This homemade Salted Caramel Sauce is a breeze to make and immediately elevates anything it’s drizzled upon. All you need is five ingredients that you likely have on-hand and 10 minutes to make this recipe from start to finish.
Easy Salted Caramel Sauce (Perfect for Snowy Days!)
Snowy mornings are always an extra challenge around here, especially with Hudson. Hudson is six and has Down syndrome. He has no interest in wearing hats, scarves, or mittens, and he pulls them off (and chucks them) as quickly as you can wrestle them on.
On one particular snowy morning, school was canceled for everyone except Hudson, so I was rushing to get him ready for a busy day of learning and fun while making sure he stayed warm along the way. But to make matters worse, the bus arrived eight minutes early this morning, and I was already running behind. By the time the bus arrived, I still had Hudson’s lunch to finish, sippy cups to fill, his speech device and charging cord to pack, pull-ups to find, along with the snow boots in his room upstairs and another winter coat in the basement closet. (His little red one got left at church on Sunday.) I pulled my down jacket on over my flannel pajamas and raced out to the bus to ask about the road conditions and if they had time to wait. (They kindly obliged.)
Once the the little yellow bus left with my small charge on board, I collapsed on the living sofa for a minute, then quietly asked Charlie, my 10-year-old who was staying home with me that day, a very important question. “If I were to make Salted Caramel Sauce for the blog today, would you be willing to hold the spoon so I can get drizzly caramel pictures?” Charlie slowly looked up from his book and surveyed the situation.
“Mom, I really think you should just re-publish something today,” he said gravely. “You don’t look well. Your eyes are all dark. Maybe you should just rest.”
There I was, still in pj’s, having rolled out of bed late, still lagging from our late night super bowl party on Sunday and doing the Hudson Hustle to the bus this morning. Yesterday’s mascara racooned underneath my eyes. And my hair. The boy wasn’t lying!
So, on Charlie’s excellent recommendation, I crawled back into my cozy bed and took a nice winter nap. And now I’m up, bright-eyed and ready to share this wonderfully easy and addictive Salted Caramel Recipe with you. It only takes 10 minutes and five ingredients to make from start to finish. It’s the perfect addition to hot chocolate, coffee cake, pies, cookies .. pretty much anything. Make it today to see for yourself!
You only need five ingredients to make this delicious, rich salted caramel sauce! And I bet you have them in your fridge and pantry right now — granulated sugar (aka white sugar), cold water, heavy cream, sea salt, and unsalted butter. That’s it!
Table salt will also work in place of the sea salt in a pinch, but be careful to not add too much. Always start with less, like 1/4 teaspoon, then add more to taste as needed.
How To Make Salted Caramel Sauce
- Make the Syrup: In a medium-sized sauce pan stir together 1/4 cup cold water and granulated sugar until combined.
Set over medium-high heat on the stove top and cook 9 -11 minutes without stirring, or until mixture is a deep amber color.
Start checking closely at the 7-minute mark.
- Add the Butter and Cream: Meanwhile, separately warm heavy cream and butter together with sea salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When sugar and water syrup mixture is a deep amber color, turn the heat down to low. Slowly whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture. Whisk over the heat until it’s smooth and lump-free (only a minute or two), then remove from the heat. (Remember that this Salted Caramel Sauce will thicken up as it cools!)
- Serve: When sauce is still warm, spoon over ice cream, cake, pie, cupcakes or cookies. Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and just reheat on low to thin before re-serving later.
Tips and Variations
- Make sure your sauce pan is big enough. While the recipe makes only a cup of salted caramel sauce, when the butter, cream and salt mixture combine with the boiling syrup, it bubbles up a lot. Be careful, it’s very hot! The bubbling up is normal, but you’ll need plenty of extra space in your saucepan so it doesn’t spill over. (The voice of experience speaking…ha.)
- Pay close attention to the boiling sugar and water mixture at about the 7-minute mark. You are watching for a deep amber color.
- When the boiling syrup turns a deep golden amber, immediately turn the heat down to low (so it doesn’t burn!) before stirring in the warm cream and butter mixture. (Be careful – this is when it will bubble up a lot.)
- This caramel sauce thickens beautifully as it cools, so if you want that thick sauce, wait until it’s nearly cooled to pour over desserts, ice cream etc.
- If you want to turn this into a praline-style sauce, add some chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store salted caramel sauce in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
- Freeze cooled caramel in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. I like to freeze in an ice cube tray so I can easily pop out a serving or two as needed. (You can also do this to turn the salted caramel sauce into salted caramel candies! Just wrap individual candies in wax paper.)
- Reheat over low heat on the stovetop (or in the microwave) to thin before serving.
More Delicious Dessert Recipes To Try
- Salted Caramel Apple Cake
- Sugared Pecans
- Blueberry Pound Cake
- Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
- Fresh Peach Custard Pie
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- In a medium-sized sauce pan stir together 1/4 cup cold water and granulated sugar until combined.
- Set over medium-high heat on the stove top and cook 9 -11 minutes without stirring, or until mixture is a deep amber color.
- Start checking closely at the 7 minute mark.
- Meanwhile, separately warm heavy cream and butter together with sea salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat. (Absolutely do not boil.)
- When sugar and water syrup mixture is a deep amber color, turn the heat down to low and slowly whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture. (Bee careful - this is where it will boil up a lot!)
- Whisk over the heat until it's smooth a minute or two, then remove from the heat.
- Salted caramel sauce will thicken up as it cools.
- When sauce is still warm, spoon over ice cream, cake, pie, cupcakes or cookies.
- (The salted caramel will become thick when cooled, but it easily re-heats it in the microwave or on the stove top.)
- Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator, just reheat on low to thin.