This delicious salted caramel sauce is so easy to make, it’s practically foolproof! You only need 4 ingredients for this amazing topping!
This easy homemade salted caramel sauce is PHENOMENAL! It’s such a versatile condiment!
Everyone needs a good salted caramel recipe, right?! Well, I've got you covered!
There are lots of ways to make salted caramel sauce at home, so I researched to find the best one. After a few fails, I finally found the easiest caramel sauce recipe!
I came across an amazing pastry chef, named Hanbit Cho, whose recipe I’m using for this post! I couldn’t wait to share it with you! You will love this easy salted caramel recipe!
Why this recipe works
- It’s quick. You’ll only need about 15 minutes to make this amazing salted caramel sauce.
- It has few ingredients. All you need is 4 simple ingredients!
- It’s easy to make. This recipe is practically foolproof! If you follow my step-by-step instructions and read all my notes carefully, you’ll feel more confident about making salted caramel sauce at home!
- No candy thermometer required. Yep! You don’t need a thermometer for this recipe!
- Tastes better than store-bought. This caramel sauce is so rich in flavor! Once you make it, you’ll never go back to store-bought! Honestly, store-bought cannot compare to homemade caramel sauce!
- It’s so versatile. This salted caramel sauce goes with just about anything, not just desserts!
- It would make a nice gift. You can put it in a fancy jar and add a nice ribbon! Who wouldn’t love a gift like this??
What does this salted caramel sauce taste like?
This sauce has a rich, caramel flavor and is slightly salty. It’s sweet, but not overpowering. I love the sweet and salty combination! And with this recipe, you can adjust the amount of salt to your liking, too.
MAKING HOMEMADE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
There are 2 ways to make caramel sauce at home: the wet method and the dry method.
The wet method refers to adding some water to the pan along with the sugar as it melts, whereas the dry method includes only sugar, no water.
I used both methods to see which was easier. Although both have their pros and cons, I found the dry method easier.
Some recipes I tried talked a lot about how the sugar needs to turn a "dark amber color", but this wasn't reliable for me because there are so many shades of amber.
The darker the color of the melted sugar, the more burnt and bitter it became. For this recipe, you don't need to rely on the color of the sugar at all!
I also used a candy thermometer as suggested by many chefs, however, my caramel burnt before it reached the corresponding temperature on the thermometer! Maybe because I used an analog candy thermometer, which isn't always accurate.
That’s why I love this recipe! The method I use for this recipe is soooo much easier since there’s no thermometer needed and you don't have to look for a certain color as your sugar melts!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
Ingredients for easy salted caramel sauce
Butter: I use unsalted butter because that way I can control how much salt I want in the caramel. It's also good to cut it into small pieces.
Sugar: I use regular granulated sugar.
Heavy Whipping Cream: You’ll need cream of at least 35% fat.
Salt: I use table salt, but you could use fine kosher salt or flaky sea salt.
Equipment you’ll need
- A deep, heavy saucepan that’s at least 3 quart capacity (about 3 liters). A non-stick saucepan would be excellent, too.
- A balloon whisk or a heat-proof silicone spatula.
- Clean, sterilized jars.
HOW TO MAKE SALTED CARAMEL
Heat the heavy cream and put it next to all the other ingredients near the stove-top before you begin. That way you'll have everything close at hand and you won't risk burning the sugar by going back and forth to get the ingredients.
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Make sure your saucepan has a capacity of at least 3 quarts (about 3 liters) with high sides because the caramel will bubble up and it needs room so that it doesn’t spill over.
Don’t stir the sugar yet. It’ll seem like nothing is happening, but be patient! After about 3 minutes or so, the sugar will begin to melt around the sides.
You can lift the pan and swirl it around so that the remaining sugar melts evenly. Then use a whisk or a heat-proof spatula to stir the sugar so it all melts evenly.
STEPS 3 - 4
When all the sugar melts, don’t step away from the saucepan because it can burn really fast!
As soon as it foams in the middle and small bubbles appear, it’s time to add the cream, but DO NOT ALL AT ONCE or you’ll get burnt!
For a darker caramel that has a slight burnt flavor, you can let the sugar boil a few more seconds before adding the cream, but not too long, or it will burn!
