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This Caramel Sauce recipe is so scrumptious and the easiest that I have ever made! A family favorite, this Salted Caramel Sauce is smooth, creamy and perfect every single time! 

Salted Caramel Sauce in a glass pitcher and being drizzled into pitcher with a spoon - from addapinch.com

This is by far the easiest caramel sauce that I’ve ever made and the best I’ve ever tasted.

Over the years, I’ve learned a little bit of a trick to making it. Once you learn the tricks and follow these tips, you are in caramel heaven! 🙂

You’ll only need five ingredients and a little bit of time to make it. This amazing Salted Caramel Sauce is absolutely delicious on so many other desserts!

Easiest Caramel Sauce Recipe

Once you make it, you’ll find a million and one things to dip in it, pour it over, and mix it in. It is just a staple item, I think. It is delicious swirled in blondies and brownies, poured over ice cream, mixed in a mocha or hot cider, and to dip apples and pears into. I also love to pour it into sterilized jars and give to family and friends throughout the holidays with a little note for favorite ways to use it.

Here’s a how I make it, along with some helpful tips.

How to Make the Easiest Caramel Sauce

To make this recipe, you will only need five ingredients.

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Water
  • Salted Butter
  • Heavy Cream
  • Coarse Sea Salt

You’ll want to use a 3-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Add your granulated sugar and water to the saucepan and stir with a wooden or silicone spoon until well combined. (It is important to make sure to use either a wooden spoon or a silicone spoon to make your sauce.)

The water will help your sugar to melt and will prevent the finished caramel sauce from becoming grainy. Once you combine the sugar and water, do not stir again. As the sugar and water are heated, if you stir them, you’ll cause grains to form in your caramel sauce and it will not be smooth and creamy. Resist the urge!

Instead, you can gently swirl the pan over the heat if needed, but be sure not to let the caramel go high up onto the sides of the pan or this will make the caramel sauce grainy as well.

Remember, the whole goal is creamy, smooth caramel sauce.

I use an instant read or candy thermometer when making my caramel sauce. When the thermometer registers 350ºF and is a light amber color, the caramel sauce is ready for the next stage.

Now, add all of your butter pieces to the saucepan at once and whisk until the butter is fully incorporated. The caramel will bubble up, but continue to whisk to make sure all of the butter has melted.

Then, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream, whisking continuously. Whisk in the sea salt and set aside to cool before transferring to an airtight container for storing in the refrigerator or serving.

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe - The absolute best salted caramel sauce recipe that I have ever tasted! Smooth, creamy and perfect every single time! // addapinch.com

The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Tips for the Smoothest Caramel

To prevent crystallization in your caramel, make sure that your pot and spoon (use a silicone or wood spoon!) are extremely clean. Any type of debris can cause crystallization.

As an option, you may add 1 teaspoon of corn syrup with the sugar and water to prevent any crystallization if you wish.

Here’s my quick and easy Caramel Sauce recipe. It is absolutely sublime! I think you’ll love it!

4.85 from 33 votes

The Easiest Caramel Sauce Recipe

Dessert 10 mins

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe - The absolute best salted caramel sauce recipe that I have ever tasted! Smooth, creamy and perfect every single time! // addapinch.com
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Servings 10
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe – The absolute best salted caramel sauce recipe that I have ever tasted! Smooth, creamy and perfect every single time!

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Instructions 

  • Add the sugar and water to a 3-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until combined. Do Not Stir Again! Simply swirl the saucepan until the sugar has melted and turns a light amber color. If you use a candy or instant read thermometer, the mixture should register 350º at this point.
  • Carefully add your butter and whisk until all the butter has melted.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly until all of the cream has been incorporated. Whisk in the sea salt and set aside to cool.
  • Allow to cool about 5 minutes and then pour into an airtight container for storing in the refrigerator.

Notes

Makes 1 ¼ cups.
To prevent crystallization in your caramel sauce, make sure that your pot and spoon (silicone or wood!) are extremely clean as any debris can cause crystallization. Also, you may add 1 teaspoon of corn syrup with the sugar and water to prevent any crystallization, if you choose.
 

Nutritional Information

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 9mg | Vitamin A: 385IU | Calcium: 10mg

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Enjoy!
Robyn xo

The Easiest Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe - The absolute best salted caramel sauce recipe that I have ever tasted! Smooth, creamy and perfect every single time! // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2014.

Sauces Recipes

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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Recipe Review




Comments

  1. Nothing beats homemade caramel sauce! I have been using it a lot these days and It reminds me of fall and comfort too! Looks perfect!

  2. Caramel. Perfect for this time of year. I refuse to buy the store bought stuff. So can’t wait to try. Think it would work for caramel apples?

  3. Caramel is sometimes my favorite over chocolate. Shh-h-h … I know, that doesn’t seem right. LOL Looks fabulous, Robyn!

  4. This recipe is pure evil… but I love it! That gooey caramel sauce, mmm! What wouldn’t I drizzle that on?

  5. Oh how I loooooove me some caramel sauce! I could drink this by the gallon… or at least I’d try!

  6. I love trying a bunch of different takes on things. My husband is a caramel fiend, so he’d probably just eat this with a spoon.

  7. Robyn,
    I am planning to make the Cinnamon Apple Baked French Toast this weekend. I would like to know how much salt to add to the caramel recipe if I was to use unsalted butter. I just never buy salted butter, since I only use butter in baking. Thanks!

  8. Made this caramel sauce for the salted caramel blondies! I haven’t done the blondies yet but the salted caramel sauce came out great. SO delicious and my whole house smells like it now 😀 I had a hard time getting the brown sugar to completely melt with the butter though so I would recommend leaving the saucepan on the stove over low heat for longer than the recipe says.

    1. Thank you so much for this base recipe! I wanted a quick, easy caramel that delivered big on taste, and this is perfect! I halved this recipe. I used Mexican vanilla, used regular milk less 3 T and in place of that 3 T, I used buttermilk to give it a richer flavor. I simmered it longer until it was gooey and thick, like for an ice cream sundae. Tad bit darker than your photo, but fab, fab, fab. Thank you again!

  9. Hi! This looks so delicious! I’m wondering how long it will last in an airtight container. Should it be refrigerated?
    Thank you!

  10. Robyn – Caramel is my favorite – do you have a recipe for a good caramel icing for cake? Could this one be modified? Thank you. Love your blog and recipes.

    GranJan

    1. Of course – I should have searched on your blog first – found the icing and caramel cake recipe! Thank you!

  11. At what point in the recipe do you add the sea salt option? And how much for ‘not overpowering’?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi! I generally like to add it at the end. I’ve updated the recipe to be clearer.

  12. Want to make this delicious looking sauce for your Thumbprint cookies. I have never made caramel sauce before – I’m a novice cook. Just wondered if I stir the sauce the whole time it’s cooking in the pan?

  13. Robyn, Thak you for your wonderful Carmel Sauce recipe. I thought you might like to know I just made it and substituted 1 Cup Splenda Brown Sugar & 1 Cup Splenda regular sweetener for your 2 cups brown sugar (my hubby is diabetic so I try to substitute wherever I can) and your sauce came out phenomenally! It is to die for. Thank you again. Happy cooking.

  14. Just whipped this caramel sauce up tonight for some caramel-apple pies I’m making this weekend. I was worried because I’ve never made any sort of caramel before. This recipe was super simple and so amazing! Oh man, I had to stop myself from eating all of it! It’s silky smooth and is rich. I doubled the recipe (because I’m making a lot of pie…), so it had to cook longer than called for, but otherwise following the recipe was super simple! Thank you!

  15. Thanks for the recipe….it turned out delicious!!!!
    At the last stages mine was thickening a bit too much – must have overcooked it – so I added about 1/2 a cup of milk in the last boil.

  16. Hi Robyn,
    So does this caramel recipe end up with a consistency like caramel sauce used as ice cream topping? The photo on the recipe shows it is very thin ( I am hoping that this is before it truly cools down and when it does cool it is nice and thick).

    Thank You

  17. Just made this it was super easy, I found it went a bit lumpy with dark brown sugar may try light next time. I also used salted butter instead of regular.

  18. The first time I made it it was great. This time it was rock hard when I poured it over ice cream…do you think I cooked it too long or too short?

    1. Thank you! Plan to make it again today, so will shorten the time…it is delicious and worth working to get it right!

  19. Just made this and substituted red velvet extract and it was sooooo good! Thanks so much for a quick recipe that tasted fantastic!

  20. Hi Robyn! Just wondering how long can this stay in an airtight container in the refrigerator for? Thanks!

    1. Hi Glenna –
      I usually make one batch at a time. You stand the chance of it getting grainy if the caramel sauce goes too high up in the pan while cooking as it might in a double/triple batch.
      It’s an easy recipe to make, but I do advise following the steps closely for the most delicious caramel. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much! Happy Holidays! xo

  21. I love caramel sauce and I don’t condsider myself skilful in the kitchen, but I decided to give this recipe a try. It turned out perfectly and is the best caramel sauce I have ever tasted.
    Thank you!

