How To Make Caramel Sauce

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Ingredients In Real Homemade Caramel

How to Make Caramel Sauce | You Can Cook That |
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream/heavy whipping cream is the base for caramel. Any milk or half-and-half are too thin and wont cook properly.
  • Light Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is liquid sugar made from corn. Like all refined sugars, corn syrup doesnt have an ideal nutritional profile. Corn syrup is required as it acts as the sticky, taffy-like base for caramel apples. Without it, the caramel will slide right off the apple . Though other liquid sweeteners can sometimes be substituted for corn syrup, candy making is not one of those instances. For organic non-GMO corn syrup, I like Wholesome brand.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is softer and more flavorful than regular white sugar, so I love using it in caramel coating recipes.
  • Butter: Butter adds unbeatable flavor and a desirably soft texture.
  • Salt & Vanilla Extract: Both ingredients add incredible flavor. Add the vanilla extract after you remove the cooked caramel from heat.
  • How To Make Hard Caramel Candies

  • Measure the ingredients. For hard caramels, you’ll need 1 cup light brown sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter, and 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt.
  • Make syrup. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add sugar and salt, and stir to combine.
  • Cook while stirring. Since there is no water in this recipe, you don’t run the risk of crystallization, so you can stir it as it cooks. Let the syrup cook until it reaches between 300 and 305 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Immediately remove from heat. Pour it onto a small rimmed baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, or into candy molds of your choice.
  • Let cool. After about 20 minutes, it is ready to eat break it into larger pieces to enjoy like peanut brittle, or smash into smaller shards to use in recipes.
  • Dry Sugar Cooking Method

    For the dry sugar cooking method, simply heat sugar in a heavy saucepan until it melts and begins to brown. You don’t stir the pan at all you just watch it all happen from a safe distance. The browning of the molten sugar happens quickly, so you really don’t want to walk away while it’s happening.

    • To help prevent the caramel from crystallizing, you can add an acid to the sugar before you begin: add about half a tablespoon of lemon juice to each cup of sugar and mix it with your hands it should be the consistency of wet sand.
    • Heat the sugar over medium-high heat until it melts. You can shake the pan gently to redistribute the melting sugar, but don’t stir.
    • When all the sugar is melted and caramelized, immediately remove the pan from the heat and submerge the bottom of the pan in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

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    Slow Cooker To Keep Warm

    Caramel must be prepared on the stove as instructed. However, after the caramel has cooked, you can keep it warm in a slow cooker on the low setting. Give it a gentle stir every 10 minutes to ensure the butter doesnt separate. This is a great idea if you want to have a party where everyone can coat their own caramel apples!

    What Does The Caramel Taste Like

    How To Make Homemade Caramel Sauce (+ Tips and Flavor Options)

    My salted caramel is perfect for garnishing desserts, filling cakes, and as a dip for apple slices. However, its not suitable for coating apples because its too thin and wont set properly its missing corn syrup and the proper sugar to fat ratio.

    The homemade caramel well use for caramel apples is soft, chewy, buttery, a little taffy-like, and adheres to the apple easily. If applied lightly, the caramel wont pool down at the bottom of the apple. Lets break down the ingredients you need for homemade caramel coating and why each are imperative to the taste and texture. Cooking candy is actual chemistry, so theres no room for substitutions.

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    Does Salted Caramel Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated

    Yes, you should store this salted caramel sauce recipe easy in the fridge. It will only last for three days at room temperature, but it will last up to three weeks in the fridge.

    I store mine in a pint mason jar with a plastic lid. I was using the cheap plastic lids, but they cracked when I looked at them the wrong way. The Ball lids are much sturdier and worth the extra money.

    More Ingredients To Add To Caramel Sauce

    You can flavor caramel with liqueurs, fruit juices, and extracts. For example, you can make an apple cider caramel sauce for your next apple pie by adding about a third of a cup of apple cider to the warm caramel. Let it cool and pour the sauce over the apples in your pie . Toss gently and transfer the apple mixture to the crust-lined pie plate.

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    Equipment Needed For Making Caramel Sauce

    Just like the ingredients, the equipment that you need is also very basic.

  • Heavy bottom saucepan with a wide surface
  • First thing that you need to make any sort of caramel is a heavy bottom saucepan since it distributes heat better and prevents your sugar from burning easily. Also, it is very important that you use a pan with a wider surface area. This will make sure that your sugar is spread in one even layer. If the pan is too small and your sugar granules are overlapping, your caramel will definitely seize.

  • Pastry brush
  • At times while sugar is cooking it starts to crystallize. One way to prevent this is by brushing the edges of your pan with water so always keep a bowl of water and pastry brush handy.

  • Hand blender for emulsifying
  • Many people blend or emulsify their caramel sauce after it is cooked. This is done to ensure that the fat from the butter doesnt separate from the sugar and the caramel remains silky, and smooth. I use the method of cooking my caramel on low after everything is added to it instead of using a hand blender. Watch the Youtube video attached to see a demonstration.

