Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce – Best Ever

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Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (best ever) ~ Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile and ready in 15 minutes! Using the dry method utilized by chefs. | diy dessert recipeLuscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile in dessert making and ready in just 15 minutes! Recipe employs the dry method utilized by professional chefs that is easily mastered and prevents crystallization. Included are plenty of tips for success. Everyone will love  this classic caramel sauce!

Best Ever Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Calling a recipe “the best” or “best ever” in the title sounds quite lofty—that is, unless you can back it up with some serious facts as to just what makes it a total standout amongst others in the same class. But, I am here to give testament to this very fact—because, at least in my kitchen, with the recipes I have used to make Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, this one rocks for a handful of reasons but very significant ones.

The Dry Method vs. Wet Method

First, I love how this recipe does not use water. Nope. Not a single drop. This recipe relies on simply melting and caramelizing the sugar, alone, in the saucepan before whisking in the butter, cream and salt.

Caramel is essentially melted and caramelized sugar. Because sucrose (table sugar) contains water, the crystals liquefy when heated. As the liquid cooks, it will turn dark amber. In the simplest of terms, caramalization is the “browning” of sugar.

The reason I prefer this recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce using the “dry method” to others using water, or the “wet method”, is because when using water special care must be taken to prevent crystallization. This special care consists of either brushing down the sides of the saucepan with a water-doused pastry brush or using the saucepan lid as an automatic way to wash down the sides of the pan with condensation created from the trapped steam. With the pastry brush technique, there is valid concern (it happens often) of stray pastry brush bristles falling into the “soup” which can cause crystallization.

Some recipes using the wet method may call for lemon juice that aids in preventing crystallization. However, lemon certainly does add another flavor dimension that just might not sit well with the caramel purists out there. With this recipe, the saucepan lid technique and the step of brushing down the sides of the saucepan with water are completely eliminated thus rendering the process of making caramel both simple and less worrisome as to the possibility of crystallization. In addition, the dry method caramelizes the sugar faster. In my book, simple, efficient and less worry are always better when working in the kitchen.

Second, the recipe has the perfect ratio of sugar to butter and cream. The amount of salt, of course, is left up to the cook as is the option that I have included to add a splash of pure vanilla extract. This I did for all the vanilla lovers out there, like me. 😉

Finally, the process for making Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce has been broken down providing several “visual cues” as well as timing to aid the home cook in successfully replicating the recipe to both their desired depth of color and flavor for either light, medium or dark amber caramel which is my personal favorite. In addition, this recipe offers an incredible variation for Extra-Rich Salted Caramel Sauce using more butter and cream.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (best ever) ~ Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile and ready in 15 minutes! Using the dry method utilized by chefs. | diy dessert recipe

On Visual Cues & Caramel Temperatures

Cooking the caramel to 338 degrees F. will yield a light caramel. Light caramel is very sweet with only soft hints of caramel flavor. Caramel cooked to 345 degrees F. will yield a medium caramel with nice caramel flavor while cooking to 350 degrees F. will yield a pleasant but dark amber caramel with bold caramel flavor notes and less of a sweet taste. Bringing caramel to about 375 degrees F. will yield a very dark amber caramel which is used as a coloring agent for sauces. Cooking caramel to about 400 to 410 degrees F. turns the caramel black and is known as “Black Jack”. Beyond 410 degrees F., the caramel decomposes.

Quick Reference for Caramel Temperatures

338°F. – Light Caramel
345°F. – Medium Caramel
350°F. – Dark Caramel
360°F. to 375°F. – Very Dark Caramel
400°F. to 410°F. – Black Jack
Beyond 410°F. – Decomposition

Providing “visual cues” is the style of recipe writing I prefer when writing my own recipes and greatly appreciate when others do the same. In fact, when making Homemade Caramel Sauce in the past, I never used a candy thermometer to check for “doneness” at 350 degrees F. Early on, I relied solely on exceptional well-written recipes as well as sheer bravery (ha!) because at the time I just didn’t own a candy thermometer. When the mood struck to whip up my first batch of Homemade Caramel Sauce, I sprinted to the kitchen. Cravings have a way of suddenly motivating us in the kitchen, don’t they? I don’t know about you, but those cravings always get the best of me!

To this day, I prefer using my senses to know when hot caramel has reached the ideal stage of caramelization. I look for those wisps of light smoke, that classic deep reddish-brown color and then turn off the stovetop heat and count 20 to 30 seconds taking note as to the scent. Then, I whisk in the butter. This ensures that not only has the caramel reached at least 350 degrees F., but that it has gone just past it and a bit toward 360 degrees F. After making caramel a few times (practice, practice), you will master these senses for visual and olfactory (scent) “cues” and be successful making your own Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce without using a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, I thought it was high time that I settled on a standard, classic Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce here on the blog as a component for future recipes. Just wait until you see my next post using this recipe and, as promised, my recipe for Carrot Cake Jam! And, I simply cannot wait to share with you a cake recipe using this incredible sauce as well as several planned Fall recipes.

It is important to note that I have incorporated some of Chef John’s method and have provided a link to his helpful video over at AllRecipes.com. A viewing or two of this well executed video on How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce will inspire and give newbies total confidence to forge ahead to make their first batch successfully in their own kitchen.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (best ever) ~ Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile and ready in 15 minutes! Using the dry method utilized by chefs. | diy dessert recipe

What makes our recipe for Best Ever Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce wicked good?

This classic Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce is luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber in color making it full of robust caramel flavor. It has the ideal ratio of sugar to butter and cream, as well as the perfect amount of salt (you decide), making it taste much better than store bought. Plus, this recipe offers a variation for Extra-Rich Salted Caramel Sauce using more butter and cream. Our recipe provides “visual cues” as well as timing information making it easy to prepare. And, amazingly it’s ready in just 15 minutes!

Our Best Ever Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce keeps in the fridge for up to 2 to 4 weeks thus making it ideal for either large recipes or small when using it as a component. Use this incredibly versatile sauce to top your favorite desserts from crepes to fruit cobblers and crisps to apple and pumpkin desserts as well as breakfast and brunch sweets such as coffee cakes, French toast, pancakes and waffles or even for dipping fruit like apples and bananas for quick snack treats. Hot beverages, like coffee and cocoas, or frozen alcoholic drinks and ice cream sundaes, will suddenly become truly divine with its addition. Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce also makes a fabulous and thoughtful gift from the kitchen. The applications are truly endless! Yes, indeed. Our Best Ever Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce is sheer liquid velvet and is as wicked as wicked good gets!

For the salted caramel lovers in your life, whip up a batch of this liquid velvet soon. You will be so glad you did.

Bon appétit!

xo,

stacysig

 

 

 

Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (best ever) ~ Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile and ready in 15 minutes! Using the dry method utilized by chefs. | diy dessert recipe

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (best ever) ~ Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile and ready in 15 minutes! Recipe employs the dry method utilized by chefs. Everyone will love it! | diy dessert recipe

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (best ever) ~ Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile and ready in 15 minutes! Using the dry method utilized by chefs. | diy dessert recipe

 

 

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Best Ever

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Makes about 2 cups.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Best Ever

Luscious, velvety smooth, buttery rich and deep amber with the perfect amount of sea salt, our homemade salty-sweet caramel sauce is easy to prepare, much better than store bought, versatile in dessert making and ready in just 15 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated (white) sugar
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks/170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®, optional
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons (about 5 to 8 grams) fleur de sel, or favorite sea salt flakes, such as Maldon®
  • Special Equipment & Supplies
  • Large (2- to 3-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan, necessary
  • Instant read candy thermometer of good quality, helpful
  • Stainless ball whisk, helpful (or regular balloon whisk or wooden spoon)
  • Silicone (heat resistant) spatula, very helpful
  • Glass mason jars for storing caramel, helpful

Directions

Before starting, read through entire recipe and all tips (especially Important Safety Tips) in the Notes section below. Pre-measure and have all ingredients prepped (at room temperature) before starting recipe.

Place sugar in an even layer into a large (2- to 3-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat. As the sugar melts, whisk to keep the sugar from burning. Soon the sugar will begin to clump with faint glimpses of light amber liquid sugar on the bottom of the saucepan. Keep cooking and whisking in a gentle motion until the sugar is completely melted into light amber caramel, about 8 to 10 minutes. Once the sugar is completely melted, stop whisking and only swirl the caramel by carefully and gently tilting the saucepan from side-to-side. Stopping the whisking motion will keep the caramel from forming crystals (crystallizing) and seizing.

