If you want to impress your guests, serving up a homemade caramel sauce alongside dessert will do it. And once you’ve had homemade caramel sauce you’ll never go to store bought again. It’s simply delightful. And surprisingly easy! There are a few ways to make caramel sauce, most use water as the primary liquid, but the recipe I’m going to share with you today is made with butter, and it’s oh so rich and delicious. This easy homemade caramel sauce recipe is a great addition to your baking arsenal, it’s great as a topping or dipping sauce.
I love this recipe, it’s so rich and creamy and tastes great drizzled over ice cream or as a dipping sauce for cakes, cookies, or churros. This recipe is originally from David Lebovitz, who is one of my baking heroes. A few years ago I had a blog dedicated to baking and I’ll never forget when he kindly replied to one of my tweets. A pasty genius and a nice guy too!
If you’re a salty sweet lover like I am, feel free to up the salt on this recipe. I typically use 1/2 teaspoon in addition to salted butter. My husband doesn’t appreciate the salty/sweet combo like I do so you may want to start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to your taste.
Rich Caramel Sauce from David Lebovitz
- 1/2 cup unsalted or salted butter cut into small pieces.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
In a large saucepan or a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
Add the sugar and cook still on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to caramelize. It will foam, just continue to stir occasionally so that it cooks uniformly. You’ll notice initially that there are darker spots, if you don’t stir these areas will cook faster and your caramel won’t turn out as well.
You will want the caramel to turn a dark amber color. Be patient though, if you pull the mixture off the heat too soon your caramel will be bland. Leave it too long though and it will burn. You will want it to look like this:
It should smell and look like it’s just on the verge of burning and probably will if you leave it. Remove from heat and slowly and carefully add in the cream (the mixture will bubble vigorously), whisking constantly until all the cream is added. If any of the caramel splashes up you could end up with a nasty burn. I don’t let my kids anywhere near the oven when I’m making caramel, and if you’re really nervous some people leave a bowl of ice water close by in case any gets on their hands.
Return the pan to med-low heat and stir until the sauce is smooth, about 2-3 minutes. This may take longer if you have stray bits of hardened caramel, but just keep stirring and they will incorporate. Then stir in vanilla and salt.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then taste, and add more salt, if desired. At this point your caramel is pretty runny, but don’t worry, it will thicken up as it cools.
The caramel can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Rewarm before serving.
This caramel sauce is so good on everything from ice cream to brownies to pancakes. Eating it straight from the jar with a spoon is totally acceptable as well.
If you have any questions about making your own caramel, please leave me a comment below!