Easy Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

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This Salted Caramel recipe is about as simple as caramel sauce gets! It only uses 6 ingredients, and it’s perfect for topping ice cream, brownies or any other dessert!

Looking for unsalted caramel sauce? Try my traditional homemade caramel recipe!

Easy Salted Caramel Sauce collage - pouring into mason jar and bowl

Easy Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel is among one of my very favorite things. Whether eating it as part of a cake or straight from a spoon, it’s hard to restrain myself. And there’s no doubt that homemade caramel sauce is better than anything you’d buy in a store. The flavor is just…more. So good!

Being such a fan of caramel sauce, I’ve shared a few versions with you in the past. I have a super duper easy caramel sauce, which is really more of a toffee sauce than a true caramel, and a homemade caramel sauce that is made with the dry method. Today I’m sharing a caramel sauce that is made with the wet method. I’d say this one is kind of the compromise between the previous two. Allow me to elaborate.

The Difference Between Wet and Dry Method Caramel

As far as making the caramel sauce goes, the difference between the wet and dry method is very simple. The wet method combines water and sugar in the first step, and the dry method uses just sugar. When using just sugar, you heat the sugar and allow it to melt before proceeding with adding the butter and cream. It can be a little bit of a trickier process, sometimes leading to caramel that tastes a little burnt (if the sugar cooks for too long) and can seize up when you add the butter and sugar (if the are too cool). I’ve been making this caramel sauce for years and love it, but it can trip people up a little bit.

The wet method is more straight forward and – as far as caramel sauce goes – easy. Unless you walk off and don’t pay attention to it, it shouldn’t burn. The added water prevents the likelihood of a burning it and getting a burnt taste, and allows you to add butter and cream that are cooler without it seizing up. So that’s what we’re using in this caramel sauce.

Other than the difference in method, there’s not a big difference in taste between the methods. Both produce a delicious caramel sauce with a nice, deep flavor that’s perfect for any and all things.

salted caramel sauce in a mason jarspooning Easy Salted Caramel Sauce into mason jar

How to Make Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

To get started, you’ll need a medium to large sized saucepan. Be sure there’s plenty of room, because things will bubble up quite a bit and you don’t want it to overflow.

Combine the sugar and water in your saucepan and cook over medium low heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring as needed. Add the butter and let it melt, then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

At this point, stop stirring. Allow the mixture to boil and turn a golden copper color. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes, depending your stove. The deeper the color, the deeper the caramel flavor. You just don’t want to walk away and let it burn.

When the caramel sauce turns copper colored, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy whipping cream. Be careful – this is where the bubbling occurs! Whisk everything together well until comes together, then stir in the vanilla extract and some salt.

How much salt you add will largely depend on how salty you want your caramel sauce. You could add just a touch, if you don’t really want it salty. Assuming you do though, I’d add about half a teaspoon of salt and then add more to your preference.

The final caramel sauce is truly delicious! And as far as caramel making goes, it’s easy to make. Even better – there’s no candy thermometer required. Just keep an eye on things. While I love my trusty Classic Homemade Caramel Sauce, this version is certainly is simpler for those who are less comfortable with making caramel. As you get more comfortable, do try the other too. They are both delicious and I love having two different versions in my caramel-making arsenal.

caramel sauce in a bowlcaramel sauce in a mason jar

More Caramel Desserts to Love

Caramel Cheesecake Brownie Trifle
Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Caramel Apple Pecan Layer Cake
Caramel Apple Blondie Cheesecake
Caramel Apple Cookie Cups
Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons
Caramel Apple Trifles

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Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
Recipe

Easy Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 1 1/4 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Easy Salted Caramel Sauce is about as simple as caramel sauce gets! It only uses 6 ingredients, and it’s perfect for topping ice cream, brownies or any other dessert!


