Homemade salted caramel is an essential sauce everyone should know how to make. It’s perfect over cakes, ice cream, apples and much more!
It is gloriously rich, sweet, sticky and buttery and tastes AMAZING on everything!
Let’s start off with a common question.
What is the difference between caramel and Dulce de Leche?
Caramel is made from slowly cooking down granulated sugar, simply by itself or with a splash of water. As the sugar melts and cooks, the caramel gets richer and toastier, and the color goes from a pale gold to a dark amber.
A caramel sauce (the stuff most of us are probably familiar with) is the end result of combining caramel with other ingredients like cream, butter and vanilla extract.
Dulce de leche is made from slowly cooking milk and sugar together. It’s cooked at a lower temperature than caramel, and the golden color comes not from the sugar, but from the browning of the lactose and lysine in the milk.
How to Make Salted Caramel
Full printable recipe to follow
- In a small stainless steel saucepan, combine the sugar, salt and about 1 Tablespoon water over medium heat bring to a boil. The key to creamy caramel is to avoid stirring the sugar and water mixture once it begins to boil. Otherwise, you run the risk of it becoming grainy by incorporating sugar crystals from the sides of the pot into the mixture. Once the caramel forms and you add the butter, you can whisk to combine.
- Add 1 stick of butter that has been cut into pieces for easy melting. It will bubble. Continue stirring and cooking until the butter has all been melted and combined.
- Meanwhile warm the cream in the microwave so as to not bring down the temperature in the pan. Slowly incorporate the cream, stirring until combined. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla.
- The caramel will thicken upon standing and be a little runny when hot, thicker when cool and a little chewy when cold.
What to Eat with Salted Caramel
The question really is what CAN’T you eat with salted caramel? This recipe is not thick enough to coat apples, however it can be used as a dip when warm. It can be spooned over ice cream sundaes or pie, but the best way to enjoy caramel is to share it as a gift in a beautiful mason jar!
- 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (warmed)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- In a stainless steel saucepan, combine the sugar, salt and 1 Tablespoon water.
- Do not stir until a caramel starts to form, approx 4 minutes.
- Add the cut up butter and allow it to melt. The mixture will foam and become bubbly. Stir or whisk.
- Continue to cook approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly incorporate the cream, continuing to stir.
- Take it off the heat and add the vanilla.
- Let cool slightly.
- Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in airtight sealed container.
- To reheat, cook for 30 seconds in a microwave safe bowl. Stir and heat for an additional 10 seconds or longer if necessary.
- Serving Size: 2 1/2 cups