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This irresistible bourbon caramel sauce is creamy and delicious and luscious with sweet undertones of oak and vanilla. It’s easy to make and is the ultimate topping for ice cream, brownies, cheesecake and more!
Thick Bourbon Caramel Sauce
This Bourbon Caramel Sauce Recipe takes salted caramel to the next level! The rich, sweet flavor of classic caramel with just the right amount of cream pairs wonderfully with the sweet woodsy tones of bourbon. One taste of this ultra-thick caramel sauce, and you’ll be craving it’s smooth velvety goodness straight from the jar or drizzled over one of your favorite treats like ice cream or gooey brownies.
Plus, this recipe is so easy to make! I use the wet method for this recipe, as opposed to the dry method used in my Classic Homemade Caramel Sauce. The dry method is a little trickier to get right, but the wet method works beautifully every single time. This is the perfect recipe for learning how to make a caramel dessert sauce. This user-friendly recipe will make you feel like a caramel making pro and prepare you for moving onto more difficult caramel recipes.
Why You’ll Love This Bourbon Caramel Sauce Recipe
I’ve created the ultimate, fail-proof bourbon caramel sauce recipe to easily upgrade basic desserts. Here’s why I love it so much, and why I think you will too.
- Surprisingly easy. You might be nervous to make your own sauce, but it’s really not complicated. In just a few simple steps (and only 7 ingredients) you’ll have yourself an amazing bourbon caramel sauce.
- Flavorful. Bourbon has such sweet, flavorful tones of vanilla, oak and brown sugar. It adds the wow factor to this dessert sauce and will make you look like a baking pro with minimal effort.
- Adjustable. You can make this dessert topping as salty as you want. Start with 1/2 a teaspoon, give it a taste, and add more if you’d like. You could even add the bourbon, taste and add more, if you like. Just keep in mind that adding too much can thin out your sauce.
- It goes on everything. You can drizzle this caramel sauce over pretty much any dessert you can think of. Check out the section below titled “Ways To Use Salted Caramel Sauce” for inspiration.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of ingredients needed to make the best salted bourbon caramel sauce ever. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.
- Granulated sugar – This is the base of your sauce and where the flavor comes from. As the sugar melts, it caramelizes and browns.
- Water – This helps the sugar not burn as it sits and boils. The addition of the water is why it’s called “wet-method” caramel sauce.
- Unsalted butter – Use unsalted butter so that you can control the salt content of your caramel sauce.
- Heavy whipping cream – This makes the caramel sauce pourable. The high fat content in heavy cream also gives it a creamy texture. Don’t swap this out for milk or something else or it’ll thin out your sauce too much.
- Vanilla extract – For nice flavor.
- Bourbon – I used Maker’s Mark Bourbon because I love its flavor, but you can use any brand you like.
- Salt – You can adjust this as you like to achieve your desired saltiness.
How to Make Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be drizzling homemade bourbon caramel sauce over all your favorite desserts in sight in no time.
- Melt the sugar. Whisk together the granulated sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture will go from cloudy to clear.
- Add the butter. Add the butter and let it melt.
- Cook. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and boil until the mixture turns a deep golden copper color. This can take 10-15 minutes, but keep cooking until it’s a nice golden color.
- Make it creamy. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream, whisking as you go. It will bubbly up a lot, so be careful.
- Add some flavor. Whisk in the vanilla extract, bourbon and half a teaspoon of salt.
- Cool. Allow the caramel sauce to cool. Note that it will be quite thin, but will thicken as it cools.
Tips for Success
Striving for the perfect bourbon caramel sauce? These simple suggestions will help guide you through the process.
- Hands off. Once you bring the caramel sauce to a boil, stop whisking. Whisking it can cause crystallization, which you don’t want here. Leave it be until it’s reached that deep golden copper color you are looking for.
- Keep an eye on it. While you shouldn’t whisk or stir while the caramel sauce is cooking, you do want to keep an eye on it. It’s possible that some parts of the sauce will brown more quickly than others. If so, you can tip the pan from side to side or swirl things around to and help it cook evenly.
- Fully cook the sugar mixture. Be sure to fully cook the sugar mixture until it’s really dark in color. If it hasn’t darkened yet, don’t move on to adding the cream or your sauce will be colorless and flavorless.
- Stay safe. When you add the heavy cream, the caramel will bubble up quite a bit. So keep any exposed skin (and/or eyes) out of the way.
Ways to Use Bourbon Caramel Sauce
I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that homemade bourbon caramel sauce could go on almost any dessert. It really is that good! Here are some of my favorite dessert recipe options to get you started. Don’t be afraid to explore my blog for other options. It’s full of dessert recipes that would love the company of this sweet, velvety treat.
- My top 3 desserts. If I could only have this caramel sauce on 3 desserts for the rest of my life I’d definitely choose Like a Box Brownies, Bourbon Peach Streusel Cheesecake, or The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe. You can’t go wrong with any of these pairings!
- Cheesecake. Try this sauce with my Best Cheesecake Recipe, Decadent Dark Chocolate Cheesecake, New York Style Cheesecake, Mini Cheesecakes or Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe and drizzle caramel sauce all over your slice.
- Cake. Bourbon caramel sauce drizzled on cake is one of my all time favorites. Drizzle some of this glorious confection over a slice of my Chocolate Mousse Cake, this Ultimate Layered Cookie Cake, or my Devil’s Food Cake. Or even drizzle it over my Moist Chocolate Cupcakes.
- Ice cream. Spoon this dessert topping over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream. You could even add it as a finishing touch to my Ice Cream Cake Recipe or this decadent Oreo Brookie Ice Cream Cake.
- Swap the sauce. You can use this bourbon caramel sauce in any recipe that calls for a thick salted caramel sauce. For example, it would taste amazing in and on my Caramel Apple Blondie Cheesecake, Best Salted Caramel Cheesecake or my Easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake. You could also swap the bourbon caramel sauce in my Caramel Apple Cookie Cups or Caramel Apple Cupcakes
More Caramel Dessert Recipes
- Caramel Pecan Pie
- Caramel Apple Trifles
- Caramel Banana Layer Cake
- No Bake Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons
- Caramel Apple Cookie Cups
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
This irresistible bourbon caramel sauce is creamy and delicious with sweet undertones of oak and vanilla. It’s easy to make and is the ultimate topping for ice cream, brownies, cheesecake and more!
- 1 cup (207g) granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp (90ml) water
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp salt
- In a medium to large sauce pan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the butter and let it melt.
- Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Stop whisking and don’t whisk at all during this part to help avoid crystallization. Allow to boil until the mixture turns a deep golden copper color, about 10-15 minutes, maybe longer depending on your stove. Keep an eye on it, but do not stir. If needed, you can occasionally tip the pan from side to side to help things cook evenly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add in the heavy whipping cream in a slow, steady stream. The caramel will bubbly up quite a bit, so be careful with this step. Whisk quickly and well as you add the cream, whisking until well combined.
- Add the vanilla extract, bourbon and half a teaspoon of salt and whisk to combine. Add additional salt to your desired saltiness.
- Allow the caramel sauce to cool. It will be fairly thin, but will thicken as it cools. Store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups
- Calories: 1467
- Sugar: 201.9 g
- Sodium: 1191.1 mg
- Fat: 67.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 202.2 g
- Protein: 2.2 g
- Cholesterol: 189.8 mg
Keywords: bourbon caramel sauce, caramel sauce, bourbon caramel topping