This quick, Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce recipe is perfect for when you need caramel sauce in a pinch. This recipe uses only 3 simple ingredients and takes 10 minutes to make. Drizzle it over ice cream, cake, or brownies.
While simple, caramel sauce is an easy item to screw up. If not watching the pan closely, the bubbling sugar can burn in a matter of minutes. Burnt sugar means a ruined saucepan and a burnt odor throughout the kitchen - which is not desirable! This easy caramel sauce recipe is fool-proof. Throw all of the ingredients into a saucepan and cook until thickened; that is it.
When I say this recipe is quick and easy, I mean it. It only requires 3 ingredients: brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream. There is no corn syrup like in store-bought variations. Naturally, this recipe is perfect for when you're in a bind for caramel. After making one batch of this simple dessert sauce, you will never want store-bought again.
Why is This Recipe Easy?
Firstly, this quick and easy caramel sauce recipe uses brown sugar. Brown sugar cannot be a substitute for granulated or white sugar when making classic caramel. Why? It has different chemical properties; thus, it will not have the same interactions throughout the cooking process. In the case of this easy homemade caramel sauce recipe, it works because the cooking process is entirely different.
All of the ingredients are incorporated together in the first step. In a classic sauce procedure, the sugar is cooked until dissolved before adding the cream and butter. There is no need for a candy thermometer or woes of crystalized sugar when making this recipe.
- Light Brown Sugar - As stated above, a typical caramel requires granulated, or white, sugar. You can use either light or dark brown sugar in this recipe. Keep in mind the color and flavor you desire for your final product.
- Unsalted Butter - Butter is a necessary ingredient in caramel sauce for flavor and consistency.
- Heavy Whipping Cream - Heavy cream is the piece de resistance to the viscosity of a rich, thick caramel sauce.
- Mix all of the ingredients and boil: Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for approximately one to two minutes until the mixture is thickened.
- Cool it down: Remove the pan from the heat. Allow the sauce to cool slightly before using it.
After the caramel has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Allow sauce to come to room temperature or warm a small amount in the microwave upon service.
Can you freeze homemade caramel sauce? Yes, you can freeze it. Ensure the caramel has cooled completely before placing it into the freezer. Freeze it for 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before using it.
- Do not walk away from the stove. Not only does this cooking process happen fast, but you need to stir the caramel constantly.
- Use room temperature butter and cream for quicker, more consistent cooking.
- Use a heat-safe tool for stirring. This sauce comes to a boil and stays at a boil for a few minutes. You need to use a tool that stands up to boiling temperatures.
How to Serve Caramel Sauce
Enjoy this decadent caramel sauce with almost any dessert. Drizzle it over ice cream, brownies, cake, or yogurt. Enjoy homemade caramel with pancakes, crepes, or waffles. Stir it into a hot cup of coffee for an indulgent coffee treat. Use this caramel sauce as a dip for apples or pretzel sticks. Here are a few recipes I enjoy this sauce with.
- Fudgy Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies
- Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes
- No-Churn Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
- Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake
Try my easy salted caramel sauce variation too.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, this recipe is specifically designed for the use of brown sugar. The chemical properties are different than that of granulated sugar. See The Difference Between Brown and White Sugar.
Yes, homemade caramel sauce does need to be refrigerated.
No, this sauce is not thick enough to coat apples.
Caramel sauce eventually goes bad, thanks to a prevalent amount of dairy and no preservatives. Make sure to check the expiration dates of the butter and heavy cream before using. This caramel stays fresh for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Other Delicious Sauces
Easy Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar packed, light or dark
- ½ cup unsalted butter cut into cubes
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for approximately one to two minutes until the mixture is thickened.
- Remove from the heat. Allow the sauce to cool slightly before using.
- After the caramel has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.