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Caramel sauce poured on to vanilla ice cream in small glass serving bowl

Caramel Sauce

A rich and buttery tasting Caramel Sauce recipe. This caramel sauce is delicious on ice cream, cheesecake, or for dipping apples in!

Course condiments, sauces
Cuisine American
Keyword how to make caramel
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 - 6
Calories 126 kcal
Author Sandy Clifton


  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (or other coarse salt)
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Special Equipment

  • Candy Thermometer


  1. Add water, sugar, and salt, and vanilla bean, if using, to a medium saucepan and heat over medium to medium-high heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, watching it to make sure it doesn't boil too hard, or burn. You are watching for the mixture to turn golden brown. Darker brown yields a more robust flavor. Be patient, it takes several minutes!

  3. As soon as the mixture turns golden brown, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla, using a long handled wood spoon or heat resistant spatula. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and foam up rapidly. You need to keep stirring!

  4. Keep cooking mixture until the candy thermometer reads 225 degrees (F). The hotter you cook it, the firmer it will end up.

  5. To cool mixture quicker, pour into a bowl and set in a bigger bowl filled with ice water and stir to cool. Make sure the water isn't too deep. You don't want water in your lovely caramel sauce!

  6. Serve over your favorite treats!

Recipe Notes

Slightly Adapted from Serious Eats -
Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe