Looking for the best recipe to make a silky smooth, easy salted caramel sauce – then you’ve found it! Quick to make and with just 3 pantry ingredients, it’s perfect to add to your cakes and bakes, topping desserts or pouring over ice cream. Trust me you won’t buy ready-made caramel sauce again!
Oh hello there, you spoon full of sweet caramel goodness! Can I drizzle you over my dessert for a moment?
Double hands up, if you’re going in for a salted caramel!
You’re in for a treat with this homemade caramel sauce. It’s worlds apart in the flavour stakes from store-bought caramel sauce, as you can control the caramelization.
Whether you are a lightly golden and sweet or a dark with a note of bitterness fan, once you’ve made your own caramel sauce, and seen how easy it is, you’ll never buy it again.
Why is salted caramel so delicious?
Ticking off two of our primary tastes, sweet and salty, adding a sprinkle of sea salt to a rich, buttery sweet caramel works it’s magic to really enhance flavours. Making it even better in my opinion!
Can salted caramel be too salty?
While most of us can’t get enough of this awesome combo, there is such a thing as too much salt!
The key to the perfect salted caramel is balance!
- Too much and you’ll think you’ve swallowed sea water.
- Too little and the flavour enhancing magic of the salt won’t come through.
Do I have to add salt?
No, you don’t!
The beauty of this caramel sauce is that with or without salt, truly amazing, and perfect for all sorts of desserts.
The recipe makes one jar. So if you’re in a household divided by to salt or not, then divide into 2 smaller jars and make one salty and one not. Simple!
What you’ll need to make this
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card
This really is simple and easy, and I can guarantee you’ve got everything you need in the pantry, ready and waiting. So there’s no excuse to have to pop out for caramel sauce next time you run out.
So when you’re ready, go and grab…
- Caster or Superfine Sugar
- Double or Heavy Cream
- Unsalted Butter – so you can control the amount of salt you add
- Vanilla Extract
- Fine Sea Salt – better for dissolving into the caramel sauce rather than flakes or crystals
Now before you start rummaging through the kitchen drawer for the sugar thermometer. Stop!
Step away from the drawer and relax. This is the easiest caramel sauce you will ever make. No special equipment required.
Just a saucepan, balloon whisk and a keen eye, to keep watch on the pan. You’ll also need some sterilized jars to store the caramel sauce in.
How to make salted caramel sauce
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card
This recipe is one that I’ve honed over the years, since I first drizzled it over my chocolate caramel Bundt cake. It’s been tweaked, tested, tweaked again; to what it is now – quite possibly my favourite quick and easy caramel sauce!
BE CAREFUL: Boiling sugar is a hot, sticky business. It’s very hot and can cause burns. Keep watch on the saucepan and don’t leave it unattended.
Melt the Sugar
Dissolve the sugar with the water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring until you have a cloudy liquid.
Over a medium heat, bring the sugar water to the boil. The sugar will begin to bubble and form a clear liquid. As the sugar gets hotter, the colour will become more golden.
Do not be tempted to stir the sugar, as this will cause it to crystalise. Instead, swirl the sugar in the pan, and use a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals that form up the sides.
When the sugar syrup reaches a golden-amber colour – that’s when you’re ready for the next step. Depending on the heat and your saucepan, this can take 4-6 minutes.
Add the Cream
Next up, remove the pan from the heat and start to add the cream in. Start with a tablespoon to start and vigorously whisk together.
Continue pouring in the cream and whisking. Be careful as the sauce will bubble up and release a lot of steam.
If you sauce starts to look lumpy, don’t worry, keep mixing and they will cook out when back on the heat.
Add the Butter
Add the cubed butter, and continue to whisk together.
Return the caramel back to the heat and allow it to bubble for another 2-3 minutes, while you keep whisking! Again be careful not to let the caramel boil over.
When you’re ready, pour the caramel into a jar to cool and thicken up, into the perfect smooth and silky easy salted caramel sauce!
TOP TIP: If you’re not a fan of a sweet and salty combination, then this will work just as well without the salt.
How do I know how much salt to add?
How much salt you add is very much a matter of personal taste. But remember, you’re looking for that delicate balance between sweet and salty, so go easy a pinch at a time.
Here’s how I add my salt…
- Start by adding 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt to the warm caramel
- Stir together the salt and caramel
- Dip a clean teaspoon into the caramel and leave to cool down
- When cooled, taste test the caramel
- If you think more salt is needed, repeat the process
REMEMBER: When tasting, the salty flavour will kick in after the sweetness. So, don’t worry if you can’t taste salt at first; this is normal.
Frequently asked questions
The caramel sauce should be stored in an air-tight container; sterilised jam jars work well or a Mason jar. When cooled, the caramel should be kept in the fridge until needed. Allow the caramel to come to room temperature or heat for 30-45 seconds in the microwave.
The caramel sauce will keep for up to 1 month in an air-tight container, stored in the fridge; or up to 3 months if frozen.
Yes, in fact you can! The best thing is to pour the cooled caramel into a large Ziploc bag and seal. You can then lay the caramel flat in the freezer. Alternatively, sort in a freezer-safe air-tight container. The frozen sauce will keep for up to 3 months.
Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
- 200 g Granulated Sugar
- 60 ml Water
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 125 ml Double Cream or Heavy Cream
- 100 g Butter Unsalted
- Fine Sea Salt
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sugar, water and vanilla extract, and stir together. You will end up with a cloudy liquid.
- Over a medium heat, bring the sugar liquid to the boil until it becomes a golden-amber liquid.
- Occasionally swirl the saucepan to keep the liquid moving. DO NOT be tempted to stir the liquid as this will cause the sugar to crystalise. Keep watching the sugar, as this can burn quickly.
- When the liquid has turned a golden-amber colour, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the double cream. Use a balloon whisk, vigorously whisking to combine the cream and sugar, but be careful as it will bubble up rapidly. BE CAREFUL as the caramel will be very hot and can easily burn.
- When the cream is combined, add the butter and continue to whisk the caramel sauce, until it is melted.
- Return the saucepan to the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will rise in the saucepan, so be careful to not let it boil over.
- Remove from the heat, and a good pinch, about ¼ teaspoon, of fine sea salt. Stir through the mixture. To taste, dip a spoon in the caramel and allow to cool before tasting. If needed add a pinch more salt. DO NOT taste the caramel straight away as it will be very hot and burn.
- Pour the salted caramel sauce into a sterilized air-tight container or jar, and allow to cool. As the caramel cools, it will thicken up.
- Store the salted caramel sauce for up to 1 month in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds if needed.
- Salted caramel sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month, or it can be freezed for up to 3 months.
- Reheat for a warm salted caramel sauce, or just drizzle straight over fruit, ice cream, cake or eat with a spoon!
- If you prefer a regular caramel sauce, do not add the sea salt.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.