Years ago I was introduced to caramels sprinkled with sea salt and I fell in love with the combination. Naturally, I was inspired to make a more versatile version and crafted a salted caramel sauce that I could drizzle (or slather) on my desserts.
Caramel desserts aren’t always easy, but this one is straightforward and low maintenance. With just a few steps, you can make the sauce quickly and it can be used right away or stored for a bit.
The only thing to keep in mind when making this salted caramel sauce recipe is to stay close to the stove. It doesn’t take long to make, but walking away from it can result in disaster for the sauce.
If you’re looking for the best sauce to drizzle over cakes, tarts, and ice cream, this could become your new go-to.
What is Salted Caramel Sauce?
Homemade salted caramel sauce is fairly quick to make. It’s an easy recipe that results in a silky sauce to spread or drizzle on nearly any dessert.
Bringing together basic ingredients like butter and sugar with cream and vanilla extract, a regular caramel sauce is decadent all on its own. Adding a touch of high quality salt helps to round out and elevate the sweet sauce.
While the cooking process doesn’t take long, it’s important to pay close attention while you’re making it. Having a candy thermometer nearby is handy, and make sure to use your wooden spoon to routinely scrape the sides of the pan to incorporate all ingredients.
The next time you want a simple sauce to drizzle over your dessert, try this sweet and salty combination. It’s like liquid gold in a bowl.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar dissolves quickly so it’s the best choice for this recipe.
- Water – This will help give the sauce its viscosity.
- Heavy cream – Don’t skimp on the cream and use half and half or a light cream. Caramel relies on a heavy whipping cream for its texture and flavor.
- Unsalted butter – Since you’ll be adding salt, make sure to use the unsalted variety.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla will give this the purest of caramel flavor but if you want to experiment with other extracts you can.
- Fleur de sel – While we give a measurement, the amount of salt you choose to use is up to you. Our only recommendation is to not use too much salt or regular table salt. A flaky sea salt is best.
- Heat – If you want to make a spicy sweet sauce add a touch of cayenne pepper or Old Bay.
- Brown sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar, but expect a different color and flavor.
- Extracts – If you want to add another dimension, try other extracts instead of (fully or partially) vanilla. Consider almond for its nuttiness.
- Salts – While we prefer fleur de sel, you can also use Kosher salt, pink Himalayan salt, or whichever type of salt you prefer.
How to use Salted Caramel Sauce
- Ice cream sundaes – You can spoon this over regular vanilla ice cream or you can dress up banana splits.
- Pudding – Add a drizzle of caramel over any flavor pudding you may prefer, including a nice warm rice pudding.
- Cakes – Whether it’s a rich chocolate cake or a dense pound cake, this sauce adds tons of flavor.
- Pies – Apple pie is a no-brainer for caramel sauce, but this is delicious on nearly any pie or tart.
- Milkshake – Pour some of this into a delicious milkshake or smoothie for some extra salty sweetness.
- Cinnamon rolls – Breakfast is made better with cinnamon rolls treated to a topping of this sauce.
- Cookies – Gently drizzle (or wholeheartedly dollop) a bit of this sauce to make any cookie sweeter and more delicious.
- Frosting – Add this sauce to a basic icing for a salted caramel frosting that’s simply amazing.
Storage and Freezing
Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar or other airtight container for about one week. Freezing is not recommended.
Other Sweet Sauces
- Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- Homemade Fudge Sauce
- Fresh Cherry Sauce
- Homemade Raspberry Sauce
- Peanut Butter Sauce
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2-1 teaspoon fleur de sel*
- In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, swirling the sauce pan gently, but not stirring. Simmer until the mixture is syrupy and a deep caramel color, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove mixture from heat and whisk in butter and cream, being mindful that the mixture will spit and sizzle, so be careful. Whisky vigorously until it reaches a smooth, sticky consistency. Finally, whisk in vanilla and fleur de sel. Set aside to cool.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.