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.


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

281 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,

    This recipe sounds terrific and I would love to try it. I’m currently in a situation where an instant pot is the only cooking method available to me. Do you know if the recipe could be adapted, and if so, how would I do it?

    Thanks a bunch,
    Lynda

    1. Hi Lynda! I wish I could help, but I don’t have an instant pot and I’ve never tested it. Perhaps someone else has? I wouldn’t recommend it though.

  2. Hey i’m from Sri Lanka and we don’t have Heavy cream available here. Is there a substitute i could use for this? Whipped Cream?

      1. Hi Hi

        I’ve been using this recipe for quite some time now. It’s amazing! The best!

        I don’t want to change recipes so I was wondering how can I thin this out? I will be having an event and won’t have any way of warming/heating up.

      2. Hi Shannona! Try adding a little more heavy cream. Increasing to 2/3 or 3/4 cup will thin it out.

  3. THIS is THE MOST incredible caramel gold i have eaten! To think as a child I didnt even prefer caramel much at all, well, I seriously recommend this delicious recipe to everyone. I made it (with half the salt) and was blown away – no jokes it tastes like quality toffee… a molten toffee version !! YUM & Thanks for this!

  4. Does this get hard when frozen? I have been looking at ice cream base recipes using condensed milk and whipped cream. I was thinking about swirling in a layer of this caramel to make it a little less boring.

    1. Hi Dina! Yes, the salted caramel will slightly freeze. It won’t be hard as a rock, but it will definitely harden. It’s best to use as a topping for ice cream cakes.

    1. Hi Sofea! Caramel is, by nature, very sweet! Reducing the sugar affects the caramelization process. Feel free to add more salt if desired.

  5. Hi,
    Can I use this caramel sauce like a drip for my cake? I am looking for something thick and drops won’t fall to quick from the sites of my cake.
    Please any advice if I can use it and if I can when it’s the best moment to do it. Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Monika! Yes, this caramel would be great for a drip cake. Make sure the cake is EXTRA cold and give this caramel at least 15-20 minutes to cool down/slightly thicken before applying.

  6. This is by far the best caramel sauce recipe I have ever tried. Whenever I try a wet caramel, the sugar crystallizes in the pan. The last time I tried a dry caramel, it ended up bitter and slightly burnt. This recipe was perfect, though I did have to add a bit of milk and extra cream after cooking to stop it from becoming too thick

  7. I have made this recipe so many times and it is so good!!! It pairs beautifully with almost anything….and tastes amazing just by itself 😉

  8. Hi, can I use this sauce as a topping for donuts? And as a filling for donut holes?
    This looks incredible, by the way.

  9. Hi Sally,

    My caramel has cooled but has separated a bit and has become oily. Can you let me know what I’ve done wrong? And can it be fixed or do I need to start again?

  10. Hi! I just tried this recipe last day. I was a bit hesitant at first but manage to gather my courage and do so. ( it was my first time making caramel and i read online that it is a bit tricky. Sorry!)
    This caramel is heaven! Looking forward on drizzling this gold sauce on cookies, banana bread and brownies. Thank you so so much. You are a blessing! ☺☺

  11. Very disappointed with this recipe. Tried it twice with no success – the first time the sugar took awhile to melt, but then clumped heavily when butter was added. I figured I had overcooked the sugar so for my second attempt, I turned the heat down.
    In the second attempt, it took the sugar more than 20 minutes to melt at all. After 35 minutes, it was in little clumps, but still not moving to liquid and we finally threw out our second batch as well.
    I’ve been a baker my whole life and have used your cupcake recipes with great success many times over the years, but this recipe was a frustrating waste of time for me. :/

    1. Hi Amanda! I’m concerned that the sugar wasn’t melting quickly. There’s no explanation for that– sugar melts when heated– so I’m concerned that your pan may be too thick. So sorry you’re having trouble with the salted caramel!

    1. This caramel is wonderful as a filling for cupcakes and cake. Let it cool down before spreading onto a cake layer. Refrigerating will totally solidify it, so let it cool at room temperature.

  12. I tried a celebrity chef’s salted caramel recipe only to have it seize up on me on three different tries. I gave up and started googling. I found this recipe and decided to give it a whirl. It was so simple and the finished product is so yummy! Can’t wait to serve it this weekend at my nephews birthday party. We are doing a sundae bar. You saved the day and my sanity. Thank you!!

  13. Hi Sally! I love this recipe and have made it a number of times and it always works out! I would like your advise on how to multiply it to make a large batch. Thanks!

  14. I’ve attempted to make this multiple times and every time it’s finished it gets rock hard with in like a minute. I follow the recipe perfectly… what could be going wrong?

    1. Hi Ava! If the caramel is solidifying too quickly, it could be over-cooked, the heat may be too high, or the pan is too thin. You can also try adding a little extra heavy cream. This will help keep it on the thinner side.

  15. Hi sally. The salted caramel taste great but it’s kind of too thick and harden up when i poured on the ice cream. How could i make it more liquid?

  16. I love this recipe! When I made it before I got some sugar clumps in the finished caramel so I turned down the heat when half of the sugar had melted and switched to a whisk instead of a spatula. I stirred until all the clumps melted and got a perfect caramel in the end. Thanks Sally!

  17. Hi Sally! I wanted to jazz up a banana cream pie by adding salted caramel to the bottom layer with all the banana slices. Will it get too hard after being in the fridge overnight? Would it be better to thin it out with more heavy cream? Thank you!

    1. YUM!! With a refrigerated pie, it’s likely best to start out with thinner salted caramel. So you guessed right– thin it out with more heavy cream, at least 2/3 cup.

  18. I just made this to use between cake layers and it cooked up beautifully! Salted caramel is my most favorite thing and this is my first attempt so I’m so grateful for such a delicious and easy recipe! Thank you Sally! I love your recipes!

  19. I’ve made this recipe a few times and I LOVE it. I use it to make salted caramel brownies, and it’s so easy to make the sauce. I have some of the brownies in the oven right now!

    The question I have is… what’s the best way to clean the pot and wooden spoon after making this? I don’t remember having trouble in the past, but some of the sugar on the sides is pretty stuck.

    1. Hey Rachel! So I have a little trick when it comes to cleaning sticky pots after making candy and caramel. Feel free to use it!

      Fill the sticky saucepan with water until the water covers all the residue. Place the saucepan back on the stove over low heat, then bring to a simmer. The warm water will melt off the residue. Turn off the heat and let the pan/water cool until cool enough to handle and wash.

  20. This was the first “Sally’s Baking Addiction” recipe I’ve made, and it was incredible! I used it to top the second Sally’s recipe I made… her Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecakes (which were also insane!).

    I am actually quite familiar with this caramelization technique as it’s the same one used in a Salted Caramel Ice Cream recipe I’ve made literally hundreds of batches of (it’s THAT good!). The technique works every time, and once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to do! And it creates an incredibly rich caramel flavor. Add to that the butter and salt, and you’ve got the most divinely balanced trinity of sweet and salty fatty goodness! Sally is 100% right… I could sit down with a jar of this and a spoon and just crush it straight up!

    It was INCREDIBLE on the cheesecakes, and I can’t wait to try it on my Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes!

    Thanks for an incredible recipe, Sally!

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