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. 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
  • 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 or if the sugar clumped 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.)
  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. Caramel solidifies 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

519 Comments

  1. Michel Joachim says:

    Hey, Sally

    I have made this caramel sauce according to your step-by-step guide and it’s so delicious! I can’t wait to put it over ice cream or by the spoonful.

    Thanks for the recipe…
    Michel Joachim

  2. I just finished making the caramel sauce and it is exactly what I wanted. Thank you sooooo much for the great recipe!

    1. You are welcome! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!

  3. aliyah conrad says:

    hi, can this be used in banoffee pies? I simply love anything toffee!!! so this will def be on the cooking list this weekend.
    XOXO all the way from Cape Town, South Africa

    1. You can certainly use it for that although traditionally banoffee pies are made with Dulce de Leche instead of caramel. This is my simple recipe for banoffee pie: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/banoffee-pie/

  4. Laura Barrett says:

    Hi would this be the caramel to use to dip apples = caramel coated apples? Thanks!

    1. This sauce is too thin for caramel apples- it’s great for dipping apples into, though! I recommend my caramel apples recipe.

      1. Laura Barrett says:

        Thank you Sally!

  5. Can this be used as a filling between cake layers. I am making a three tier wedding cake
    (white/vanilla cake) and the bride wants this recipe as the filling between the cake layers. I am concerned it is too thin to use as a cake filling and it will ooze out the sides. Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Melissa, I agree it would be thin between the layers. I would suggest using my salted caramel frosting which is made using this caramel sauce! Here is the recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/salted-caramel-frosting/

  6. Hi! Would this filling be okay for macaroons?

    1. Yes – so good!

  7. First, I should preface this comment with a disclaimer. If you don’t like salted caramel, ….. ahh forget it.
    This recipe is ridiculously simple. I just finished my first batch of Salted Caramel Overkill Ice Cream. To be honest, I probably should have cut the amount of caramel by half. It’s almost as subtle as a chainsaw. But then, mistakes are the precursors to perfection, and half the fun. The Caramel turned out perfect. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. sorry, need enough to make for 6 gifts. how much should i make of this recipe. what size jars please

    1. Hi Kathy, Avoid doubling or tripling this recipe. The added volume could prevent the sugar from melting evenly and properly. Make multiple batches instead. I use regular mason jars or this mason jar mug is pictured: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GNKABV4?ascsubtag=.MjUxMTU5LTA.e0eb0218-c808-11e9-97b5-8b61b0a9b920&tag=rewardstyle-20

  9. This caramel is amazing!! I have searched high and low looking for an easy salted caramel recipe. This one is fool proof! What a winner! It’s delicious!! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. You are welcome, Melissa! I’m thrilled you enjoy it!

  10. I have lost count how many times I have made this sauce!!! I always double the batch and it turns out beautifully every time. Thank you for such a keeper!!! I drizzle it on every apple dessert I make, over ice cream, anything I can think of

  11. Could I use this as a drizzle on chocolate-covered strawberries or would it be too thin?

    1. Won’t be too thin! Let it cool for a few minutes before using as it might melt the chocolate.

  12. Just made this easy caramel sauce for the first time! To say it is yummy is an understatement- DELICIOUS!! Thank you for such a great recipe!!

  13. Hi, just wondering if you need to vacuum seal the Mason jars if giving as a gift or just steralise the jar before and put the lid on tight? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex! You can, but I don’t take the extra step. I simply seal the jars shut and let whoever know to enjoy the caramel within a couple weeks.

  14. I need to make 80 4oz jars for a bridal shower. What is your suggestion for large batches?

    1. Hi Heather, unfortunately cooking a higher volume of candy (including from-scratch caramel) can change the outcome. I always recommend working with a single batch at a time, but if you absolutely must– doubling the recipe in a larger pot would be fine.

  15. I have made caramels for years but couldn’t get the sugar to caramelize and my sauce stayed running even after cooling. Any suggestions? I did add 1/4 c water to the sugar when melting bc that’s how I know to melt it….. could that be the problem? Any my other recipes have you add the cream first then butter. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Jen! This caramel is too thin and soft to make individual caramels. Instead, I recommend my soft sea salt vanilla caramels recipe which is a little different from this.

