How to Make Homemade Caramel

Cyd Converse

Learn how to make homemade caramel! It’s so delicious.

Like many things in life, homemade caramel is so much better than store-bought. Whether you’re looking to make caramel for candy or to top your dessert, cheesecake or ice cream, you’ll follow some simple steps on your way to delicious results.

Chocolate Caramel Candy Photo

What is Caramel?

When you heat sugar slowly, it melts. The molecules break down and form into new compounds that are thick, golden brown and full of rich, sweet flavor.

This process is called caramelization.

The ingredients in caramel are just sugar, and sometimes water. Caramel sauce contains sugar, butter, cream, vanilla extract and perhaps salt.

Caramel Macchiato Pretzel Milkshake Picture

How to Make Homemade Caramel Sauce

1. In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 cup sugar.

2. Stir constantly and gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed.

3. Once the sugar melts and turns a golden brown, add in 6 tablespoons butter, diced, until melted.

4. Pour in 1/2 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer, without increasing the heat.

5. Simmer 90 seconds. Remove from heat.

6. If you want salted caramel sauce, stir in a little salt.

7. Refrigerate leftover homemade caramel in a jar or sealed container for up to a week.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies Photo

Tips for Making Homemade Caramel

  • Use a large, heavy bottomed pot to make caramel. The caramel bubbles a lot and you will need a larger pot than you may think.
  • Make sure your pot is light in color (such as stainless steel), so you can monitor the color of the caramel.
  • Stir slowly and gently once you’ve added cream.
  • If you have sugar accumulating on the sides of your pan, use a wet pastry brush to wipe them off.
White Chocolate Caramel Fudge Image

Recipes Using Caramel

Now that you know how to make homemade caramel, here are some great recipes to try!

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Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.

Caramel Recipes

    Snickers Cookies Recipe

    These Gooey Chocolate Snickers Cookies are a chewy chocolate cookie loaded with caramel chips and chopped snickers bars. A touch of flakey salt on top makes these the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

    Caramel Apple Dip Recipe

    Caramel Apple Dip is a creamy, sweet dip that tastes just like caramel apples. This tasty treat is perfect for your fall holiday parties, or just when you are in the mood for caramel apple!

    Turtle Cream Horns Recipe

    Turtle Cream Horns capture all the classic turtle flavors, but add flakey puff pastry. They're pretty hard to resist.

    Salted Caramel Milkshake Recipe

    Creamy salted caramel milkshakes are the best part about dessert. They’re super simple to make and customize with as much or little caramel!

    Caramel Apple Blondies Recipe

    These caramel apple blondies are soft and chewy and filled with apples, cinnamon and salted caramel sauce. They mix up quickly and disappear just as fast!

    Caramel Apple Cupcakes Recipe

    These Caramel Apple Cupcakes are fluffy cinnamon cupcakes stuffed with caramel apple filling and topped with a creamy vanilla frosting drizzled with caramel. The perfect cupcake to get you ready for fall.
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