Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce + Video

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Homemade caramel sauce with a hint of butterscotch flavor is ready in a flash. Make this no-fail recipe today with 4 simple ingredients!

titled collage for caramel sauce recipe

This easy caramel sauce is the perfect no fuss option for when your day is extra hectic. Just whisk everything together on the stove for about 5 minutes and you’re done!

Drizzle it over all kinds of sweet treats like ice cream, cheesecake, trifles, pie, and even dessert salad.

You can even use it in breakfast recipes like my caramel apple cinnamon rolls or as a dip for fruit slices, churros, graham crackers, and more!

What’s In Homemade Caramel Sauce?

  • Brown sugar – I prefer this to granulated because it’s less likely to burn, and the molasses creates an extra depth of flavor. Either light or dark should work just fine. 
  • Heavy cream – Sometimes labeled whipping cream, this can be found in the refrigerated dairy case with the milk and half and half. “Light” versions will not work with this recipe, so stick with full fat.
  • Unsalted butter – Because different brands contain different amounts of salt, stick with unsalted for a consistent flavor. If you find that the finished product is too sweet, stir in a pinch of sea salt for balance.
  • Vanilla – I use pure vanilla extract, but feel free to experiment with imitation or paste based on your flavor preferences.
homemade caramel sauce ingredients in bowls on counter

Tips and Tricks

  • Use room temperature ingredients. If you have the extra time, measure out your chilled items and let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes before getting started. 
  • Try milk instead. If you don’t want to make a special trip to the store, you can use whole milk with an extra tablespoon of butter in place of the heavy cream. It may not be quite as thick, but it will work in a pinch!
  • Not thickening? Let it cool completely before making any additions or adjustments. If it is still too thin for your liking, start a new batch with either more sugar or less cream.
brown sugar and heavy cream in saucepan

FAQ – Common Recipe Questions

Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream?

Sure! The consistency may be a bit thinner, but your easy caramel sauce should taste just as delicious.

making easy caramel sauce recipe in saucepan

How long does homemade caramel sauce last in the fridge?

Keep in an airtight jar or container and enjoy within 2 weeks for best results.

That side, we may have lost a jar or two in the back for much longer than that, and it was fine once I warmed it back up.

What if it separates after it’s been chilled?

It’s normal for it to appear a bit “chunky” after a few days – just warm it back up and give it a good stir to get it silky smooth again.

If that doesn’t work, return it to a pan on the stove and slowly heat it with a little cream or milk.

Enjoy!

homemade caramel sauce drizzing off a spoon into a jar

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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pouring thick caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream

RECIPE VIDEO

Watch the video to see how easy it is to make homemade caramel sauce!

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce + Video

Donna Elick
Homemade caramel sauce with a hint of butterscotch flavor is ready in a flash. Make this no-fail recipe today with 4 simple ingredients!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 6 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 16 makes 1 pint

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat whisking occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes, remove from heat and add vanilla.
  • Whisk to combine and return to heat for another minute until thickened.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 248cal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 16mg | Sugar: 28g | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for best caramel sauce recipe

Originally published September 2012, updated and republished August 2021

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57 Comments

    1. That would be a lot of caramel corn, but it sounds delightful. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes. Enjoy!

  1. Hi there, LOVE the recipes you post!! I was wondering if I could use full fat milk instead of the cream??? I'd love to make the sauce tonight, but can't get to the store 🙁
    xoxoxo

    1. You could absolutely swap the two. Add an extra tablespoon of butter with the milk to replace the cream. Obviously, the cream will create the best result but this substitution works in a pinch. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  2. Could you add some chocolate to the sauce to thicken it ?
    I need for fondue or will it become a ganach, which is also good 🙂

  3. I used heaving whipping cream and it didn’t thicken as much as I’d like. I plan to use some on my thumbprint cookies but this is too thin. How could I thicken it without losing too much flavor

  4. My caramel didn’t thicken as much as I wanted. How can I thicken it without loosing too much flavor. I used heavy whipping cream. I wanted to use this in my thumbprint cookies but it’s too thin. Thx

  5. I used 18% cream and it is definitely not as thick as I would like! Hopefully it thickens while cooling. Next time I will use whipping cream! Anyone tried to thicken it? If so, please share how you did it!

  6. Carmel always thickens as it cools. If ppl are finding they would like their Carmel thicker I would recommend using either more sugar or less cream. I have not tried this recipie yet (but plan to first thing in the morning) but often make Carmel with several recipies where failure is possible and probable some days and decreasing the liquid does help.

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