I can cook, and I can bake, and I used to be a teacher… but I’m not always the craftiest of people. So I’m pretty proud that I successfully made some (cute) jars of Salted Caramel Sauce to give away as holiday gifts this year.
This stuff should really be called Salted Caramel Crack. It’s a good thing that I made small jars of the stuff because once you open this baby, you’re going to want to eat the whole jar, and then (if no one is looking) you might be tempted to lick out the inside of the jar too. No kidding, man!
Here’s a little peek at the preparation shake-down. It does not require a candy thermometer- just a watchful eye. Honestly I screwed up the first batch I made I guess because I cooked it too long… and it solidified before my very eyes. Eek! Take two, watching the mixture turn an amber color, I yanked it from the heat, finished adding the ingredients and let it cool. Perfect on the 2nd try.
For my gift jars, I used 4-ounce jelly jars. You really do not need anything larger. A little of this stuff goes a long way. This recipe makes 4 jars. I made 2 batches- separately- since I wasn’t sure how it would work out if I tried to double the recipe.
Once it is completely cooled, you’re ready for the lids and labels.
My adorable cousin Gina just graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology, and she’s now doing web design, photography, graphic art, etc. She’s available for freelance work 🙂 Gina designed my Salted Caramel Sauce labels- one especially for Christmas and one for any time of year. Thanks Gina- they’re super cute! These labels are downloadable in .pdf form, printable here: Salted Caramel Sauce- