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A jar of salted caramel sauce with sauce dripping down the side, next to a spoon.

Salted Caramel Sauce

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 1¼ cups
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


Make versatile, pourable salted caramel sauce with only 5 ingredients! This easy homemade caramel sauce is the perfect topping for all of your favorite desserts.


  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt


  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk together the sugar and water. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking until the sugar is fully dissolved into the water, do not allow it to boil until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Once dissolved, increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir, but simply give the pan a light swirl every few minutes. Use a wet pastry brush to wet down the sides of the pan if you start to see any crystals form on the side of the pan. Boil until the color turns to a medium dark amber color, and watch closely as the caramel can burn quickly.
  3. Once the desired color is reached, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously until combined. Return the sauce to the stove, cooking over medium-high heat, and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly until smooth. Boil caramel mixture for 1-2 minutes, reducing heat if it starts to bubble up high.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, butter, and salt until fully combined. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cool, about 2-3 hours. It will thicken as it cools.



  • Store leftover caramel sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • This is a thinner, pourable caramel sauce. To make it thicker, reduce the amount of heavy cream by ¼ to ⅓ cup.
  • Flavor add-ins: 1 tablespoon of good bourbon can be whisked in with the butter, salt, and vanilla at the end. Another fun addition to try is a bit of cinnamon, start with ¼ teaspoon and adjust to taste. You can use vanilla beans to flavor your caramel sauce. Just scrape the inside seeds from a split bean and whisk them into the heavy cream before adding it to the sugar mixture.
  • Use caramel sauce on desserts, with apple slices, or on waffles and pancakes. 


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 120
  • Sugar: 15.4 g
  • Sodium: 196.3 mg
  • Fat: 6.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 19.7 mg