Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce

 Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce - You probably have all the ingredients to make this sauce. Oh, and it's ridiculously delicious too!

This has been a favorite Café recipe for years, and though I shared it in the early days of the blog (with these Cider Poached Apples w/ Cinnamon Pastry Stems), it’s difficult, if not impossible to find in the deep, dark recesses of The Café archives.

Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce - You probably have all the ingredients to make this sauce. Oh, and it's ridiculously delicious too!

I felt like the delicious, unadulterated sauce needed a page of it’s own, so here it is! Once you make it, I think you’ll agree; it’s so much better than anything you can purchase.

Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce - You probably have all the ingredients to make this sauce. Oh, and it's ridiculously delicious too!

And guess what?  I’m quite certain you already have all the ingredients needed to prepare it. If you have 10 minutes to spare, (less time than it takes to run to the market) you can have your own jar, cruet, bottle of this fabulous Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce. And you’ll NEVER use that grocery store stuff again.

P.S. Did you notice the yummy dessert in the photos? You’ll want to make a batch of Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce over the weekend. That way you’ll be all set for the World’s Easiest Apple Crumble, Monday’s post. You don’t want to miss this one!

Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce - You probably have all the ingredients to make this sauce. Oh, and it's ridiculously delicious too!
Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce
 
A super simple, super quick way to make absolutely delicious caramel sauce and only pay a fraction of the cost of the store-bought variety.
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Dessert topping
Serves: makes about 1 cup of sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, 4 ounces
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar too, but the sauce will be a bit lighter in color)
  • ½ cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • a pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk vigorously to combine.
  2. Add cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Stir until combined. Serve warm or allow to cool. Stir vigorously, then store in refrigerator. Mixture will thicken as it cools. After refrigeration, warm slightly in the microwave or on the stovetop.


79 thoughts on “Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce”

  • I LOVE this recipe! My friend discovered it few years ago and it’s been my go-to caramel recipe ever since!

    Question – have you ever tried to bake desserts with this recipe? I tried it once and the caramel kind of…evaporated into the rest of the mixture (I was making an apple crumble that required you drizzle caramel sauce with the apples before popping it into the oven).

    Do you think the recipe can be modified (less cream?) to help it keep its consistency in the oven? Or should I stick to drizzling this heavenly sauce over/on top of goodies instead?

    Thank you!!!

  • After researching a gazillion (ok…maybe a dozen) different caramel sauce recipes to go over a chocolate turtle cake, I decided on yours. I’m glad I did! Not only was it easy, the sauce turned out smooth, delicious, and was the perfect addition to the cake. I didn’t have vanilla bean paste, but used an all-natural, alcohol-free, vanilla from the coop (it’s more like a vanilla syrup than the regular runny stuff). Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

    P.S. Let’s be honest, the poor reviews about it being grainy is probably more due to operator error than a recipe issue : )

  • I want to make this for dipping apple slices for a girl scout halloween party. Does it need to be kept warm for dipping or is it creamy enough once it cools. I’m trying to figure out how I can keep it warm for about an hour until it’s time to dip. The party will be in a classroom so I don’t think I will have access to a microwave. I was planning on pouring it into individual plastic condiment cups for each of the girls and then have a lazy susan of toppings they can dip the caramel apple slices in;, such as, crushed oreos, pretzels, mini m & m’s and mini chocolate chips. Will this sauce consistency work for my plan? Any suggestions?

    • Hi Pam, you shouldn’t have to keep this warm. It will thicken a bit as it cools but not so much that you couldn’t use it for dipping. I would test it out in advance, then you would know if you need to make it a little thicker – less cream or thinner – more cream.

  • Just made this today for a quick gift for my mom who loves caramel. It’s still warm so I can’t tell about the consistency, but the flavor is so yummy! It came together easily for me following your recipe exactly…no separation or crystals as some have said.

    I doubled the recipe so we would have some too, and I’m even thinking it would make a nice teacher gift at Christmas! Maybe tie a spoon onto the jar for convenience? Or is that just asking for trouble?

  • We just tried the recipe and were not very happy about the result coming out. Actually, the sugar did not caramelize so after ten minutes of boiling the mixture we still had just butter mixed with cream and sugar. Vanille and salt only reduces the sweetness of it. Did I do something wrong?

    • Hi Michael,

      So sorry you didn’t like this sauce. I make this fairly frequently with great results. It will not be like an authentic “melted sugar” type caramel sauce. It’s lighter in color and I’m sure if the “caramel police” were around they might arrest me. But everyone loves it and it’s wonderful drizzled on ice cream and desserts of all kinds.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris

  • I don’t usually take the time to comment but I finally understand why people love caramel sauce!!! My husband has been laughing at me and finally put the lid on the jar so I couldn’t keep snitching! It is SO GOOD!
    Thank you!

  • made this stuff last year. 123knockout caramel sauce. . love love love being able to find it again. thank you so much.. my son in law likes to eat it straight out of the jar

  • Excellent…I knew I would find what I was looking for on your site…I need caramel for my flan tomorrow and I didn’t want to fuss with making caramel and risk burning it by doing it the Old fashioned way with just sugar.
    This makes my life much more simple and risk-free. Thanks again…you are ending up to be my go-to for Absolutely- Delicious- Fail- Proof recipes.

  • Can anyone tell me how long this would last? I know – given how awesome it sounds it wouldn’t be long as it’d be hard to stay away from it – but I was just wondering how long it will keep.

