In less than 15 minutes you can make this pot of gold…sweet, salty and buttery, this salted caramel sauce is the definition of indulgence!
Every baker needs a good recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce. Am I right? It can be used in sooo many ways, drizzled over cupcakes, as the filling for a tart, poured over a layer cake, spooned over ice-cream, eaten straight from the jar ... the list goes on with the ways that you can use this delicious sauce in your desserts.
It’s quick and simple to make but word of warning caramel gets hot, like seriously burn you hot so when you're making this ensure there are no kids around to pull the pan off the stove top. Fully dedicate fifteen minutes to making it with no distractions. Caramel can turn from golden brown to burnt in the blink of an eye. Follow my step-by-step guide with images below so that you can take the intimidation right out of making this sauce.
Read further for some tips in making this your go to recipe.
Top tips in making Caramel Sauce
- Prep your ingredients before starting. This will make the process run more smoothly.
- Use a large saucepan. When you add the butter or cream to the melted sugar it bubbles up quite vigorously and a larger pan than you think you’ll need will avoid any coming up over the lip of the saucepan.
- Use a thermometer. I'd recommend that you use a thermometer if you aren’t sure whether the sauce has caramelised sufficiently. There’s a fine line between caramelisation and burnt and if this worries you then using a thermometer will put your mind at ease. Once the melted sugar gets to 150C you have the perfect caramelisation. If doing it by eye the caramel should be a lovely golden amber colour.
- Salt: don't use table salt for this. Make sure to use natural sea salt flakes. The larger flakes provide the perfect signature crunch saltiness to the sauce. If you aren’t a fan of the salt then just omit it and you’ll have delicious caramel sauce.
- How to store. Once cool then pour into a glass jar and refrigerate (good for up to a month). It will harden but pop it in the microwave to liquidify again.
How do you make Salted Caramel Sauce?
I used to be so intimidated of making this sauce but once you know the steps and follow my tips above, you’ll see just how easy it is to make. Also just how good it tastes compared to a store bought sauce. There’s really no comparison!
- Heat the sugar in a large saucepan until it starts to melt. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon or rubber spatular (image 1)
- The sugar starts to turn golden and starts to clump as you continue to stir, (image 2) and you may think you’ve done something wrong. Be patient, these clumps will slowly melt back down and turn into a golden liquid.
- Stop stirring once all the clumps have melted and continue to swirl the golden sugar in the pan as it continues to cook. Keep an eagle eye on it at this point as it’s easy to take the caramelisation process too far. It needs to have a deep amber colour and have a nutty aroma (image 3). If using a candy thermometer it should get too 150C.
- Once the sugar reaches this point then add the butter in one go (image 4) . Watch out as the butter will cause the sugar to bubble up but whisk continuously until the butter has completely melted.
- Slowly pour in the cream and vanilla extract (image 5) and again the mixture will bubble up vigorously. Whisk continuously until fully combined and you have a smooth sauce (image 6)
- Pour into a bowl and allow to cool for ten minutes (image 7)
- Then add the natural sea salt flakes, a little at a time until it reaches the saltiness that you like. (image 8)
- Lastly, pour into a sterilised glass jar and set aside until cooled to room temperature (image 9)
What can I serve caramel sauce with
Well, let’s brain storm a couple of ideas here:
- Drizzle over ice-cream or mix into an ice-cream base and freeze
- Spoon into hot chocolate or a latte
- Blend with ice-cream to make a milk shake
- Dip churro’s in it
- Mix into a cheesecake
- Drizzle over grilled fruit such as peaches or bananas
- Dollop into thumbprint cookies
I’m sure that you can think of so many other ways of using this delicious sauce. But I bet when that jar is open you take a lick of your spoon! I know I have!
Sally from Sally’s Baking Blog makes a Snicker’s Caramel Tart which I’ve had my eye on t make for a while. Snickers have to be one of my all time favourite chocolate bars and recreating it in tart form sounds divine. Her recipe can be found here.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Heavy based saucepan
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 80 g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
- 160 ml double cream (heavy cream), room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp flaked sea salt
- In a high sided non-stick saucepan, heat the sugar over a medium heat, stirring often. The sugar will soon start to clump, and you’ll think, ‘OMG, I’ve messed this up already’! You haven’t. The sugar does this, but after a while, as you're stirring, the sugar clumps will turn into a liquid.
- Once the sugar is in liquid form, stop stirring with your wooden spoon and swirl the liquid sugar whilst the colour changes to a lovely amber colour. Keep an eagle eye on it at this stage, as it can turn to burnt sugar very quickly.
- At this stage, carefully add in your butter in one go. It will bubble up but whisk the butter in until it has thoroughly melted. Then remove from the heat.
- Next, add the cream. Again, it will bubble but keep whisking, and the bubbling will die down. Now leave it on medium heat, occasionally stirring, so that the caramel can thicken. This takes around five minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and salt to taste and leave to cool fully in the pan before pouring into your jar.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.