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Every dessert’s best friend, this Salted Caramel Sauce recipe is made with sugar, butter, and a fine salt that will enhance the flavor, but not change the texture of your salty-sweet, delicious caramel.

Homemade caramel sauce in a clear glass jar with a ribbon around it. A wooden serving spoon next to it.

Any time is a great time for Salted Caramel Sauce. Once you master the technique of making your own sauce, you’ll never go back to the store-bought sauces again!

This recipe utilizes only four ingredients and is completely done and ready to go in under 30 minutes. 

You can use it on so many recipes– desserts, smoothies, breakfast foods, snack foods, and coffee to name a few. It’s a great addition to banana splits or ice cream sundaes. To be honest, I just like to grab a spoonful every now and then. Don’t judge! 😁

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Homemade with no chemical preservatives
  • Only 4 common ingredients
  • Perfect for gift giving

Key Ingredients

Ingredients to make Salted Caramel Sauce
  • Heavy Cream– not all caramel recipes call for this, but I like the creamy texture it adds.
  • Unsalted Butter– I prefer to be in control of the amount of salt. If you use salted butter, you will want to cut back on the salt in the recipe.
  • Fine Salt– It’s important that your salt has a very fine texture. You can either purchase Fleur De Sel for fine salt, or grind regular sea salt with a coffee or spice grinder. Popcorn salt also works great as its already a fine texture.

How To Make Salted Caramel Sauce

This is an overview of the recipe, be sure to read the recipe card for complete details.

4-image collage showing steps to making homemade caramel: Melt sugar, add butter, add, cream, add salt.
  1. Over medium-high heat, in a heavy bottom pan, melt the sugar. Stir often so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Once it’s melted and an amber color, turn the temperature down to low. Add the butter. Caution: it will bubble up. Stir until it is all combined. This can take a few minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream. Like the butter, it too will bubble wildly, stir until it is combined.
  4. Add the salt and stir it in. Let it cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a jar or container.

Expert Tips

  • Prep– Be sure to prep your kitchen with all of your ingredients close at hand. Once you start the caramelization process, you cannot move away from the saucepan. So be sure to have everything you need, close.
  • The key to this recipe is to melt the sugar but not burn the sugar.
  • Thermometer– If you have a candy thermometer, or an instant read thermometer, the sugar will be hot enough at 348 degrees.
  • Water– (Optional) You can add a little bit of water to the sugar (in the first step) to more evenly distribute the sugar crystals. This is called a “wet caramel”, use about 1/4 cup water to 1 cup of sugar.
  • Lemon Juice– (Optional) Adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to the sugar will help the sugar to not crystalize while melting in the pan. 
  • Use a wooden spoon– In step one, I like to use a whisk to keep the sugar from getting too clumpy while it melts. After that, use a wooden spoon, as a metal one can affect your temperature.
caramel sauce dripping from the spoon into its jar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between caramel and salted caramel?

Salted caramel usually has sea salt or fine salt in the recipe. A normal caramel recipe does not. With some salted caramel, the sea salt is sprinkled on top. With others, the salt has a fine granulation so as not to change the texture of the caramel.

How do you make salted caramel thicker?

If you are simmering caramel, it will naturally thicken as it cools. If the sauce remains too thin, cook for another 5-10 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of milk or heavy whipping cream.

What flavors go well with salted caramel?

Caramel pairs well with most desserts including vanilla ice cream or vanilla flavors, apples or other tart flavors, most cookie recipes, coffee, ginger and allspice, pumpkin, chocolate or fudge, and cinnamon. Breakfast foods like smoothies, milkshakes, pancakes, yogurt, waffles, and fruit dips all go great with this recipe. Salted caramel also pairs with salty flavors like popcorn (caramel corn), brie, or pretzels.  

Why is my caramel sauce separating?

Caramel sauce can separate if the butter used has not been heated and whisked well enough. To save separating caramel, add a few teaspoons of water and whisk over low heat until the sauce is smooth again.

Storing and Freezing 

Refrigeration and Reheating

Caramel sauce will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It’s best to use a glass jar that can be reheated in the microwave.