  • I curse you and I thank you! 🙂 This is so ridiculously easy and equally ridiculously good, I’m in big trouble! On the bright side, no more trips to Trader Joe’s to buy their salted caramel sauce. On the flip side, I always have these ingredients in my kitchen so I will be making this on a whim frequently, probably not a good thing. For anyone reading this, definitely use the vanilla paste, in fact you will use it for everything that calls for regular vanilla. I buy 2 or 3 jars at a time (Williams-Sonoma) and as an added touch, I used vanilla sea salt, totally made the sauce! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • I’ve made this recipe a couple of times now and it turned out perfectly both times – very impressed, as are my kids!! 🙂 It looks and tastes fabulous drizzled over my cupcakes. Thanks for sharing it. 😀

  • How much caramel sauce does this make as I would like to use it in a buttercream frosting & need to know what size batch to make? Sounds just like what I’m looking for in my recipe.

  • This did not work at all. The sauce is separating as it’s cooling. Very disappointing experience and a waste of ingredients and time.

    • That is so sad, I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. I make it all the time, in fact just two days ago I needed a dessert in a hurry and it came to the rescue. Everyone went crazy over it!

      • This didn’t turn out anything like caramel for me. Followed recipe exactly and it’s completely crystallized. 🙁 The hunt for perfect caramel continues.

        • So sorry Vanessa. We make this all the time and it always turns out so well. I’ve also had so many emails from readers saying how much they loved this. Not sure what the problem could be, but I’m sorry you wasted your good ingredients. I hate to do that!

    • You’re so right, technically 🙂 But you know what they say about a rose by any other name…. this stuff is so good and tastes better than most caramel sauces I’ve ever had. I do make a salted caramel sauce, the real thing, that is incredible but much more painstaking 🙂

      • I would like to have your caramel sauce recipe if you don’t mind. I love caramels but don’t care for the taste of butterscotch.

        Thanks,

        Melissa

        PS. I am glad I read the reviews before I made the recipe. I was almost ready to make it with the last of my butter. I w would h a ‘ve been disappointed if I would have wound up with butterscotch thinking it was caramel.

  • Hi chris ,
    Your recipe for apple crumble and the’ ridiculously easy caramel sauce” sound simply divine . I just made the apple crumble dessert at 7 am this morn the minute i saw it . It is baking in the oven as i am writing to you and let me tell you the delicious aroma is enough to make me sit in the kitchen all day . I am from India and have done a cordon bleu course this Feb in the UK but this recipe is sooo amazing and easy .Will surely make this when i entertain next …and needless to say have become an ardent follower of your site …Thank You !!!
    Zia

    • Hi Chris , made the crumble once more .It turned out even better than the first round .There is also a longer line of friends waiting to get their hands onto this ….
      Am about to try your quinoa salad ..bet it will turn out just as good .

    • Hi Zia, I love having friends all the way across the world! Hope you enjoy the quinoa salad, you’ve made me hungry for it now 🙂 By the way, where did you study in the UK? My daughter lives in London so we spend time there fairly frequently.

  • This tastes great!! But, mine turned to sugar when it cooled. What did I do wrong or what can I do to prevent it from crystalizing? I made 2 batches and both turned sugary.

    • I’m so sorry you had this problem. I’m not sure what it could be. I’ve made it so many times and not run into this. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps your butter had a high water content or that it just didn’t cook long enough.

    • I’m so glad I found this recipe, I needed a caramel that doesn´t harden for a turtle cheesecake (so I could get mess free slices). This is perfect, yesterday was the first time I made it. I have to mention that by mistake I added 3/4 cup of heavy cream, also I make my own vanilla bean paste and it has a little bit of corn syrup. Tastes great, my daughter loved it and had a big bowl of bananas with this caramel and toasted peanuts.

  • Hi, this would not be the right type of caramel to use for apples. It will not harden but it would be great for dipping apple slices into 🙂

  • Chris I’ve been looking for a recipe like this forevs!! I’ve made caramel sauce but it’s never the same b/c it’s not made the same way as caramel – most recipes have you burn the sugar (regular sugar) first before adding in cream, and that just is a different flavor (not bad, but not what I’d call real caramel) than my favorite caramels made with brown sugar. This is what I needed! thank you!

  • I almost licked the screen! Delicious, Easy, and Beautiful??! Just the kind of recipes I like ~ and I cannot wait for the Apple Crumble recipe, absolutely perfect for this time of year. Thanks for sharing Chris. 🙂

  • Love that huge jar full of caramel sauce – it looks like you made a ton! 🙂 or maybe the jar just looks huge in the photos. Anyway, I’d like to have this glass jar filled with homemade caramel sauce in my house right now!

  • Chris, I love ALL your recipe ideas – always so very inspiring. And, yes, I have all the ingredienst on hand, this will be lovely with our vanilla ice cream on Monday – thanks for sharing this wonderful sauce recipe! Looking forward to the apple crumble recipe on Monday – taking the kids to a farm today, I shall get some extra apples then!
    Have a great Sunday! Und liebe Grüße aus Bonn!

  • Wow Chris, this sauce sounds fantastic! My only problem is finding good quality vanilla bean paste….once i get that, i will make this! Thanks for sharing great and simple recipes like these 🙂

  • This easy caramel sauce would be SO dangerous in my house! It looks incredible, Chris! I’d drizzle it over everything and sprinkle on a little salt…

  • This looks awesome and would be great on vanilla ice-cream. But the vanilla bean paste, wonder if it would be almost a good if left out…I have never seen any.

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