Scale

Ingredients

1 cup (207g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp salt


Instructions

1. In a medium to large saucier 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
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Add the vanilla extract and half a teaspoon of salt and whisk to combine. Add additional salt to your desired saltiness.
5. 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.


Keywords: easy caramel sauce, salted caramel sauce, homemade caramel sauce, how to make caramel sauce, caramel recipe for popcorn, caramel recipe for cake, salted caramel recipe

Adapted from Baker by Nature.

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Recipe rating

75 Comments
  1. Jessie

    I just made this and it really was the easiest caramel sauce I’ve ever made. And it’s delicious. I often have a hard time with caramel sauce but this was so simple. Great instructions. I used Maldon sea salt flakes (1/2 tsp) and it is the perfect amount of saltiness for me.

  2. Eli

    Hi I’ve used this recipe and it’s perfect every time.
    Can you substitute caster sugar with brown sugar in the wet method?
    Would it change anything?

  3. Debra Z

    Love this recipe! The flavor is amazing – the touch of salt really makes it special. It is super easy and fairly foolproof. I watched it closely and just when I thought it would never turn amber/copper, it did. My friend is having a major birthday and she requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and salted caramel drizzle. I love that I could make it ahead.

  4. Stacy

    I made this last night and I think I made a mistake. I double the recipe and while it tastes good (great, actually) it does not have that beautiful color caramel ususally does. It is very pale, almost blonde.

    Do you think it is becasue I doubled the recipe?

    1. Lindsay

      If you double it, it will definitely need a longer cooking time. It sounds like it just didn’t cook long enough to turn a darker caramel shade.

  5. Ash

    I have tried the dry recipe earlier and it’s a hit and miss. But this was Spot on!!!! Thanks

  6. Beth

    Made salted caramel for the first time ever tonight, it came out great as a filler for my vanilla cupcakes. Dropped the rest off with a friend who loves caramel sauce and she was already planning on what else to put this over as she liked the cupcakes too. Very easy to make. My kids are asking when I can make more to put over apples! Thank you for this easy and wonderful recipe!

  7. Paula

    Just made this recipe twice today, as well as twice yesterday too! I love it!
    If there are any people reading my review and you are new at making caramel, I can offer this information.
    I tried making the sugar only recipe (someone else’s), and it became concrete. I found it to be too touchy for me.
    With the addition of water to the sugar in the beginning, you have it made! So easy.
    As I am dissolving the sugar and water, after a few minutes I put a drop between my fingers to make sure it’s smooth.
    In the second step, *and I make sure the cream and butter are room temp*, you just put the butter in and let it go. It will boil and become frothy. I watch the color of the foam and when it’s a deep golden color (don’t take off too soon or your caramel will be pale), on my stove around 14-15 min, that’s when you remove from the heat.
    The addition of brown vanilla gives extra color.
    I use 3/4 tsp of salt to balance the sweet.
    One recipe made 10 oz of caramel. I have filled some cute little mason jars and will give as gifts.
    Great recipe and the only one I use.

  8. Anne-Marie

    I really love this recipe. 
    I do have a question though. Can I freeze a batch of this caramel to store it longer than the month in the fridge? 

  9. MK Payne

    Have made this twice and both times turned out fantastic. Kept very well in a mason jar in the refrigerator. To reheat i found putting the mason jar in water on the stove with the lid off worked better than the microwave, not sure why.
    Thank you so much!

  10. Rachel E.

    WOW! Just made this with margarine instead of butter and used coconut cream instead of the cream for a great non-dairy substitute. It took a bit longer for the mixture to darken, actually I almost thought i had burned it but, nope added the coconut cream and viola! It’s already thickening up nicely and tastes amazing!

  11. Brittany

    This sauce is SO GOOD!! I made a batch and decided to immediately make a second because it’s sooooo good! Thank you for this recipe!

      1. Sheryll

        If I decide to double this recipe, do I need to double the water or is its purpose just to dissolve the sugar?

  12. Patricia

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I haven’t made caramel in a few years and I always found it irritating to make using the dry method so I’m glad I tried this recipe. It was so easy to make and the taste is to die for!

  13. Aoife

    Hello would this recipe be suitable to use for a salted caramel tart? I used it before but found the caramel a little funny for the tart but maybe I did but let it cool enough?

  14. Gavin Willoughby

    Hi, looking to make this receive this weekend, but what is the guidelines for storage?
    Would you recommend the fridge or just in the jar on the side? 
    How long do you think it would keep for… as I don’t want a sugar coma from eating it all in one go 🙂

    Thanks 

  15. Yisroel Tenenbaum

    Thanks Lindsay, this looks awesome!
    Does anybody think that margarine will work as a substitute for the butter? (I need a non-dairy version.)

  16. Angela

    Oh my goodness.. this caramel sauce is amazing. My better half’s daughter’s birthday is today (17) and she wanted a salted caramel cheesecake with a brownie bottom from a recipe I had found. I used the salted caramel recipe for this and the caramel is amazing… wishing I had made a double batch for some extra (and for myself lol). I will remember next time to not use a small whisk when stirring in the heavy cream… less chance of burning fingers if a bigger whisk is used. 🙂

  17. Preya

    How long will this last for in the fridge? I made a large batch but don’t need to use the rest of it for another month! Should I freeze it or can it be left in the fridge for that long?

  18. Lani

    hi! i love this caramel recipe! my only problem is that when i refrigerate it, it becomes grainy the next day…i don’t know what i am doing wrong… right after cooking it is so smooth but after a day there’s that grainy texture again….

      1. Caroline

        yip I did Lindsay, but I reboiled it the next day and it became thicker, so I think it was just not on the boil long enough at first…I was too impatient. Thanks for your response

      2. James

        Wow! This is an amazing recipe. I doubled it. It took about 30 mins to get to the right color. Can’t wait to make this one over and over again. I love that I can follow your directions and the recipes come out EVERY time!!

  19. Robin

    My caramel came out really grainy. This is the second time that’s happened. Why does this happen? Other than the taste is amazing.

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, it really shouldn’t be grainy. It sounds like the sugar might not have melted fully before you moved on to the next step. I’d be sure to check that next time and maybe lower your stove temperature a little bit. Sort of like ovens, I think stoves can run at different temperatures too. It’s best to melt the sugar over a lower heat, rather than heat it too quickly and not allow enough time for the sugar to melt. I hope that helps!

    2. David

      If your caramel is grainy, it normally means the sugar has crystallized. Adding a small amount of corn syrup or cream of tartar at the start can help prevent this. Also, brushing some water down the sides of the pan to dissolve any sugar at the edge, or putting a lid on the pot early on to create condensation on the sides of the pot can also help.

  20. Missy

    I tripled the recipe so I could use it in a brownie trifle and have leftovers for the fridge.  It took about 55 minutes to reach the color needed.  I was expecting a looonnngggg cook time since I had so much more water to evaporate.  I also threw in about 3 Tbsp of corn syrup to help with the graininess some cooks experienced.  Patience and my new LG stove ensured a good even cook without burning.  To be safe I placed my pan down in the sink when it came time to whisk in the heavy cream.   Protect your hand with a mitt—-the steam that billows up is HOT.  Did not triple the salt, just added to taste.  Great recipe.

  21. Adrienne

    This was my first attempt at making caramel for the turtle cheesecake. I didn’t even know I liked caramel, but this is delicious!! I am already wondering what else I can make that I could put this on!

  22. Danielle

    If making a large batch (for christmas gifts) do you have any suggestions? Is it ok to attempt a large batch or does the caramel have a tendency to burn in large quantities? I am hoping to make approx 30 jars, 3 oz each, so around 12 cups of caramel. Thank You!

