{Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe

caramelsauce6 {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe[donotprint] Caramel sauce is a wonderful sweet condiment to have on hand.  The beauty of making your own sauce is how simple it truly is.  A candy thermometer is helpful but not necessary if you have attentive eyes and a wooden spoon or whisk ready to be used in a seconds notice.

When people discover I make my own caramel sauce they are often surprised by how easy it is to make.  I’m surprised by how many people don’t realize caramel is basically sugar, water, butter, and cream.  I find the most problematic part of making caramel sauce is the sugar water burning, making it inedible or hardening to rock candy stage, which leaves you with (ehem..) candy.  However if you are concerned about this, I would recommend purchasing a candy thermometer such as the Taylor Classic Candy and Deep-Fry Analog Thermometer. {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe The clear benefit of having a candy thermometer is knowing when to turn off the heat so your caramel does not burn.  You want to cook the sugar syrup to 350 degrees.  When I make caramel sauce, I just watch the sugar water change colors and from there I move quickly.

Homemade caramel sauce will be better than anything you can purchase from the store.  I recommend using it for desserts, sliced apples, beverages, ice cream, or straight out of the jar for a late night pick-me-up-treat-myself-with-a-large-spoon.  Once you make homemade sauce, there is no returning to store versions (never ever again).  And if you’re feeling really adventurous, add a few tablespoons of rum and you will have elevated your caramel sauce to “Gourmet” status.  With or without rum, enjoy!

AliceCaramelsauceonicecream {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe
Simple Caramel Sauce Recipe

Makes 2 cups

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream, heated to luke warm in microwave (30 seconds)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup heavy cream, heated to luke warm in microwave (30 seconds)

*optional 2 Tablespoons Rum
*optional 1/4 cup corn syrup – for those of you who are concerned your caramel sauce will turn to candy)


In a medium sauce pan, add sugar and water (and optional corn syrup).  Cook the ingredients on medium-high heat.  Carefully watch the sugar syrup change colors around the outer edge to an amber-brownish color, or if using a candy thermometer – 350 degrees. Remove from heat immediately and using a wooden spoon or whisk, quickly stir everything to keep the sugar water from burning.  Your simple syrup should be a golden ale brown.  As you continue to stir, pour in 1/2 cup of warm heavy cream and pats of butter.  When the cream makes contact with the sugar water it will start bubbling violently.  Continue to stir until the sugar crystallization dissolves.  Finally, add 1/4 cup of additional warm heavy cream (and rum) until caramel sauce is nice and smooth.  Transfer to a heat proof jar and allow the sauce to cool on the counter slightly covered with plastic wrap for an hour.  Use immediately or seal the jar and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Note: *As caramel sauce cools, it will thicken.  Before serving, re-heat in the microwave for 30 seconds for 1 cup.

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sugarwater11 {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe{Sugar/Water mixture cooking kind of looks like 7-Up.. don’t you think?}

sugarwater2 {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe{Now we’re going somewhere}

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sugarwater4 {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe{Isn’t the color here beautiful? Wish I had a sweater this color, would be perfect for Fall – color should be a golden maple syrupy hue}

caramelsauce1 {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe{This is the fun part… caramel ain’t real caramel until it has some HEAVY cream- now stir!}

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caramelsauce5 {Simple Yet Glorious} Caramel Sauce Recipe{From 7-Up looking sugar water to this…. GLORIOUS!}

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{Remember to soak your pan in warm soapy water… but not before scraping it down and licking your spoon… (as many times as you need to so you don’t have to clean as much later)}
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  1. Deb says

    I am a Caramel freak!! I’ve been online checking out different recipes to make my own and this one is the one I’m picking! Especially after reading the reviews, I can’t wait to have a big ‘ol spoonful of my own Homemade Caramel sauce! Thank you Alice for posting this recipe and the pics (*so I know what mine is supposed to look like*) lol. And thanks to all the folks that put up the reviews and added different ideas. I’ll post again to let ya all know how mine turns out! 😉

  2. Allison says

    I am about to try this recipe. I tried a similar one the other day. For those of you whose water evaporated and turned to dry sugar… Just keep stirring and the sugar will caramalize and you’ll end up with delicious caramel sauce anyway. That was my experience anyway. It just takes longer.

  3. Arwa says

    Just made this…I took the caramel off the stove even though my candy thermometer only registered 300 degrees since a) the simple syrup had achieved the colour shown in your (beautiful!) photos and b) the syrup was starting to get that burnt sugar smell. It’s cooling right now but I just had a taste of the leftover in the pan and, mmmm…delicious. It has that rich, deep, sweet with a slight bitter finish taste. Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait to make the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with it!

