Caramel Sauce Recipe

Caramel Sauce is a lot easier to make that you may think it is – You never need to buy prepared caramel sauce again!  This homemade Caramel Sauce is so good that you be licking the spoon.

Do not be afraid of making homemade caramel sauce, as it is easy to do.  Just follow the simple directions below.

Caramel Sauce being poured from a spoon onto a white plate

Check out Linda’s Butters, Condiments, Sauces, Relish & Jelly Recipes for more great ideas.

Caramel Sauce Recipe:


6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up into pieces
1/2 cup warm heavy cream


In a heavy saucepan (using a pot that is at least twice the volume of the ingredients will prevent a boil-over) over low to medium-low heat, heat the corn syrup. NOTE: I find that by maintaining a low heat, I have more control over the caramelizing process, as it is really easy to burn.

Stir in the sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to simmer.

After sugar dissolves and syrup is simmering, cook for approximately 9 to 12 minutes, without stirring.  Every so often, hold handle of pan and gently tilt the pan off the heat to distribute color evenly as sugar caramelizes.

When sugar reaches a uniform golden brown (dark amber) color, immediately remove from heat . If using a Candy or Instant Cooking Thermometer, the temperature will be between 350 degrees and 355 degrees F.  NOTE: Once the color is right, it is imperative to prevent the sugar from cooking further, which would make the sauce too bitter.

Photos showing stages of the caramelizing process:

water and sugar boiling Stage 1
 water and sugar boiling in pot stage 2Stage 2
water in pot boiling and starting to brown stage 3Stage 3
 water and sugar boiling and caramelizing stage 4
 Stage 4
caramelized in boiling pot stage 5
Stage 5
Warning:  The sugar mixture, when boiling, is really, really hot (hotter than boiling water – over 300 degrees F.).  It will seriously burn if you spill it on yourself.  So be careful!

Off the heat, carefully stir in the butter with a long-handled wooden spoon.  Stir in the cream in a slow, thin stream.  NOTE: This will minimize steam and prevent the caramel from boiling over the sides of the pan.

Caramel Sauce cooling off and being stirred by wooden spoon     stirring in butter to caramel sauce

Transfer the caramel to a heat-proof pitcher and let cool to room temperature.

Caramel Sauce in small white pouring cup

Yields approximately 1 cup of caramel sauce.

Flavorings:  Caramel sauce can be flavored with all manner of spices or liqueurs.  Rather than using ground spices, which will turn the smooth sauce gritty, it is best to infuse the cream with whole spices, then strain them out.  Liqueurs, such as triple sec, rum, whiskey, or bourbon, should be added off the heat after the cream has been whisked in to avoid igniting the alcohol.

Storing:  Caramel sauce keeps very well on the counter for at least a week (the amount of sugar is so high that nothing really can grow in it).  Caramel sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three weeks or frozen for up to two months.

Reheating:  If the caramel is in a microwave-safe container at room temperature, microwave it on high power for 1 minute, stirring twice.  If cold, it will take a few seconds more.


Dessert Sauce   

Comments and Reviews

5 Responses to “Caramel Sauce Recipe”

  1. Sara

    Just made this as caramel sauce for the second time. No fail recipe! Cooked to 210 degrees. Keeps in a glass sealed container in the refrigerator for weeks!

  2. Stephanie

    Just made this. Reached a light caramel color at 350º; a little darker at 355º. After stirring in the butter and cream, I added 1/4 vanilla and 1/2 top sea salt. Yummy!!

  3. Gayle A Freeze

    Tried making 5x with light brown 1x, dark brown 1x and white sugar 3x, tried stir, no stir swirl, tried this recipe last 2x, 1st time on med heat took way too long, crystalized on sides of pan entire time I was swirling, never turned amber just turned to direct hardened sugar mass. So I tried again turning heat up to almost high, finally turned to amber but was under 300 by the time it reached 300 was dk amber ,added butter I had to remove at 300, I could have never let it reach 350 would have burnt even more, it already tasted like badly burnt sugar. I have a convection oven and each stove top burner keeps turning heat down every few seconds entire time your , I really think that”s the problem. I’ve been baker ,made candy , canned, cooked all my life ,will be 60 this mo,I’ve never had so much trouble with a recipe, I have failed some before but never more than once ea time. Any suggestions? I did use cream ea time , some say better to just used milk. Thanks

  4. Marina Michaels

    Are you certain that the temperature should be between 350 and 355 degrees? That’s the burnt sugar stage. Thanks for any additional clarification you can add.


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