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This quick and easy recipe for salted caramel sauce only has 4 ingredients, and is ready in less than 15 minutes. Perfect for topping ice cream, mixing into brownies, or drizzling on top of your favorite fall desserts.
Are you as afraid to tackle making caramel sauce as I was? I mean, I’ve attempted it in the past and it turned into a kitchen nightmare. Burned sugar and ick all over what was once my shiny stainless steel sauce pan. Days of soaking and plenty of elbow grease later, I was terrified of screwing it up again. Really, I was. I’m a pretty good cook, but making something that requires boiling down the stickiest stuff on earth? Not a good idea. Especially with 3 kids and a dog underfoot.
But, I got a few minutes in the kitchen to myself the other day. How that actually became possible still remains a mystery. But, I did. And I made the easiest, best tasting caramel sauce in the history of caramel sauces. Seriously….
The absolute perfect blend of salty and sweet this caramel sauce is to die for. I made it a few times to make sure and I’m happy to report, the results are still amazing. In fact, I think I could actually make it with my kids and dog underfoot. But, for now, I’ll continue making it when they’re all sleeping so I can let it cool down and lick the spoon. I mean, you make this kinda stuff when they’re wide awake and running, they’re going to eat it all before you even get a taste.
Except the dog… well, he would gladly lick every last drop of this gooey sticky deliciousness right out of the jar. But, I’m not going to let him. He can go out and chase the chickens or something.
This salted caramel sauce is perfect for topping your ice cream, cheesecakes, apples, and drizzling into your coffee. I can guarantee it will not disappoint. It’s smooth, rich, gooey, and the sea salt adds the best ratio of salty to this sweet, decadent sauce. You’re going to want to make it again and again and find new, delicious ways to utilize it. I can promise you, it won’t last long.
How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce
First, I’d like to share a few tips I’ve learned since my disaster in the kitchen days are (hopefully) long gone.
1. Do not leave this unattended. Not even for a second. It’s best to make when you’re free of distractions. Throw the dog out to chase the chickens and stick the kids with your husband (or wait until they’re in bed). A couple of seconds can turn it from dreamy to burnt to a crisp nasty.
2. Ditch the thermometer. Seriously, it is completely unnecessary for this recipe. In fact, it’s probably going to be more of a hindrance than a help. Just let your eyes and nose do the judging for you. Less worry, less tools, equals better caramel sauce.
3. Make sure you have everything ready and at room temp. You don’t want to add cold ingredients to the hot sugar. It will make the entire production turn into a mess that you may or may not be able to come back from. And I can promise you, it will not make caramel sauce. A burnt rock reminiscent of grandma’s meatloaf being left in the oven for far too long is more on par.
4. There is some wiggle room with how dark you allow the sugar to get. The lighter it is, the less rich and lighter your sauce will be. If you let it get very dark, the taste and consistency will reflect it. I like my caramel somewhere in the middle of those two. A medium amber color is perfect for me. Some like it lighter, some darker. Play with it, don’t be afraid, but don’t let it burn. If your kitchen fills with smells of burnt sugar… try again.
5. Use a big pan. I use my 2 or 2.5 quart pan when I make this despite the fact it doesn’t yield near that amount of sauce. When you add your butter to the sugar, it will bubble. And if your pan is too small, it will bubble over and get all over your stove, make a massive mess that is incredibly difficult to clean and you will curse yourself and your cooking utensils while you use much more elbow grease than you ever thought imaginable. Save yourself the headache and just use the bigger pan.
6. Once you have your butter and cream mixed in, you’re going to want to immediately add your salt. If you wait, it will not mix into the sauce as well. Do it immediately or have clumps of salt with a hint of caramel and clumps of caramel without salt. Note that you can omit the salt from the recipe entirely, but if you do you may be a little weird because salted caramel is amazing… caramel by itself is just meh. But, I won’t judge… you do your thing.
7. Allow the sauce to cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring it into jars. Once the jars of sauce have cooled to room temp, you can put it in the fridge where it will keep up to a month.
8. Enjoy this stuff on everything. Seriously, salted caramel sauce makes everything taste better. Well… not everything, but you get my drift.