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. I swear, most recipes I tried on Sally’s worked! I’m an amateur cook, and it saddens me every time things don’t work out but whenever I use Sally’s recipes, I feel like I’m rewarded for my efforts. I had a lot of anxiety going in because I had some experiences with burnt sugar, so I watched the video at least 3 times and kept re-reading the instructions. And my salted caramel turned out perfect! I had it with cafe latte and it tasted just the way I wanted it to. Now I’m thinking of making a dessert to go with it soon. Thank you, Sally!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad this caramel turned out for you, Izzati!

  2. Could I sub coconut cream for the heavy cream?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessi! We haven’t tested it, but some readers have had success using unsweetened canned coconut cream. Let us know if you try it!

  3. Made this tonight but didn’t have cream and just want to confirm that whole milk substitutes fine (I know, cream is always used in caramel) and turned out delicious and with the proper viscosity after cooling.

  4. The texture is great but the taste has kind of a burnt sugar taste. What did I do wrong ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jo! You’ll want to turn the stove down to cook it lower and slower next time. This will prevent burning.

  5. I made the classic cheesecake with chocolate ganache and salted caramel using Sally’s recipes and things turned out perfectly. I didn’t manage to create a perfect water bath for the baking of the cheesecake but put a pan of hot water underneath. I mixed the ingredients for the cheesecake all by hand. I used digestive cookies and butter for the crust. Everything turned out great. Thank you.

  6. Sally, how do you think browned butter would work with this recipe? I’m wondering if it would add flavor, and if it might minimize the separation when the butter is added to the sugar.

  7. This recipe tasted amazing although hardened a bit too much in the refrigerator, and was slightly darker than in the picture.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leona! Thank you so much for giving this caramel a try. Sounds like it simply cooked for too long. Try cooking it a bit lower and slower next time.

      1. Thanks!

  8. Sue Teunissen says:

    These are the best scones and so easy to make!! I made them for the first time for a Christmas brunch and everyone raved! I have made them 3 times since. I love this website and have never been disappointed.

  9. It turned out great!! I used it to make a caramel macchiato. Question- can I reheat the refrigerated caramel more than once without it affecting the quality or date of expiration?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hannah, absolutely — you can reheat as many times as needed for up to a month when storing in the fridge. Glad it was a hit!

  10. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I made it and loved it, but I would like to make it ever so slightly thicker/firmer but still runny. Would adding a teaspoon of corn syrup to the sugar at the start achieve this?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess! You can make this recipe a bit thicker by reducing the heavy cream (try 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup).

  11. Genna Zavocki says:

    This is the best caramel sauce ever! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  12. Tastes good, not sauce.
    While it is a delicious caramel, I wouldn’t call it a sauce, it solidifies into a soft caramel candy. Next time I may add more butter and cream but not what I needed this time.

  13. Can I use this recipe to make caramel popcorn?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can!

  14. This caramel sauce is delicous. It is best served with ice cream and cream or simply dip your apples in them. I would certainly reccomend!

  15. Hi Sally! I’m excited to make this tomorrow, paired with your salted caramel icing for some cupcakes. If I drizzle this ontop of the icing a day before they will be eaten, do you think it will be ok or will it harden too much?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That should be just fine, Elaina! This salted caramel is a great for drizzling on cupcakes.

  16. Hello! Do you have any tips for making this with a vegan sugar (organic cane or beet sugar)? Organic cane sugar is great but the natural color makes it hard to determine readiness in recipes relying on color appearance for next steps.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, we haven’t tested this recipe with any vegan sugars, so it’s hard to say. Keep an extra close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you give it a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

      1. Would you have a reco’d temp range at the point of adding the butter? 🙂
        Thank you!

  17. Mine has turned out like thick chewy caramel instead of a sauce. Gutted as it too me ages to make aswell. Any idea what went wrong?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Louise, 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 after some time. Simply reheat in the microwave as needed. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  18. My caramel turned extremely thick, definitely not pourable, within about 5 minutes of pouring in jar. Any suggestions? I believe I followed the recipe exactly.. I made it to mix with my fluffy buttercream for a filling in whoopie pies but it is so thick it wont stir in. The taste is great though and it is the only approved recipe for Cottage sales in my state. Please help Sally!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Patti! Sounds like the caramel cooked too long or too hot and therefore got a too hard. Try cooking lower and slower next time. And make sure to use a thick bottomed pan. Hope you’ll give it another try!

