Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (2024)

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (1)

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This caramel sauce recipe is so simple, you’ll never want store-bought again! There are only 5 all-natural ingredients that all go into the pot at once and then you whisk until it’s thickened to your liking. How easy is that?! You’ll learn how to make caramel sauce in no time!

I’ve been disappointed many times looking for caramel that didn’t have high fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors and flavors, or other ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. It’s crazy! This caramel recipe is not just easy, but it tastes amazing. Nothing beats homemade caramel sauce!

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (2)

I learned how to make caramel sauce from Pioneer Woman years ago and have been making this salted version ever since!The little bit of salt in this recipe balances the flavors perfectly so don’t skip it! There’s a reason why salted caramel is “a thing.”

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar, packed
4 Tbsp unsalted butter*
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup half and half (or use equal parts heavy cream and milk)
1 Tbsp real vanilla extract

*If using salted butter, cut the salt to 1/2 tsp or add it to taste.

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (3)

To make the Easiest Salted Caramel Sauce:

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly or until thickened and no longer watery (6-9 minutes). Keep in mind it thickens more as it cools.

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (4)

P.S. That’s homemade vanilla extract you see up there. You only need to ingredients for it – so easy! It also makes for a great homemade gift!

Can I Make Caramel Sauce Ahead?

Homemade caramel sauce can easily be made ahead and we love keeping a jar in the refrigerator. Caramel sauce is great served warm, at room temperature or chilled with refrigeration. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. You can warm it slightly to make it more drizzle-able.

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (5)

P.S. Be careful with the sampling – It’s easy to get carried away!

What Causes Caramel Sauce to be Grainy?

Sugar crystallization can cause a grainy caramel sauce giving your caramel sauce a rough consistency. To prevent this, use a pastry brush moistened with water to brush down the sides of your saucepan if any sugar is present on the sides of the pan. Also, avoid any ingredient substitutions.

To Fix a Grainy Caramel Sauce:

To fix a caramel that separates or a grainy caramel sauce, you want to add a little water (1 to 2 Tbsp), bring it to a boil, and re-dissolve the crystalized sugar. Once it’s smooth again, remove it from heat.

⬇Print-Friendly Caramel Sauce Recipe:

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe

4.94 from 363 votes

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (7)

Homemade caramel sauce is so simple, you'll never want store-bought again! Easy 1-step, 5-ingredient salted caramel sauce recipe.


Prep Time: 2 minutes mins

Cook Time: 8 minutes mins

Total Time: 10 minutes mins


Servings: 16 Tbsp (makes 1 cup caramel sauce)

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, *
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup half and half, or use equal parts heavy cream and milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract


  • Combine all ingredients in a small/medium saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly or until thickened and no longer watery (6-9 min). Keep in mind it thickens more as it cools. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. You can re-warm it slightly to make it more drizzle-able.

Nutrition Per Serving

89kcal Calories13g Carbs3g Fat2g Saturated Fat10mg Cholesterol152mg Sodium28mg Potassium13g Sugar115IU Vitamin A0.1mg Vitamin C20mg Calcium0.1mg Iron

  • Full Nutrition Label
  • Nutrition Disclosure

Nutrition Facts

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe

Amount per Serving



% Daily Value*






Saturated Fat




























Vitamin A





Vitamin C














* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Condiments, Sauce

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Caramel Sauce

Skill Level: Easy

Cost to Make: $

Calories: 89

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (8)

We love this homemade caramel sauce over our pumpkin cheesecake, vanilla ice cream, over baked apples, and the mini cheesecakes I will post later this week, and everything we can possibly put caramel over ;).

Natasha Kravchuk

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (9)

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe (2024)


How is caramel sauce made from scratch? ›

Combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and bring ingredients to a boil. Remove thickened mixture from heat before adding (optional) vanilla extract. Let the caramel cool slightly before using. The result is an impossibly rich sauce that is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Can I use milk instead of cream for caramel? ›

You can use whole milk, almond milk, or evaporated milk in place of heavy cream. You'll need to cook it for a couple more minutes longer after you add it so it can thicken up a bit. Try adding vanilla extract to your caramel sauce for a boosted flavor.

What can I use instead of heavy cream for caramel sauce? ›

Regardless of what you're making, the following are the best heavy cream substitutes for cooking, baking, or whipping into dessert.
  • Half-and-half + butter. ...
  • Milk + butter. ...
  • Coconut cream. ...
  • Milk + cornstarch. ...
  • Greek yogurt + milk. ...
  • Alt milk + oil. ...
  • Heavy cream powder.
May 25, 2022

What are the two methods for making caramel? ›

Wet caramel is made by combining sugar and a liquid and cooking them together, while dry caramel is made from just sugar, heated in a dry pan until it liquefies and browns.

What is homemade caramel made of? ›

Never leave your caramel sauce unattended: To make caramel sauce you essentially toast white sugar until it's melted, before adding in butter, cream, and salt. Your sugar can go from toasty to burnt pretty quickly though, so make sure you keep a close eye on it! Don't forget the salt!

Does boiling a can of condensed milk turn into caramel? ›

This is a simple baking hack to create 'Carmel in a Can' (Dulce De Leche). It comes together super easy, all you need to do is take the label off a can of condensed milk, fire it into boiling water for about 3 hours (make sure it's fully under the water) and boom, it's ready to go.

Why does condensed milk turn into caramel? ›

When you add heat to your ingredients, they undergo a chemical reaction known as the “Maillard reaction.” This means that the sugar is cooked to the proper moisture level and caramelization occurs. You know when this happens as the mixture changes colour to a rich brown.

Why is my homemade caramel sauce not thickening? ›

Most caramel sauces are made by caramelizing sugar and adding milk and a little salt. If you increase the amount of sugar in the recipe you'll end up with a thicker caramel. Try increasing the sugar by about 1/3.

Is evaporated milk the same as heavy cream? ›

Evaporated Milk – With a similar consistency, you can use a 1-to-1 swap of evaporated milk for heavy cream in most sweet and savory dishes. Its flavor is richer with unique caramelized tones and is not a lower-fat option, but evaporated milk makes do in a pinch.

Why is my homemade caramel sauce bitter? ›

Overheating the mixture

Once it gets a burnt or bitter flavor, it can't be saved. Luckily, sugar is inexpensive, so you can always start over!

Why do you put vinegar in caramel? ›

Add acid. Acid ingredients (like vinegar or lemon juice) can help prevent re-crystallization which causes caramel to become grainy. Acid physically breaks the bonds between the glucose and fructose molecules that form sucrose and ensure that it stays apart.

Is caramel just sugar and water? ›

According to Fine Cooking, caramel can be made using either a dry or wet method: Dry: White granulated sugar is placed over a medium-high heat and cooked until it turns liquid and becomes golden brown. Wet: Water is added to the pan, which allows the sugar to cook longer and develop better flavors.

How was caramel originally made? ›

Most believe caramel was created more than 1,020 years ago in 1000 AD by Arabs mixing sugar and water to create a crystallized liquid. Funny enough, the original caramel was not believed to be enjoyed as a sweet treat but rather used as a beauty product.

Is caramel made from butter and sugar? ›

Ok you may not have known this but, ~newsflash~ caramel is literally just cooked sugar with a little bit of butter (for stability) and heavy cream (for flavor & mouthfeel) stirred in at the end. The longest (and “hardest”) part of making caramel is just toasting and melting down the sugar at the very beginning.


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