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


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

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.


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


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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!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 16 makes 1 pint


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


  • 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!



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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Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.


  1. pouring this amazing caramel sauce over peach cobbler pound cake sounds unreal! I love how easy making caramel sauce is… I never knew it until earlier this past year! Yours looks amazing, Donna!

  2. OMG! Thank you for this recipe! It seems so easy, yet so homemade. I love you. Yes, I just said that….

  3. I had the most heavenly salted caramel over bacon gelato this summer and want to try replicating it. I'll start with this as a base and go from there, thanks!

  4. That sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday. Please link back to us and come back Sunday to vote.

  5. I think everyone should have a jar of carmel in the refigerator. There are so many things you could use it for. I think just eating it off the spoon would be a great idea!

  6. Making this tonight… I only have whipping cream so hoping that it will work… Tasted good as it was being made… Just waiting for it to cool down a bit and then going to drizzle it over the apple crumble crostatas I just made. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday (otherwise I would have just used store-bought :))

  7. EASY, I love it! My name is Cindy and I blog over at Vegetarianmamma.com I wanted to invite you to link up your recipe at our Gluten Free Fridays Recipe Link up party! It happens every Friday and we'd love to have you join us with some of your awesome recipes! You can find this week's link up here: http://vegetarianmamma.com/glutenfree-fridays-recipe-party-4/ It doesn't mean that you have to be a gluten free bloggers. If you have some recipes on your blog that are gluten free that counts! ๐Ÿ™‚ Many recipes are naturally gluten free.
    Thanks, Cindy ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The proper answer would be 2 weeks.

      However, I can tell you I have had mine in the fridge for many weeks longer than that (it got lost in the back). I pulled it out and warmed it up and it was perfect.

  8. Ok. Thanks! Another question for you: did your caramel separate after you put it in the fridge?? Wondering if that's normal. (Of course I'd be the one to fail a no fail recipe ha ha.) I'm scheming lots of uses for this sauce!

    1. My did not separate, but it did get kind of 'chunky'. I just warmed it up and stirred it and it was lovely again. If that doesn't work, try returning it to the pan and slowly warming with a little cream or milk. Hope that helps. Donna

    1. I have not tried half and half. I believe it would be a perfect substitution. Hope that helps!


    2. just got through making the carmel with the half and half , it is delicious!!! so easy to make, and it has to be the best carmel i have ever tasted!!!and the easiest!! thanks for the receipe!!!

  9. I try the carmel sauce and My family really like Apply Pie with carmel sauce and Ice cream was outstanding

  10. Is this something that could be done with some proper canning may be able to hold for a bit longer, or would the heavy cream prevent that? I'd kind of like to make some of these as Christmas gifts, but they obviously wouldn't be held in the fridge!

  11. I'd like to know about the canning process to. I'd love to put this up and give for Christmas gifts but will the heavy cream keep if not refrigerated?? Thank you!!

  12. I'd like to know about the canning process to. I'd love to put this up and give for Christmas gifts but will the heavy cream keep if not refrigerated?? Thank you!!

    1. I am not aware of a way to can this. The heavy cream and butter are not shelf stable, to my knowledge. I personally keep mine in the fridge, but they would still make a great gift! Enjoy.

    2. Pressure canner would be fine. Anything not shelf stable can be canned in a pressure canner. Follow suggested directions, about 20 min on whatever pounds you use

    3. Pressure canner would be fine. Anything not shelf stable can be canned in a pressure canner. Follow suggested directions, about 20 min on whatever pounds you use

    4. Pressure canner, 25 min at whatever pounds you use most often. If it can make meat shelf stable it shouldn't go bad. The other to make a no fail sauce, and I haven't done it, involves a can of condensed milk. That's already shelf stable as well

    1. I created this with pure vanilla. I am not sure how you could tone down the sweetness to suit your tastes, caramel sauce is pure sugar with cream added. I would use it in small doses. Enjoy!

  13. would this be to runny to use to make chocolate caramels? and if it could be used, would them have to be refrigerated? thinking of Christmas gifts ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I made it with dark brown sugar and it was awesome! I made it with the light brown sugar but used fat free cream – no no don't do that! Didn't work, turned out awful!
      But the dark brown sugar and heavy (with fat) cream was wonderful. We gobbler it up on ice cream.

    1. It is sold as heavy whipping cream sometimes. It can be found in the dairy section near the milk and half and half. Enjoy!

  14. I have checked and rechecked the recipe as it's been cooking for over half hour and it has NOT thickened. The only different ingredient was half and half cream. Will try thickening with c/starch…could it me altitude as I live at sea level? Enjoy this site very much! Thanks

    1. Odd that is has not thickened. I would let it cool and see if it thickens before adding the corn starch. I have not had any problems with it, perhaps it is the half and half that is the problem. Let us know how it goes and email us if you need more assistance. donna {at} tsrifood {dot} com

  15. Have you tried cooking longer to make caramel candy? I think I may try that. We made soft caramel candies before but did not quite like the recipe. I like the idea of yours better and I may try it. Thanks!

  16. Have you tried cooking longer to make caramel candy? Your recipe looks better than one I used recently…

    1. I have never tried it, but supposedly it replaces brown sugar cup for cup. Let us know how it goes. I can't wait to hear your results!

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