You don’t have to buy an expensive bottle of caramel sauce full of preservatives. You can make easy homemade caramel sauce with just three ingredients.
Making caramel has become a favorite holiday tradition for me. Once the Fall hits, I get a baking bug and I love Fall flavors like pumpkin and caramel. When I got married, I really wanted to learn how to make more things from scratch including my own sauces and that included my own dessert sauces.
Can I tell you something? I come from a family of candy makers. My family, both maternal and paternal have always been skilled tradesmen. My grandfather was a furniture maker and my grandmother was an upholsteress. My grandmother‘s father however was a candy maker. He specialized in making Mexican candies. It’s hard to believe but he supported seventeen children doing that during the great depression.
This recipe isn’t from my family. In fact, I’ve made it for so long, I honestly am not totally sure where I originally got it. I’ve had it handwritten in a recipe book for years. But believe me when I tell you it makes perfect. gooey, caramel. Making your own caramel sauce isn’t hard at all and once you learn to make it yourself, you won’t want to buy the sauce in stores that is full of preservatives and chemicals.
You don’t need many things for this recipe. It doesn’t call for any kitchen equipment that is out of the ordinary.
This recipe only calls for three ingredients – sugar, cream and butter. This is one reason why making your own caramel is actually quite easy. I always keep heavy cream on hand. I may be even do a blog post sharing all the reasons why it’s a good idea to keep heavy cream in your fridge.
SUGAR – Caramel can me made using white sugar or brown sugar. Brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses. For this recipe, I recommend using white granulated sugar. This recipe will yield about a cup, but is easily doubled.
HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM – You only need a half cup of heavy whipping cream. You will need to let your cream warm up at the very least to room temperature but I find lukewarm is actually best. I’ll explain
BUTTER – I also find the letting your butter warm up is best also. Room temp or close is fine. To quickly soften butter, place the stick inside and upside down glass on the counter.
Instructions for Making Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce
Making your own caramel might feel intimidating, but it really isn’t that hard. The main thing is that this recipe calls for your attention. It isn’t something that you can walk away from and let cook on it’s own. That said, it also doesn’t take long. It only takes about fifteen minutes or so to make caramel.
In a medium sauce pan, add one cup of sugar to your dry pan on medium heat. It is important not to have too high a flame. Allow the sugar to warm up. You will start to see the sugar on the sides of the pan melt. You can stir it gently with a wooden spoon. You will the see the sugars melt and also start to see the sugar turn to yellow. Continue melting for a few more minutes until it resembles an amber color. Add your butter. It might seem at first like it is resisting to come together. It will become paste like and appear thick. That’s normal. Continue working together.
Once all the butter is melted, slowly add your cream. Your cream must be lukewarm or at the very least room temperature. If too cold it will crystalize (turn rock hard) and create toffee chips in your caramel or it will create a gritty like texture to your caramel. Once your cream is added stir well to combine. Your caramel should look smooth and creamy now. Remove from the heat. It will appear very runny when hot. Don’t worry. That’s normal and it will thicken once it cools. Let your caramel rest in the saucepan for 10-15 minutes before transferring. Use great care when transferring. The high sugar content keeps it scalding hot for a while.
I find this stores well in a mason jar (with lid) for 2-3 weeks. It will also freeze for up to 3 months. Just make sure you don’t freeze it in glass as it will break in the freezer.
How to Use Caramel Sauce
Whenever I share pics of this caramel sauce on social media, I always get asked, “what do I put it on?” You can basically use this sauce for anything you’d add caramel to. This sauce will be somewhat fluid and not solid like a soft caramel candy. You can put it in a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling the topping on ice cream, desserts and hot chocolate. You can even add it to desserts like pies or drizzle it on your pumpkin bread. I personally loving adding it to another favorite cupcake of ours called Harvest Cupcakes instead of icing – and of course I love adding it to my coffee. My youngest son loves me to put it on brownies with pecans for turtle brownies.
Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce
- sauce pan
- wooden spoon or whisk
- measuring cups
- mason jar for storing
- 1 Cup Granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp Butter, unsalted cubed
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Take out your butter and cube it. Measure the heavy whipping cream and allow it to come to room temperature along with the butter. It must be lukewarm or room temp before cooking.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add your white sugar to a dry pan. After a few minutes the sugar should start to melt.
- Stir sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk as it continues to melt. You should notice the sugar starting to brown. Do not leave the sugar unattended as it can go from melting to burning very quickly. Continue caramelizing sugar until it reaches an amber color. Don't let it go too dark.
- Once it reaches amber color, add your room temperature butter. The butter and sugar will resist coming together a little, but continue stirring until combined.
- Once combined slowly add your room temperature cream. If the cream is too cold, it will turn hard similar to toffee. Stir in cream until rich and creamy.
- Caramel will appear runny when hot. Allow caramel to cool and set for about 15 minutes before using or storing. Refrigerate in a mason jar with a lid. Stores for about 2-3 weeks in a fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
That’s it. I hope you enjoy this recipe for easy homemade caramel sauce. I know that you’ll love it. I’d love to hear how it turned out and what you put it on. Tell me in the comments.