Caramel Sauce

caramel-sauce

Caramel Sauce is quite easy to make and can be used for a variety of different recipes in a building on recipes theory or just pour it down my throat because I simply cannot get enough of it!

This caramel is the same recipe I use for my fabulous Caramel Apple Cake and Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies!

I cannot stress enough though, how dangerous this can be!

Cooking sugar to 330 ° F is not beginner stuff!

Please please be careful!

I have decided to update this recipe since many people have had some trouble with the version listed below.

Basically there are two ways to cook caramel.

#1 Wet Method

#2 Dry Method.

I am partial to the dry method (it is faster) but I should have thought this through a little better and shared the wet method version with you all since it is more user friendly and more for beginners.

So, I apologize for the trouble I have put you through.

Please accept my WET METHOD caramel recipe for those who are making it for the first time.

It is basically the same recipe just with an addition of water to help control the caramelization and a tablespoon of corn syrup to help prevent crystalization – another nuisance of caramel making.

5.0 from 3 reviews
WET METHOD Caramel Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • Granulated Sugar 3 cups (600g)
  • Water ½ cup (120ml)
  • Corn Syrup 1 Tablespoon (20g)
  • Lemon Juice from ½ a lemon
  • Heavy Cream1 cup (240ml)
  • Unsalted Butter 3 Tablespoons (42g)
  • Brandy or Rum *optional 2 Tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoons
  • Salt ¾ teaspoon
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottom sauce pot over medium high heat combine the sugar,water, corn syrup and lemon juice stirring to distribute the sugar as it melts to avoid any burnt spots.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved and it is boiling evenly, stop stirring and allow it to cook until it begins caremelize.
  3. Using a pastry brush dipped in clean water you may need to brush the sides of the pot to dissolve any crystals that form, or place a lid to create steam which will also dissolve the crystals.
  4. Once the sugar is a light amber color turn off the heat and pour in the cream, be very careful to avoid splashing onto your skin as the mixture bubbles up vigorously
  5. Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon or a heat proof silicon spatula until it is all incorporated.
  6. Add the optional liquor and vanilla extract
  7. Transfer the caramel to a heat proof container (glass or metal- NO PLASTIC!!) and cool completely at room temperature
Notes
Caramel sauce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator
 
5.0 from 3 reviews
DRY METHOD Caramel Sauce
 
It is very easy to over cook caramel resulting in a bitter taste.
Be sure to stop the cooking as soon as it starts to turn light amber color, since the sugar is so hot it will continue cooking even once you take it off the heat
This is a caramel SAUCE recipe it is not the same recipe as used in making caramel candies
See note in above recipe for adding corn syrup to help prevent crystalization
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • Granulated Sugar 3 cups (600g)
  • Lemon Juice from ½ a lemon
  • Heavy Cream1 cup (240ml)
  • Unsalted Butter 3 Tablespoons (42g)
  • Brandy or Rum *optional 2 Tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoons
  • Salt ¾ teaspoon
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottom sauce pot over medium high heat combine the sugar and lemon juice stirring to distribute the sugar as it melts to avoid any burnt spots.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved and it is boiling evenly, stop stirring and allow it to cook until it begins caremelize.
  3. Using a pastry brush dipped in clean water you may need to brush the sides of the pot to dissolve any crystals that form, or place a lid to create steam which will also dissolve the crystals.
  4. Once the sugar is a light amber color turn off the heat and pour in the cream, be very careful to avoid splashing onto your skin as the mixture bubbles up vigorously
  5. Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon or a heat proof silicon spatula until it is all incorporated.
  6. Add the optional liquor and vanilla extract
  7. Transfer the caramel to a heat proof container (glass or metal- NO PLASTIC!!) and cool completely at room temperature
Notes
Caramel sauce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator
 

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65 Comments

  1. Thanks Gretchen ..appreciate the recipe..if I cook this into a soft ball or hard ball stage, will this turn into a soft caramel?
    Will give it a try and will let you know,
    Aloha and mahalo from Hawaii

    1. HI Bruce, aloha! This recipe is for caramel SAUCE, meant to stay soft and pourable, so for making candy it is quite different. best to search for a specific candy making recipe

    2. Hi Gretchen, I made the caramel sauce today and it’s fantastic! Again thanks for all that you share with us.
      Mahalo and Aloha from Hawaii
      Bruce

    3. THIS IS A FAVORITE OF MINE. IM SO IN NEED OF THE SNICKERDOODLE COOKIE RECIPE PLEEESE IF ANYONE HAS IT POST IT AND THANK YOU GRETCHEN IF YOU CAN E-MAIL ME
      THIS RECIPE

  2. Hello there! Just wondering if you could use this caramel to make caramel apples? I’ve tried, and failed, many times trying to make caramel apples because the caramel would never stay on the apples and would drip off, making a God awful mess! Any advice you have for making caramel apples is greatly appreciated! Thanks Gretchen!

