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.

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

159 Comments

  1. Sally’s Salted Caramel is absolutely the best caramel recipe I have ever tried. Having made this caramel seven times, I am impressed with how consistently good the flavor and color of this creamy caramel is.

    I have been known to eat it directly out of the jar as well as (more appropriately) on pies. ice cream, apple cookie bars, and cupcakes. It never disappoints.

  2. This is SO easy to make and so versital. I used it to coat pretzel rods that I then covered in chocolate. I also used it when making caramel apple slab pie. This is SO yummy, you will want to make this and you can give it away as gifts in cute mason jars. My son loves dipping apples in it, so you could put an apple on top of the mason jar lid and wrap it all in cellophane. The possibilities are endless.

    1. I have tried a few salted caramel recipes and Sally’s is by far the most straightforward! It always comes out perfect and is a huge hit with friends and family! It is one of.my favourites!

  3. My favorite caramel recipe! It’s so easy to make and delicious! I made this throughout the holiday season for family and friends alike and got a lot of compliments! Thank you Sally for such a fabulous recipe! I will be using it for years to come…

    1. I made this for your salted caramel apple pie for Thanksgiving – so delicious and easy to make! We had a hard time saving it for the pie, just wanted to eat it by the spoonful!

  4. This is the BEST salted caramel! I’ve tried several caramel recipes with some failures, but never experienced it with this one! The recipe is 100% bulletproof, easy and sooo good. Can easily be eaten right out of the jar!

  5. This is the easiest and tastiest caramel sauce I’ve ever made, and you can put it on so many things! This will be my go to recipe for caramel from now on!

  6. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! It’s super easy to make and can be used on so many goodies. So far I’ve used it to make Samoa brownies, Sally’s Salted Caramel Apple Pie, and as an ice cream topping. I’ve even eaten it by the spoonful on it’s own (don’t judge ;))! I love that you can make it regular caramel too for those that aren’t into the salted version! Thanks for another awesome recipe 🙂

  7. This is the best caramel! Super easy to make and it’s always delicious. We have eat it on pies including pumpkin, cookies, ice cream and bars. So yummy!

  8. Best salted caramel recipe I’ve ever made!! The only difficult part is not eating it all with a spoon afterwards.

  9. This is so easy to make and it tastes delicious! You can’t go wrong with Sally’s step-by-step instructions!

  10. This recipe is INCREDIBLE! It’s so easy to make and can be used with literally any type of baked good. Highly recommend

  11. This is so easy and fun to make. How does it taste? Like happiness, sunshine, flowers, laughing children, cute puppies transformed into a beautiful jar of wonderful. The only thing that keeps it from being instantly eaten with the big spoon you stir with is that it’s HOT! Once it cools down, all bets are off. I made three batches last night: one to drizzle on my bundt cake, one to jar up for a hostess gift for Saturday, and one for my boys to pour on vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm. Enough said.

  12. Sally’s is by far the best and easiest caramel I have made – and I’ve tried lots! I love this recipe!!!

  13. I love this recipe! But, there is always a hardened ring of sugar around the bottom of the pan once I’m done making it. Any tips on how to prevent that from happening?

    1. Be sure that you are constantly stirring it and that you are reaching the bottom of the pan as you stir. This should help!

  14. Best. Caramel. EVER! This recipe deserves it’s own post. It’s so easy to make and oh so delicious. I promise you can’t go wrong with this…it’s fantastic in recipes or right out of the jar with a spoon (my personal favorite way of eating it). As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go make a jar right now! 😉

  15. So I’ve never gotten into the salted caramel craze, but I do love caramel. If I just wanted to make caramel (not salted) sauce, would I just decrease the salt to say, an 1/8th of a tsp?

    1. Hi Heather! I haven’t tried nondairy alternatives, but you can certainly test it. The canned coconut milk wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m nervous about the vegan butter. Let me know how it goes!

  16. I have made this several times, and it is outstanding! I have tried previous recipes but they always tasted burnt to me (pilot error I’m sure) but this recipe is almost fail proof, really appreciated the step by step pictures, helped a lot! Best. Ever.

  17. We are big salted caramel fans and I have been making a similar recipe for years. I also add a tablespoon of bourbon when you add the salt, for a yummy twist. We dip sliced apples in it, sometime rolling them in chopped pecans after the caramel dip. Our apple consumption goes up significantly when this is in the refrigerator.

  18. So, if I just cook this longer will I get caramel candies rather than sauce? I love the idea of making chewy salted caramels. Thanks for any advice you might offer in this regard.

  19. I have never figured out the fascination with salted caramel. Sally’s Unsalted Caramel version is much better.

    1. Hi Linda! I agree that if you aren’t a fan of sweet/salty, salted caramel isn’t for you! I’m glad you like regular caramel. It’s so good.

  20. Would it be okay to add a little bit of water to the sugar to help it to Carmelize faster? I have done this when making sugary pecans, but didn’t know if it would affect this recipe.

    1. Hi Nancy! The sugar caramelizes in only a few minutes, so I don’t find adding water necessary. It could throw off the final taste and texture.

  21. Sally’s salted caramel is the best recipe I’ve ever used! Having made it several times already, I can assure you that this recipe is so simple and easy to make, while yielding fabulously creamy and flavorful caramel sauce! I’ve used this in salted caramel apple pie, in little caramel and peach trifles, in caramel tarts, drizzled over hot milk cake and ice cream, even dunking Sally’s chewy chocolate chunk cookies into it! And, of course, eating it with a spoon 🙂 Best caramel ever!

  22. This is the easiest and BEST caramel sauce ever!! It’s good poured over apple pie or ice cream, AND is also yummy eaten by the spoonful!

  23. When I added the butter, it looked like it was separating, so I took it off the heat and started whisking, but then the sugar just formed clumps! I finished the recipe but there are still a bunch of clumps. I assume it will not set if I just strain the clumps out (I’m making the pretzel bars). Any ideas what I might have done wrong? Butter was at room temperature.

    1. Hi Lauren! Two things to look at for next time– the stove heat. Lower it slightly. The sugar is cooking too quickly if it’s clumping. Second, make sure you’re not using a thin pot. You need a quality pot for making candy like this. Room temperature butter is best, you’re right!

    1. Hi Esther! Margarine does not have the same chemical makeup as butter. It’s much more watery. I strongly recommend using butter.

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