Continue to cook, without whisking, until the caramel reaches a medium amber or deep amber color (an almost dark reddish-brown), about 5 to 7 minutes depending on level of doneness, color and taste desired. Once the caramel begins to lightly smoke, the caramel can go from perfectly cooked caramel to a burnt sugary mess within seconds. Therefore, be attentive and watch very closely. An instant read thermometer should read 350°F. when the caramel is done—meaning that the sugar has reached an ideal stage of caramelization for a deep amber caramel sauce.

Once the caramel reaches dark reddish-brown in color, just about 350 degrees F., I like to turn off the heat, remove saucepan from heat and wait 20 to 30 seconds for an even darker amber caramel sauce. Immediately, but carefully, add all of the butter at once and whisk it in aggressively until fully melted and well combined. Following the addition of the butter, the caramel will bubble up fiercely. Do not worry. Just keep whisking.

Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream and, if using, the vanilla extract. Again, the caramel will bubble up fiercely due to the residual heat. Just keep whisking until the caramel is smooth and the cream is fully incorporated. Add salt and whisk until completely dissolved.

Set caramel sauce aside to cool slightly and thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes, before transferring to glass jars. Cool completely before capping jars and refrigerating.

Recipe Notes

Tips

Variation for Extra-Rich Salted Caramel Sauce: Increase unsalted butter to 2 sticks (226 grams) and cream to 2 cups (480 ml). Begin recipe by melting the butter in 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, adding the sugar and stirring until sugar has dissolved and caramelization has started. From there, continue with recipe as written and add cream, vanilla and salt as directed.

Important Safety Tips: Keep a bowl of ice water near the cooktop or make sure you have easy access to cold running tap water. Caramel is extremely hot at 350 degrees F. (versus 212 degrees F. for boiling water) and will burn the skin should it come into contact. Always use reliable oven mitts when handling the saucepan to prevent burns. Keep head away from the boiling caramel to protect your face and eyes from any splatter. Be very careful when adding ingredients, especially liquid, to hot caramel. Slowly pour liquids into the saucepan to minimize or prevent splatter.

Pre-measure and have all ingredients prepped (at room temperature) before starting recipe. There is a fine line between beautiful deep amber caramel and a burnt sugar mess. Since sugar caramelizes rapidly, it is essential to have ingredients nearby and at the ready to be used at the precise moment they are needed.

Use refined white sugar when making caramel. (I prefer using white granulated cane sugar versus beet sugar.) When I bake, however, I prefer using organic granulated cane sugar. This type of sugar may contain tiny impurities, like molasses coatings as for making brown sugar, or other impurities found in such unrefined sugars. These tiny impurities will most likely prevent smooth caramelization from happening. What will result is an undesirable grainy texture to the caramel versus a silky smooth one.

Before starting, ensure that all utensils, including the saucepan and candy thermometer, are very clean. Again, any impurities (debris or food residue) can seize caramel into an unworkable crystallized mess.

It is extremely important to use a large (2- to 3-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan when making Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce because the hot caramel will bubble up fiercely when the butter and caramel are added. Essentially, use a much larger saucepan than you think you will need.

By using the proper size pan it will prevent the hot caramel from bubbling over and using a heavy-bottomed pan, versus a thin or lightweight pan, the cooking surface will be even versus uneven which can cause hotspots that can easily burn the caramel into an unworkable mess.

A fine-quality instant read candy thermometer is highly recommended when making Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce for the first time.

Once the sugar is completely melted, do not whisk until the butter and cream are added. This will prevent the caramel from forming crystals (crystallizing) and seizing. Simply swirl the caramel by carefully and gently tilting the saucepan. Again, always use reliable oven mitts when handling the saucepan to prevent burns.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 4 weeks. Reheat before serving.

To Reheat Caramel: Heat in microwave using short 5-second bursts, stirring in between. Alternatively, reheat in saucepan over medium-low heat stirring often.

Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
Partial Method Adapted From: Chef John via AllRecipes.com
Extra-Rich Salted Caramel Sauce Variation Adapted From: Rich Caramel Sauce in Room For Dessert (1999) by David Lebovitz.

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/homemade-salted-caramel-sauce-best-ever/

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. This looks divine! I can’t bring myself to buy sauces at the grocery store – not when they are so easy to make (not to mention highly adaptable). This sounds like a winner, and might need to be prepared this week!
    movita beaucoup recently posted…swiss meringue buttercream {easter cake}My Profile

    • Thank you! I agree with you…so much easier to make and enjoy at home. Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous week!