    Caramel Sauce With Milk

    How to make Rich Caramel Sauce

    Makes about 1 3/4 cups

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 3/4 cups milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Pour the sugar into your large pot. Shift the pot side to side to distribute the sugar evenly.

    Put the pot over medium-low heat. Stay nearby, but don’t stir or shift the sugar. This is a slow, gentle heating, and nothing visual will really happen for a few minutes. Concurrently, you can combine the milk and the vanilla in a heatproof measuring cup, and heat the mixture in the microwave for about 1 minute .

    After several minutes , you’ll see the sugar beginning to liquefy. At this point, use a heatproof rubber spatula to turn the mixture over on itself, moistening the still-dry portions of sugar.

    Continue heating. As the sugar warms, it will begin to darken in color, first to a sort of beige and then to a light caramel tone. When the sugar has reached a rich caramel tone, medium-brown but not dark, remove from heat. Now, be ready for some hissing and bubbling as you pour about 1/3 to 1/2 of the milk mixture into the caramel mixture. It will hiss, it may bubble, hardened bits may form, but it shouldn’t bubble over the sides of the pot. Once the bubbling has subsided, add the rest of the milk mixture, and return the pot to the burner, and put it on medium-low heat. Remember: those hardened bits = totally normal.

    Stir constantly as the mixture cooks. You’ll see that the hardened bits begin to shrink and then dissolve. Once they are mostly dissolved, stir in the salt.

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    How To Make Salted Caramel Recipe

    Thats right, it really does only take 5 minutes to make this homemade caramel sauce.

    Simply melt the butter.

    Cook it with the brown sugar and milk until it boils for a few minutes.

    TIP: the important part is waiting to set the clock until its BOILING. Simmering doesnt count as boiling, so once its bubbling all the way through, then set your timer.

    Add the vanilla and salt and you have an easy caramel syrup or sauce.

    Once its cooked you should cool the salted caramel for about 10 minutes before using it on ice cream, so it doesnt melt it. But you can also let it cool in a jar or bottle and store it to use over the week. Its a creamy caramel sauce thats thin enough to pour but thick enough that its not runny.

    And its made from scratch!

    Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe

    Follow these easy instructions to create sweet salted caramel sauce at home. This salted caramel recipe requires only 4 easy ingredients. Its perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pound cake, ice cream, cheesecake, scones, apple pie, and more!

    What once intimidated me became the subject of my 2nd cookbook: Sallys Candy Addiction. As it turns out, homemade candy isnt all that difficult. And salted caramel is one of the easiest recipes. This truly the best salted caramel Ive ever had and theres only 4 ingredients required: sugar, butter, heavy cream, and salt.

    This salted caramel is a reader favorite recipe, marking its spot in the top 10 most popular recipes on my website. Its sweet, sticky, buttery, and tastes phenomenal on anything it touches. Trust me, after trying this 1 time, youll be hooked like the rest of us!

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    Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe

    This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

    This caramel sauce recipe is so simple, youll never want store-bought again! There are only 5 all-natural ingredients that all go into the pot at once and then you whisk until its thickened to your liking. How easy is that?! Youll learn how to make caramel sauce in no time!

    Ive been disappointed many times looking for caramel that didnt have high fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors and flavors, or other ingredients I couldnt pronounce. Its crazy! This caramel recipe is not just easy, but it tastes amazing. Nothing beats homemade caramel sauce!

    I learned how to make caramel sauce from Pioneer Woman years ago and have been making this salted version ever since! The little bit of salt in this recipe balances the flavors perfectly so dont skip it! Theres a reason why salted caramel is a thing.

    Additional Tips To Keep In Mind

    Easy Homemade Caramel Recipe
  • You need to be very careful while making caramel. Since youre dealing with very hot temperatures, Ill suggest having all your ingredients and equipment ready to use and having an organized work space that lets you carry on the process safely and smoothly.
  • Always cook your caramel on low medium heat. We want the sugar to cook nicely and evenly. If you increase the heat, it will cook the sugar too fast and burn it.
  • The perfect amber color is very important to the final result of the caramel sauce. One trick to check whether your caramel is amber color or not is to dip a spoon in and drip a little bit of caramel on a white plate to see the true color. Dont take it off the heat if its too transparent or not a deep enough brown.
  • If you want to make a thicker caramel sauce, you need to cook the sugar for longer and add in less cream. But if you want a thinner caramel sauce, you will need to cook the sugar for less time and add in more cream.
  • These are all the tips and tricks you need to make the best caramel sauce at home. I hope you read each point carefully and are getting very excited to try this recipe out!

    Use my recipe to make the best caramel sauce at home and share your pictures with me on my Instagram . Happy baking!