  19. Hi Sally,
    Love, love, love, your caramel apples recipe. Is this one good for milkshakes? I used the apple caramel one for that and I find that the caramel hardens right away when it comes in contact with the cold milkshake. Looking for a recipe that will stay soft. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Leah! Happy to help. 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. You’ll likely need a thinner caramel for milkshakes. I recommend adding 2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream to the recipe.

  20. Can this recipe be used as a cake filling or will it absorb?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joanne, 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.

      1. Thank you! I think I’ll lean towards a caramel buttercream.

  21. Every recipe I tried from your website was successful! I’m going to make this tonight. Is there any thing you recommend to go with the caramel sauce?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jiayi, here are our 50 favorite ways to eat salted caramel — hope you find something to enjoy!

  22. Hi! I’m making cookie pies and I’m wondering if it would ruin the caramel in any way if I was to bake it inside the a pie for around 40mins? I will leave it to set afterwards but I don’t want to ruin the taste if it’s heated for too long!
    Your recipes are the BEST!

    1. Hi Rachael! Thank you so much. I don’t recommend baking this as a pie filling. A few minutes in the oven should be fine but definitely not for around 40 minutes.

  23. Claire Denton says:

    I’m curious…Why white sugar in the caramel sauce, but brown sugar in the caramel buttercream frosting?

    1. Hi Claire, brown sugar is too moist to form a proper stovetop caramel. I like to use brown sugar in the caramel buttercream on my burnt sugar cake for extra flavor.

  24. I tried this tonight as my first time ever making caramel and I loved it! It did set a little chewy and toffee like but I’m assuming I probably let it get too hot? Still tasted gorgeous! Thanks for this and all the recipes and tutorials on the site that have sparked my love of baking again x

  25. This is by far the best salted caramel I ever tried

  26. Laura Barrett says:

    Hi Sally! I’m looking for a caramel to use as a filling for chocolate candy. Would this work? Or do you have a recipe or suggestion? Thank you

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura, This recipe should work well for chocolate candy. Let us know how it goes!

      1. Thank you! I will!

  27. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but looking for a salted caramel to use in a stuffed Rocky road. Would this work it would it be to runny? Thanks

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

      1. Great, thanks. I’ll give it a go at the weekend for my afternoon tea boxes – fingers crossed it works out

  28. Hi sally, once this is made and stored in the fridge how would you suggest warming it to use?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sam! We usually just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to reheat, but heating it on the stove would work as well.

  29. Linda Abraham says:

    I made chocolate cupcakes for my nephew’s 50th birthday celebration, and iced them with your salted caramel icing. I then drizzled some of your salted caramel sauce on top and put the remaining sauce on the table for guests to put on their vanilla ice cream if desired. Needless to say, I had very little sauce left! All the guest raved over the salted caramel and were amazed I had made it myself.
    Your recipes were excellent- very clear directions and easy to follow. Will definitely make this again. I loved not having to cream the butter for the icing – may try making other icing this way! My only suggestion is that you include weight measurements for your ingredients – grams or ounces, and not just cup /tsp measurements – they are much more accurate, which is so important in baking. Lin

  30. Hello Sally
    First let me thank you for sharing your yummy creations,you are the site i go to whenever i have a question in baking.
    As it is so hard in my country to find decent soft caramel to use as cookie filling i tried making my own,but the thermometer i used is pretty much slow so before it reads the appropriate temperature the sugar burns
    So i’ve been thinking instead of pouring the caramel sauce in glass jar can i put them in chocolate molds freeze them and later use them as cookie filling?
    Thank you in advance

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, this caramel solidifies nicely when poured into molds. I often use it as a candy filling. Using the finished chocolate candies inside cookies should work just fine, too.

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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