New & Improved Salted Caramel Frosting

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on

Slowly but surely, I’m trying to bulk up the new frosting section on my website. Which means I’ll be posting lots of frosting recipes this year. UGH sounds horrible doesn’t it??

I decided to start a frosting section after taking many suggestions from Y-O-U, so thank you for always helping to improved my content. Speaking of improvements, have you tested the new search function yet? In the past, if you searched for “vanilla cake” in the search bar in my sidebar, you’d get every single post where I mention “vanilla” or “cake.” So, like, every post. But it’s been updated! Test it out. Try searching for “salted caramel” using the search bar in the sidebar. First results are all recipes with salted caramel in the title, not posts where I simply mention “salted” or “caramel.” YAY for streamlined searching!

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on

Let’s get back to this frosting business. I actually posted a salted caramel frosting recipe on my blog 4 years ago. It’s awesomely delicious, BUT I’ve had readers report back with some issues. The frosting is too thick! More like a nougat confection than a silky smooth frosting. I’ve been working at improving it because it’s taste is spot on and I don’t want you to miss out on this luscious decadence.

So, using the same exact ingredients, I changed the timing of when to add the heavy cream. First, we’ll add some when we make the brown sugar caramel sauce. That’s step 1. Then we’ll add a little more when we’re whipping the confectioners’ sugar into the cooled brown sugar caramel sauce. That’s step 2. The addition of liquid in step 2 changes the texture completely, but doesn’t alter the taste at all. With this one minor change, this salted caramel frosting is completely revamped. How’s that for a makeover?

Let’s watch this video to really see what’s happening:

Ab-so-lute perfection.

Salted caramel for salted caramel frosting on

You only need 5 ingredients: butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, salt, confectioners’ sugar. No candy thermometer for the caramel; just a couple minutes of whisking and bubbling. Let it cool for 30 minutes, then beat in confectioners’ sugar and more heavy cream. And you’ll get this smooth-as-silk magic:

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on

The best piping tip for this frosting is the Wilton #12 round tip. If you pipe this salted caramel frosting with star tips, it will not hold its shape as nicely since the frosting is sooo creamy. So I suggest a simple round tip.

Two Ways to Pipe with Wilton #12

  1. Like in the video above.
  2. Or what you see in today’s photos (and what I posted on Instagram story on Wednesday if you caught it). All I did was start in the center of the cupcake, apply pressure to squeeze the frosting out, and slowly lift straight up. No swirling around the cupcake– just start on the center and squeeze frosting out while lifting the tip off the cupcake. Takes 3 seconds per cupcake.

Top with salted caramel because everything is better with salted caramel.

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on

I promise you will never run out of excuses to make this new & improved salted caramel frosting. Here are plenty of ideas for you. And yes, my stomach is growling at EVERY SINGLE ONE.


Salted Caramel Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: about 2.5 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


5 ingredients and so easy! This new & improved salted caramel frosting is ultra creamy and downright addicting.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • 56 Tablespoons heavy cream, divided*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (240-300g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • optional garnish: salted caramel sauce


  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for about 2 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof mixing bowl, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. With a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Slowly add 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Add 1 more Tablespoon heavy cream if you find the frosting too thick.
  3. Frost cake or cupcakes and garnish with salted caramel sauce, if desired.


  1. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Copper SaucepanRainbow Whisk | Glass Mixing BowlsCupcake LinersFrosting BagsRound Decorating Tip
  2. Heavy Cream: Required for the caramel! There are no subs that will achieve the same texture and taste in this frosting. Here are all my recipes using heavy cream if you have leftover.
  3. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 quarter sheet cake. 1.5x the recipe for more cupcakes or a double layer cake. (Doubling the recipe would be far too much.)

Keywords: salted caramel frosting, salted caramel

5 ingredients and so easy! This creamy salted caramel frosting is downright addicting! Recipe on


  1. Hi Sally, I remember trying your first salted caramel frosting recipe 4 years ago (4years? Where did the time go??) and it was absolutely incredible! I’m finding hard to believe that this is an improved version, I will definitely have to try it!! Thank you for all of you recipes and for inspiring me to open own blog! You are an incredible cook/baker and blogger and I am looking forward to many more posts to come! Monica x

  2. Hey Sally:

    I recently discovered your website when I decided to start my own (very small) homemade baking business in the city I live in, Shanghai, China, and was looking for updated versions of my old favourites. I absolutely adore your approach to baking and have since recommended your site to 6 of my aspiring bakers (students) at school. The way you get scientific so the reader actually understands exactly why things are happening in (or to) their bakes is very educational, and your recipes overall are gorgeous and I imagine very delicious. I’m looking forward to testing many of these recipes out myself, and apparently making a lot of buttermilk myself because you sure do like it and I can’t get it here in the ‘Hai. Also, thank you for posting many ingredient amounts in weight! So helpful.
    Keep it all coming! And maybe a new blog post with dog pictures? Franklin is the CUTEST!

