Old Fashioned Salted Caramel Sauce (This recipe freezes and freeze-dries well too!)

A buttery rich homemade from scratch salted caramel sauce! Made with just a handful of simple ingredients including real cream and butter, and nothing from a can! Caramel isn’t hard to make, but there are a few tips that will ensure your salted caramel sauce turns out just lovely.



#1 Measure out all your ingredients first and have them ready before you get started. Once this gets cooking it goes fast, and you need to have the ingredients ready to go.

#2 Use a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan. Anything smaller and you risk it boiling over, anything bigger and the sugar will be spread too thinly over the bottom surface of the pot and risk burning.

#3 Do not leave the kitchen. In fact, do no even look away from the pot while this cooks. It doesn’t take long to make, so give it your full attention.

#4 DO NOT STIR IT! You can stir at the very beginning when it’s heating up, just to help all the sugar crystals become moistened. And then of course you stir it at the end after you add the cream. But do not stir or even put a utensil in the pot between these times or you risk it crystallizing.

#5 Take careful note of the color of the sugar once it starts bubbling, so you can watch for the color to change to a deeper golden brown later.

#6 Adding the cream stops the caramelization of the sugar, so be ready to add the cream as soon as the desired color is reached. Literally the second it turns golden, add the cream. If you wait to long or have to take time to measure it out (you should have it pre-measured) your sugar will burn.

#7 Use a fine sea salt; if the salt is too coarse in too large of pieces it will not dissolve into the caramel well.

What Ingredients are used and can you make substitutions?

Sugar: You can use organic cane sugar, or regular white granulated sugar. White sugar will be easier to work with if you’ve never made caramel before. This is the brand I use –> Organic Cane Sugar.

Corn Syrup: There is only a small amount and it helps to prevent the caramel from crystallizing. You can use organic or regular light corn syrup. You can leave it out, but I’d recommend that only if you are a more experienced candy maker. This is the brand I use –> Organic Corn Syrup.

Vanilla: You can use any form of vanilla here– a real vanilla bean, vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract. Here’s my favorite –> vanilla bean paste.

Sea Salt: Use the best quality, finest sea salt you have. If it’s too coarse it won’t dissolve properly. Here’s a brand I recommend –> Sea Salt.

Can you Freeze Salted Caramel Sauce?

Yes! Well… I don’t think you can freeze just any caramel sauce, but I have frozen this particular recipe before and it freezes wonderfully. I freeze it in straight-sided 4-ounce jelly jars. This is the perfect amount to take out for eating with apples, or for making my favorite salted caramel buttercream frosting.

Can you Freeze Dry SALTED Caramel Sauce?

Yes! Well… I don’t think you can freeze-dry just any caramel sauce, but I have freeze-dried this particular recipe before and it freeze dries wonderfully. It will expand and puff up, so this is best suited for drizzling conservatively onto apples or bananas. Freeze-dried caramel apple slices are one of my favorite things to freeze-dry. And this caramel is perfect for that!

Old-Fashioned Salted Caramel Sauce

5 from 2 votes


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, seeds from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a 2-quart saucepan over low-medium heat. You can stir gently to help moisten the sugar crystals, but try to avoid getting sugar crystals up the sides of the pot.
  • Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking; the sugar should be at a low boil. DO NOT STIR WHILE THE SUGAR IS COOKING! You can swirl the pot gently to mix it and see the color of the sugar. Note the color of the sugar now so that you can watch for it to turn deeper golden when it's ready– watching my video linked above will be helpful for this step.
  • Once the sugar turns a lovely medium-deep golden brown, IMMEDIATELY pour in the cream to stop the cooking. Turn off the heat. Now you may stir– use a whisk to stir the sugar and cream together. It will look separated for 15 seconds and then come together.
  • When the caramel has come together, stir in the vanilla.
  • Add the butter and continually whisk until all the butter is incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the salt and whisk until it is dissolved, about 1 minute.
  • Pour the warm caramel into a glass jar for storage; store in the refrigerator.

8 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Salted Caramel Sauce (This recipe freezes and freeze-dries well too!)

  1. This might be a weird question, but have you tried making this with coconut cream and raw syrup? I have dairy and corn allergies in my family, haha.

    1. I haven’t sorry. I’d probably seek out a tried and true dairy-free and corn-free recipe.

  2. Here from Becky at acre homestead, this is my first ever attempt at caramel and it’s perfect! Thank you! So good.

  3. 5 stars
    When you freeze dry the apples drizzled with the caramel sauce, do you stick them in the freezer first. I ask because that’s what I did, and the drizzle seems to have almost disappeared off the apples! Perhaps I should just put them in the Harvest Right w/o freezing them first. What did you do? Yours look divine!

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