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Caramel Sauce

close up shot of Caramel Sauce in a jar with a spoonful of sauce being scooped out of the jar
Make your own caramel sauce at home and drizzle it over top of your favorite desserts and creamy ice cream.
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Table of Contents
  1. CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CARAMEL SAUCE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This homemade caramel sauce recipe makes the perfect topping for your creamy ice cream sundaes. The ooey-gooey sauce has a sweet caramel flavor and beautiful amber color that you will love to drizzle on your sweet treats.

We also can help you out with our hot fudge sauce and toffee sauce. Both are easy recipes and taste absolutely divine drizzled on top of your favorite confections.

CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

SALT: You can add a large pinch of sea salt flakes for perfect salted caramel sauce. Salted butter will also add a bit of a different flavor to the caramel and can be substituted for the unsalted butter.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS CARAMEL SAUCE RECIPE

STEP ONE: In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until combined.

STEP TWO: Place saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. During this time, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to ensure that the sugar dissolves evenly and completely as it heats.

STEP THREE: Use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pot, making sure that no sugar crystals remain stuck to the pan above the line of the mixture.  

PRO TIP:

Washing down the sides of the pan and avoiding agitation once the caramelization process begins are helpful steps to avoid a grainy caramel. The corn syrup also aids in preventing grainy caramel. 

STEP FOUR: Once the mixture comes to a simmer and the pan has been washed down, do not stir any longer.

STEP FIVE: Place a candy thermometer in the melted sugar mixture and monitor it as it heats until the color turns amber and the candy thermometer has reached about 355 to 360°F. 

PRO TIP:

Medium caramel comes from a medium amber color at 355-360°F, and dark caramel comes from a deeper amber color heating to 375-380°F. Pay close attention, once the sugar begins to caramelize (change color), the temperature can increase quickly and burn.  

STEP SIX: Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and slowly stir in the cream, taking care as the mixture will splatter.

STEP SEVEN: Stir in the vanilla extract and then the pieces of butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.

STEP EIGHT: Cool the hot caramel to room temperature.

PRO TIP:

The caramel sauce might thicken as it cools. Once it is completely cool, if it is too thick to pour smoothly, it can be reheated for 10 to 15 seconds at a time in the microwave to make it more pourable.

HOW TO SERVE

There are so many ways you can enjoy this easy caramel sauce recipe. Drizzle over our no-churn vanilla ice cream or on top of your favorite apple pie recipe. It would also be perfect for pouring over the top of our apple enchiladas or for dipping our apple fries.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: Store this easy sauce in an airtight container or a mason jar with a lid. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze this creamy caramel sauce recipe in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.

Simple ingredients make this delicious caramel sauce a snap to whip up. It’s creamy and a beautiful amber color that will make all of your favorite desserts extra decadent.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is my caramel sauce grainy?

When sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan before they’re completely dissolved, they can crystalize and fall back into the caramel mixture, causing it to be grainy. To prevent this, take great care to be sure the sugar is dissolved and that you wash down the sides of the pan.

How long will this homemade caramel recipe last?

This simple caramel sauce can be kept in the fridge in a glass jar or airtight container for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.

Q: Could I use regular milk instead of heavy cream?

We have not tried this, but I think this would work fine. Your caramel sauce may be ever so slightly less creamy but still delicious.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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close up shot of Caramel Sauce in a jar with a spoonful of sauce being scooped out of the jar

Caramel Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Make your own caramel sauce at home and drizzle it over top of your favorite desserts and creamy ice cream.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cut into pieces

Instructions
 

  • In a heavy saucepan, stir together granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until combined.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. During this time, stir the mixture to ensure that the sugar dissolves evenly and completely as it heats.
  • Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down the sides of the pan, making sure that no sugar crystals remain stuck to the pan above the line of the mixture.
  • Once the mixture comes to a simmer and the pan has been washed down, do not stir any longer.
  • Place a candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and monitor it as it heats until the color turns amber and the candy thermometer has reached about 355-360°F.
  • Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and slowly stir in the cream, taking care as the mixture will splatter.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and then the pieces of butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.
  • Cool to room temperature.

Notes

PRO TIP: Washing down the sides of the pan and avoiding agitation once the caramelization process begins are helpful steps to avoid a grainy caramel. The corn syrup also aids in preventing grainy caramel. 
 
PRO TIP: Medium caramel comes from a medium amber color at 355 to 360°F, and dark caramel comes from a deeper amber color heating to 375 to 380°F. Pay close attention, once the sugar begins to caramelize (change color), the temperature can increase quickly and burn.  
 
PRO TIP: The caramel sauce might thicken as it cools. Once it is completely cool, if it is too thick to pour smoothly, it can be reheated for 10 to 15 seconds at a time in the microwave to make it more pourable.

Nutrition

Calories: 3319kcal | Carbohydrates: 441g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 180g | Saturated Fat: 113g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 49g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 570mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 220mg | Sugar: 434g | Vitamin A: 6335IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 1mg
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