  22. I just made this. It seems very pale, not at all like the nice brown colour in the pictures. I swirled this for at least 10 minutes or more I got worried when it started to turn colour and maybe didn’t let it boil long enough!

    1. Most likely didn’t let it boil enough! Mine was very pale as it was boiling and suddenly gained color in a little over a minute, and when I checked the temperature, it was up to 350°.

  23. I tasted too much of heavy cream for me and the consistency is not right, maybe i did something wrong!

    1. I followed this recipe and thought I had done everything right (even checked with a thermometer that the sugar/water mixture had reached 350°F) then put the butter in and whisked it til it melted in..then took it off the heat and added cream. All of the amounts were measured correctly, yet for some reason the final product came out kind of gritty.. although it tasted great, i could taste the crystallised sugar. It wasn’t smooth. Any idea what i may have done wrong?
      Thanks

    2. Zyra, there could be a couple of reasons your sauce was grainy. As I state in the post with this recipe, as the sugar and water are heated, if you stir them, you’ll cause grains to form in your caramel sauce and it will not be smooth and creamy. You just need to swirl the pan as these are being heated. Also make sure you use either a wooden or silicone spoon.

  24. Made this to go with a banana bread cheesecake for my husband’s coworker. It truly was simple. This was the first time I’ve ever made caramel and it came out perfect. Being the first time I was concerned I did something wrong when it was taking a while for the water and sugar to turn that amber color. As instructed though I resisted the urge and let it be. Eventually it did and everything came together perfectly. Will definitely use this again! So YUMMY!!

    1. That is wonderful that you like it so well, Jennifer! Thanks so much! xo

  25. Great recipe and very easy to follow. However, I think it had way too much salt. I used 3/4 teaspoon corse natural sea salt and the sauce turned to be very salty. Any solution to fix it now after it has already cooked?

  26. Important – use the 3 quart saucepan. I used a 1 1/2 quart saucepan the first time I tried the recipe and burned the sugar. It came out divine the second time using the right sized saucepan.

    1. Hi Candy,
      Thanks for sharing that tip. I’m so happy you enjoy this! Thanks! xo

    2. Wow – you are right – thanks very much for posting this – my pot was too small and although I didn’t burn it without stirring it solidified like rock – thankfully I saved it by adding water and stirring – but could not get it over 200 degrees – turned out smooth and very tasty but I think it will stay somewhat runny – will definitely try again with the correct size pot

    3. Hi Janet,
      I’m glad you are giving it another try in the correct size pan and really hope you enjoy it!
      The recipe should work best in a 3 quart saucepan like in the recipe. I am glad you enjoyed the taste! Thanks so much! xo

  27. Was doing well until I added the butter – I whisked it in until melted & blended but when I added the cream, lumps formed. I continued to whisk and just ended up straining the lumps. Perhaps my cream wasn’t quite warm enough – will make again as the flavour is nice and practice makes perfect!

    1. Hi Nancy,
      I’m sorry that happened when you made it. It’s never done that when I’ve made it, so I can’t be sure what caused it. It is important that the butter is completely melted and blended into the sauce and that the cream is at room temperature before adding it to the hot mixture. I hope this helps.
      I’m happy that you enjoy the flavor and glad you are giving it another try. Thanks so much! xo

    1. Hi Rue,
      I store my caramel sauce in the refrigerator and then rewarm it before serving if I need it warmed. It should keep for up to a week well in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

  28. Wish I could show a pic of this… turned out amazing! There is no corn syrop in the country I live in so I used agave syrop (have used it in previous recipes and found it to be a good substitue) and it worked like a charm! Wonderful recipe, looks beautiful and tastes so good! My milk was cold so I poured very carefully, and it easily incorporated. Used a candy thermometer and your temperature was spot on. Thank you so much!!! 🙂

    1. I’m thrilled to hear this worked so well for you – I’ll have to give agave a try in this sometime!!! Thanks so much, Sonya! xo

    1. Hi Jana, I store my caramel sauce in the refrigerator and then rewarm it before serving if I need it warmed. It should keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. xo

  29. Just made this and for the heck of it substituted creme fraiche for the heavy cream. Omg, it’s incredible! The only difference I would make next time is to lessen the salt. Just a bit too salty.

