Easy Caramel Sauce

This past week I wanted to recreate a salted caramel drip cake I made a few years ago. This meant I needed to make some caramel sauce, and of course, salted caramel frosting!!

I use this caramel sauce recipe to make caramel frosting, and to make the caramel drip! It’s super versatile, and can be used in so many different ways.

salted caramel drip cake photo

In fact, it’s so versatile I actually struggled naming this post! I usually use this recipe for adding caramel drips to cakes, but the options are really limitless.

I decided to stick with caramel sauce, to let all of you to get creative using it.

Homemade caramel sauce tastes infinitely better than store-bought caramel, and keeps in the fridge for several weeks.

Making Caramel Sauce From Scratch

I know that making caramel sauce from scratch can seem intimidating if you’ve never tried it before. When I was a kid, I remember seeing caramel made in giant copper kettles at candy stores.

I was convinced it was some complicated process, that must require all kinds of special equipment. But the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

image of cake with double drip, made with chocolate ganache drips and caramel drips

My caramel is made without a thermometer, with just four ingredients. A batch can be made in about 5 minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Simple Ingredients

All you need is sugar, butter, heavy cream, and a bit of salt. I love that this recipe is made with such simple ingredients. 

If you’ve ever looked at the label of “caramel sauce” at the store, you know how many random ingredients it’s made with.

While store-bought caramel needs additives and artificial flavorings to be shelf stable and taste good, this caramel doesn’t!

It’s amazing flavor comes from the deliciously caramelized sugar, and the richness of the butter and cream. 

snickers cupcakes, made with chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter frosting, and a caramel and chocolate drizzle!

Tip: Add The Sugar Gradually

The only part of making homemade caramel sauce that can be a little scary is melting down the sugar.

My biggest tip when doing this is to add the sugar in gradually. I add about a quarter of a cup at a time.

This helps the granulated sugar liquify more quickly, and minimizes clumping. It makes a world of a difference.

I didn’t know to do that when I first started making caramel, and used to just dump it all in at once.

The caramel will still turn out if you add all the sugar at once, but it takes a lot longer to melt down.

Caramel Sauce: The Perfect Addition To Any Dessert

This caramel sauce is the perfect thickness for drizzling over ice cream, adding caramel drips to a cake, or even adding to buttercream!

I use this caramel to make my salted caramel frosting, and it’s one of my favorite flavors

caramel buttercream photo

Share Your Creations With Me!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your baking. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

If you try this caramel recipe, please let me know what you think of it. You can also tag me on social media @chelsweets, and use #chelsweets.

Yield: 1.5

Caramel Recipe

Caramel Recipe

This caramel recipe can be used to flavor frosting, add caramel drips to a cake, or even over ice cream! It's the perfect additional to any dessert.

Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (85 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature (76 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp table salt (2 grams)

Instructions

  1. Turn stove onto medium heat, and place a pot over element.
  2. Pour in sugar gradually, adding 1/4 cup at a time. Wait until the sugar is mostly liquified, then add in the next bit of sugar.
  3. As the sugar melts, it will gradually deepen in color.
  4. Stir occasionally until the sugar is fully dissolved, and is an amber color.
  5. Turn off the heat.
  6. Mix in butter slowly (2 Tbsp at a time), then stir in cream and salt.
  7. The mixture will be very thin, but will thicken as it cools.
  8. Pour into a separate container, then place in fridge to cool for 20 minutes.

Notes

This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of caramel.

I like to pour my caramel in a squirt bottle (for drizzling over cakes), but a mason jar or Tupperware container would work great too.

This caramel will keep for several weeks in the fridge. I usually store it in a plastic bottle (and pop it into the microwave to reheat it), but ay air tight container would work great!

Nutrition Information

Yield

1.5

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 1652Total Fat 97gSaturated Fat 61gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 272mgSodium 614mgCarbohydrates 202gFiber 0gSugar 202gProtein 3g

64 thoughts on “Easy Caramel Sauce

    1. Hi Tash,

      I’ve never put it in the freezer, but I leave it in my fridge all the time! It keeps for several weeks if kept in an airtight container 🙂 I usually reheat it in the microwave in short intervals until the consistency seems right. Hope that helps!