  2. What a gorgeous caramel sauce, Stacy. I love that you used the dry method…it seems much more pure that way! And thanks for including the very helpful temperature reference! Thanks for sharing! xo
    Jenn @ Once Upon a Tier recently posted…The Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Cake {Recipe}My Profile

    • Thank you, Jenn! I agree with you…the dry method of making homemade caramel sauce does seem more pure. Thanks for stopping by! xo

  3. There’s nothing quite like homemade caramel – your sauce looks divine!
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted…cinnamon raisin twistsMy Profile

  4. Stacy, this looks amazing! I love making my own sauces and this one is going on my list for sure.
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg recently posted…Crunchy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Tzatziki SauceMy Profile

    • Thank you, Norma. You will enjoy this recipe and I hope you will try it soon. So easy and truly luscious. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I don’t know how I missed this post yesterday, but the important thing is that I’m seeing it now! I love your detailed instructions and explanations here, Stacy. So true about the wet pastry brush and lemon juice that you need when using water. I have tried the dry method though I’ve only done it once and I wasn’t making a sauce. This sauce looks divine, and it’s nice and dark the way I love it most. Thanks for sharing this great recipe, and it’s definitely a pinner!
    marcie recently posted…Butternut Squash, Leek, and Gruyere GaletteMy Profile

    • Thank you, Marcie! I’m so glad you stopped by today and saw this recipe. This post was certainly comprehensive and took a while to write, but I enjoy those challenges and like to provide helpful information to those who are new to a process in the kitchen. And, oh…I bet I know exactly what you were making when you were making your “dry method” caramel! Was it in cooking school for spun sugar or for a bird cage or nest? 😉 Thanks for dropping by and for pinning, my friend!

  6. Oh my goodness, I love salted caramel and your homemade version looks amazing Stacy!!! The color is gorgeous and thanks for sharing another winner – I always appreciate all of your wonderful instructions and explanations 🙂 Pinning 🙂

    • Thank you, Kelly! My pleasure. I’m glad you like this recipe for salted caramel sauce. It really is simple to make once you know what to expect with those “visual cues” and practice, practice to learn and memorize that phenomenal scent when the caramel is ready to stop further cooking by adding the butter and cream. Thanks for dropping by and for the pin, my friend! 🙂

  7. I LOVE Chef John…he cracks me up! What a wonderful detailed post! I prefer caramel made via the Dry Method too! I’ll have to try your recipe next time because I have a serious salted caramel problem. It’s becoming an issue…
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking recently posted…Quadruple Chocolate Pudding CookiesMy Profile

    • Oh, that Chef John! He seems like such a doll and I love his sense of humor, too. You know it. That “dry method” totally rocks. For me, it is the best (read: only) way to make caramel. Salted Caramel Sauce is an incredibly serious problem at our house right now! It gets worse when I whip it into my Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe. Mmmm. I could eat it like ice cream when chilled! Help. Me. 😉 Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  8. Oh my gosh, come to me you gorgeous caramel sauce, you. Just love how golden and rich this caramel sauce looks, Stacy! And you make your caramel sauce very similar to how I make mine! Awesome. 🙂
    Sarah@WholeAndHeavenlyOven recently posted…Whole-Grain Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola BarsMy Profile

  9. Cant wait to make me some of this delicious goodness! looks so divine! yum!
    Ana McLeod recently posted…Silver Beaded Necklace, Statement Necklace, Bib Necklace by DevineEssenceMy Profile

  10. So this is AS GOOD as billed! I do have a tip though: I normally melt sugar in a smaller saucepan. I used a big Le Cruset cast iron/enamled casserole type pot with a thick bottom to hold the heat. Right about bigger than you think! So using such a heavy pan, once the sugar melted I couldn’t keep it from boiling, just taking it off the burner didn’t cool down the sugar fast enough. If you use a heavy pot like this, my suggestion is to melt the sugar slowly and use the lowest setting/flame you can. This will give you more control and prevent it from getting too hot.
    My second batch I turned the heat way down and it came out PERFECT!

