Easy Caramel Sauce you can make with only 3 ingredients! Rich, smooth, and perfectly sweet- you want to make this easy caramel sauce over and over again!
Now I’ve made caramel sauce before that used a number of ingredients (and is super tasty!), I’ve used a caramel hot sauce for my Buffalo Wing Popcorn- but this time I wanted a simple caramel sauce using the fewest ingredients possible.
In the past I’ve burned my fair share of caramel attempts which is why I love my original caramel recipe because it is pretty hard to screw up- however, once I figured out the stages of how to make caramel I don’t burn it anymore!
I use this caramel for my caramel pear pie- and it is delicious!
Before you start just be warned melted sugar gets to extremely hot and will burn you if you get it on your skin. For comparison water boils at 212°F and caramel will get up to 350°F. Just be careful!
How to make caramel sauce:
- Melt sugar over medium heat. As the sugar melts it will start to clump before it gets smooth. This is normal.
- Continue stirring, allowing the melted sugar to become an amber color and start to have a nutty smell. Don’t let it go past this stage or else it will burn!
- Once it is amber, add in the butter and whisk together. Adding the butter will cause the sugar to get really foamy and rise a bit. Stirring until the butter is fully mixed in.
- Slowly pour in the heavy cream, whisking as you pour. As the heavy cream mixes in completely the caramel will smooth out.
- Stir in your salt if using.
- Pour your salted caramel sauce into a glass container and allow it to cool. It will thicken up really nicely once fully cooled.
Tips for making homemade caramel sauce:
- Use a heavy bottomed saucepan- this helps distribute the heat and it won’t burn as easily
- After you’ve made the caramel sauce let it cool and thicken.
- If you need it to thicken fast, stick it in your freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Should Caramel Bubble?
If the melted sugar bubbles voraciously before adding the butter it has probably gotten to hot and is past the point of return and burned.
It will bubble when you add the butter and the heavy cream. This is due to the water in both evaporating creating the bubbles.
Does Caramel Sauce need to be refrigerated? How long does homemade caramel last?
Yes! Keep unused caramel sauce in your refrigerator up to 2 weeks!
This recipe is simple and very sweet! Just how I like it!
What temperature should caramel reach?
When the sugar is melted it sure reach not higher than 350°F or else it will burn. I like to pull it off when it's between 340°F and 350°F. This is my go to and reasonably priced thermometer (affiliate link). I use this thermometer for check cake doneness, meat doneness, and candy making!
Do I have to use a thermometer?
No, you can lower the heat as soon as the melted sugar starts to smell nutty and is a golden brown in color.
Do I have to add salt?
Nope, but I like the balance to the sweetness it brings- you can always add more or use coarse salt for more of a salted caramel flavor.
How to reheat caramel?
It's really simple to reheat. Simply microwave in a microwave safe dish for 30 seconds, stir, repeat until warm enough to use. You can also reheat in a saucepan over low heat until warm.
If you like this recipe make sure to check out these other delicious sweet treats!
- Easy Chocolate Stripped Popcorn
- Banana Caramel Ice Cream
- Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes
- Caramel Pear Pie
- German Chocolate Cookies
- Lucky Charms Cookies
Watch how to make this recipe!
Want more? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce
- 2 cups white sugar
- 12 tbs unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream at room temp
- 2 teaspoon salt optional
How to make caramel sauce:
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan/pot, add your sugar. Over medium heat melt the sugar stirring constantly. As the sugar melts it will start to clump before it gets smooth. This is normal. (2 cups white sugar)
- Once it’s melted, continue stirring, and allow it to become an amber color and start to have a nutty smell. Be careful not to let it go past this stage or else it will burn and no one wants that! If you have a thermometer* the caramel should reach between 340°F and 350°F.
- Once it is the right color, turn heat to low. Add in the butter and whisk together. Whisking helps the butter not separate, or if it does separate from the sugar it will help it incorporate. Adding the butter will cause the sugar to get really foamy and rise a bit. That’s good! Keep stirring until the butter is fully mixed in. (12 tbs unsalted butter)
- Once the butter is mixed in, slowly pour in the heavy cream, whisking as you pour. The mixture will become slightly foamy again and that’s fine. As it mixes in completely it will smooth out. (1 cup heavy cream)
- Stir in your salt if using (2 teaspoon salt)
- Pour your salted caramel sauce into a glass container and allow it to cool. It will thicken up really nicely once fully cooled. If you need it to thicken fast, stick it in your freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Keep unused caramel sauce in your refrigerator up to 2 weeks!
Post was updated on 7/26/2020
So do you melt sugar by itself in saucepan I tried and all it did was get white and hard🤦🏽♀️
Yep just sugar until it melts and then later you add the rest of the ingredients. If you watch the video you can see how it gets chunky but then continues to melt. Did you stir it and get the bigger white chunks and then stop heating? Or did it never get past that stage?