    1. no this is caramel SAUCE not intended to get hard like a coating- caramel apples can be made easiest by using the Kraft caramel squares and follow that recipe in the bag. You can of course make your own but it is not this recipe and I havent shared a caramel apple recipe yet (however I do have a caramel CORN recipe that uses a homemade caramel that is currently posted to my facebook page in PHOTOS that caramel is sufficient for dipping apples

  3. Hi just love your experience that you share . The Carmel sauce can it be used in buttercream icing and whipped cream icing. Also as a drizzle on top.

  4. Hi Gretchen love all your recipes. How can i use this sauce for a cake filling. I would think it’s too thin. I was planning to use swiss mringue and salted caramel filling.

    Thanks

  5. HI Gretchen.
    I tried this recipe but I failed. The recipe seems to be perfect but it’s definitely not a beginners recipe. I think mixing water with the sugar and letting it evaporate would have helped me. Anyway, the reason for me being here is that I salvaged the curdled caramel. Maybe because of the cream in it. I just whipped it with a beater and it smoothened out. I did remove the crystals though. The point of it all is that I could use up most of my sauce. Yay!!
    So go Gretchenators…give this a try.
    Love your work.

    Love from India

  6. Hi gretchens! Well I made the wet method of caramel sauce. The first batch failed but my deacon batch worked though it did crystallized a bit i saved it by when pouring it into a glass bowl I pored it through a strainer. So why am I getting crystals in the boiling process? Should I stir it before putting putting it on the burner? I did not see particles in the pan, it just look like they formed with the boiling. Well I can move to next step & make the Swiss butter cream & assemble my cake. Thanks for all you do for us so we can impress our families. Becky from WA. State

    1. You can stir up until it starts to boil, then any agitation (other than a light swirling here and there) can cause severe crystallization
      This is not beginner stuff so dont get frustrated too much!
      You can always put a lid on it so the steam melts the crystals
      (its a good thing its just sugar- because I too have gone through many batches trying to get it right!)

  7. Gretchen — I’ll be refrigerating the caramel sauce after I’ve made it. To use it do I just take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temp or do I have to reheat it — microwave, perhaps?

    1. I find that once I take it out of the refrigerator it starts to get soft on its own, if it is taking too long I may hit it in the microwave for a few seconds, but it really doesn’t take long to start the “melting”

  8. I did the dry method first batch looked a little too dark and had an aftertaste. Tried a second time and lowered heat a bit and it came out great. I was thinking for the times you are in a rush you could get some Carmel topping used for ice cream with a quick few seconds in the microwave. Unfortunately we all have those times lol.

  9. WOW !!! Gretchen thank you si much for this amazing Caramel Sauce, I made it just minutes ago and I’m just out of words its so so so so so delicious thank you thank you

  10. Hi Gretchen I saw your answer about using as a cake filling and that it will leak out. Is there a way to make it a little thicker so I can use it as a cake filling? Thanks so much Love all your recipes 🙂

  11. 1. I have the same question as other readers: what can we add to your great caramel sauce to make it thick enough to use as a cake filling (which would be awesome)? I have noticed that some other recipes add more butter to thicken the caramel sauce as it is cooling. Would this work? If so, how much butter would you suggest be added? If not, any other ideas? (Corn starch?)
    2. Tip: When making the caramel sauce recipe one way to avoid having the hot syrup spill on you when you add the cream is to slowly pour the cream over the back of your wooden spoon when adding it to the boiling sugar mixture. I found this works very well.

    1. Hi Great tip with the spoon! thanks!
      This recipe is for caramel sauce for sure, so yes the ratios from a thicker sauce will be different, here is on you may like:
      Thick Caramel Sauce or Filling
      Ingredients

      1 cup butter
      2 cups packed brown sugar
      1 cup light corn syrup
      1 can sweetened condensed milk
      2 tablespoons whipping cream
      2 teaspoons vanilla
      1 teaspoon salt
      In a heavy saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring. Carefully stir in whipping cream. Attach a candy thermometer to your pan. Continue to stir until the caramel reaches 238 degrees, or the soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.