    Laura 🙂

    1. Hi Laura, Welcome to the blog!! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope I can continue to inspire you and you find recipes that you love! Good luck with your new baking venture 🙂

  3. I love your recipes!  They are so yummy and easy to follow for a novice like myself.  I’m feeling brave and want to try making filled cupcakes. Could this be used to fill cupcakes?  Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel filling sounds soooooo good!

      1. Hi I’m super excited to make your new and improved salted caramel frosting…
        Can it be made ahead of time? If so can I leave it out or should it be refrigerated?
        I’m making in the morning and frosting around 2
        Thank you

  4. Help me trouble shoot please! I tried this frosting two times in a row and it was grainy both times, what did I do wrong? I resorted to a vanilla buttercream for my cupcakes instead, but was sad this didn’t work out for me. 

    1. Hi Laura! Try constantly whisking the brown sugar caramel mixture as it boils– and boil an extra minute. This will help! You can also try sifting the brown sugar before adding. This will break it down nicely.

  5.  I tried the new improved icing version . Left it on counter 30 minutes and I saw the butter separating out as it cooled. Should probably have heated it again but silly me, tried to stir it & to proceed anyway and all I made was a grainy mess. I put it into my stand mixer thinking I could but but no amount will take the graininess away once it’s cooled.
    Threw it out, started with the original version, letting it cool only 15 min, exactly as written – perfect! Mine was stiff enough to pipe with a wilton star tip & I added the bit more salt – creamy smooth, held its shape beautifully. For this version, once it comes to a bubble I do not stir at all and do not stir at all while it cooled for 15 min. When I added the icing sugar it was still warm, ans tastes & smells very caramel.  thanks for this great cupcake recipe.

  6. Sally: Well, I wanted to report back to you about my experience with this frosting in case anyone else might have issues with it. I made the caramel 3 times and each time it was very, very grainy. I just couldn’t get the brown sugar to smooth out nicely. I was in a hurry and finally iced my cake (your incredible Best Ever Banana Cake, by the way!) with your vanilla butter cream frosting, which I literally made in 5 minutes as fast as I could! Anyway, back to the caramel frosting. I really think I have figured out my problem. I always buy Trader Joe organic brown sugar. It is a VERY coarse sugar and though it did melt, it never completely smoothed out. I will try this again with regular brown sugar. I really hate it when a recipe just doesn’t work for me, but usually it is “operator error”! So, I just thought I would give a heads up to everyone on this.

  7. This frosting tastes delicious, but for whatever reason it would NOT stick to the cake I made. This made frosting it impossible. I gave up after a quarter of the cake and just left the rest of the sides uncovered. It would just roll off and take a layer of crumbs with it. So bizarre. It also wasn’t sticking to the spatula either. Just kind of fell off it. Anyway, I think next time I’ll just pipe it onto cupcakes and not try spreading it on a cake.

  8. Hi Sally, don´t you think this frosting is too creamy for a cake? I´m planning to use it for my birthday and I want to know if it´s going to be ok! 

    Thank you! Amazing website 🙂 

  9. I made this frosting yesterday and everything went fine but when I tasted the final product, it seemed very bland. It was just like overly sweet. Do u think maybe I needed to let boil longer?

    1. Boiling longer to really seal in that flavor would help. Are you using brown sugar and real butter (not margarine, correct?)

    2. Yes, mine did the same. The consistency is great, it’s the taste.  I let my caramel boil for 2 minutes. Now, after appxly half the sugar, it was very tasty and believe it could have held up as a frosting. However, it wasn’t enough to ice a 9×13 cake. So, as suggested, I went ahead and added 2 cups of sugar and the taste ended up being bland…a sweet bland!  I think next time I will double the caramel recipe…or something, I’ll have to experiment!! But I appreciate this post for my starting point. Thanks! 

