How to Succeed in Making Caramel Sauce (A New #tRCTips Series!)

Everyone should know how to comfortably make caramel sauce; it is one of the simplest yet daunting assemblies out there. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t as difficult as one might think, as long as you follow a few easy steps. Soon, you will have a dark, luscious, silky and salty sauce that you can literally put on anything!

Step 1 — Gather Your Ingredients

Like most new recipes, you should read through the entire process before digging in. The same goes for caramel in addition to gathering all of the ingredients and measuring them BEFORE you get started. The French call this mise en place and it means that everything has a place.

Step 2 — Pan Up

Move away from the nonstick pan for this recipe. I suggest a heavy bottom coated cast iron (such as Le Creuset), copper, or steel medium size sauce pan. You will need a pan that is larger than you might think as caramel loves for boil and bubble vigorously.

Step 3 — TherNOmeter

Would you believe me if I said you don’t need a thermometer to make caramel sauce?! Well, you don’t. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use one, it just means that you can still successfully make caramel without a specialty piece of equipment. If you make this recipe a lot, your nose and eyes will do all the work necessary for determining when the sauce is done.

{If making caramel candies, however, I do recommend a thermometer however since typically any caramel below 248°F will not be set at room temperature.}

Step 4 — Color & Taste

A good rule of thumb is the darker the caramel, the deeper the flavor. If you like a deep and dark (nearly burnt) caramel, or a light and butterscotchy flavor, that is up to you to control. Just remember that you want to pull the melted sugar off the heat about 10 seconds early, which means anticipating your desired color in advance.

Step 5 — Warm Up

The caramel sauce will not bubble as much if your cream and butter are pre-warmed. The sauce will also cook slightly quicker as well.

Ready?! Here’s the recipe:

Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients

(makes 2 cups)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (12oz)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp (1 stick/4oz)

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or fleur de sel


1. Measure out all of the ingredients:

  • Sugar into small clean/dry bowl
  • Butter, cream, vanilla, and sugar go into a small heatproof bowl or 4 cup measuring pitcher. Place into microwave and set for 45 seconds but do not turn on yet!

2. Place sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a medium saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt. Use a whisk to gently stir the melted sugar together to encourage even melting. Don’t worry if clumps form, these will melt. Once all the sugar has melted, stop using the whisk and just swirl the pan occasionally as the sugar begins to darken.

3. Continue cooking until the sugar has reached the desired color and aroma. If you are using a thermometer, it will be around 300°F. Remove the pan from direct heat and hit start on the microwave to warm the cream and start melting the butter.

4. Slowly pour the cream & butter mixture into the caramel off the heat. Be careful because the mixture will bubble up but as soon as all the ingredients come up to the same temperature, the vigorous bubbling will subside.

5. Return the pan to the heat and whisk until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for 5 minutes. If using a thermometer, it should read about 225 °F.

6. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into a heat proof glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for up to a month, if it will last that long!

Happy Baking!

xo, Marisa (The Radical Cupcake)

The Radical Cupcake

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👩🏻‍🍳 Posts & Recipes by Marisa J. Lown 🍎 Snowboarder/Baker/Healthy Food-Maker 📚 Food Safety Specialist & Grad Student 💡 Allergy Friendly Product R&D