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Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce (no thermometer needed!)

  • Author: Molly
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x


This Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce is foolproof and simple to make – no candy thermometer required! A versatile and decadent sauce that will have you swooning. The perfect accompaniment to ice cream, pies, lattes, and more!


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt


Optional add-ins:

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom


  1. Set a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar all over the bottom of the pan. Cook the sugar, stirring constantly, until it melts and turns a light amber color, about 5-7 minutes. Make sure to watch it and stir it the entire time – sugar burns quickly! It will clump up quite a bit before it melts, so don’t be alarmed if it looks crystallized and clumpy before it fully melts. Just keep stirring! This is a “trust the process” recipe.
  3. Once the sugar has completely melted and is a deep amber color, add the cubed butter, a few pieces at a time, and whisk carefully until it is melted and combined. The butter will make the sugar sizzle up a bit, so be careful.
  4. Once all the butter is melted and incorporated, carefully pour in the heavy cream. It will splatter so do so very slowly and carefully.
  5. Stir to combine and bring the caramel to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla and sea salt. If using espresso powder or spices, stir them in as well. Stir well to incorporate.
  7. Fully cool the caramel to room temperature. It will get thick and glossy as it cools.
  8. Store in the fridge in a well-sealed mason jar for up to one month. Warm before serving.
  • Prep Time: None
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: dessert

Keywords: salted caramel sauce, homemade salted caramel sauce, easy salted caramel sauce, salted caramel sauce no thermometer needed