    • Thank you, Robin! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe and stopped by to share your experience and tips with me and fellow readers. I agree with you…a lower cooking temperature definitely provides more control — especially if you are using a heavy saucepan like enameled cast iron (such as Le Creuset) which conducts and retains heat so well. No matter the method and level of heat, those tell-tale signs will always be there at the proper moment of the desired level of caramelization. Once again, Robin, thank you for dropping by and for sharing your tips!

  11. Awesome detailed instructions – I love caramel and I want to make it more at home!
    Shikha @ Shikha la mode recently posted…Weekend E.A.T. – Follow Your DreamsMy Profile

  12. Hello Stacy,
    Do you know if you process the jars of caramel as you would jam in boiling water, would they keep longer than 2-4 weeks? Or do you think that would alter the flavor? Thank you!

    • Hi there, Cara!

      Thank you for writing. To answer your question… There is a very big reason why you will not find recipes to can or preserve homemade caramel or fudge sauces. Canning and preserving with hot water baths requires high acidic foods. Pressure canning is for low acidic foods. However, homemade salted caramel and chocolate fudge sauces contain dairy. For this reason alone, canning using a hot water bath or by pressure is not recommended.

      On the positive side, since there is plenty of sugar used in making homemade caramel and fudge sauces, the sauces are essentially preserved—albeit for a short period of time and require refrigeration.

      If you plan on making homemade caramel or fudge sauces for holiday gift giving, I would go ahead and do so but would definitely use sterilized jars and lids and then make labels for the jars (for food safety reasons) stating the ingredients list (for diet and food allergy reasons), storage directions and the date made. By storage directions, I mean to plainly (in large print) state the following, “Refrigeration required before opening. Will keep for up to 2 weeks refrigerated. Best if used within 14 days of date made.”

      Here is a link to an article, Canning Chocolate Sauces Unsafe, from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. As you will see, the article states, “Chocolate sauces are low acid recipes and are a risk for botulism food poisoning.” This confirms what I stated above.

      Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. 🙂

      Happy Holidays!

      ~Stacy

  13. M Thompson says:

    Hi – thought I would make this for my husband’s Christmas pumpkin cheesecake and maybe give some to a few friends. Do you know how much I should be prepared for according to the recipe posted? Want to make sure I have jars to hold it all.
    Thanks!

    • Hi there, M!

      Thank you for writing. OK, I think I know what you are asking. 🙂

      Since the recipe makes 2 cups of Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, you will need to consult your recipe to find out how much you will be using for your pumpkin cheesecake by either swirling it into the batter before baking and/or to serve on the side. Once you know how much you need for the cheesecake, any leftover caramel can be placed in a small jar for gift giving.

      Then, you need to figure out how many gifts of caramel sauce you would like to prepare and for how many people. If it is more than one person, or several, you will need to make more batches of caramel. Since each batch of caramel sauce yields 2 cups (or 16 ounces), you will need two 8-ounce/half pint jars per batch. Essentially, each batch of caramel sauce will yield two 8-ounce/half pint jars for holiday gift giving.

      Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. And, I hope your husband enjoys your pumpkin cheesecake with homemade salted caramel! It sounds divine.

      Happy Holidays!

      ~Stacy

  14. Thanks for the detail! I’ve never made a sauce before and am going to give it a try. When do you attach the candy thermometer to the pan? I am seriously new to this. 🙂

    • Hi there, Wendy! Thank you for writing and my pleasure. I’m glad you appreciate the detail in this post and recipe. The reason why I did not state when to attach the candy thermometer is because I called for an instant read thermometer. I’m glad you wrote because I can update the recipe to accommodate a clip on candy thermometer. To answer your question, the best time to carefully attach the candy thermometer is after all of the sugar has melted and is turning light amber in color, about 8 to 10 minutes into cooking. Since you are new to making homemade caramel, be sure to read the recipe thoroughly, especially the safety tips, and have all of your ingredients and supplies at the ready. Don’t forget to use your senses along with your thermometer. Some thermometers are not reliable and you could burn your caramel. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Thanks again for writing and good luck with your homemade caramel! And… Happy Holidays!

    • So… didnt turn out as a sauce. It turned into a solid block of caramel once I added the cream and vanilla. I had to toss my whisk because I couldnt clean off the caramel -LOL! Oh well. I’ll try again. What do you think I did wrong? I stopped whisking once the sugar melted and took it off the heat once it reached 350*.

