Easy Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Whenever I enjoy my cake, cheesecake, or apple pie, one thing always takes them to the next level: a generous drizzle of caramel sauce! That blend of sweet and salty never gets old, no matter what kind of cake I bake.

best Salted Caramel

The best part? You don’t have to stress about making it. I’ve got a super simple caramel sauce recipe that anyone can nail!

Why Salted Caramel Is The Best

  • That lovely dance between sweet and salty makes this caramel sauce oh-so-tempting! The salt isn’t just there for kicks; it actually amps up the caramel’s sweetness and keeps you yearning for more.
  • Salted caramel is a total chameleon. You can dress it up or down however you like, and it’ll always steal the show. Some want to pour it over ice cream, popcorn, or even a simple fruit salad, while others add it to cakes, brownies, cookies, and more. Imagine biting into a warm brownie with gooey salted caramel oozing from the center — pure heaven! Oh, have you ever drizzled it on chocolate peanut butter bars? Definitely a must-try!
  • And here’s where it gets really interesting: salted caramel isn’t just for sweet treats. Oh no, it also plays well with savory dishes like roasted nuts or cheese. So, if you are looking for a refined appetizer that impresses, this is the way!
Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Salted caramel cupcake

4 Basic Steps To Make Salted Caramel

Step 1.

Grab a medium saucepan (not nonstick) and toss in your granulated sugar. Set it over medium heat and start stirring like there’s no tomorrow with a trusty wooden spoon or silicone spatula. 

Salted Caramel step 1

Keep at it; those sugar clumps will soon vanish, leaving you with a gorgeous, rich amber liquid! On my stove, this usually takes around 6 minutes, but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Step 2.

Salted Caramel step 2

Once all that sugar has melted away, it’s time to add in the unsalted butter. But watch out because things are about to get bubbly! 

Give it a good stir until the butter is fully combined and melted. If you see any separation or clumps, no sweat — just take it off the heat and whisk strongly until it’s smooth again. 

It might take a few minutes, but trust me, it’ll come together. Wear some gloves to keep nasty splatter away! 

Step 3.

Now, for the grand finale: the heavy cream. Slowly pour it in while stirring constantly. Brace yourself because the mixture’s going to bubble up like crazy! 

Salted Caramel step final

After all your heavy cream is in, let it boil for a minute without stirring. It’ll puff up in the pan, but don’t worry; it’s all part of our adventure. If you’re into precision, you can whip out a thermometer: when it’s done, it should hit around 220°F (or 104°C). 

Step 4.

Now, take it off the heat and sprinkle in some salt. Give it a good mix, and voila! You’ve got yourself some liquid gold. Let it cool down a bit, and watch as it thickens into that dreamy caramel sauce. Time to drizzle it over everything in sight!

Salted Caramel final


1. Hot caramel is like hot oil, so when butter is added, its water content will vaporize like crazy upon contact with the sugar. The result? It will splatter REAL bad! I was almost burnt once. 

That’s why I did say in my recipe that the butter must be sliced. Adding the pieces batch by batch lets the water evaporate more slowly and keeps violent reactions at bay. You will come out safe and sound! 

2. Do you know that sugar crystals can linger on the sides of the pan during our baking process? 

As the sugar dissolves in water, it creates a syrup. This syrup becomes saturated at a certain point (meaning it can’t hold any more dissolved sugar) and starts to form crystals! They might fall back into the caramel and give us a sad, grainy texture. What to do, then? 

Well, water or lemon to the rescue. The water easily washes down the sugar crystals, while a teaspoon of lemon juice can invert some sugar molecules. Easy peasy. Still, too much water or lemon juice might thin out our caramel, so be careful! 

3. Heavy cream or double cream? You can use both, but they’re obviously not the same. 

Heavy cream has only about 36% fat, while double cream cracks up to 48%. That’s why heavy cream creates a much more pourable sauce (perfect as a dip or for drizzling), and double cream yields a thicker sauce for frostings, fillings, etc. 

Choose one that works best for you and your recipe! 

4. If you have leftovers, wait for them to cool down, then stash them away in an airtight container. That’s the only way to keep them clean and moist! The fridge is the best place to keep it for over a week (even up to 10 days). 

Note that over time, some sugar may crystallize again. I don’t say it’s spoiled, of course, but the texture might change in one way or another!

5. Salted caramel goes well with many cakes, but some stand out more than others! Here are some examples where caramel takes things to a whole new flavor level:

Earl Grey Tea Cake: Steep loose-leaf Earl Grey tea in the milk for your cake batter, then top with a salted caramel glaze (even better if it’s infused with lavender). Trust me, there’s nothing more elegant! 

Pear Pie: Don’t be afraid of some extra heat! Poach the pears in a spiced syrup with star anise and cinnamon, then fill the tart shell with the pears. Drizzle with salted caramel and top with a sprinkle of chili crisp. It is a wild, sweet, and spicy ride! 

Toasted Sesame Knot Buns: These soft, chewy buns should be shaped into knots and brushed with a mixture of salted caramel and toasted sesame oil. For a visual feast, sprinkle with black sesame seeds!

Shortbread Cookies:  Throw in some black garlic to add depth to the flavor profile, then stud them with chunks of salted caramel so the sweet, savory contrast can shine through.


My Caramel Sauce Turned Too Dark/Burnt. What Can I Do?

I have bad news: burnt caramel can’t be saved. You have no other choice but to start over. Pay close attention to the temperature this time!

My Caramel Sauce Is Too Thin. How Can I Adjust It?

Try simmering it gently over low heat; it always works for me. Just be careful not to burn it, though.

Happy baking!

best Salted Caramel

Salted Caramel

Salted caramel is the dream marriage between rich, sweet caramel flavor and just the right hint of saltiness. You just need to heat some sugar until it turns deep amber, then throw in the butter, cream, and salt. Easy, right?
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Course: Frosting
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 1 Cup
Calories: 212kcal
Author: Brenda Maher


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, sliced, room temperature
  • ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 tsp regular table salt or flaky sea salt


  • Grab a medium saucepan (not nonstick) and toss in your granulated sugar. Set it over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Those sugar clumps will soon vanish, leaving you with a rich amber liquid (about 6 minutes should do, but watch out to make sure it doesn’t burn).
  • Add the unsalted butter. Give it a good stir until the butter is fully combined and melted (3 to 4 minutes). If you see any separation or clumps, take it off the heat and whisk until it’s smooth again. Wear some gloves to keep splatter away.
  • Grab the heavy cream. Slowly pour it in while stirring constantly, then let it boil for a minute without stirring. You can also whip out a candy thermometer: when it’s done, it should hit around 220°F (or 104°C).
  • Remove it from the heat and sprinkle in some salt. Give it a good mix, then let it cool down a bit. It will thicken into the final caramel sauce. Enjoy!


  1. When you add butter to the hot caramel, it will often splatter vigorously. To avoid burns, stand back slightly and add the butter in batches, allowing it to be fully incorporated before adding more.
  2. If your sugar crystallizes while cooking, dip a pastry brush in water and brush down the sides of the saucepan to dissolve the crystals. You can also add a few drops of water or lemon juice, but don’t go overboard, as it can affect the final texture.
  3. Heavy cream is usually used in salted caramel, but for an even richer flavor, try double cream. Just be aware that this will make the sauce thicker and slightly less pourable.
  4. Once cooled, store your salted caramel sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  5. Use salted caramel creatively in some recipes, like Earl Gray Tea cake, pear pie, toasted sesame knot buns, or shortbread cookies.


Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 52mg | Sugar: 27g | Calcium: 35mg
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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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