Caramel Drizzle Recipe

This past week I wanted to recreate a salted caramel drip cake I made a few years ago. This meant I needed to make a batch of my caramel drizzle recipe!!

I use this caramel drizzle recipe to make my caramel frosting and caramel drips on my cakes! 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 drizzle to let all of you to get creative with how you use it.

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

Making Caramel Drizzle 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 snickers trifles made in individual glasses to make them easy to serve and eat

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

Simple, 4-Ingredient Recipe

All you need is granulated 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 drizzle doesn’t!

Its incredible flavor comes from the deliciously caramelized sugar and the richness of the butter and cream. 

image of a caramel cupcake decorate with a caramel drizzle

Pro Tip: Add The Sugar Gradually!!

The only part about this caramel drizzle recipe 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 sugar liquify more quickly and reduces the risk of big clumps forming. It makes a world of a difference.

I didn’t know to do that when I first started making caramel and I 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 and is less smooth.

Caramel Drizzle Substitutions

While this caramel drizzle recipe doesn’t use a ton of ingredients, you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make:

  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the flavor of the caramel.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – To make vegan caramel sauce use coconut milk in place of the heavy cream in this recipe.
  • Salt – I love adding in a bit of salt to balance the sweetness of this caramel and enhance its flavor but you can omit it if needed.

Enjoying This Caramel Drizzle

This caramel drizzle is the perfect thickness for drizzling over ice cream, adding caramel drips to a cake, or even filling cakes and cupcakes!

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

image of caramel buttercream made with a caramel drizzle recipe

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this caramel drizzle recipe, please let me know what you think of it by leaving a rating and comment below.

You can also tag me on social media @chelsweets, and use #chelsweets.

image of snickers drip cake with both a caramel and chocolate drip decoration

Other Posts You Might Like:

Yield: 1.5 cups

Caramel Drizzle Recipe

salted caramel drip cake photo

This caramel drizzle recipe can be used to flavor frosting, decorate a cake or cupcakes, or even drizzled 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)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature (60 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp table salt (2 grams)

Instructions

  1. Turn stove to medium heat and place a pot over element.
  2. Pour in 1 cup 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. Slowly mix in 6 Tbsp of butter slowly (2 Tbsp at a time) then stir in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 tsp 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 you can also store it an airtight container like a mason jar or Tupperware container.

This caramel sauce will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Yield

1.5

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 813Total Fat 91gSaturated Fat 57gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 29gCholesterol 250mgSodium 607mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 2g

73 thoughts on “Caramel Drizzle Recipe

  1. This is great! I’m definitely going to try it! I love the idea of not having to worry about cooking it until an exact temperature! My family will love the caramel!

  2. Hi there! So I tried making the caramel using this recipe, but mine became solid really quickly. It just stuck to the bottom of the pan as soon as the heat turned off and none of the butter or cream combined with the melted sugar. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can fix this problem and make my caramel actually liquid? Thanks

    1. Strange! My only guess would be that your heat was maybe too low?! As long as the mixture is heated, the sugar should stay in a liquid form. You have to add in the butter and cream immediately after you turn off the heat. I have a full tutorial here, where you can see exactly what I do. Hopefully that helps!

  3. I tried making this recipe last night twice and both times it just clumped together in the middle. I followed your recipe to the T, I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong..!! 🙁

  4. If I make it ahead of time and keep in the fridge, do I need to reheat it or just bring to room temp before I use on a drizzle cake?

  5. Hi Chelsweets. So I’ve made caramel that I’m going to drizzle over a cake in two days. How do I get it back to drizzling consistency one eits been in my fridge?

  6. I noticed in the video you used 3 Tablespoons butter but in the printed recipe it’s listed as 6 Tablespoons. Is the 3 T correct?

    Thanks

  7. I made this the other day, delicious by the way!!! But when i drizzled it on the cake it was too runny (each drip ended up running to the cake board, it still looked okay but not as effective). I even put both the cake and the caramel in the frige over night and tried again and i had the same issue….any sughestions?

    1. it sounds like your caramel is too warm! I’d recommend letting it cool more, and stopping your drips higher up the cake, if you expect them to run down further! Also, I really do swear by doing a test drip! It ensures your cake is chilled enough, and that your caramel isn’t too warm <3

    1. It’s a bit too thin to be the sole filling of a cake! I usually drizzle it over a layer of buttercream in cakes, or mix it into my frosting <3

  8. This just happened to me too. I turned my stove back on to heat the mixture and it combined just fine… hopefully the heat does not mess with the chemistry of the caramel.

  9. I made this sauce for the first time the other day and it came out perfect! I will never buy store bought caramel sauce again!

  10. Im in love and i dont care who knows it! It just makes me so happy lol The first time I did made this, I ended up scrapping it because it solidified before I could get the cream in. I immediately washed my pan and tried again at a slightly higher temperature. It. Was. Amazing!!! I wanted to put it in a squirt bottle and drink it! I got mad at my hubby for not being as in love with it as I was! The only caramel recipe I will ever use

    1. I absolutely love hearing this Audri!! So many people give up if something doesn’t go right the first time, and I’m so happy you gave it another try!! Homemade caramel is truly the best, and I feel the same way about this recipe 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!! <3

  11. Brilliant! So tasty. Mine clumped up and I returned it to a very low heat and whisked for a good 5 mins. I didn’t think it was going to work but it did and is great. Thank you

  12. I absolutely love this recipe. Got it right first time round. Made it days before I was supposed to make the cake (just in case). Thank you so much for sharing. Will definitely be using it for a long time to come. Is it possible to colour it by the way? Just out of curiosity

    1. Yay! So happy to hear that Busisiwe!!! I’ve never tried adding a color, but I think it might be difficult because the caramel has a brown hue! You could try adding gel food coloring if you want to experiment, but i’m not sure how it would turn out!! If you want to make colorful drips on a cake, i recommend trying my white chocolate ganache drip recipe, which can easily be colored 🙂 Here is my recipe: https://chelsweets.com/2016/08/28/colored-drips-recipe-white-chocolate-ganache/

    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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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?

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!

  21. Hello! I created this last night and I accidentally missed a step: I added the butter, cream, and salt THEN turned off the heat instead of before adding those three ingredients. As it cooled, my caramel became quite thick, almost like a chewy consistency but not hard enough for a candy. Is there any way to rectify this to make it runny and sauce-like? Can I use this to add to swiss meringue buttercream? Or would it be too thick that it will deflate the buttercream?

    Thanks for your help! >.<

  22. I LOVE THIS!! It was my first time making caramel sauce ever, and it worked almost perfectly! The taste was excellent, and the color was perfect. The only thing was, that when I put it in the fridge to cool, it got so thick i couldn’t use it for my drip cake. So I popped it into the microwave for 15 seconds, dripped it on my cake, and put the cake in the fridge to set again, and it looked perfect! Thanks so much for this great recipe!

  23. Made this today. Was absolutely delicious. I used creme fraiche instead and it still turned out fine! Didnt realize salted caramel was soooo easy. My drip cake turned out amazing!

  24. I made this yesterday and the the consistency was perfect so I put in a jar and popped it in the fridge. When I took it out the next day it was hard as a rock, almost like toffee… it kept on going hard again sticking to everything. Do you know what I may have done wrong ?

  25. Hello – wondering if I were to assemble a cake and drizzle this on, would it still be liquid enough and not hardened a few hours later if it’s in room temperature? I’m taking a cake for thanksgiving and it’s important it arrives with the right caramel consistency ?

Let me know what you think!