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

545 Comments

  1. Easy and oh so delicious. I made this for Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

  2. I’ve never made caramel before and this recipe was very beginner-friendly! I strongly recommend this recipe, I’ve actually made it twice now!

    I love letting it cool and pouring it over brownies. It thickens enough to hold its shape while chilled and tastes devine!

    Thanks for a great recipe Sally!

    Lillian Caza

  3. Love this recipe! I found it a couple months ago and have used it since. We are a family that doesn’t love store bought caramel so we’re always on the lookout for yummy homemade caramel sauce recipes. This one has definitely been added to our family cook book. I keep it in a airtight container in the refrigerator. The longest I have kept it in our fridge is a month and a half without issue.

    1. PS: I do not add the salt because my husband isn’t a fan of salted caramel.

    2. I’m so happy your family enjoys it, Autumn!

  4. Such an easy recipe and tastes oh so good!! I used it with your apple galette recipe for a dinner party dessert and it was perfect!! Love all of your recipes, thank you!!

  5. I made 11 batches of this yesterday for a caramel apple bar for the teachers at my sons school. Everyone LOVED it. It’s soooo tasty!

  6. Do you continue to stir the mixture after adding the cream or just let it boil for a minute on its own?

    1. Hi Donna! No. While stirring, pour in the heavy cream, then let it boil for 1 minute without stirring.

  7. Ive used this recipe countless times and it always turns out wonderfully (unless i get distracted and wander away, leaving it to burn). I love that it’s a simple and “pure” caramel that doesn’t use water or corn syrup.
    I personally prefer to only use a quarter of the butter, but it still works great.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe!!!

  8. Hi, Sally, this has been my go-to salted caramel recipe for years, so thank you! I’m wondering now, if I substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar, would it make an equally lovely butterscotch sauce? Xx

    1. Yes! And it’s even easier than the caramel (less whisking)! You can see how I make it here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/brown-sugar-butterscotch-cupcakes/

  9. Stacey wachter says:

    Would this work in iced coffee? I’ve been trying to find a recipe that will work without crystallizing before I get a chance to drink it

    1. Hi Stacey! I’ve stirred this into my hot coffee before with no issue. Let me know if you try it!

  10. I loved this recipe but I made it a little too salty! Any way to remedy this after the fact? It tastes so good, I hate to toss it!

    1. How about making another batch without salt, let cool, then combine the two and add salt ‘to taste’?

  11. This is the best! So easy. My favorite recipe of yours to use it for is your Salted Apple Pie Bars!

  12. This recipe is dangerous! It is SO. GOOD!! Thanks for posting, Sally!

  13. If I were to make mini salted caramel tarts with this and freeze them, would that be okay?

    1. Absolutely. This caramel thaws nicely.

  14. Marion Andrews says:

    Love the simplicity of this caramel. I’m making a caramel slice and in the past have had issues with the caramel being too runny to set. If I use a thermometer can you tell me what temperature it should be before adding the cream please?

    1. Hi Marion! In all the years I’ve been making this caramel and cooking candy, I’ve never taken the temperature of this caramel at any stage. It’s simply not necessary. If you follow the recipe closely with no substitutions, the caramel is guaranteed to set.

  15. Loved it! my first time at working with caramel and its just fantastic!!

  16. Hi Sally!

    I love your website and recipes! I have some leftover salted caramel from this recipe and am wondering how I can make it into frosting for muffins?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Trish, You can whip it with confectioners sugar and a bit more heavy cream to make a super creamy frosting! You can see how I did it here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/salted-caramel-frosting/

  17. Kelsey Zeringue says:

    I have tried so many times making caramel and this is the first time it has came out perfect! I love it and will never make another caramel ever again!

  18. Hi Sally,

    I am wondering if this recipe would be appropriate to drizzle over cookies. I typically bake a big batch of cookies then freeze them. Could I drizzle the caramel on top of them, freeze them in a single layer and then bring to room temperature slowly? I’m wondering, specifically, if the sauce is thick enough to do this?
    Thank you!

    1. Yes that should work! Yum!

  19. The easiest, tastiest, no clump caramel sauce I have ever found! Wonderful!

  20. Hi Sally,

    I’ve made many of your recipes and they’ve always turned out well; however, my caramel sauce seized up as soon as I added the butter and was completely ruined. The butter was about room temperature, but perhaps not warm enough? Could you let me know what I can do in the future to prevent this?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Julia! I’m just seeing your comment now– I apologize! The caramelized sugar may simply have been too hot. Turn down the heat to low, which will melt the sugar slower but you won’t run the risk of the butter seizing. Now, it WILL sizzle when you add it. (That’s expected!) You can even turn off the stove heat completely and whisk the butter in until it’s incorporated. I often do this if the butter isn’t mixing into the melted sugar.

  21. Do you think this is something I could ship in a package across the country?

    1. Hi Tiffany! You could, yes, but I really recommend keeping this refrigerated. Instead, you can make homemade caramels. They ship wonderfully.

  22. I still have lumps of sugar. How do I get them to melt?

    1. Hi Lori! Check that your stove heat isn’t too high. It sounds like the sugar isn’t melting evenly. You can lower the temperature and cook for longer to ensure it all melts.

  23. Sally, I have made this recipe before and it worked great. When I tried tonight, I couldn’t get the butter to incorporate. I made another batch and the same thing happened. What am I doing wrong???

    1. Hi Ally! This is a quick fix for next time. Simply remove the pot from heat, grab a whisk, and vigorously whisk until the butter and sugar come together. I promise they will eventually. Keep whisking!

  24. This was such an easy recipe to follow, and I was so excited to try it. But upon tasting it, it has a distinctly burnt taste, which is strange because it doesn’t look burnt. I’m at a loss as to what happened. I thought I was so careful. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Kelsey! You simply could have cooked it for too long, the pan may have been too thin, or the heat was too high. All easy fixes for next time. Use a thick pan and try lowering the heat.

  25. Can you add bourbon this recipe? If so, how much would you recommend?

    1. Hi Valerie! I haven’t personally tried it before, but you could try reducing the amount of heavy cream, then adding bourbon after the caramel comes off heat. I would only start with 1 Tablespoon.

  26. Hi,

    Just a quick tip to avoid the dreaded splatters from adding the cream, if you warm it in a saucepan before adding it will reduce the caramel splattering due to the temperature change.
    Just adds a little extra washing up.

  27. Samantha Ellis says:

    This is my second time making your salted caramel and I think I let it boil too long after adding the cream. Now it’s a little bit too chewy when served over ice cream, etc. I was planning to drizzle it over apple pie for thanksgiving. Is there any way to make it less chewy/thin it? Thank you!

    1. Hi Samantha! If you warm it up again, it thins out. Serve it warm over the pie and it will be perfect!

  28. This caramel sauce is SO good, I’m tempted to pour it over my hamburger!

  29. Nana Donna 2 6 says:

    OMG! OH SO GOOD!!! And pretty easy, too! My only grumble is the amount of residue left on the side of my pot (but it’s still a 5-star product for the taste and ease and number of basic ingredients). Is there any problem using the Calphalon or Pampered Chef non-stick cooking pot? Can’t wait to try this in my coffee or frappe come summer!

    1. I use my Calphalon non-stick saucepan and it works great!

  30. I’ve made thise many times now…it’s amazingly simple and equally delicious!

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