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Homemade Caramel Sauce

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Homemade Caramel Sauce is easy to make and perfect for drizzling over ice cream, cakes, and more. This rich and creamy caramel sauce is made with just 4 ingredients and is ready in minutes. Everyone will love this caramel topping.

homemade caramel sauce image with text

You’re going to love this Homemade Caramel Sauce as much as I do. Just like my hot fudge sauce, this caramel topping is super easy to make and will elevate all of your desserts. We love it over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and over classic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Of course, I may or may not drizzle some in my morning coffee or afternoon iced coffee.

You can buy caramel sauce at the store, but like most foods it tastes better homemade and without all the unnecessary ingredients store-bought has. This recipe is just 4 ingredients and an optional pinch of salt, which I find a must to include. Salted caramel is a thing and a delicious thing at that.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to Make: This recipe is simple and straightforward, perfect for both beginners and experienced cooks.
  • Few Ingredients: Requires only a handful of common ingredients, making it convenient and budget-friendly.
  • Versatile: Use it as a topping for ice cream, cakes, pancakes, waffles, or as a dip for fruits and snacks.
  • No Preservatives: Homemade means you know exactly what’s in it—no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
spoon with caramel sauce dipping out of jar

What is Caramel?

Caramel is simply sugar that has been melted and then cooked until it browns (caramelized). Salted caramel is the same, just with the addition of salt.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

To make this homemade caramel sauce you don’t need to be an expert at cooking, you just need a little patience. The process is a simple one to create that rich, creamy, and buttery caramel sauce to drizzle over ice cream, pancakes, waffles, or use it as a dip for fruits and snacks.

This recipe requires only a handful of common ingredients: sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Chances are, you already have these in your kitchen, making this a convenient and budget-friendly option.

cheesecake drizzled with caramel sauce

Can I make caramel sauce ahead?

Homemade caramel sauce can easily be made ahead and I highly recommend keeping a jar of it in the refrigerator at all times. Caramel sauce is great served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

How to Store Homemade Caramel Sauce

Store in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for up to 3 weeks, or freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, before using. I like to store the caramel topping in a mason jar with a lid.

How to Reheat Caramel Sauce

Reheat the sauce, either on the stovetop or in the microwave, until the desired consistency is reached. Reheating the caramel will make it thinner and easier to pour.

caramel sauce in small jar

Is this caramel sauce Good for caramel apples?

No, it’s not good for caramel apples because it isn’t thick enough to coat the apples. But it sure does make a great dessert dip for apple slices!

How to Fix a Seized Caramel Sauce

Sometimes your caramel sauce will crystallize while it’s cooking. Don’t panic! Crystallized caramel sauce can usually be rescued! Just melt the pieces of hardened caramel back into the sauce over a very low heat, then strain with a fine mesh strainer before using.

spoon drizzling caramel sauce

Timesaving Tips

  • Store the sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for about three weeks. To reheat, microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • You can freeze buttery caramel sauce. Pour it into a sturdy jar and seal it tightly before freezing. Allow it to thaw completely before use.
  • Serve over ice cream, brownies, pancakes, waffles, and more.
  • It’s not recommended to make this caramel sauce in the microwave, but you can reheat it in there.

What to use caramel sauce for

ice cream and homemade caramel sauce

💡Explore my favorite Kitchen Essentials (Amazon affiliate link)

🥣Equipment

  • saucepan
  • heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon

📃Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • ½  cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
ingredients for caramel sauce

Directions

Before you start, make sure the butter and heavy cream are at room temperature. This helps them blend smoothly into the caramel.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The sugar will form clumps but will eventually melt into a thick, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn it.

add sugar to saucepan
melted sugar in saucepan

Once the sugar is fully melted, add the butter pieces. The mixture will bubble up significantly, so be careful. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Very slowly, drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring the mixture. Since the heavy cream is colder than the hot caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Continue stirring until all the heavy cream is incorporated, and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.

add butter to sugar and whisk
slowly add cream to saucepan

Remove the pan from the heat, and mix in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt (if using). Stir well to incorporate. Let the caramel cool down a bit before using or pouring into a container. It will thicken as it cools. If the caramel is too thick, you can reheat it gently to achieve the desired consistency.

add vanilla and salt
caramel sauce cooling in pan

This caramel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm it up slightly before using to drizzle over your favorite desserts or drinks. Enjoy your homemade caramel drizzle!

overhead view of homemade caramel sauce
feature image of caramel sauce

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Homemade Caramel Sauce is easy to make and perfect for drizzling over ice cream, cakes, and more. This rich and creamy caramel sauce is made with just 4 ingredients and is ready in minutes. 
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel sauce, caramel topping, homemade caramel sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 cup

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into slices
  • ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Before you start, make sure the butter and heavy cream are at room temperature. This helps them blend smoothly into the caramel.
  • In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The sugar will form clumps but will eventually melt into a thick, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn it.
  • Once the sugar is fully melted, add the butter pieces. The mixture will bubble up significantly, so be careful. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Very slowly, drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring the mixture. Since the heavy cream is colder than the hot caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Continue stirring until all the heavy cream is incorporated, and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and mix in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt (if using). Stir well to incorporate. Let the caramel cool down a bit before using or pouring into a container. It will thicken as it cools. If the caramel is too thick, you can reheat it gently to achieve the desired consistency.
  • This caramel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm it up slightly before using to drizzle over your favorite desserts or drinks. Enjoy your homemade caramel drizzle!

Notes

see post for tips 

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Blogghetti” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Tried this recipe?I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this one! I hope you try it, enjoy it, comment and rate it, and share it with your friends and family!
homemade caramel topping close up in jar

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