe states) because it WILL melt again. You can even remove it from heat and whisk, too. 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 and just keep whisking. Thanks again!

  10. My caramel got super hard, just like a regular caramels in a wrapper. I was expecting to flow with a honey-like consistency so I could drizzle with brownies, ice cream, etc. I wonder if I cooked it too long? Otherwise this recipe worked out well and it is super tasty, even when firm.

  11. Why did I just stumble to your blog now :’( I’ve been making salted caramel using method with water and it took me like half an hour to get into caramel, not to mention some failure they’re crystallize even it’s already in caramel forms. With this recipe, I can have my 20 minutes doing other stuff :)) Thank you Sally! By the way, any suggestion how to make this caramel blended with cream? I’ve tried to make it but it just couldn’t get together.

    1. Hi Findrie, so glad you are enjoying this caramel recipe! In terms of candy making, it’s pretty quick. When you add cream to the cooking mixture, make sure you’re constantly stirring. It will splatter a bit and steam up due to the variance of temperature, but will come together. Make sure you’re using heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, nothing lower in fat.

  12. Sally, if the cream is warmed up a bit, it won’t sizzle too much when added to butter-sugar mixture. Cold cream into hot liquid causes the crazy sputtering.
    Hope this helps your readers.

  13. Hello Sally,
    I’ve made this Sauce twice now: it tastes fantastic!

    This time I’m thinking of using the leftover sauce to pour over a cheesecake, but I’m hoping to be able to thin it out a little. I noticed that it hardened with a candy-like shell (but retained a nice, taffy consistency inside) When I drizzled it over butter cookies.
    Would you recommend that I hear it in a saucepan and add heavy cream to it? Or milk? I’m just hoping it doesn’t turn into a tough layer over the cheesecake.

    1. So glad you enjoy this caramel. You can definitely thin this out by adding a couple extra Tablespoons of heavy cream. You can do this if you make another batch or you can reheat what you have over low heat and add 1-2 extra Tablespoons.

  14. Tried it twice and had success both times! Nice consistency and excellent taste. My go to carmel recipe now.

  15. Though the recipe itself is perfect, the first step is wrong. Don’t constantly stir the sugar. Let the sugar sit until it forms clumps and darkens in color. Then constantly stir it to keep it from sticking and burning. Also, if you use regular salt, keep in mind it may not fully dissolve. Also (again), if caramel hardens and sticks to your spoon, run it through VERY HOT water (as close to boiling as you can) so it can melt the caramel right off. Happy cooking/baking!

  16. I’m not a salted caramel person myself, so I tried making the regular caramel variation, with half the amount of salt- I actually didn’t use quite the half teaspoon of salt called for, though I thought that it tasted like quite salted caramel still. My mom who likes salty caramel agreed that it tasted like salted caramel as well. The texture was perfect, however, so silky and creamy, and the instructions where easy to follow, such an easy recipe! I think that for me, a half teaspoon of salt is a great salted caramel- but for a regular caramel, I will try no added salt other than the salted butter (which I used this time) next time, and see if that is more to my taste. overall a great recipe, though!

  17. This tasted so good. My 1st attempt in salted caramel. So pleased with the outcome. Tx for this lovely recipe.

  18. I just made this today for the first time. I am making your burnt sugar syrup cake for my son’s birthday in a few days so getting a head start by making the salted caramel sauce. OH MY OH MY! It is sooo good. I have to stop myself (and my son) from eating up what I made or we won’t have any left for the cake!
    Surprised at how straight forward it was to make. Thanks so much for the very detailed instructions and the video.

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