    1. Lindsay

      I’ve honestly never made a large batch so it’s hard for me to say. I would think it might be OK but I would keep an eye on it while it’s cooking to make sure that it cooks somewhat evenly.

  23. DawnJ

    This sauce is DELIIICCIOUUUSSS!
    I just tried it and standing here licking the pan! I did half the recipe as i had just a few ounces of 3% milk and used Amaretto instead of vanilla …cannot wait for the chocolate to finish baking to have with it !🥳🥳🥳🥳

  24. J Standsblack

    Made this twice now, followed the instructions exact and slowly….within minutes it turned rock hard in my jar (ball jar that I can things in…..Might try it again, but we’ll see.

    1. Lindsay

      If you followed the instructions, I really can’t imagine why it’d be rock hard. Caramel does get hard if you don’t add the right amount of butter and cream to it. It also firms up in the fridge and just needs to be reheated. Beyond that, it shouldn’t be hard if made properly. I’m not sure what would’ve gone wrong.

      1. Farah

        I follow the recipe. But my caramel sauce turns like theres a lil bit chunks of sugar in it. Not that smooth. Its like the caramel sauce surface’s gets harden and turns into some “sugar chunks”. What did I do wrong? 
        Btw, I apologize for my bad English

    1. Cassia Martin

      Great recipe!! I once made a Carmel sauce that just didn’t taste good but this stuff was a winner!!

    2. Yvonne

      Hello.  My caramel sauce using the dry method turned out beautifully (and I am not a baker).  I was a little concerned it was not getting thick but I just turned up the heat a smidge while stirring  for another minutes and took it off the heat.  It did thicken.  I could have eaten the whole thing.  Thank you.  Looking forward to trying other recipes on your site.   Love the name of your site.  Appreciated how you explained what to look for when making this sauce.  

  25. Sumayya

    Hello
    I was wondering can you this caramel sauce to put on top of cheesecake or will it be too thin?
    Thank you
    Sumayya

      1. Alina

        My sauce is not turning copper colored, should I leave it on the burner to cook longer? Or was it because maybe the heat wasnt high enough?

  26. PAULA

    Just made this recipe, after trying the “dry” version (someone else’s dry recipe). My first attempt, with the dry, made caramel concrete!!! Wow!!!!
    Second attempt: your recipe including the water. For me, this was easier, even tho it may have taken a bit longer. Great instructions, easy to follow, and the result was actually pourable caramel!!! I put it into a mason jar to cool. Yay!! Never give up, right??!!

  27. Maria

    Made it.. I usually try the dry method and I am never happy with the results.. this method I will use forever .. it came out perfect! No more store bought caramel for me..
    Thank you so much for this recipe.

      1. Preeya

        I made this recipe exactly and firstly the colour was very light (amber instead of copper) and it was very runny. The taste was perfect though! Any tips on how to thicken it up please?

    1. Idris Bordoy

      I never try to do caramel, but looking for recipes, I found this page. And im glad to do. I try this recipe, and came out perfect. Thanks

  28. Ellie

    Hi! This recipe looks amazing and super simple! Would it change the recipe if I used half & half instead of cream?? Thanks so much!

    1. Lindsay

      Half-and-half is going to have less fat. The caramel sauce may be a little thinner, but should otherwise be fine.

  29. Yael

    Thank you for posting this method of caramel making! I was using your other recipe (dry method) and while it came out great, it did have a burnt aftertaste. I will try this method. Would love to see how you do this in a video!

  30. Sarah

    Your sauce looks sublime Lindsay! I’ve never used the wet method, but I’ve used the dry method before in a number of recipes. I adore homemade caramel, whether you pour it over ice cream, layer it in a cake, or eat it right out of the jar! Thanks for another great recipe 🙂

  31. Erin

    Mmmmmm! I lovvvve making homemade caramel sauce! The recipe I typically use uses the dry method, but I’ve made a recipe using the wet method once before as well. Your sauce looks lovely, Lindsay! 🙂

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12