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Caramel Sauce

Homemade caramel sauce

Back corner of the fridge

Caramel-Sauce-Ice-Cream-Cherries-MaraschinoHomemade caramel sauce is wildly better than store bought in the bottle.   Great news!!  You can make a big batch and store it for 2-3 months in the fridge.  It just takes up a small place in the back corner of your fridge.  I recommend you hide it there because otherwise it won’t last long.  Not because it doesn’t have shelf life but because your family will raid your cache.  Keep it ready and waiting for any number of applications.

Drizzle over ice cream
Layer in a parfait
Lace on brownies
Dribble over apple, chocolate or pecan pie
Spoon on first for a plating sauce

Guests are coming and you don’t have much notice.  No worries.  Dessert will be gourmet with this made-from-scratch sauce over something as simple as vanilla ice cream. I love to toss on a few broken nuts but my favorite is 5 or 6 small maraschino cherries.  And don’t worry if some of the cherry juice splashes over the ice cream too.  This is what I figure; you can make this sauce once every 3-6 months depending on how often you serve it.   In my book, it’s a dessert mother sauce.

2011 AniversaRecipe – Rachels

Recipe: Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Yield: 5-5/1/2 Cups | Level: Easy


  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 sticks of Butter
  • 1 ½ cups White Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ cup Heavy Cream

Special Equipment – CandyThermometer

1 In a heavy large pot, combine sweetened condensed milk, sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt.  Use a large pot as the sauce expands and bubbles up as it cooks.

2 Cook stirring constantly until it reaches 234 degrees or soft ball stage, about 15-20 minutes.  Take off the heat.

3 Cool slightly and then stir in heavy cream.  Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Keeps 2-3 months.

4 Serve over ice cream, drizzle on pie, lace over brownies or build a caramel parfait.


Without a candy thermometer, measure the soft ball stage by placing a spoon of hot caramel in a bowl with ice cold water.  Using your fingers, it should form into a ball while submerged but flatten once rem
oved from the water.  More information on Soft Ball Stage.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange the heavy cream for Half & Half.

Inspiration – Marissa McMurray

Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 1, 2012

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10 Responses to Caramel Sauce

  1. Jo Ann April 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Our family loves this sauce. We also like to warm some of the leftover sauce up and dip cookies in it for a quick family treat. Our favorite cookies to dip are Hobnobs (British cookies, but you can find them in international food stores here) but it is also great to dip Sandies, Vanilla wafers, or other simple cookies.

    • helenhorton April 2, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Cookie dipping sounds delish. We also like to dip apple wedges.

  2. Audrey April 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Oh mama this is good carmel sauce.

  3. Lindsay April 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    That picture looks both delicious…and like art. I’m sure the sauce tastes the same! I like the sound of something I would only have to make every three months ;)

    • helenhorton April 5, 2012 at 7:10 am #

      Unless you can’t resist it and you run out sooner.

  4. Sharon April 4, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    I just made some brownies. To dress them up, I drizzled the homemade caramel sauce on top of the cooled brownies. Then I drizzled room temperature ganache over the top of the caramel. The brownies were both delicious and elegant.

    • helenhorton April 5, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      Ganache and caramel sound like a match made in heaven. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Epicurus May 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Melted and drizzled on ice cream
    this sauce is exceedingly fine—
    but cold on the spoon from the fridge at midnight
    this caramel is divine.

  6. Marissa January 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    I made this caramel sauce again tonight and it IS delicious. I’d have to say that I like it a lot more with cream than with half and half!

  7. Rachel December 7, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    We love this sauce! I finally got to have it last night and it was delicious. We ate it with apple slices and gingerbread cookies. East to make too!

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