How to Make Homemade Caramel

We’re breaking down exactly how to make homemade caramel. Rich and delicious, this easy caramel sauce is perfect for all sorts of recipes! Use it as a filling in a salted caramel cake, drizzle it over ice cream, or just eat the best caramel sauce by the spoonful! We took out any guess work out of this caramel recipe with step by step photos so you’ll know exactly how to make caramel with nothing left to second guess!

easy homemade caramel in a glass jar with a drip

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How to Make Homemade Caramel

Happy hump day! This week is flying by for us, so let’s take a moment to stop and smell the roses…or stop and eat the salted caramel 🙂 Today we’re sharing our foolproof recipe for the best homemade caramel you’ll ever have. Made with just three easy ingredients and no special equipment or thermometers, we’re here to show you that homemade caramel sauce is actually super approachable.

spoonful of easy homemade caramel on parchment paper

Our tips for the best homemade caramel:

  1. Use high quality butter: You’re only as good as your ingredients and with caramel your butter quality can really make or break your sauce. This is one time when it’s a good idea to splurge on that box that’s a few dollars more expensive.
  2. Never leave your caramel sauce unattended: To make caramel sauce you essentially toast white sugar until it’s melted, before adding in butter, cream, and salt. Your sugar can go from toasty to burnt pretty quickly though, so make sure you keep a close eye on it!
  3. Don’t forget the salt! Caramel is simply too sweet without it. A healthy amount of salt really deepens the flavor profile and will keep your caramel from tasting overly sweet.

salted caramel dripping into jar off of spoon

This step by step guide will break it allllll down for you so that you, too, can eat delicious salted caramel by the spoonful unashamedly in your home. YOU. ARE. WELCOME.

Let’s get to it, babes.

easy homemade caramel in a glass jar

Step One: Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat

Move the sauce pan around every few minutes to keep the sugar heating evenly, but do NOT stir constantly

homemade caramel stage one sugar begins to clump

homemade caramel sugar started to clump together

Step Two: Keep an eye on the sugar, stirring it every few minutes until it melts.

homemade caramel process shot sugar half melted

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Sugar is melted with a few clumps remaining

The sugar will clump first and eventually start to melt. This can take up to 15 minutes. Be patient! You’ll know your caramel is done when it’s fully liquid and no clumps of sugar remain.

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

sugar is completley smooth and no clumps remain

Step Three: Remove from heat. Add butter to the melted sugar and stir to combine.

butter being stirred into easy homemade caramel sauce whisking butter into caramel sauce

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 they’re just trying to get to know each other. Sparks are flying.

butter being stirred into easy homemade caramel sauce

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:

butter and sugar are combined

Step Four: Pour in the cream and salt, and stir until completely combined.

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cream poured into saucepan with caramel

cream full incorporated into salted caramel

This is what the caramel will look like at the end!

salted caramel dripping off spoon in to a jar

What recipes to use homemade caramel sauce in?

I could go on for literally forever. Caramel pretty much goes with everything in my opinion, but here are a few of our favs:

  • drizzled over pumpkin cake
  • in a hazelnut salted caramel tart
  • as the filling in a cake
  • in homemade candy bars
  • sandwiched together between chai macarons,
  • poured over ice cream
  • in salted caramel sweet potato cupcakes

Or…just by the spoonful. We won’t judge 🙂

homemade caramel falling off of spoon into jar

How to store this easy caramel sauce:

You can store this caramel sauce in an air tight container (we love mason jars!) in the fridge for 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months!

Now that you know exactly how to make homemade caramel, no more excuses, guys. It is soooo much better than any kind you could buy at the store. Happy caramel eating 🙂



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