Salted Caramel Sauce (with Step by Step Pictures)

11.02.2017

The beloved Salted Caramel Sauce. Is there anything better?? It’s perfect for a huge number of desserts, if it will last until serving that is. I know when I’ve got a batch of this sitting around we are all just eating it by the spoonful.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel was one of the first foods I ever learned how to make. I was a young teenager and my mom and sister were talking about how they remembered my grandma’s caramels and how they missed them.

They went on to talk about how hard they were to make and that was when I started paying attention. I thought the challenge sounded fun, plus I’ve always been obsessed with caramel so I decided to look up some recipes and learn how to make it.

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I’ve been making it far too much ever since. And really, it isn’t nearly as hard as people make it out to be.

Salted Caramel Sauce

With caramel sauce I really like to push it to it’s limits. There is a prime stage with caramel sauce, if you take it off too early, it hasn’t reached that key stage and it will be lacking in flavor (it also won’t be as thick), but if you leave it on just a few seconds too long it’s can burn and become bitter.

So really really pay attention to the shade of the caramel. A rich but not super dark color.

Once you’ve gotten it right and know that shade, it’s becomes easier to get it right from then on because you know exactly what to watch for.

Salted Caramel Sauce

I’ve updated these photos here (I originally shared this recipe July 2014) but I left my previous step by step photos below so you can see all the stages the caramel will go through. If you haven’t made caramel before I highly recommend checking them out below.

Who knew 4 ingredients could make something so incredible! The simple things in life are the finer things in life.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

5 from 5 votes

The best salted caramel sauce! So good you won't be able to resist eating it by the spoonful! So rich, so creamy and deliciously sweet with the perfect balance of salty. 1,000 times better than store-bought.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, or more to taste

Instructions

  1. Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed. 
  2. In a heavy-bottomed 2 - 3 quart saucepan (something that isn't dark on bottom so you can see the shade of caramel), heat sugar, salt and water over medium-high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. 

  3. Once mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, carefully swirling pan occasionally* (this will take time, so be patient. See photos below for the stages to watch for). 

  4. It will first bubble vigorously and steam and it will be a clear shade, then bubbling will continue but the bubbles will become smaller and slower and it will slowly tint yellowish, then orangish, then a deep reddish orange and that is what you are looking for. 

  5. Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat. 
  6. Carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk with a long handled whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth. 

  7. Pour caramel into a glass jar to cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
  8. Caramel sauce will be thicker once cooled to room temperature and much thicker once chilled.

Recipe Notes

*Note that if you are using a gas stove top I've found certain areas tend to cook faster on the gas stovetop, so if you start to see a darker area on the side you can give it a brisk whisking. Also using a wet pasty brush to wet down the dried sugar on the sides helps.

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Salted Caramel Sauce (with Step by Step Pictures) - my go-to caramel sauce and one of my favorite recipes! We always end up eating it by the spoonful! #saltedcaramel #caramel #dessert #recipe

90 comments

  • Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts: This is SO perfect! I absolutely love salted caramel – so delicious!! July 10, 2014 at 11:58am Reply

  • Andy: I’ve made caramel a bunch of times, but usually when I add the cream the caramel mixture really clumps up and gets hard – any ideas? It doesn’t crystallize at all before, it’s just when I add the cold heavy cream to the liquid caramel and whisk vigorously it gets very hard very fast – I usually can eventually get it to be a fine sauce or thick sauce after continuing to leave it over the stovetop on a very low heat, but was wondering if you’ve run into this situation or had any tips? Thanks! July 10, 2014 at 8:03am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Are you using the wet method to make caramel (with water) or just straight sugar? I’ve found the water method works much better and I usually end up with no clumps. Also adding warm cream can help and trying an alternate pan. August 9, 2014 at 11:54pm Reply

  • Medeja: This sauce wold go so well with so many things! Or alone :D July 10, 2014 at 2:19am Reply

  • Matt Robinson: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Love the shots, so helpful. And nothing beats salted caramel. July 9, 2014 at 11:57pm Reply

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci): There’s nothing better than salted caramel and yours looks incredible – love the step by step photos! July 9, 2014 at 11:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura :)! July 10, 2014 at 9:15am Reply

  • Nila: Hello! i want to do this recipe so much but in my country they don´t sell Heavy cream! What other ingredient may I use? July 9, 2014 at 7:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Regular cream would be the next best thing. Hopefully you have that there. Hope you love it! July 9, 2014 at 8:04pm Reply

    • Nikki: How about using condensed milk? I’m sure you could order it from oversea’s if they don’t sell it where you are from, it comes in little tins and lasts for years! July 10, 2014 at 3:24am Reply

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: All those step shots, what a pain. In 2011 or 2012 when my blog was newer (and the only house/condo in the last 4 that I’ve lived in with a window near the stovetop) I did step shots on making caramel sauce. But the post never really caught on, but of course. So I recently made it but didn’t include any step shots to save my sanity b/c nothing worse than that panicked feeling of trying to get your shot, as your caramel is about to burn or bubble all over everywhere! That’s a long way to say….bravo, thank you for doing it, and your caramel looks awesome!! July 9, 2014 at 6:40pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Averie!! It was a little tricky trying to do it all while getting pics :), it’s just a good thing I’ve already made it plenty or I’d be in trouble. Now I just want to sit here and drink it. July 9, 2014 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com: That looks scrumptious! I”m also loving your recipe roundup at the bottom and how everything is covered in caramel sauce. YUM! Pinning :) July 9, 2014 at 6:35pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for pinning Natasha! July 10, 2014 at 2:05pm Reply

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