4.57 from 71 votes

Caramel Sauce

Homemade Caramel Sauce is a decadent treat that’s surprisingly easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a rich, velvety caramel sauce that’s perfect for drizzling over ice cream or dipping fresh apples. Whether you’re topping a sundae, dressing up a slice of apple pie, or simply enjoying it by the spoonful, this hot caramel is sure to become a favorite indulgence.

Caramel sauce being drizzled into a glass jar from a spoon.

I brought this Caramel Sauce over to my parent’s house and my niece, Avery, told me that it was the BEST she ever tasted. Even better than Dairy Queen! I have to agree. It’s one of my favorite desserts. This luscious, silky smooth sauce is rich and flavourful. You need to have it on your ice cream sundaes this summer!

I’ve always preferred caramel over chocolate. There’s no question in my mind. I’ll pick caramel sauce any day of the week. Homemade caramel sauce is soooo much better than store bought. It has an old-fashioned taste that goes down so easily on whatever dessert you put it on. Once you make your own caramel sauce, you may never want to buy the packaged stuff again!

recipe binder image

Why You’ll Love This Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe

  • No candy thermometer required
  • Super easy recipe with real ingredientsCan be used in a variety of recipes
  • The most delicious caramel sauce you’ll ever try
  • Perfect topping for ice cream, pies and cakes
  • Ready in under 1 hour
  • Only a 10 minute cook time


The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

  • Light corn syrup
  • Brown sugar: You can use either dark or light brown sugar depending on how deep of a color you want the caramel to be.
  • Salted butter
  • Heavy whipping cream – This adds the creaminess.
Caramel sauce ingredients.

How to Make Caramel Sauce

  • Step One: Add corn syrup, brown sugar and butter to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Heat until mixture starts to boil and then boil for 5 minutes.
  • Step Two: Stir in whipping cream and heat until it starts to boil. 
Steps to make caramel sauce.
  • Step Three: Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Steps to make caramel sauce.

Equipment Needed

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    ​How to Serve Homemade Caramel Sauce

    There are SO many ways to use this amazing caramel recipe.

    • Use as a sundae syrup for sundaes or as an ice cream topping on a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
    • Drizzle on top of apple crisp.
    • Dip for apple slices.
    • Make a caramel apple pie.
    • ​Skip the drive thru and make a homemade caramel macchiato.Pour on top of cinnamon rolls.
    • Grab a spoon and eat right from the jar (I won’t judge!)
    Caramel sauce in a glass jar and coming off a spoon over the jar.

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Use unsalted butter instead of salted butter.
    • Substitute white sugar or raw cane sugar for the brown sugar.
    • Instead of the heavy whipping cream, try whole milk, heavy cream, or even coconut milk.
    • Add some flavorings like vanilla extract, regular table salt, sea salt, coarse kosher salt or cinnamon.
    • ​Try maple syrup, honey or agave syrup instead of the corn syrup.

    Storage Instructions

    Store the homemade caramel in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for up to one month. I reheat my caramel sauce in the microwave to loosen it up before serving. It makes pouring so much easier.

    ​Can I Freeze Caramel Sauce?

    Yes, you can freeze homemade caramel sauce. Store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months in the freezer. There may be some texture changes and it won’t be as silky smooth as freshly made. It will still taste good though!

    Let the caramel sauce cool to room temperature first. Pour into the freezer bag making sure to leave some room at the top for expansion. 

    Another option is freezing the caramel sauce in ice cube trays or silicone molds for smaller portions.

    ​When you want to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a saucepan on low heat or in the microwave. 

    Caramel sauce in a jar with a blue ribbon.

    ​Recipe Tips and Tricks

    • Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan. It will heat more evenly so the mixture won’t burn.
    • Be patient. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up or it could burn.
    • Pay close attention. This isn’t a recipe you can walk away from.
    • Stir constantly. Keep the mixture moving!
    • If you want a darker caramel, use dark brown sugar.
    • Let it cool the full 30 minutes. As the caramel cools, it will thicken up.
    • Be careful! Caramel is very hot.

    Can I Use for Caramel Apples?

    No, unfortunately. It’s good dipping apples, but it’s not the right caramel that will stick to the apples. Try this recipe.

    How to Fix Seized Caramel?

    If you notice that your caramel has seized, immediately remove from the heat.  Add hot water, a tablespoonful at a time, while whisking, break up the sugar. Then heat gently over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth again.

    Two jars of caramel sauce with a spoon in one.


    Do I Need a Candy Thermometer?

    No, you won’t need one for this recipe. 

    Do I Refrigerate Caramel Sauce?

    Yes, you should refrigerate in an airtight container or store in a glass jar.

    What is the Texture?

    The finished sauce is silky smooth, and pourable. It’s a beautiful amber color! 

    Caramel sauce being poured on a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

    Caramel Recipes

    Try this Butterscotch Sauce, Hot Fudge Sauce, Instant Pot Dulce de Leche and Peanut Butter Magic Shell.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    4.57 from 71 votes

    Caramel Sauce

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 3 cups
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Rest Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes
    This luscious sauce is silky smooth and perfect for ice cream or dipping apples.


    • 1 cup light corn syrup
    • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar light or dark
    • ¼ cup butter
    • 1 cup whipping cream


    • Add corn syrup, brown sugar and butter to a medium saucepan over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Heat until mixture starts to boil and then boil for 5 minutes.
    • Stir in whipping cream and heat until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm.


    Store covered in the fridge for up to 1 month. Reheat slightly in the microwave before serving.


    Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 1143kcal | Carbohydrates: 217g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 166mg | Potassium: 271mg | Sugar: 215g | Vitamin A: 1439IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 1mg

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Desserts
    Cuisine American
    Keyword caramel, caramel sauce, ice cream sauce

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    Recipe Rating


    1. Can you add salt to make it salted caramel

    2. How long at what temp to make to dip apples? This will just run off, and I need to make them please! Yummy!

    3. Linda Friel says:

      Can you use half and half?

    4. Lillianna says:

      Shake can of sweetened condensed milk vigorously then place unopened can in crockpot on low for 9 hours. Do not open can until cooled. (Lazy way but sooo good)

    5. Charlotte Combess says:

      Can you can this recipe to have later?

        1. Lori Grundhoefer says:

          Is there somewhere to look to see if you can can it and for how long ?

    6. I need a easy recipe for whipping cream for a 3 ingredient lemon ice cream.

      Thank you!

    7. Danielle Cook says:

      5 stars
      This was easy & delicious! Myself & my husband used it on vanilla ice cream! Really good!

    8. Pat gibson says:

      Made this caramel when I put it into my pint jars and it set awhile the butter separated from the caramel why

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