    1. I’m so glad you liked it Robin! Isn’t it delicious?! You can certainly use a tad less salt if you wish. Thanks so much! xo

  30. I made this twice differently. Both times I wound sneaking into the fridge with spoon. The first time I made it with Trader Joe’s creme fraiche and omg! The second time I used heavy cream and 3/4 teaspoon sea salt. I’m going down to half a teaspoon next time to try. It truly needs a night in the fridge to become creamy and thicken up but I also loved it golden and more thin the night before. We love putting it over ice cold cantaloupe with a bit of vanilla bean ice cream. Thank you so much for this insanely good treat!

    1. Glad you enjoy it Robin! Now you have me craving some cold cantaloupe – sounds amazing with this! Thanks! xo

  31. I made this sauce yesterday and it tastes really good! The texture is perfect: not grainy at all, thick when cold, and thin when warm. But I think that using salted butter AND 1 tsp sea salt is way too salty. I put 3/4 tsp salt, and it’s at the limit of being too salty for my taste. And for the color, it didn’t turn at all like on the picture. Mine has a dull, glossy, pale brown color. I followed the recipe pretty exactly, so I’m not sure what happened there. Still delicious!

    1. I’m not sure why the color didn’t turn out like my photo, but I am glad you found it delicious, Beatrice! You can lessen the salt to your taste if you wish. Thanks so much!

  32. Have not yet made this BUT are you really sure about 350 F. This seems way to high. Other recipes use 250 F. Please advise…Doug…

    1. 300 F is hard crack, and that’s still not hot enough. It’s hard to measure the temperature because it is rapidly changing. I think you are better off going by looks, even if you get it wrong the first couple of times.

  33. Note that this sauce uses slightly burned sugar for the flavor. Don’t compare it to those that use brown sugar; they are not making the same thing.

  34. Excelent recipe!! I made it for the first time like a year ago and then I’ve been making others because I couldn’t find it again. I thought I had pinned it but no. I just finished making 2 batches and everything went perfectly. Used the candy thermomehter and 350° is just it. But…. unconciously tossed the thermometer into the pot to wash everything, under the faucett when I finished and bye bye thermometer!! Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing this recipe.

  35. How long would you be able to preserve this in mason Jars? (Not pressurized) Also would you need it at room temperature or frozen? Thank you!!

  36. My mouth is watering looking at these pictures. This looks so much better than store-bought caramel. With the holidays coming up I will definitely be making this. Thank you for sharing.

  37. tried making 5x with lt brown 1x, dk brown 1x and white sugar 3x, tried stir, no stir swirl, tried this recipe last 2x, 1st time on med heat took way too long, crystalized on sides of pan entire time I was swirling, never turned amber just turned to direct hardened sugar mass. So I tried again turning heat up to almost high, finally turned to amber but was under 300 by the time it reached 300 was dk amber ,added butter I had to remove at 300, I could have never let it reach 350 would have burnt even more, it already tasted like badly burnt sugar. I have a convection oven and each stove top burner keeps turning heat down every few seconds entire time your , I really think that”s the problem. I’ve been baker ,made candy , canned, cooked all my life ,will be 60 this mo,I’ve never had so much trouble with a recipe, I have failed some before but never more than once ea time. Any suggestions? I did use cream ea time , some say better to just used milk. Thanks

    1. I’m so sorry it took so much effort, Gayle. I’ve never ever had any problem with the recipe.
      I really think from reading your comment that the issue is that the stove top kept changing temperature. It won’t cook properly with a changing temperature as I’m sure you know from experience cooking for many years. It may be worth it to have a repair person check your cooktop especially before all the holiday cooking and candy making. I hope this helps and you have better luck with this at another time.
      I’m so glad to have you here and hope to talk to you again sometime soon! Thanks!

  38. I found this recipe VERY forgiving….I left the recipe in the other room and left to my own devices, added the cream before the butter. In fact, caramel was totally off the stove and in a dish before I added. Still came out beautifully…..

  39. If the sugar begins to crystallize, dip a pasty brush in lemon juice and wipe down the sides of the pan with it.  It’s my favourite trick for caramel, either sauce or crème caramel.  A pasty chef shared this with me.  

  40. This was sublime! My caramel was a little lighter than I thought,but that was probably because I was a bit rushed. Adde the butter and cream, and it was so much fun to make. I used it to top a bread pudding recipe I found by Mark Bittman and it was perfect. Threw some sea salt on top and that took it to a whole new level! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Eileen,
      I am not familiar with the specifics of keto, so I’m not able to suggest a substitution.

