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

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
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

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, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  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.

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. 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

956 Comments

  1. This was my first time attempting any sort of caramel recipe and it was so easy. I did have to remove from heat and wisk back together but it only took a minute. The sauce came out smooth, buttery and delicious! Next time I may use a little less salt, or use unsalted butter. Great recipe thanks!

  2. I love your recipe but do you have any tips on how to make the caramel so that it doesn’t pool once added onto a cake or cheesecake? I like a pipeable caramel sauce that does’t pool or become loose on-top of my desserts. Any suggestions? Do I need to cook it longer?

  3. PREMILA VADIVELOO says:

    Hi, does this work when incorporated or swirled into an ice cream base (not as a topping)?

    1. We don’t suggest it– it will turn pretty hard inside frozen ice cream.

      1. Never made caramel before but I needed it for a recipe and had no store-bought stuff left. Made this and it turned out pretty good for a first attempt. Ever so slightly burnt, but that’s my bad and I’ll reduce the temp next time. Still edible and worked great on my scones. Will be coming back to this whenever I need salted caramel from now on

  4. After adding the butter, it would not combine with the sugar. As instructed, I took it off heat to whisk, and whisk and whisk, but the mixture just stuck inside the whisk. I switched to a spoon to stir and stir and stir. It ever fully incorporated and there were lumps after adding the cream. I had to boil the mixture for a while to try and get the lumps to dissolve, then used a masher to mash it up and finally strained out the lumps when pouring it into a jar. It was a pain, but tasted great.

  5. Hi there, I just found out my favorite all natural, salted caramel coffee creamer has been discontinued. Obviously, there’s no time to wallow in self pity; I need to find a replacement which is what led me to this gorgeous-looking recipe. Clearly, I’ll be trying the recipe either way (bc daaaaaaaamn!), but have you ever tried making this into a coffee creamer? It’s always better to ask the expert before I wander off to experiment!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katrina, we don’t have a specific salted caramel coffee creamer, but we do love to use the salted caramel directly in coffee! We’d love to know if you give it a try.

  6. I used coffee creamer instead of heavy cream. This meant I had to calculate the sugar in the creamer and subtract it from the cup of sugar. I doubled the whole recipe and didn’t have any issues.

  7. I hope I didn’t just ruin my pan. The butter would not incorporate. Just tossed the entire batch into the trash.

  8. This didnt work for me. I have a bad relationship with caramel making and yet again couldnt make it work. The liquid already turned amber when there were still large clumps. Added the butter and immediately separated then sugar hardened to the point of no turning back.

    1. Yeah, same here. When I added the sugar it immediately burned. I lowered the heat but that didn’t help at all.

  9. This was my first time ever making caramel. It’s a rainy morning and I really wanted a caramel latte and so I found this recipe. I know you said don’t use milk but all i had was whole milk…it came out perfect though. Great recipe!

  10. I found this method easier than methods ive tried before. it separated when i added the butter, but i added a splash of water and whisked vigorously and it ended up turning out well, thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hmmm… The same happened to me too. I should try that as well. Thanks for the tip!

  11. First time ever making caramel, risked it and tripled the recipe (only realized later that your post advises against it) and it turned out GREAT! I used a large pot to melt the sugar so there was plenty of room. Also used Domino Golden granulated sugar (less processed) with no issues. I used an oven mit when whisking in the butter and cream to help with splashing. Used Himalayan salt but I don’t think I mixed the lever granules in long enough because much of it sank to the bottom of the pot, but it’s ok because I used salted butter. Also added in a splash of vanilla extract. My mixture was VERY runny when I was done and at first I was SO disappointed. I let the mixture bubble for a minute or two longer than recommended. I transferred it into jars and let it sit on the counter until cool enough to cover and refrigerate. Took it out a couple hours later to use with icecream and it is PERFECT. Thickened up very nicely and it is deeeelish.

  12. Hey there! This is my first time making caramel so I’d like to make 1/4th of the given quantity. Is it okay if I just quarter the proportion of all the ingredients? Looking forward to trying this recipe 🙂

    1. Hi Cara, normally I don’t recommend reducing, halving, doubling, tripling candy recipes as the changed volume in the pot may alter how the caramel turns out. You can certainly try it, but for best success I recommend following the recipe as written.

  13. Kelly Baumgartel says:

    Third times a charm…yes I have Carmel making anxiety. However, when I go back and re-read the recipe (all of your recipes) and tips, your direction and tips, and yep even the photos, have made me a confident Carmel maker and better baker!
    Mine may be a little dark, but for my first (fourth) try its not bad!

  14. The most amazing recipe (& I’m saying this although I’ve tried a caramel recipe for the first time ever)! It’s exactly how I wanted it to be. Since it was my first time, I halved the proportion but it was fabulous! Thank you so much!

  15. The most amazing recipe (& I’m saying this although I’ve tried a caramel recipe for the first time ever)! It’s exactly how I wanted it to be. Since it was my first time, I halved the proportion but it was fabulous! Thank you so much!

  16. Hi! Help! I sell salted caramel cheesecake and during delivery it spilled on the sides. Is there a way to prevent this from happening? I already refrigerated the cake with the caramel sauce on top but it still keeps on happening! What can I do??