Add ⅓ of the cream and whisk the mixture continuously. It will bubble up and steam, but just keep whisking it. Then add a little more of the cream and continue whisking. It should start to look like caramel sauce at this point (photo 7).
Now take the saucepan off the heat so the caramel doesn’t burn. Add the remaining cream and whisk until it’s well combined.
Add the butter and whisk again to incorporate everything.
Finally add the salt and whisk again. Let the caramel cool a little and then taste it to see if you want to add more salt.
Pour the caramel into a bowl to cool for a few minutes before transferring to sterilized jars.
How to store salted caramel
Store it in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about 3 weeks. Keep in mind that it will solidify in the fridge. You can easily reheat the caramel in the microwave for a few seconds, stirring in between until it’s runnier.
You can also put the jar of caramel over a bowl of hot water and let it sit for a few minutes until it’s runny.
This sauce can be frozen for up to about 2 months. To freeze, just let the sauce come to room temperature and pour it into freezer-safe, air-tight containers. To thaw, just take it out of the freezer and let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
ADD-INS & VARIATIONS
There are so many different ways to customize this sauce! Here are a few ideas:
- One obvious variation I’ve also made with this sauce is to make it without the salt, for a classic caramel sauce.
- Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, vanilla beans or some vanilla paste for an added depth of flavor.
- For an even deeper, richer flavor, you can add some coffee.
- Add a splash of bourbon! Bourbon pairs so well with caramel! I use it in my fresh peach upside down cake! It’s so good.
- Turn this into baileys salted caramel by adding a few teaspoons of Baileys!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- If the caramel separated or split it’s probably because the heavy cream was too cold when you added it to the sugar! That’s why it’s crucial to heat the heavy cream before beginning!
- When it’s time to add the cream, don't add it all at once because you can easily get burnt! That's why I add the cream in 3 batches.
- This sauce thickens as it cools and it solidifies in the fridge. You can easily reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds. You could also put the jar of caramel over a small pot of simmering water.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Although adding butter isn't essential, it really does add a lot of flavor to the caramel!
I always store caramel sauce in clean jars and then put it in the refrigerator.
This salted caramel sauce will last about 3 weeks.
I used regular table salt for this recipe, but you can use fine kosher salt or flaky sea salt. If you’d like to use sea salt or flaky salt, I’d start off with ¼ of a teaspoon and then add more, according to your preference. So, start off with less and then add more, if desired.
HOW TO USE CARAMEL SAUCE
This homemade salted caramel topping is SO good on just about anything! Here are a few delicious ways to enjoy it:
- Drizzle over brownies, ice cream, fluffy cinnamon rolls, or cinnamon cupcakes, just to name a few!
- Use it as a topping for New York cheesecake or mini burnt cheesecake!
- Stir it into coffee or smoothies!
Let me know how this easy salted caramel sauce turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
- A deep, heavy saucepan that’s at least 3 quart capacity (about 3 liters).
- A balloon whisk or a heat-proof silicone spatula.
- Clean, sterilized jars.
- 1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
- 1 ½ cups (375ml / 12 fl oz) heavy whipping cream
- 90g (6 tablespoons / 3oz) unsalted butter, cubed
- ¾ teaspoon table salt (or more to taste)
- Make sure you have all the ingredients measured out and next to your stove before beginning.
- Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Don't stir the sugar. After about 3 minutes or so, the sugar will begin to melt around the sides. Use a whisk or a heat-proof spatula to stir the sugar so it all melts or swirl the saucepan around.
- When it foams in the middle and small bubbles appear, add ⅓ of the cream and whisk the mixture continuously. DO NOT ADD ALL THE CREAM AT ONCE! It will bubble up and steam, but just keep whisking it. Then add a little more cream and continue whisking.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and add the remaining cream. Whisk until it’s well combined.
- Add the butter and whisk again to combine everything.
- Finally, add the salt and whisk again. When it cools a bit, taste it to see if you want to add more salt.
- Pour the caramel into a bowl to cool for a few minutes before transferring to clean, sterilized jars.
- This salted caramel sauce can be stored in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about 3 weeks.