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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Salted Caramel Sauce
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.
- 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
Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed.
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.
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).
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.
Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat.
Carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk with a long handled whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth.
Pour caramel into a glass jar to cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
Caramel sauce will be thicker once cooled to room temperature and much thicker once chilled.
*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.