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

243 Comments

  1. I haven’t yet tested this, but I’ve always wondered why caramel recipes don’t have us heat the cream before pouring it in. Would that help alleviate that furious bubbling situation? (Not that the bubbling is an actual problem.)

    Or would it change the caramel in some way?

    1. Hi Judy! It would not change the caramel flavor or texture at all, but doing so would help avoid all the bubbling.

  2. Hello!

    This recipe looks amazing, as do all of your recipes! I was hoping to pour this in top of a double layer chocolate cake with your vanilla buttercream frosting. Do you think I can pour the caramel on the frosting so it runs over the sides?

    Thank you so much for your fantastic blog!

    1. Hi Ash! You definitely can, but this caramel sets into a relatively thick consistency unless it’s warmed back up again. Try adding a couple more Tbsp of heavy cream so it’s on the thinner side. Wait for it to cool a bit before using on the cake.

    2. I want to use this as a filling for Macarons but am worried it would be to thin. Is there a way to thicken it to more of a frosting consistency?

      1. Hi Jamie! If you let the caramel cool, it thickens and is perfect for filling cakes, cupcakes, and macarons.

  3. I have tried many recipes and this one is by far the easiest and best. Just used it for a batch of salted caramel brownies. Thanks so very much!

  4. Would this be suitable to use in place of the chocolate ganache in a Boston pie? My nephew has requested it for his birthday with all the parts of a Boston pie with caramel instead of chocolate?

    1. YUM! Yep, you can use this as a drizzle on top of a cake. Once cooled, it’s pretty solid and set, so make sure you drizzle it on the cake when the caramel is still relatively warm.

  5. Delicious! I find myself just eating it with a spoon! I plan on playing around with it a little bit, but would it be better to melt chocolate around (I’m thinking letting caramel cool in molds then dipping into chocolate) or filling chocolate with it? Also is there a way to make it set up harder so it could potentially be its own candy (less spoons this way 🙂

    1. Hey Heather! Letting the caramel cool and set in molds is a fantastic idea. I do not recommend pouring it out into a baking pan for caramel squares though– they’re too soft for squares. But small molds should be great!

  6. I have just made a batch of this in the UK to put inside cupcakes, then planning on topping off with a chocolate butter cream icing

  7. I was so excited to try this but I had a problem with the butter separating after I added it. I followed your advice to remove from heat and whisk, and that didn’t work, just sent the butter sloshing out of the pan…was a mess. I noticed you’re using a non-stick pan. I used a stainless steel pan. Any other reasons this might have happened?

    1. Hi Kim! I actually prefer to use a nonstick copper pan for caramel making. Stainless steel is great too. Was your butter at room temperature or cold? You really just have to keep whisking until it comes together– I promise it eventually will! Wear kitchen gloves if it’s splashing.

      1. I had the same issue when i used brown sugar. But i just kept at whisking briskly and though the butter still seemed separated,kept my hopes high and added the cream. After some continuous whisking (even after taking off the stove) it all came together. Only issue was small caramel chips getting formed. Which was alright with me to have some crunchy caramel in the sauce. I used stainless steel pan.

  8. Hey, I wanted to know if the pot I’m using to caramelize sugar is supposed to be really sticky with sugar and dries up, making it hard to clean. I tried doing this recipe, but the pan ended up like that. Is this supposed to happen?

  9. WOW. This is soooooo good y’all!!!! It was 1st time making it and it came out perfectly- Sally, your instructions were spot on and so helpful! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!

  10. Amazing recipe. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I have been using this recipe for lot of my baked goods and always get good reviews. I used this and added it to buttercream to fill my caramel macarons. I twisted it a little bit by adding mango purée to the caramel to make mango caramel. After adding the cream and purée I kept it on medium size to low heat for 5 -7 minutes while whisking continuously. It was wonderful with the twists. Thank you again for sharing.

  11. It’s great recipe ! Caramel is so delicious 🙂 I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for good caramel sauce recipe 🙂

  12. Made it and the first time it was amazing. I’ve made it three times since then and it’s been a disaster. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this caramel the first time. Are you doing anything different? Could you let me know how it’s been a disaster?

  13. I really love this recipe and I get that it’s salted caramel, but I found that both times I’ve made this, it’s been super salty. Maybe it’s just my taste buds, but I’d recommend using a lot less salt than is listed. Other than that, the recipe is easy to follow and is still delicious. Thanks!

  14. Hello again! I wanted to say that I didn’t have any heavy cream, so I poured in milk and butter into the mixture instead. It turned out great, but it didn’t turn out as thick as I hoped. (My family and classmates loved it!) Any substitutes for heavy cream to thicken it better?

    1. Hi Jae, candy (like caramel) is VERY particular. You need heavy cream. Let me know if you ever try it with cream!

  15. The recipe is amazing. I also added 5-6 freshly cracked black peppercorns with the salt, and it lifted the flavour to another level. Served it on top of almond brownie with ice cream, and I had the best sunday ever.

    Cheers

  16. [The stars for rating the recipe are a little wonky, at least on my phone. This is a four-star review.]
    This was very quick and easy. BE CAREFUL: when adding the cream I got a nasty little steam burn. I would recommend wearing an “ove glove” or something similar for protection.
    I added a little less kosher salt in the recipe, then when it cooled I added a little flaky Maldon.

  17. Can you help? How long should the sugar melting process take? I can get it to melt and turn amber but as soon as I add the butter the sugar seizes and clumps back up, never to liquify again. It happened three times in a row. What am I doing wrong? Is the sugar overdone? By the time I reach a light brown, most of the sugar still isn’t completely melted yet (still tons of small lumps) so I keep stirring. Am I overdoing it? What’s the problem?? Thanks!

    1. Hi Brittany! The sugar takes about 5-6 minutes to melt over a gas stove and an extra 1-2 minutes over an electric stove. A couple things that will help: make sure you’re using a sturdy, quality pot over medium heat and are constantly stirring. Make sure the butter is room temperature and soft– not cold. It’s seizing because of the vast temperature difference. (Cold butter in hot candy syrup.) Do not double or triple this recipe, just 1 batch at a time. I hope this helps!

  18. I just finished making a batch and IT IS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! can’t stop eating with a spoon! Thanks, Sally! Oh and by the way, I love your chocolate cupcake recipe. It’s my go to!

  19. Great recipe. Only thing I would say is it definitely took me half an hour of stirring the pot to get the sugar to the point of being able to stir in the butter. It says medium heat but maybe that isn’t hot enough. At least for my stove. Still will only use this recipe
    Thank you!

  20. oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS!
    i’ve never made a successful caramel, let alone salted caramel.

    THIS IS AMAZING. It’s so easy and incredibly delicious!

    Thank you!

  21. What a fantastic recipe! Smells so lovely and buttery! I tried CCJ’s recipe which doesn’t include butter but I have to say this is by far superior!!!!!

  22. I’m making my homemade fudgy brownies and want to add caramel and toasted pecans so it will be a turtle brownie. Would your salted caramel work well marbled in and drizzled on top? Would I have to refrigerate them?

    1. Hi Emily! I don’t recommend it. This caramel won’t harden into the CRUNCH you need for caramel corn. Instead, here’s my caramel corn recipe. You can definitely add some sea salt to it!

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