      • Oh no, Wendy! I am so sorry to hear that your first batch of Homemade Salted Caramel sauce didn’t go well. This can happen sometimes when sugar crystallizes and turns into a hot mess. The sugar must be completely melted and, at that point, there should be absolutely NO further stirring. Perhaps you stirred a little bit longer? (The stirring motion is what causes crystals to start clinging to each other, in a chain-like way, until all the sugar re-crystallizes.) The stirring in the beginning should be gentle, just to prevent the melting sugar from burning. Perhaps next time you can try using a wooden spoon versus a whisk. Also, try 100% pure cane sugar (vs. beet sugar) because, in my opinion, it caramelizes better. But, don’t toss out that whisk! 😉 All it needs is a very hot and perhaps long soak in water. Eventually, all the caramel melts away and your whisk will be as good as new. I am always amazed by this because the hardened goop looks impossible to remove and permanently anodized on! Don’t give up. Making a successful batch of homemade caramel sauce does take practice. It is definitely a learned kitchen skill. Thank you for writing and good luck with your next go. Once again… Happy Holidays!

  15. Would I be able to use brown sugar for this recipe and how can I tell if the sugar is melted enough and ready for butter and cream with brown sugar? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Melanie! Thank you for writing. No, I would not use brown sugar in this recipe as it is not necessary. In fact, since there is molasses in brown sugar, it may impede a good caramelization and could be grainy due to crystallization. A good quality pure cane sugar works best. There is a reason it is called for in caramel recipes because impurities can hamper caramelization. Thanks again for writing and have fun making your homemade caramel sauce!

  16. Looks wonderful. Can u use this caramel sauce to coat a pan when making creme caramel or flan.

    • Hi, Marie! Thank you for writing with your question. All of the recipes I have used to make flan traditionally consist of making a caramel, to deep amber stage, of just sugar and water to coat the ramekins or custard cups for an easy release and scrumptious caramel sauce. I have never tried a homemade or prepared caramel sauce with fats added, with whipping cream and butter, to make flan. However, without hesitation, I would definitely add our Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce to Panna Cotta or serve it on top. 🙂 Thanks again for writing and I’m sorry that I couldn’t give you a better answer, Marie. Happy flan and custard making!

  17. Can half and half be used instead of the heavy cream?

    • Hi there, Beth! Thank you for writing with such a good question. Yes, you may substitute half and half for the heavy cream called for in this recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce. It’s amazing, but true. In fact, some recipes for Caramel Sauce call for half and half cream. However, due to the lower fat content in half and half, at only 12 percent fat versus 38 percent fat, there will be a very slight difference in the texture or mouthfeel. This, of course, isn’t the case when substituting half and half for heavy cream when making whipped cream. For this recipe, simply substitute an equal amount and you will be just fine. 🙂 Thanks again for writing with such a good question. Happy Holidays!

  18. Hi Stacy. Thank you so much for this recipe. My sauce turned out beautifully! Going to be serving it to my family tomorrow with baked cheesecake 🙂

    • Thank you for writing, Emily! My pleasure. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce really is pretty simple to make once you are armed with a good recipe, information and great visual cues to then trust your own instincts in the kitchen. Your cheesecake sounds divine! 🙂 Thanks again for dropping by and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  19. I made this to pour over some homemade icecream with a spiced apple pie and it seriously was the best part of the whole thing. I can’t get over how perfect and delicious it is. Thank you lady x
    Ruby & Cake recently posted…June’s Christmas CakeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Ruby! My pleasure. I’m thrilled to know that you enjoyed my recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce. It is truly divine and now you have me craving homemade apple pie a la mode with this special sauce on top! May have to make it for the perfect New Year’s Day dessert. Thanks for dropping by and happy holidays!

  20. Clayre Coroneos says:

    This sauce is just out of this world. Just delicious. This the first time I made salted caramel sauce and I google and found the best recipee. Made it for Christmas to serve with the Chrismas pudding and just perfect with added ice cream and whipped cream. Forgot to add the vanilla but was still delicious. Thank you.

    • Hi there, Clayre! Thank you for writing. My pleasure. I am thrilled to know that you enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce. I swear by this recipe and I agree … it is delicious with or without the vanilla. Thanks again for dropping by and Happy New Year!

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  1. […] Caramel (adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen) 400g white (granulated) sugar 170g butter 250ml thickened (heavy) cream 1/2 tsp vanilla 5 tsp […]

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