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If you have ever wondered how to make smooth caramel, wonder no more. While it may seem easier to run out to the store and buy some, you will be amazed at how simple the process is. Once you have learned how to make caramel, you will prefer it over the store bought stuff. The best part? This recipe is quick, easy, and the results are smooth and delicious!
After you make this homemade caramel sauce and realize how easy it is, you may find yourself ready to try other flavors. Another easy and delicious homemade caramel sauce to try is this Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce; it’s perfection, especially when it’s paired with these Pumpkin Caramel Rice Krispy Treats!
Homemade Smooth Caramel sauce is perfect for drizzling on ice cream, coating taffy apples, making your own caramel-filled candy or even as a decadent topper on toast with sliced bananas for breakfast. You could even use it to make yourself a tasty treat, like this Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino Copycat.
Stovetop caramel sauce is easier to make than you think, and you don’t even need a candy thermometer. Be warned though, the melted sugar is HOT. Be extra careful the stirring in the butter and cream (it’s a good idea to keep the kids out of the kitchen to prevent any accidents).
This recipe makes 1 large or 2 small jars. Cover and refrigerate any unused caramel (it should keep for 10-14 days).
The caramel will thicken as it cools, but you can warm it up in a pan or the microwave for 5 seconds to loosen it up if you need to.
Caramel sauce is so versatile and easy to use in so many desserts, from something as easy as this Instant Pot Apple Crisp (drizzle it on top, and it’s the perfect finishing touch!), to this Better Than Sex Cake, or even these Caramel Cashew Bars. When you have a nice, smooth caramel sauce, it is a really decadent ingredient to add to cheesecake, like this Easy Nutella Salted Caramel Cheesecake; you’ll be hooked!
How to Make Caramel – ingredient notes
Sugar – for the recipe you are going to use granulated sugar. Make sure you get out any large clumps before putting it I the pan. For this recipe, granulated sugar works best.
Butter – you will be using unsalted butter. If you only have salted butter, that is fine to use if you have to, but keep in mind it will alter the taste and add a little bit of a salty flavor to it.
Heavy Cream – if you don’t have heavy whipping cream, you can replace it by making your own. To replace 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a recipe, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1 cup of milk and stir, allowing the mixture to thicken.
Now that we’ve talked ingredients, lets talk about the steps for making homemade caramel:
Smooth Caramel Directions
Place the sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Once the edges of the sugar starts to turn to liquid, stir with a heat resistant spatula. Keep stirring every few seconds.
The sugar will initially be very lumpy, then will turn to a golden liquid. Continue to heat whilst stirring until all the sugar (including any smaller lumps) have melted. If it seems to be taking a long time, turn the heat down while stirring to prevent the caramel from burning.
Once all the sugar has melted, very carefully add the butter to the pan. It will bubble and spit, so you may want to lower it in with a spoon to be extra careful.
Stir the butter in for 2 minutes. You may find the the butter doesn’t completely stir in- some of it may stay on top. The is fine (it will mix in properly once the cream is added).
Pour in the cream, while stirring. The caramel will bubble up quite a lot at this point. Once combined, allow the caramel to bubble for a minute- stirring once or twice, then turn off the heat.
Leave to cool, then pour the caramel into 1 large or 2 small jars.
Serve once cool, or cover and refrigerate until needed.
Salted Caramel Variation
The best way to make caramel is to use the recipe as a base, but then modify it as much as you’d like (or simply enjoy it as is).
Want salted caramel? (ummm hello yummy salted caramel!) Just stir in half a teaspoon of kosher salt at the end. It’s as simple as that.
Sure you can buy caramel sauce at the store, but this homemade sauce is so simple to make, and tastes fresh and decadent! One of my favorite ways to use this homemade caramel is to drizzle it on top of my Instant Pot Apple Crisp. Perfection! Enjoy!
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 12 tbsp (180g) unsalted butter cut into small chunks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Place the sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Once the edges of the sugar starts to turn to liquid, stir with a heat resistant rubber spatula. Keep stirring every few seconds.
- The sugar will initially go very lumpy, then will turn to a golden liquid. Continue to heat whilst stirring until all the sugar (including any smaller lumps) have melted. If it seems to be taking a long time, turn the heat down whilst stirring, to prevent the caramel from burning.
- Once all the sugar has melted, very carefully add the butter to the pan. It will bubble and spit, so you may want to lower it in with a spoon to be extra careful.
- Stir the butter in for 2 minutes. You may find that the butter doesn’t completely stir in – some of it may stay on top. This is fine (it will mix in properly once the cream is added).
- Pure in the cream, whilst stirring. The caramel will bubble up quite a lot at this point. Once combined, allow the caramel to bubble for a minute – stirring once or twice – then turn off the heat.
- Leave to cool, then pour the caramel into one large or 2 small sterilised jars.
- Serve once cool, or cover and refrigerate until needed.