  10. Hi Sally! I am obsessed with your recipes. I have made the old recipe for the frosting many times and just tried the new one today! The new one seems very grainy! I boiled for a full two minutes, maybe I’ll increase to 3 minutes like the old recipe. How long do you beat the frosting for? Mine always seems to have more of a playdough texture compared to the fluffy decadence of your video! Thanks for all of your recipes!

    1. I’d increase to 3 minutes and if the frosting is too stiff, add more heavy cream when you beat in the confectioners’ sugar 🙂

  11. Made this today. The frosting tasted nice but it hardened up pretty quickly. It was spreadable but it was stiff. Any tips for next time?

  12. I made this today and, unfortunately, also had problems with it. The butter separated out and the resulting frosting was gritty and thick and fairly tasteless. I think it would actually would be very helpful to have a temperature goal for the caramel–I live at high altitude, and the usual times given in recipes don’t always for me, as things boil more quickly here.

    I may try it again tomorrow, boiling it for slightly longer and also letting it cool for only 15 minutes, as suggested above. I’ve had great luck with your other recipes, so I’m hopeful on this one!

  13. Sally, I’ve had a lot of trouble with this recipe. The first time, as others have mentioned, it was gritty and tasted fine but the consistency was off. The second time, I did it for 3 minutes, whisking constantly but it was still a bit gritty…? So I put it back on the stovetop and then it burned… whoops! I’m using a non-stick pan, but I noticed you used copper. Do you think this could make a difference in the boiling time or overall results? What should I be looking for in the result prior to mixing in the confectioner’s sugar / second heavy cream? What type of consistency, etc.?

    I also want to know how to store this frosting? In the fridge? Room temperature? I put the first version in the fridge and it has frozen.

    1. Hi Kristen! A syrup-like consistency that is perfectly smooth. I store it in the refrigerator. The type of pan shouldn’t be an issue, but I never recommend non-stick pans for caramel or caramel sauces.

  14. Hi Sally,
    Love your blog!
    Just wondering what I can add to make it not so sweet? All 5 of us in our family tasted it (Including kid’s) and all agreed it was overly sweet.

  15. Hi, Sally. Can I use whipping cream (30-33% fat) as substitute for the heavy cream? Can’t find heavy cream in the supermarket. :-((

  16. I’ve tried this recipe SIX times. Gritty every time. Tastes delicious, but crunchy frosting is gross. I’ve tried everything. I’ve blitzed the sugar in a food processor before adding it; boiled 2 minutes, boiled 3 minutes, boiled 4 minutes; whisked occasionally, whisked constantly; used two different brands of brown sugar. I’m giving up. Could it be the humidity where I live?

    1. I’m shocked this is happening! Is the brown sugar melting down and dissolving in step 1? Because after step 1, there shouldn’t be any more sugar crystals.

  17. Can I sub white sugar for the brown if I let it brown in the pan before adding the molten butter and cream? Brown sugar is just super difficult to come by where I live and over the top expensive once you find it -_-

  18. My Grandmother used this very similar recipe to frost her homemade cinnamon rolls!  Never have I received more compliments than when I make homemade cinnamon rolls with this frosting!    Her recipe is about 125 years old!!

  19. Bit of a disaster for me.  I could never get the caramel to a non-grainy consistency and then I overcooked it.  I’ve never made caramel before, so maybe I just have to practice more.  

  20. I made your salted caramel sauce, and added peanut butter…then I put some on your Chunky Peanut butter cookies…..amazing!!! Pretty sure u should try it.

  21. I was wondering if I can use Sea Salt in this recipe? I prefer this in most of my sweet/savory baking but wanted to ask first because I really want to make this but don’t want to mess it up! Thanks in advance!

  22. HI Sally.
    I was wondering if you have a version of this recipe where you already have a pre-made batch of salted caramel. Sometimes I made your yummy salted caramel recipe in a larger batch than I need and would love to use the remainder for making frostings and such. How much caramel would you use? Thanks so much.

  23. This is my first time on this website and I’m loving it. I plan to try out this recipe (and I also want to make the salted caramel sauce), and I’m wondering what kind of salt you use (which brand), and I read that someone used sea salt (which I usually prefer as well), and wondered which coarseness it should be. Thanks for any suggestions!

    1. Hi Jenn! Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Regular table salt is OK to use, but a fine sea salt would be extraordinary! Coarse salt would leave a grainy texture.

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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