Caramel Sauce

Homemade Caramel Sauce is EASY to make! Takes only 10 minutes, and all you need is sugar, butter, and cream. Spoon it over ice cream, swirl it into brownies, or add it to your morning coffee.

  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes a little over one cup of sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (210g) of sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (85g) butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream

Special equipment:

Method

1 Assemble ingredients: First, before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go - the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Making caramel is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients. If you don't work fast, the sugar will burn.

Safety first! Make sure there are no children under foot and you may want to wear oven mitts; the caramelized sugar will be much hotter than boiling water.

2 Heat sugar: Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. The sugar will begin to melt in a minute or two. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. The sugar will form clumps and will start to melt at the edges of the pan.

heat sugar in pan with whisk to make caramel sauce sugar in pan with whisk clumping and turning amber color

As the sugar starts to melt, lower the heat a bit to keep the sugar from burning.

Keep whisking until all of the sugar has melted. Once all of the sugar has melted, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want.

how to make caramel sauce by heating sugar melted sugar to make caramel sauce

Note that this recipe works best if you are using a thick-bottomed pan. If you find that you end up burning some of the sugar before the rest of it is melted, the next time you attempt it, add a half cup of water to the sugar at the beginning of the process, this will help the sugar to cook more evenly, though it will take longer as the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize.

3 Add butter: As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

Boiling caramel sauce with butter cube and whisk whisking caramel sauce until smooth

4 Add cream: Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate.

Note that when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.

add cream to caramel sauce mixture cream causes caramel sauce to bubble up in pan

5 Whisk until smooth: Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.)

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.