Salted caramel and I are good friends. I love it in pretty much every sugary sweet dessert. It’s my favorite ice cream flavor and topping. My favorite candy is sea salt caramel. And any combination of salted caramel and dark chocolate is a hit with me.
You can imagine my excitement when I finally decided to make salted caramel from scratch. Homemade? What a concept. It’s amazing how the availability of processed and pre-made foods has shaped how most of us understand food.
Take spices for example. Most of us know that ground cinnamon comes from cinnamon sticks. But did you know that cinnamon sticks are actually the inside bark of a tree?
Or how about ground nutmeg? I wasn’t familiar with using whole nutmeg seeds when I first started baking. Now I know how easy it is to grate nutmeg, and the quality is so much better than pre-ground.
Caramel sauce has a similar problem. It’s found easily enough on grocery store shelves that the idea of making it at home doesn’t register. But caramel is literally melted sugar, cream, and butter – ingredients many bakers readily have at home. Best of all, it’s really simple to make, with no candy thermometer required. Just keep an eye on that color!
This recipe has the perfect amount of cream, butter, and sugar ratio. Certain versions call for less butter – don’t do it! Butter makes for that rich, full flavor.
Read all the steps prior to starting, as timing is key. Measure the butter and heavy cream prior to starting and let sit until they are room temperature.
The resulting sauce keeps well in the fridge for weeks and weeks. Perfect for topping off dessert, incorporating into recipes, or just enjoyed by the spoonful.
Easy Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into squares at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- Place sugar in a uniform layer in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a whisk.
- Sugar will start to clump and melt. Keep whisking until sugar is completed melted, about 8 minutes.
- As soon as all the sugar is liquid, stop whisking. Continue to cook, occasionally swirling the pan from side to side. At this step, being gentle is key to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
- Cook until the liquid reaches a dark amber brown (about 300°F), and immediately remove from heat and add in the butter. The liquid will bubble up. Whisk until smooth.
- Slowly whisk in heavy cream, stirring constantly. The mixture will bubble again. Whisk until cream is blended and smooth.
- Add in salt if desired for salted caramel.
- Allow to cool before using, about 10-15 minutes.
- Storing: Caramel sauce keeps for 3 weeks in the fridge, sealed tightly in glass jar. Allow to cool completely before capping jar.