  41. Fantastic recipe! I’ve never made caramel before and i don’t own a sugar thermometer, but it still came out perfect! Totally smooth and delicious!
    For any first-time makers, it’ll get darker as you add butter and caramel, so trust the recipe when it says light amber…
    Thanks so much for the recipe!! 😀

  42. I just tried this recipe. I used skimmed milk (I’m in the UK) and low fat spread instead of heavy cream and butter and it was absolutely delicious! Will definitely make again xx

  43. I’ve tried many recipes for caramel sauce and this is one of the best.  It’s also very forgiving.  I subbed light cream for the heavy cream and the sauce was as thick and rich as any of the caramels I’ve made with heavy cream.  I also used less salt.  To avoid any crystallization of the sugar I covered the pot until the mixture came to a boil.  I removed the lid once the mixture had boiled for a few minutes and the condensation had washed away any crystals from the sides of the pot.

  44. If I could, I’d give this 10 stars! Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe. This is my 4th attempt at making caramel and this is by far the BEST!!!!!

  45. I’m not sure what happened I followed the recipe as listed.  The sugar reached the right color and 355 degrees but it is too thin when cooled.  Is there way to thicken it up?

    1. Hi Dorthy,
      I usually make one batch at a time. You stand the chance of it getting grainy if the caramel sauce goes too high up in the pan while cooking as it might in a double/triple batch.
      It’s an easy recipe to make, but I do advise following the steps closely for the most delicious caramel. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much.

  46. I needed a caramel sauce to complete my dessert, but after trying twice, for some reason, it just wasn’t happening for me today. In my frustration, I looked on the internet, found this recipe and decided to give it a go. I now have a beautiful pot of deep amber caramel cooling beside me as I type my thanks! Fantastic!

    1. I’m so glad you found this easy caramel sauce recipe, Liz, so you could finish your dessert. I hope you find many more recipes here that you love just as much! Thanks!

  47. I want to add this as a layer on top of my Blondies. Will it firm up enough after being in the fridge overnight? Without becoming super chewy?

    1. Ashley,
      I don’t think this sauce is what you are looking to layer on top of your blondies. I don’t think it would be as firm as you would want. I would suggest you try my Salted Buttercream Frosting instead. Hope this helps! Thanks.

  48. I haven’t made this yet as I’m looking for a recipe that will stay soft on top of cinnamon rolls for several hours. Will this remain soft on top of them or will it harden? Thank you.

  49. I love caramel sauce, and I was determined to learn how to make it. My first try, I stirred it and it was grainy, but delicious. My second try, It came out perfectly smooth, but I let it get too dark, and it was bitter (350 degrees was too high). My third try…perfection! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Linda, I’m glad your perseverance paid off. I’m so glad it worked for you. Thanks

  50. I’ve made this 2 days in a row. It is SO good! I haven’t really mastered the crystallization on the side of the pan but the sauce has been amazing both times!!! Thanks for a great go-to recipe!

  51. DELICIOUS! So easy to make, and the instructions were so clear (having the temperature listed really helped). Definitely will be keeping this as my caramel topping recipe!

    1. I haven’t tried freezing my caramel sauce, Meghna, but you should be able to freeze this in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm slightly before using.

    1. You can reheat the sauce in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, Barbara. You could also place the caramel sauce container in saucepan of warm water over a pan of boiling water until it is heated.

  52. love this recipe. ive made it a few times before realizing i hadn’t reviewed it. so delicious, easy to make, clear instructions, what’s not to love?

  53. With your precise recipe to guide me, I managed to pull off my first EVER successful caramel sauce! My kitchen smells amazing right now, I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to try! Thank you so much Robyn!!!

    1. Crystal, I’m so glad this recipe and instructions worked so well for you. Hope you enjoy!

  54. Sooooo Good I’ve now learnt after a few goes that the sugar is so important to be Browned just right other wise if not cooked properly like in my first attempts and then add butter and cream its just yellowish liquid and number one rule don’t panic when making it 😁otherwise it turns out watery yellowish liquid haaaaa. Sugar needs to melt properly and then the nice brown colour b4 adding butter then the cream. Was fun experimentin. Now I’ve kinda perfected it. And if first u don’t succeed try again.

  55. Hi Robyn,
    About how long does it take for the sugar water to turn an amber color. I thought I had achieved that color at about 10 minutes but my end product is runny and yellow. 🙁 I want to try again. Unfortunately, I do not have a candy thermometer.

    1. Dana, the sugar and water mixture should be a darker amber color. It may take about 20 minutes on medium heat to reach that stage. Just be careful and dont’ let it burn.