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Salted Caramel Sauce

Silky and rich, this homemade salted caramel sauce is a dream. Pour it over ice cream, drizzle it into coffee drinks, and add it to frosting – this versatile and decadent sauce is perfect in so many dishes.

A jar of homemade caramel sauce next to a bowl of ice cream with caramel sauce and two drinks.

Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe

If you love the richness of caramel but need a little flavor contrast, you’ll love this salted caramel sauce recipe! Silky smooth and luxurious with lots of heavy cream and butter, this is one for the books. A hint of sea salt balances out the sweetness of the caramel sauce and turns it into something a bit out of the ordinary. Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to make and goes so well in so many desserts!

Why You’ll Love It

This delicious and decandet sauce is a dessert dream! From a few simple ingredients comes something so sumbline you’ll want to make it often. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Quick – In about 10 minutes or less you’ll have a totally spoonable, salted caramel sauce ready to go.
  • Versatile – Keep things easy and drizzle caramel sauce over ice cream. You can also use it in sundaes, buttercream, tarts, and so much more.
  • Keeps well – Make this sauce before you wish to serve it and stash it in the fridge. Or, keep a fresh jar in the fridge at all times so that you can be spontaneous! Salted caramel sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
A scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with homemade caramel sauce.

What You Need

You’ll need just a handful of ingredients, outlined below, to make this salted caramel sauce recipe. The full ingredient amounts and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post – this is just an overview.

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter – I prefer unsalted butter
  • Salt – I use fine sea salt in all of my recipes!

How to Make Homemade Caramel Sauce

  • Make sauce: Melt the sugar in the water in a pot over medium heat.
  • Boil: Bring to a boil, then boil without whisking.
  • Add cream: Remove from the heat and add the butter, cream, and salt.
A carton of ice cream and a bowl of ice cream.

Tips & Variations

Caramel sauce can be a bit fussy – the trick is to pay attention to the sugar and water mixture while it’s cooking so that it doesn’t cook too long. And, you may want to try this method to make a less salty caramel sauce. Check out my variation ideas and some tips below:

  • Make it plain caramel sauce – If you wish to make this a less salted homemade caramel sauce, reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe to ¼  teaspoon.
  • Use brown sugar – For a darker salted caramel sauce, swap the granulated sugar for light or dark brown sugar.
  • Make dairy-free – Use coconut milk or cream for the heavy cream and substitute your favorite non-dairy butter or margarine for the butter.
  • Go refined sugar-free – Swap coconut sugar for the granulated sugar.
  • Use fresh cream – The carton of cream you pick up at the store should just be a few days old so that the caramel sauce tastes the best it can. No old cream, please!
  • Watch carefully – When the sugar is cooking you won’t whisk it. But, this doesn’t mean you can ignore it! You’ll want to make sure that the caramel doesn’t burn (burnt caramel is a whole other flavor, which is great, but not what we’re making in this recipe). You may need to turn down the heat a bit if it looks like it’s cooking too quickly.
  • Add the cream slowly – Pour in the cream slowly while you’re whisking. It will foam and bubble up – this is normal! Just keep whisking until a smooth sauce forms.
Vanilla ice cream topped with caramel sauce.

Serving Suggestions

This versatile salted caramel sauce is sure to become a favorite! As mentioned, you can serve it in so many ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • Over ice cream: As the photos show, a classic and simple way to serve homemade caramel sauce is over ice cream! I love it over vanilla ice cream because you can taste the flavor of the caramel when there aren’t a lot of other flavors and textures competing with it, but it would also nice with chocolate ice cream.
  • With a sundae: Make brownies, then top them with ice cream, whipped cream, and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce!
  • In frosting: This sauce is perfect for tucking into the frosting for my chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream recipe.
  • As a glaze: Make this gluten free caramel cake into a salted caramel cake with this salted caramel sauce recipe!
  • In a pie: Swirl a couple of spoonfuls of salted caramel sauce into a homemade gluten free apple pie, Gravenstein apple pie, or gluten free apple galette for a flavor boost.
A bowl of ice cream topped with homemade caramel sauce next to a jar of sauce.

Storage Options

Store cooled salted caramel sauce in an airtight, glass container – like a Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid – in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

More Easy Gluten Free Dessert Recipes

Salted Caramel Sauce

Nicole Spiridakis
Silky, rich homemade salted caramel sauce is a dream. Pour it over ice cream, drizzle it into coffee drinks, and add it to frosting – this versatile and decadent sauce is perfect in so many dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 178 kcal


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, whisking until the sugar melts. Turn to medium heat and slowly boil without whisking until until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the butter; it will foam up. Whisk in the cream (it will foam up again) and salt.
  • Let the caramel cool to room temperature and store in a glass container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.


Calories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 238mgPotassium: 19mgSugar: 20gVitamin A: 402IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.03mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!


  1. Congratulations! What wonderful news. As someone living with celiac and who truly enjoys your recipes and writing, I can’t wait for your cookbook.

  2. So exciting! I love the distinction between gluten-free flour substitutions for desserts that usually have flour in them and “naturally gluten free” desserts. It’s a good reminder that eating a certain way can INCLUDE so many things instead of requiring constant substitutions for something we once ate and enjoyed. It’s not all about stripping away when it comes to other ways of eating. 2014 is so far away!! I hope we get some sneak peeks before then.

  3. What excitement!! Congratulations! I recall reading that article on NPR when it was first published — your gluten-free treats always do look fabulous; this seems a perfect fit. Continue with the deep breaths and the caramel sauce, and I do believe you’ll be well equipped for all that’s ahead. ;)

  4. I hate to say this because it sounds like a motherly thing to say but there it is – I’m proud of you! And gluten free has become such a topic around here – my friend with migraines went gluten free, a child in Tin’s school needs gluten free, and I have found out many things about having Hashimoto’s that requires inflammation free and not necessarily strictly gluten free but very close (the worst is not the gluten it is giving up tofu as soy is the worst thing to eat with Hashimoto’s – a horrible realization). I look forward to your book and to sharing it with friends, and I also so much look forward to how Morocco will influence your palate. حظا سعيدا يا صديقي {read: good luck my friend}

  5. So much to say….I just caught up on your posts from the past month or so, while baking the recent banana bread recipe (more on that in a sec). Moving overseas, taking the leap into free-lance work, writing a cookbook, another marathon done, and your birthday – congratulations on all! I do so hope you will still find time to keep up your blog, too. And sign me up for a copy of the cookbook, of course.
    The banana bread recipe with olive oil is perfect. I had to do a substitution for the yogurt, though. I poured in the same amount of my sourdough starter – thought the tangy flavor would be about the same as yogurt lends. Viola! Perfect taste and just the right crumbliness. Thanks again for the inspiration. ~Stef

  6. CONGRATULATIONS! So delighted to hear your news, and have no doubt you will hit it out of the park (there’s a b-ball reference for the Giant’s fan in you). As you do with everything. I am sure it will be WONDERFUL.
    If this caramel sauce is a sneak peek, I’d say you’re well on your way. xox

  7. The cookbook premise sounds like a winner to me. How wonderful to have a collection of recipes on the shelf that don’t rely on flour as a reference and source of inspiration! The caramel sauce looks very very good indeed.

  8. Hi there, I always read and never comment, but that cookbook sounds wonderful. I’ve been wanting to read a book JUST like that for a few years now. I have so many gluten free (and dairy free) people in my life and even though I don’t mind splurging for special flours that I don’t use myself, I’m always racking my brains for desserts that are naturally free of gluten (and dairy!). Thanks for taking the scary step into self-employment (jealous!!).

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