  12. Hi Gretchen,

    Will your caramel sauce thicken enough to use in your Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookie recipe, or will I have to use a thicker version to get it at a pipeable consistency as required.

  13. Hi Gretchen

    I really want to make salted caramel but i cant find sea salt anywhere. Would regular salt work, or could i use salted butter instead? Or I am better off just making the regular caramel instead?

  14. Hi Gretchen:
    Once this caramel sauce is made and put into cookies; does the caramel sauce stay stable; meaning because of the heavy whipped topping?

    Please advise; thank you,
    Debbie

  15. thank you Gretchen for the amazing Caramel Sauce, I just made it so delicious!
    can i use this recipe for the Magic Chocolate Flan cake as it need to go to an oven for 90 mint in bath water? thank you

  16. I just have to put the caramel sauce in the bottom of the cake pan then pour the cake batter then the flan and bake it for 90 minute in a bath water and the flan will switch with the cake and it will be caramel flan cake. like flan caramel but with cake layer at the bottom. Thank you again. I am dipping pretzels right now with the caramel sauce it is fantastic !!

  17. Hi Gretchen! I’ve made your dry caramel recipe using lemon and I could taste it in my final caramel. I’m too scared to omit the lemon because of crystallization so is there anything I could use instead in a dry caramel. Thanks!

  18. Hi Gretchen ,
    Will Dis sauce be thick to stand alone in between the layers as a filling ( without mixing it wid ne kind of cream).
    Or is der ne other recipe for that.

  19. Hi Gretchen!
    LOVE your recipes, and I’ve been following you for years now. I am planning to try the caramel sauce today. I always try your recipes exactly as they are printed first and occasionally add my own spin the second or third time around. But I’m curious, why don’t you use brown sugar to make your sauce? I truly appreciate all that you do! THANK YOU!

  20. I made this recipe. After cooling I noticed that the top half layer was thick and almost dry looking. I dug a fork in it, the middle part was still a wet consistency. It didn’t look it would pour as a sace at all. I left it in the refrigerator for now until I can find a way to thin it out. What do you recommend?

    1. Hmmm sounds almost as if some of the sugar got cooked way faster than the rest and caused a separation? (since temperature is what causes caramel to go from soft to hard as a rock) I havent really experienced this, so its hard for me to pinpoint

  21. Hi Gretchen

    How many cups do this recipe make. Also, your directions are way different from the video. In the written you say to combine sugar and lemon juice, but in the video you did not add lemon juice to the sugar. So why are you telling us to do it.

    1. If you can please read my entire blog post that I so carefully and thoughtfully prepare for everyone it says:
      I have decided to update this recipe since many people have had some trouble with the version listed below.

      Basically there are two ways to cook caramel.

      #1 Wet Method

      #2 Dry Method.

      I am partial to the dry method (it is faster) but I should have thought this through a little better and shared the wet method version with you all since it is more user friendly and more for beginners.

      So, I apologize for the trouble I have put you through.

      Please accept my WET METHOD caramel recipe for those who are making it for the first time.

      It is basically the same recipe just with an addition of water to help control the caramelization and a tablespoon of corn syrup to help prevent crystalization – another nuisance of caramel making.

  22. Love this recipe thank you. In the notes it says that stored in the fridge for 2 weeks. My question is how do you know if the caramel is no good any more. Ive had the caramel sauce in the fridge for over a month and it was fine.

  23. I used the dry method, although I had intended to use the wet method, but clicked “print” on the wrong recipe and did not realize my mistake until too late. However, since I have made caramel before, I followed through using the dry method. I read in a caramel recipe that heating the heavy whipping cream before pouring it into the melted sugar would reduce the “explosion” when it is added. I have found this to be true. Also, I poured it slowly into the liquid sugar, turning the pan as I poured. When my sister asked me to bring homemade caramel sauce to our family Thanksgiving dinner for Apple Caramel martinis, I questioned if I would have time, because the wet method does take a lot of time. I was please at how quick the dry method was to prepare the caramel sauce. It was so good, she took the caramel sauce home with her! The lemon juice was only slightly noticeable, but I thought it added to the overall flavor of the caramel sauce. It made great martinis!!! We all liked it much better in the martinis than the store bought caramel sauce she bought last year. Thanks for the recipe. I forgot to mention about heating the heavy whipping cream, that you want to do it slowly in the microwave and you are really just warming it up to about room temperature. I use 30% power (1000 watt oven) for 3 minutes. It always forms a skin, just remove it before adding it to the liquid sugar.

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