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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

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (4-Ingredient)

4.96 from 42 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 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 TB unsalted butter, sliced into 1-inch pieces and softened
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp flaky sea salt

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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 ♡
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Amerian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Method: Stovetop

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Recipe Rating




28 comments

    • Paula Montenegro
    • 5 stars

    I’m 100% a natural caramel lover, I think it’s part of my DNA haha! And this salted version has me drooling and coming up with a million ways to use it. Thanks for this recipe, I can’t wait to have a large jar in my fridge!

    • Mama Maggie’s Kitchen
    • 5 stars

    It looks incredibly delicious. I wish this were in front of me. My son will love this. Did I mention he’s a fan of caramels?!

    • Aleta
    • 5 stars

    This is absolutely delicious! It’s so easy to make and turned out perfect even though I didn’t have flaky sea salt. I used pink himalayan. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Eileen Kelly
    • 5 stars

    I made this salted caramel sauce for my cheesecake and it was the perfect pairing. I’ll roast some apples and this sauce willl be perfect with them. Evryone loved how creamy the sauce was and perfeclt seasoned with the flaky sea salt

      • chewoutloud

      Fantastic, Eileen! 🙂 🙂

    • Amy

    This is so much easier than I thought. Not sure why I never thought to just make it at home instead of getting those store bought ones. This way I can control how sweet it is because some of the ones I’ve tried is sickly sweet and not really cup of tea.

    • kerri

    this is a super easy recipe. always love making homemade sauce. it just hits differently!

    • Kevin R
    • 3 stars

    Tried this caramel sauce out this evening after making this website’s recipe of pecan sandies (gonna dip those babies in it). First time was not so good. Ended up with a dark brown sauce that had a strong burn to it (kinda creme bruleé but more intense). Threw it out and started from the beginning, this time with each level of heat reduced by about a third. So I started melting the sugar on a small burner on lower-medium heat, and then proceeded to turn it down to low once it reached 350. That second sauce came out lovely; although for whatever reason the butter took longer to integrate into the melted sugar this time. I believe the molten sugar had hardened enough where the butter wouldn’t mix. I ended up turning up the heat again to remelt the sugar so the butter would actually incorporate. The problem with the first batch was that, for my range, the heat levels listed were far too high; by the time I put the thermometer in the pot, it was already close to 350. So I knocked off two stars because I feel the heat levels are far too high for stronger gas burners (probably ok for electric though). But it is a good recipe when it doesn’t cook to quickly. Thanks and now to dunk some cookies in it!

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Kevin. Glad you were able to try it again with good results. My 6th grader has been making this caramel non-stop lately…at least he’s eating plenty of apples 🙂 🙂

    • Sindhu

    Hello,
    Can we use this caramel sauce as a drip for cake?

      • chewoutloud

      Oh, absolutely; it would be delicious 🙂

    • Mel

    Hi, I tried this today and I get a burnt taste. Any suggestions on how I could correct it? Thanks.

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Mel! Most likely, it was cooked too long. Be sure to stir continuously, use candy thermometer to check for 350F, and remove from heat the minute butter is melted. Hope you can try it again, as it’s genuinely sooo much better than store bought caramel 🙂 Thanks for coming over today! 🙂

    • StephJ

    What a perfect simple recipe! What are some good uses for carmel sauce?

    • Elizabeth O

    This homemade salted caramel sauce looks so tasty. I will definitely try to do this next time. This will be perfect to partner in ice cream and to pancakes.

    • Krizia Velez / Reckless Babe

    I never thought making your own salted caramel was this simple! It is for sure way better than the store bought because who even wants to eat all those additives? I hope no one. I’m thinking this sauce on top of vanilla ice cream! YUMMMM…

    • joyfulsource

    This is also great for serving my friends coffee & mocha drinks in the house! Love that you’ve showed how easy to do it, thanks!

    • Brown Sugar

    Gorgeous photos! You got a new food blogger friend in me!

    • Sunshine Kelly

    Omg…. i m so tempted and salted caramel is my weakness. Going to try to make them this weekend.

    • ktmommyscene

    This looks amazing! I just made caramel apples today, so I’m definitely in the caramel mood. I’d love some salted caramel sauce on ice cream!

    • Kelly
    • 5 stars

    Caramel is something I always forget about during the fall season! This would be so good on some apple strudel muffins or pancakes!

    • keisha1989

    Homemade salted caramel sauce sounds really good to me. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I really have to try this this sauce one day.

    • Fred

    This sauce can really perk up any dessert you pour it on. I think it would taste awesome. This homemade way you can fit the taste to your liking.

    • Cia Black
    • 5 stars

    YES…I love DIY. And I love Caramel. I can not wait to try this out. It looks simple enough my oldest children can try it themselves. Can not wait until our family cookie making day during the holiday season I’m so drizzling this over some kiss cookies.

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