  16. Hi Sally. When I’ve made caramel before and stirred the sugar while it was cooking it crystallize when finished. Is this not the case with your recipe?

    1. Hi Kim! If you use a heavy-bottomed quality saucepan and stir constantly, the sugar shouldn’t crystallize after the caramel has been made.

  17. This caramel sauce is delicious! After having mixed success with other caramel sauce recipes, I was thrilled with how easy this recipe was. Now I just have to keep myself from eating it before I need to take dessert to my office meeting in 4 days! Mmmm.

  18. Can you use something dairy free instead of heavy cream? Like coconut cream possibly? Just my little one cant have dairy.

  19. Hi Sally! I am going to make your chocolate fudge cupcakes with your new and improved salted caramel frosting, but I’d move to fill them with some actual caramel. Should I do something to thicken this sauce before using it as a cupcake filling, or would it be fine as is?? Thank you so much!!!

    1. That sounds delicious! If you let the caramel cool in the refrigerator it should thicken up enough to work well for a cupcake filling. Enjoy!

  20. Wow! Wow! Wow! Just made this for the Burnt Sugar Cake, and I can’t promise there will be any left when the cakes cool. Unbelievable taste and consistency!! Thank you, Sally!

  21. This worked perfectly and tasted amazing!! Thank you!

  22. Hi Sally
    This is my second time making this caramel sauce…..another successful recipe….the instruction was spot on, like all your recipes.

    Thanks again for your time and dedication with each recipe.

    Leisel

  23. Hi Sally, this is great. What are your tips for warming this caramel sauce in the microwave?

    1. Depending how much of it you are reheating– 10-15 seconds, stir, then 10-15 more seconds until smooth. 🙂

  24. I just made this and the butter seems to have separated from the sauce. It is not thick and carmel looking. still hot so maybe it will thicken, but I am doubtful. I used whole milk so perhaps that is the problem. It takes good but kind of buttery right now.

    1. Hi Jan, caramel will not set up with milk. Make sure you’re using cream.

  25. Hi Sally! I made the caramel as the directions said, but as it cooled I noticed the butter start to separate from the rest. Once completely cool, there was a layer of butter on top. I made sure to look for any hint of separation as you said in your instructions, but didn’t see any separation happening!
    Any tips on how to make sure the butter stays combined, even after it cools?

    1. Hi Chelse! Best way to avoid that next time is to use cooler butter. It’s possible your butter was simply TOO soft and greasy. After you add the heavy cream, mix the caramel together vigorously for 1 minute to help guarantee all the ingredients are totally combined.

  26. Made this recipe for you amazing Burnt Sugar Caramel Cake! It turned out fabulous and I am so ready to make more recipes with caramel!

  27. Hi, Sally! I’ve made your salted caramel before and it is DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! I could literally eat an entire pot of it by itself! Anyway, I was wondering if you could use this to make caramel dipped apples? Would it adhere to them, or like slide off? Also, would it be gooey and chewy, or will it get hard like toffee?

    1. Hi Kaylee! This caramel is too thin and slippery for caramel apple coating. You can use it as a dip for apple slices, though! I recommend my caramel apples recipe.

      1. Thank you!!!

  28. Best caramel sauce I have ever had, And so easy to make too! 5 stars all the way!

  29. This recipe really was as straightforward and simple as Sally says! I love that it doesn’t require a candy thermometer. It also took me exactly 10 minutes 🙂 I ended up with just a little bit more than 1 cup of caramel. This recipe is a keeper, for sure!

  30. I’m planning on making this recipe for gifts for my co workers for birthdays or maybe for my son’s teacher’s for the holidays. Would it be okay to double the recipe? Or should I do 1 batch at a time? I’m not sure if it would effect the sugar melting if I doubled the recipe. Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie, for absolute best taste and texture (and so you don’t ruin it!) it’s ideal to cook one batch of caramel at a time.

      1. That’s what I thought! Thank you

      2. Can I use all purpose cream instead of heavy cream?

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