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    What Kind Of Sugar Should I Use For This Recipe

    The recipe calls for dark brown sugar since it has more of a caramel flavor, but you can really use any kind of sugar. If you dont have dark brown sugar on hand, you can use brown sugar or white sugar. Depending on which sugar you use, it will change the flavor of your Salted Caramel Sauce.

    You can also try out my Vegan Caramel Sauce if youre looking for a recipe that specifically uses sugar-free sugars.

    Gemmas Pro Chef Tips For Making The Best Microwave Salted Caramel Sauce:

    • If youre Salted Caramel Sauce is runny after cooking for around 2 minutes, let it cool instead of cooking it for longer. Otherwise, the sauce will overcook and crystallize. Trust the process, and let the sauce thicken as it cools.
    • No one likes hard Salted Caramel Sauce. To prevent crystallization, make sure the sugar is fully dissolved before raising the temperature to caramelize. Its really important to start gently dissolving all of the sugar for any successful caramel.
    • To make your Salted Caramel Sauce less sweet, reduce the sugar by a quarter or a third of the amount in the recipe. Your cooking time may be less, so keep a close watch on it, and observe the changes that should happen in every step.
    • Store your Salted Caramel Sauce in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. To reheat, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds at a time, and stir after every cycle. Keep that going until your sauce is back to its nice and fluid consistency.

    Tools You Need For Caramel Apples

  • Candy Thermometer: This tool literally makes the entire caramel cooking process EASY FOR YOU because theres no mistaking temperature. I highly recommend a digital candy thermometer that clips onto your pot like this one or this one. If calibrated, a candy thermometer is 1000x more accurate than using your eyes to detect candys doneness. See My Favorite Candy Making Tools for how/why to calibrate.
  • Heavy bottomed saucepan: Ive ruined many batches of caramel because of a cheap pan. The ideal place for cooking candy is a deep and thick saucepan with straight sides. Thin pans, which often have hot spots, do not withstand the heat required for these recipes. These days I have a few pans I use for making toffee: here and here. The Cooks Standard is a great option for beginners, while the All-Clad is ideal for controlling the temperature of your candy.
  • Wooden spoon: Wood has a high heat tolerance. It also doesnt conduct heat, so it wont suck heat out from the cooking candy which causes crystallization. I just bought this set and LOVE them.
  • Pastry brush: A pastry brush helps rid the saucepan of sugar syrup that may have splashed up around the sides. This syrup could burn and crystallize, ruining your batch of caramel. Wet it with water and wipe the sides of the pan clean. Its ok if some water drips down into the cooking candy.
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    What Do You Do If Caramel Sauce Is Too Hard

    I’ve made this salted caramel sauce recipe easy several times, and it shouldn’t get too hard at room temperature.

    However, if you find that it’s too hard, you can reheat it and add more heavy cream.

    If it’s just hard when it gets cold, then you can place the jar in warm water to soften it. You can also microwave it or heat it on the stove, but be careful not to overcook it.

    Three: Remove From Heat Add Butter To The Melted Sugar And Stir To Combine

    Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe – No thermometer needed!

    The mixture will begin to bubble violently.

    Now, I know the normal human reaction to this would be alarm, but this is exactly what the homemade caramel should be doing! The butter is much colder in comparison to the hot sugar, so theyre just trying to get to know each other. Sparks are flying.

    After a few minutes of stirring the two will start to combine. Just keep whisking until they are completely homogenous

    This is what the caramel should look like by the end of this step:

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    Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe

    How to make a homemade caramel sauce recipe. This salted caramel sauce can be made on the stove or in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Use this is a delicious topping for ice cream and other desserts. You can even add it to coffee.

    Fall means apples, and apples mean caramel. We use this salted caramel topping recipe for apple dishes, but I also use it for ice cream and for coffee.

    This is the best salted caramel sauce recipe that I’ve adapted to make in the Instant Pot. I love my Instant Pot pressure cooker, and it’s so easy to use for many things instead of using the stove or oven.

    This Instant Pot caramel recipe can also be made on the stove, so I’ll also have those directions in the post.

    Tips To Make A Successful Caramel Sauce:

  • Use a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heavy-bottomed pan distributed heat evenly, which is important to melt the sugar evenly. And make sure to use a large pan, because the caramel will bubble up when you add cream, and you dont want it to overflow! Im using 2.5 quart saucepan for this recipe. Anything smaller and Id be in trouble!
  • Prepare all the ingredients before you start. Once you start melting the sugar, you wont have time to run around to cut that butter or measure the salt.
  • Dont be afraid to use a heat-resistant silicone spatula, or a wooden spoon to stir the sugar. But its better not to stir too much in the beginning, because youll just end up with sugar on the spatula. Instead swirl the pan. As you get more liquid sugar, then spatula will come in handy.
  • Heat the cream before adding it to melted sugar and add it off heat. Hot liquid minimizes splattering and prevents the caramel from seizing up.
  • If the caramel seized up, dont worry. Simply return the mixture to a low heat and cook it until the sugar crystals are fully dissolved.
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