This easy and delicious homemade Caramel Sauce is made with six pantry ingredients and only takes 10 minutes to make!
This caramel sauce is enjoyed as a topping on anything from ice cream to Better than Sex Cake. I also have a Homemade Caramel recipe that requires a longer cook time and is great for dipping Caramel Apples.
A spoon dripping caramel sauce into a glass jar full and some caramel spilling over the side of the jar.
It is so incredibly easy to make homemade caramel sauce, and you can store it in the fridge for weeks to use in lots of different ways (see my ideas below).
This caramel sauce is unique in that it uses brown sugar instead of granulated sugar. Doing so yields a richer flavor and cuts down on the cook time.

Labeled ingredients needed to make caramel sauce.
How to make caramel sauce:
1. Add butter, brown sugar, water, and salt to medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the butter melts.
Two process photos for cooking caramel sauce in a saucepan.
2. Once the butter has melted bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and ½ cup evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. Add more evaporated milk if you’d like a thinner consistency (the caramel will thicken as it cools).
Evaporated milk poured over caramel sauce cooking in a saucepan, then stirred together.

Store caramel sauce in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Rewarm in the microwave for a few seconds, or over low heat on the stove.

To freeze, store in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Homemade caramel sauce in a glass jar with a hand towel on the side.

Consider serving Caramel Sauce with:

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Recipe

A spoon dripping caramel sauce into a glass jar, with some of the sauce pouring over the side of the jar.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 10 mins
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Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar , firmly packed
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream, or more, to thin the sauce

Instructions
 

  • Grease the sides of a medium saucepan with oil or non-stick spray. Add butter, brown sugar, water, and salt to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the butter has melted.
  • Once the butter has melted bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes until golden brown and thickened (keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools). Stir as it cooks, particularly the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and ½ cup evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. Add more evaporated milk if you'd like a thinner consistency. 
  • Store caramel sauce in a covered container or jar in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Re-warm in the microwave for a few seconds, or on the stove over low heat.
  • Serve this over ice cream, apple crisp, or with caramel filled chocolate cupcakes!

Notes

Yields about 2 cups of caramel sauce.
Butter: salted butter can be used. Reduce salt to ⅛ teaspoon, or to taste.
For Salted Caramel: Use unsalted butter and replace salt with Sea Salt, adding extra salt, to taste.
Freezing Instructions: Store in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcalCarbohydrates: 32gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 189mgPotassium: 47mgSugar: 32gVitamin A: 425IUCalcium: 31mgIron: 0.2mg

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Recipe adapted from Food.com

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I originally shared this recipe September 2015. Updated May 2020 with process photos and improved instructions and tips.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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