  1. Hey!

    I’ve always had success making Caramel Sauce but have this fear about using it for drips! I have and order for a Cake that needs the drips.. How can I get perfect drips and avoid them running all the way down after refrigeration? Like what’s the trick to keep them set like regular Ganache drips and not get runny?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Avi!

      If your caramel is running too far down your cake, it might be too warm when you’re adding it! If you want the caramel itself to be thicker, I’d recommend letting the sugar caramelize a tiny bit longer in the pan, or add in less heavy cream. Either of those should make the final product thicker. I hope that helps, happy baking!

  2. This worked really well, and I appreciate the technique you use for caramelizing the sugar, since the water and sugar method can be really tricky to get right (and time consuming). I added a little cinnamon (about half a teaspoon) and some vanilla to it at the end and drizzled it over an apple spice cake. It’s the perfect consistency where it drizzles without soaking into the cake too much. I can’t wait to use the leftover sauce over ice cream or stir it into coffee.

  3. I am super excited to make this recipe for my husbands birthday! However, I am struggling with the caramel sauce. I have made caramel on my own several times but I can’t seem to get this recipe right. The caramel hardens and gets super chunky even after following the instructions step by step and with trying multiple times. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. Usually when I make caramel I add some water to the sugar to help it melt but this recipe doesn’t call for that. Do you have any tips or idea as why this keeps happening? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kayley,

      Are you saying you’ve had those problems with this recipe specifically? Or just other recipes in the past?

      In my recipe the sugar will chunk up, but as the pan heats up the sugar, it will start to change color and melt down the chunks. You just have to make sure you’re patient, and wait for the heat to do it’s work and liquify the sugar. Hope that helps!

  4. I just made it! It came out great but when I taste it it’s abit unpleasant. Is that okay or should I make another one ? I mean the colour and everything is perfect it’s just may be still too hot for me to try. It’s taste roasted. Love your page it’s perfect.

    1. Hi Kushwa,

      The caramel should taste delicious!! If it tastes unpleasant, it may be a bit overcooked, or some of the sugar may have burned a bit. Next time I’d recommend either stirring it a bit more, or turning the heat down a touch. OR if it tasted better once it cooled, disregard all my suggestions!

      I hope that helps!! <3

  5. I don‘t have a microwave, any idea how to best warm it up to „drizzle-stage“ after being kept in the fridge? Maybe a hot water bath oder heat it in a pan again?

  6. Just another small hint for those who use the sauce as cake-drip; My drip was perfect for about 3 hours (i checked before going to bed), but after the night and transportation the drips were all dripping all the way down to the bottom of the cake! Which of course still looked delicious, but if you want the perfect drip, better add it just hours before serving 🙂

    1. Aw I’m so sorry to hear that Divy! If you let the sugar caramlize a bit longer / turn a deeper color of brown, it will also keep hold shape better <3

    1. Hi Dee,

      All the bits of sugar should dissolve in your pan as you heat the caramel! Before you remove the caramel from your stove stop the caramel should be smooth. If you have some chunks I recommend letting the caramel cook a tiny bit longer to melt them. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  7. I made this today and it was sooooo good!!! Thank you for a caramel recipe without a thermometer. Although it took me like 20 min to dissolve the heavy cream into the butter and sugar mixture, it was soooo worth it.

  8. I made the sauce and the consistency and color were perfect!! However when I tasted it, it had a bitter finish. Not sure why, any tips?

    P.S. I just made your buttercream recipe for the first time and it is amazing!!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      I’m so sorry to hear that about your caramel! That’s great that your buttercream turned out so well though 🙂

      Is there a chance some of the sugar might have overcooked or burned? That’s my best guess!! I’d suggest either using a slightly lower heat next time you make, or trying a different pot!

      Hope that helps, happy baking!!

Let me know what you think!