Heat in the microwave for ten seconds at a time, stirring in between. When it is warm enough to scoop out, use it straight from the jar.

Freezing

You can freeze caramel sauce for up to three months. Simply store in an airtight container.

When you are ready to use your sauce, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then follow the directions for reheating.

This freezing method is great for times that you make excess and know you will be able to use more in the future. Homemade caramel sauce does not have all of the chemical preservatives that store-bought will have.

Serving Suggestions

I often use this on my Apple Crisp. Sometimes I use it on my Healthy Baked Apples, but it does make it less “healthy”. Here are some other ways to enjoy it.

  • Put it in your coffee
  • Make a milk shake
  • Drizzle over pumpkin muffins
  • Add some to your oatmeal
  • On top of brie with apples
  • A dip for apples
  • Drizzle over brownies
  • Add it to yogurt for a fruit dip,
  • Pancakes, waffles or french toast

You get the idea, this is marvelous on just about everything.

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Salted Caramel sauce in an open jar with a heart-shaped wooden spoon alongside it.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Every dessert’s best friend, this salted caramel sauce recipe is made with sugar, butter, and a fine salt that will enhance the flavor, but not change the texture of your salty-sweet, delicious caramel.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 32
Calories: 112kcal
Cost: $3

Equipment

  • Heavy bottom pan
  • Instant read thermometer (optional but helpful)
  • wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon super fine salt see notes

Instructions

  • Place sugar in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat
  • whisk constantly while sugar melts.
  • Continue to whisk until all the sugar is melted and it is a deep amber color (watch carefully!)
  • Turn temperature down to low, carefully add butter, stir to combine. This can take a few minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cream.
  • Add salt and stir.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Store in an airtight container for 1 month in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • This recipe moves fast, have all ingredients measured and ready to go.
  • A thermometer is optional but helpful. At 348° the caramel is hot enough.
  • You can add a little bit of water to the sugar (in the first step) to more evenly distribute the sugar crystals. This is called a “wet caramel”, use about 1/4 cup water to 1 cup of sugar.
  • Lemon Juice– Adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to the sugar will help the sugar to not crystalize while melting in the pan. I don’t typically do this, but it’s an option.
  • Use a wooden spoon– In step one, I like to use a whisk to keep the sugar from getting too clumpy while it melts. After that, use a wooden spoon, as a metal one can affect your temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 7mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
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23 Comments

  1. Hi Chellie, I haven’t tried this Carmel recipe yet but will in time! In your ingredient section for the super fine sea salt it says to look at a note u have here. There is no note about super fine sea salt in your notes. Can u please explain what u mean about using that ingredient? Or am I missing it somewhere else in this recipe?

  2. 5 stars
    Love this Chellie (and the spoon!), so many great tips, I’ll be making several batches for gifts!!

  3. I really sort of want to lick my computer screen right now. lol 😉 this looks delicious! thanks for sharing and with tips too!

  4. Chellie, Thanks for joining us at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party. Have a wonderful week.

  5. Salted caramel sauce is one of my favorite things! My birthday is next week, hint, hint 😉 I love making it from scratch. It tastes so much better than the artificially flavors ones from the store.

  6. I would most certainly make some for you Holly! Wouldn’t it be nice to share a cup of coffee, with caramel sauce of course, in ‘real life’?

  7. Oh my gosh! This looks so good. I wish you lived closer because I would come over there and grab this right now!

  8. Oh yum! I’ll never buy store-bought again! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Talented Tuesdays!

  9. I saw above that someone said they love chocolate but caramel is a close second. Me, I prefer not to choose which one is my favorite! I use them both, together, liberally! LOL That way I don’t have to make a decision. I have some apples that need used up, I’m thinking I’m going to make apple dumplings, gluten free of course, and top them with some ice cream and your caramel!!! Delish! Thanks for the recipe. Pinning!

  10. Drizzle the caramel on your chocolate and you’ll have the best of both worlds! LOL. I love chocolate too–it’s #1. Miss you friend!