  4. Katherine says

    Thank you so much! I was wanting to make this but had no thermometer (maybe for Christmas), but your pictures made me think I could do it at least as an experiment. My sugar water did crystallize during the boiling, but I gently stirred it and kept the heat on till it browned anyway, put in the cream and butter slowly, and it cooled into a smooth liquid. Looks and tastes fantastic!

  5. Bria says

    Hi thanks for the recipe! Quick question- I made this and surprisingly on the first time it went absolutely perfectly UNTIL I started adding the butter & cream! It was only then that it began to seize up randomly and form these odd clumps. I kept stirring and heated it up a bit more to dissolve it but it actually ended up forming this odd crumbly solid with a very light caramel taste as opposed to the flavorful sauce I was hoping for. The cream was lukewarm when I put it in and the the butter was room temperature. Any ideas?

    • says

      Hi Bria,
      Sounds like you did everything correctly. The part people find most difficult is when adding the cream. The sugar mixture will seize up and you have to mix very quickly and vigorously through the clumps. Once you continue to do this, the clumps break apart and you magically get beautiful caramel sauce.

  6. Julie says

    When it cooled, it “separated” – with a lighter color at the bottom (about an inch in a mason jar) and the rest above that looked right. Did I mess up?

  7. Stephanie says

    I made this sauce for the first time last night and finally got it right after the third try. It is such a beautiful color and so delicious!!! The only thing is that when I drizzled it over vanilla ice cream it got really hard almost immediately, you couldn’t eat it. I don’t know if I did something wrong in the making, or if that’s just what happens. It tastes really good though and I would definitely make it again to use in another recipe.

  8. says

    I tried making this today and failed. :( I thought the sugar turned amber but when I added the butter and cream, it never became as dark as yours looks. I cooked and stirred for a while, added the rest of the cream, and now I’m stuck with a light-colored grainy mess. I wouldn’t be distraught if I hadn’t used a real vanilla bean for this! That’s $3.75 down the drain. :(

    I guess I’ll give this another try sometime, but I’d like some clarification:

    What do you mean by stirring “until the crystallization dissolves”?


  9. says


    I decided to let it cook farther and see if it clumps up like I heard in other replies. I was happy to see that it did! Big clunky crystals!

    So I followed your instructions and let them dissolve. It turned amber and beautiful!

    I removed it from the heat, continuing to stir, then put it in a mason jar.

    I decided to follow your last step and eat a little of it from the spoon…

    …well, as another commentor mentioned, it was rock-hard when it cooled! It’s candy caramel, like what’s used for brittle. (If I had nuts, I would’ve made some. Unfortunately I didn’t, so the caramel just hardened in the jar and I had to throw the whole thing out — jar and all.)

    How do you ensure that it doesn’t do this and stays liquid even when not hot? :(

  10. Ivan says

    I tried this as a child and always failed, ending up with sappy looking sweet milk. Wanting to make it perfect this time, I methodically followed your tips. Pictures were very useful, as were the comments. Well it came out amazing first time. I will definitely remember this recipe. Thanks for posting it!

  11. kisty says

    heya could some1 help me i used to make this as a teen and i used to make it with brown sugar and condenced milk i made it tonight that way but i took my eye of the ball as kids desturbed me so the sugar dident mealt rite but i still eat it it was good but im lost as i see people saying white sugar and cream so dnt no if any1 has made it with brown sugar and condenced milk if so could u tell me im doing it rite well it tasted good would have been better without the lumps of sugar so looks like i dident melt the sugar enough but has any1 ever heard of doing it that way with the brown sugar and condenced milk as i dident think u could do it with white sugar so could some i tell me if they have done it like that oh and also if u want to make a bigger batch how much more sugar and cream would u use i just went with the recipe i got on the can of condenced milk as it tells u how to make caramel cake on the tin and how to make the caremel so i just followed the steps on that it worked but i dident brake the the sugar down enough and kids distracted me

  12. Shan says

    I received a jar as a gift and couldn’t wait to find the recipe. Will be trying it tomorrow. Just one question, as I would also like to gift this, can the batch be doubled? I tried to double a batch of marmalade and ended up with syrup. And we won’t even talk about my mother doubling a batch of peanut brittle (the only thing that wasn’t covered was the cat!).

  13. lemniskate says

    Oops. The very first line of the recipe! That’s what I get for reading before breakfast. nevermind 😉

  14. kathy says

    My tip for this recipe is to Not stir once it begins to boil. Add the Corn syrup with water/sugar. Take off of heat at 345 degrees as heat continues to climb a few degrees!! Once off heat stir vigorously and then add rest of ingredients.

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