Yield: 1 c. homemade salted caramel sauce // Total Time: 15 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Homemade salted caramel sauce
This homemade caramel sauce is seriously one of my favorite side recipes, I make it all the time! It also keeps super well in the freezer (thanks to all of the butter and cream – the good stuff!) The salt provides such a perfect balance to the sweetness that is caramel and makes it seriously delicious. All you need is five simple ingredients that you may already have on hand: granulated sugar, heavy whipping cream, butter, salt, and vanilla (no corn syrup required!) Plus if you start now, you can have delicious salted caramel sauce in just 15 minutes!
What is salted caramel sauce used for?
The most common thing I use this caramel sauce for is carmelitas. But this sauce is also super delicious when you dip it with apples, put it on apple pie, pour it on your ice cream, use it in your iced coffee, put it on top of cakes or really on any dessert! You could also just eat it by the spoonful – no judgments here!
Weigh your ingredients
- Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. I do provide cup measurements but please note that I test all my recipes in grams and can not guarantee that your bake will turn out like mine. This kitchen scale is super cheap and a great starter scale!
Room temperature ingredients
- It is important for the butter and cream to be at room temperature so that they incorporate more easily with the hot caramel. Take out your butter and cream at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr. 30 min. before starting the recipe. Here’s how to get room temperature ingredients fast if you’re in a time crunch or forgot to take the ingredients out (like I often do!):
- Butter: slice the butter into 1 tbsp. slices and place them flat on a plate. Microwave in 5-second intervals until the butter is soft to the touch, but not melting.
- Cream: microwave in 5-second intervals until it is no longer cold, but is not warm (room temp!)
Be careful, watch out for steam!
- In order for the sugar to fully caramelize, it has to reach 360°F / 182°C. When we add in the butter and cream, lots of steam comes up from the sauce since the mixture is so hot. Use a long whisk and stay back to be sure to not hurt yourself while adding in the butter and cream to the salted caramel sauce!
WET CARAMEL VS. DRY CARAMEL
- There are two types of caramel: wet and dry. A wet caramel is made by caramelizing sugar and water together, while a dry caramel is made just with sugar. I prefer to make dry caramel so you don’t have to worry about sugar crystals. The sugar may seem a little clumpy with the dry caramel, but if you continuously mix it once it starts to turn to “liquid”, those clumps will start to disappear.
Ingredients and substitutions
Granulated sugar: the base of the caramel
Unsalted butter: helps make the caramel smooth and velvety. You can swap in salted butter for unsalted if that is what you have on hand, just be careful when adding additional salt. I would recommend adding in the extra salt 1/4 tsp. at a time and tasting to make sure it does not end up too salty.
Heavy cream: helps smooth out the caramel and make it pourable.
Salt: the perfect balance to the sweetness of the caramel. I used just regular table salt, but if you want to use sea salt or flaky sea salt you should double the amount.
Vanilla bean paste: I love using vanilla bean paste because you get to see those nice vanilla bean speckles, but vanilla extract will work perfectly as well.
How to make homemade salted caramel sauce
Caramelize the sugar
Add the sugar to a small saucepan and set it over medium heat on the stove. Occasionally stir the sugar until all of it has melted and turned amber in color.
Add in the butter and cream.
Whisk the sliced butter until all of the butter has completely melted and combined with the sugar. You may have a layer of butter that looks like it’s not combining with the rest of the sugar, that is fine as long as you don’t have any full chunks of butter left! Remove the caramel from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream.
Add in vanilla and salt
Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Taste to adjust salt levels as desired!
Cool, serve and enjoy!
Cool the caramel in the fridge to allow it to thicken up before using. Keep the caramel stored in the fridge, or in the freezer for longer term storage. Enjoy!
Salted caramel sauce recipe Q & A
Can I double this salted caramel sauce?
Definitely! Simply double all of the ingredients, or even triple them, for a large batch of salted caramel sauce.
Can I make this without salt?
Certainly! If you’re not a huge fan of salted caramel, but are a big fan of caramel sauce feel free to omit the added salt from the recipe. I will say that salt doesn’t only make things salty, but really brings out the flavor and sweetness of any food or baked good. Therefore I recommend at least adding 1/8 tsp. of salt to this recipe. If you are looking for just a hint of saltiness, you can try making this caramel with salted butter, or adding in 1/8 tsp. salt at a time until you’re happy with the taste.
The cream hardened – what should I do?
When you’re adding in the cream to the hot caramel, it may seize or harden up a little bit but should go away with continuous whisking. If the cream is not combining with the rest of the sauce, set your caramel back on medium low heat and constantly whisk until the caramel smooths out.
My caramel is super runny!
Right after making the caramel sauce, it is super runny and definitely not thick at all. This is because all the ingredients (especially the butter) are all super warm and melted. The sauce will significantly thicken up once it has cooled in the fridge.
How to store homemade salted caramel sauce
Because this caramel is made with cream, it must be stored in the fridge. In the fridge it will keep well for 1 week. For longer term storage, you can freeze this caramel for up to 3 months. It keeps quite well in the freezer, great for if you want to make a large batch and have caramel any time!
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make this salted caramel sauce?
If you made this salted caramel sauce I would love to see it and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 200 g granulated sugar (1 c.)
- 56 g unsalted butter room temperature (¼ c.)
- 130 g heavy whipping cream room temperature (5 oz.)
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Add the sugar to a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat. Stir ocasionally until the sugar begins to melt and caramelize, then stir constantly until the sugar is completely melted, caramelized, and smooth.
- Add in the butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Take the mixture off of the heat, and slowly whisk in the heavy cream until it is completely incorporated into the caramel. Whisk in the salt and vanilla.
- Allow the caramel to cool down in the fridge to thicken up before serving. Serve, and enjoy!