Homemade Caramel Sauce

The best Homemade Caramel Sauce – easy to make and the perfect topping for ice cream, cake, cheesecake, or anything that needs a drizzle of delicious caramel sauce! This is a brown sugar caramel sauce with the best flavor and texture.

Caramel sauce in a glass jar with spoon inside.

Sometimes dessert needs a little something extra and there’s nothing better than some homemade caramel sauce. If you’ve never made it, don’t worry – it’s easier than you think!

There are all kinds of caramel recipes and this is one of the easiest and tastiest! The caramel taste is rich and decadent – it’s hard not to just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar.

This caramel sauce is not like caramel candy which is chewy – this sauce is pourable, soft, and creamy. The perfect dessert topping.

Do you need a candy thermometer to make caramel sauce?

The nice part is that you don’t need a candy thermometer or any special equipment beyond a pot and a stove. 

The ingredients are warmed over low heat until the sugar melts and the mixture forms a sauce. Sauce is easier to make than candy without any guesswork or tricky steps. It’s really foolproof and so easy.

Spoonful of caramel sauce on top of a glass jar.


  • Brown sugar – I like to use brown sugar because it gives the caramel sauce a deeper flavor and is what makes it so quick and easy to make.
  • Butter – This not only adds a buttery flavor but also gives the sauce a rich velvety texture. If you use unsalted butter, you will need to add a pinch of salt.
  • Heavy cream and Half & half – I like to use both to give the sauce a rich flavor.
  • Milk – Some recipes call for water, but milk just adds more flavor and helps with the texture, too.
  • Vanilla extract – A little bit adds a hint of flavor! 

How to Make It

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Warm them over medium-low heat while mixing with a whisk.

ingredients in pot melting to make the sauce.

Keep whisking until the mixture sugar melts and the sauce is thickened about six to nine minutes.

hot sauce in pot.

Take the pan off of the heat pour the caramel sauce into a heat-proof bowl or jar. Cool it to room temperature and then store it in the refrigerator. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Closed glass jar with caramel sauce inside.

I can’t find half and half. What else can I use?

You can make your own by mixing equal parts whole milk and heavy (whole) cream for the amount you need.

Can you use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar?

I don’t recommend using white sugar in this recipe. What makes it easy is that the brown sugar already has a caramelized flavor without actually caramelizing it in the pot. 

If you use granulated sugar, your sauce will be very light and the flavor won’t be as deep or rich. In order to caramelize the sugar you would need to cook it longer and there is a higher chance of burning it. So, keep it easy with brown sugar!

How do you make salted caramel sauce?

You can increase the amount of salt in the recipe to your taste. Or, when you serve the sauce, sprinkle some sea salt over the top.

How should you store it?

Keep the caramel sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to two weeks. Warm it in the microwave to reheat.

How to Serve It

  • Drizzle it over slices of cake. We love some with Chocolate Marble Cake!
  • How about a slice of Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie with a little caramel sauce on top?
  • It makes a great topping for Bread Pudding.
  • Or, spoon it over a bowl of ice cream.
  • It pairs perfectly with apple pie.
  • if you love caramel apples, serve it as a dip with apple slices.

I hope you give this homemade caramel sauce recipe a try. It’s so quick and easy! Keep it on hand to dress up all your desserts – I think you’ll love it. Enjoy!

Sauce in glass jar with spoon inside.

More Easy Recipes

Caramel sauce in a jar.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Rosemary Molloy
The best Homemade Caramel Sauce – easy to make and the perfect topping for ice cream, cake, cheesecake, or anything that needs a drizzle of delicious caramel sauce!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cup


  • ½ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tablespoons butter*
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons whole/heavy or whipping cream (at least 30% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*I use salted if you use unsalted add a pinch of salt.


    • In a medium pot add all the ingredients, heat over low/medium heat (more low than medium) whisking constantly until thickened and not watery, approximately 6-9 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a heat safe bowl or jar. It will thicken as it cools. Allow to cool then store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!


    To make half and half, stir together 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 whole cream.
    It will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
    Keyword brown sugar caramel sauce, caramel sauce, caramel sauce recipe, homemade caramel sauce
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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