Skip to content

4-Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce

This Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce needs only 4 Ingredients. Make your own caramel sauce for ice cream, cakes, pies, popcorn, apples, or whatever you like. Nothing artificial; just pure goodness.

Salted Caramel Sauce in a jar with spoon
Nothing beats homemade caramel sauce, with real buttery goodness

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Some people are natural caramel lovers. They were born with an affection for all things caramel.

I’m not one of those people. But then I tried this homemade caramel sauce; it was a complete game changer. This caramel sauce recipe will open up a whole new world for self proclaimed non-caramel-eaters. Even the fancy brands of store-bought caramel sauce do not even come close.

Through the years, we’ve made countless batches of too-good caramel popcorn that we love to share or package into edible gifts.

Everything is better with Homemade Caramel Sauce: ice cream, cake, pie, popcorn, apples… all the desserts.

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe In Action

Our caramel sauce is super easy to make, but it helps to watch this video before starting up. 👆🏽

4 Ingredients for The Best Caramel Sauce

You only need four things. You probably already have these 4 things in your kitchen right now.

  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Salt

Flaky sea salt is best here, but you can use coarse kosher salt in a pinch. Do not use regular table salt, as table salt measures differently by volume, and would be way too salty. Stick with coarse, flaky salt.

Caramel Sauce Recipe Tips for Success

  • A candy thermometer or other kitchen thermometer is an essential tool. It allows you to be precise and avoid burnt caramel that nobody’s a fan of. You’ll also come to realize that a candy thermometer is a handy tool to have in your kitchen beyond caramel. 
  • Be sure to whisk sugar until all bits of sugar are dissolved; this is important for a velvety smooth caramel sauce.
  • In fact, whisking is the name of the game with homemade caramel sauce. Keep whisking at all stages, to ensure your caramel is smooth and doesn’t burn.
  • Your golden caramel sauce will come together rather quickly, so before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful jar of Salted Caramel Sauce to keep in the fridge for favorite ice cream recipes or caramel popcorn.
  • Make big batches of caramel sauce and place them in mason jars for gifting. These are ridiculously awesome food gifts that keep really well in the fridge. 

Homemade Caramel Sauce vs. store-bought

  • Store-bought caramel sauce often contains high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and food coloring. Homemade caramel sauce only contains 4 pure, basic ingredients and nothing artificial.
  • Nothing matches the depth of flavor that homemade caramel sauce provides. Once the buttery aroma of this caramel sauce wafts through the air, you’ll experience the difference and never want to buy a jar of caramel sauce at the store again.
  • Drizzle this wondrous caramel over whatever you desire. Jar the rest and keep it in the fridge – caramel can last a long time when chilled airtight, but chances are it’ll be gone before you know it.
  • Bonus tip: be prepared for all the eager people in your house coming at you with spoons in hand. This is especially true of little hands.
salted caramel sauce
Homemade caramel sauce is perfect over ice cream, popcorn, apples, cheesecakes…you decide.

Caramel Sauce
Commonly Asked Questions

What is caramel sauce made from?

Our caramel sauce recipe contains only 4 simple, pure ingredients: sugar, butter, cream, and salt. Nothing artificial goes into this caramel recipe.

What makes caramel sauce thicker?

Some caramel sauce recipes use thickeners such as corn starch or tapioca starch. The caramel sauce recipe below does not need any thickeners

Does caramel sauce need to be refrigerated?

You can keep caramel sauce in an airtight container at moderate room temperature for a few days. After this, it needs to be kept chilled, as caramel sauce contains dairy products.

How do you know when caramel sauce is done?

Caramel sauce can burn easily if you’re not vigilant, so watch carefully as you stir. Once you’ve added in the butter, stir just until it is melted and remove from heat immediately. A candy thermometer is an important tool for consistent results.

More to Cook and Eat

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

homemade caramel sauce in a jar

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (4-Ingredient)

4.96 from 43 ratings
This Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce needs only 4 Ingredients. Make your own caramel sauce for ice cream, cakes, pies, popcorn, or apples. Perfect for gifting.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Amy Dong



  • In a deep saucepan, place sugar in an even layer. Heat sugar over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Once sugar starts melting down, whisk continuously until all the clumps are melted into liquid (this can happen quickly, so watch carefully that the sugar doesn't burn. See video in original article for visual.)
  • Immediately turn heat down to medium and insert candy thermometer into the melted sugar; gently stir until liquid turns reddish-brown in color — the minute your thermometer reaches 350F, slowly add the butter — caramel will bubble up, so be careful.
  • Continue to gently stir until fully melted; try not to let mixture splash up the sides of the pan. Once mixture is smooth, immediately remove pan from heat. Carefully pour in the cream and whisk until a smooth thick sauce forms. Whisk in the flaky salt. Let sauce cool to almost-room temp before drizzling over dessert. Store leftover sauce in airtight glass container in fridge for future use.


  • If you can’t find flaky sea salt, you can use coarse kosher salt in a pinch.
  • Caramel sauce can be kept in an airtight glass jar in fridge for up to a month. Great for gift-giving, too.
  • Chilled caramel sauce may need slight reheating in microwave before drizzling.
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ♡

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1g | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Amerian
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Salt, Vegetarian
Method: Stovetop
4.96 from 43 votes (34 ratings without comment)

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Candice

    Question! I want to make some caramel sauce to give to friends and I LOVE this recipe, I’ve made it dozens of times. If I wanted to say quadruple the recipe, do you think I could do that? Or should I double it and do it twice perhaps?

      • Amy Dong

      To be safe, I would double it twice – so glad you all love this! 🙂

    • Bette
    • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious along with the yummy Apple Caramel Cinnamon Cake! Melt caramels instead and use that? No way!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy you like this, Bette!

Get our free email series: 5 Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less

Plus our newest recipes each week