    1. Hi Regina, to produce a thicker caramel, try reducing the heavy cream down to 6 Tbsp or even 1/3 cup.

      1. Yay thank you so much for responding right away! Will take your advice! Hope it works because I live in the Philippines so it’s very hot making the caramel to melt. Thank you again and stay safe! Continue making BOMB recipes! Aspiring to be like you someday!

  17. Roxanne Breymier says:

    Had plain walnuts on hand and wanted something sweet and salty to eat with them and happened across your recipe. I have never ever in my life made something like this from scratch but had all ingredients on hand so said “why not!?!” OMGEEE! It was so easy, and so delicious my 21 year old was literally dipping her chocolate chip cookies in it and my 7 year old was eating it straight out of the container with a spoon. I did drizzle over my walnuts and enjoyed but oh my word, I will be making more tomorrow for sure!!!

  18. Hi Sally. Is the sauce thick enough to be spread between cake layers? And if so, if the cake is refrigerated, will the caramel layer get uncomfortably hard to eat on serving? Thanks

    1. Hi Kimberly, the 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.

  19. Will half and half work instead of heavy cream? I have some on hand and didn’t plan to run to the store.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, we typically use heavy cream which is approximately 36% milk fat, but we have also tested this with light whipping cream which is 30% milk fat and it works well. Any lower fat content the caramel may not set up properly but let us know what you try!

  20. A few high altitude notes: I absolutely LOVE this recipe, but it behaves differently at altitude, just like all candy and candy-adjacents. At 5500ft (hi from Colorado!), if you follow the recipe exactly, you will make the most amazing soft caramels–perfect for topping with sea salt, wrapping in parchment paper, and giving away to lucky recipients. (And I haven’t had any problems with recrystallization or burning in my 4 batches.) But not exactly a caramel sauce, more gouge-out-of-the-pot. If you want the sauce consistency in the recipe here, I’ve found that swapping the heavy cream for half and half is perfect. Theoretically, reducing the cooking time would also work, but I haven’t tested it to figure out the exact right timing. Hopefully this is helpful to some, but if you’re at a higher altitude and you just can’t get it to work, it’s probably safer to go with a recipe that uses a candy thermometer, and make the standard adjustments of reducing stated recipe temperature by 2F per every 1000ft above sea level. And thanks Sally! I have loved every single thing I’ve made from your website!

  21. Amazing! Delicious and simple! I had no idea. I tried to use it for the caramel coated pretzels, and it never hardened up very much. They were delicious, but messy. I wonder if I didn’t let it boil enough the 2 times it was supposed to cook without stirring. No matter, we just scooped them off the parchement and enjoyed the gooeyness. I will just have to try again! I am also looking forward to a latte with a bit of squirty cream, and then this drizzled on the top, after we go skating today. 🙂

  22. Could I use this caramel as a filling for chocolates? Planning on making some filled chocolates in a silicon mold for valentines day.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emma! You can definitely use this as a filling for chocolates after you let it cool and thicken for a bit.

  23. Caramel making and I are not great friends… I have made many caramel recipes with many successes and many failures. So, I am anxious when I make it, but thought, everything I’ve tried from this site has been awesome. At each turn, I kept thinking, this doesn’t look right , I don’t think it’s working… but I remained steadfast, followed the instructions, and kept going. The key is to keep whisking, have patience, and, turn the heat down. Anyone else that had trouble with separating, clumping, or the like needs to turn the heat down and whisk like a mofo! It’ll work out. This was actually very easy and came together well – it is tasty. I’ll be adding it to a crock-baked buttercake later, and I’m sure it’ll be so delish!! I couldn’t stop eating it off the spoon. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  24. This was my first time making caramel sauce and it was so easy. I live in Croatia and we don’t have caramel sauce in the stores this is a really easy recipe to follow and it goes really good with my oatmeal thank you so much I will save your page and try more of your recipes! Highly recommend

  25. Can’t even see the recipe because there is an ad over it…. tried refreshing multiple times and the ad just changes.

    1. Hi Camilla, we have multiple layers of restrictions on ad placements on our site. You should always be able to view the recipe– the ads are placed around the content/instructions. If you notice this again, please let us know. Apologies for the trouble and thank you for your feedback.

  26. Great pictures and video. Was terrified I’d burn it but it was perfect.

  27. Hi Sally. I tried this and thought I filled all of the directions, but the caramel very quickly turned solid. I couldn’t drip it onto anything. It was more like taffy. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Beatrice, this caramel thickens into a chewy consistency. What you’re experiencing is normal. However, if you’d like a thinner caramel, add more heavy cream. I recommend an extra 2 Tablespoons. (10 Tbsp total.)

  28. i just made this! i halved the recipe since i’m the only one using it (for my apple slices haha) and it turned out perfect, followed the directions exactly 🙂 def don’t recommend quartering it though bc i tried that the other day and it burned quickly hahahaha!!

  29. This was my first attemp to make caramel and thanks to this recipe it was a total success. Salted caramel is now one of the items we almost always have in the fridge, and this simple recipe is making circling my entire family and friends circle. Just like several people who commented before, I tend to use less salt as well.

  30. Worked like a charm! Ive tried other caramel recipes and this worked perfectly! Thank you so much!

1 15 16 17 18 19 20

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×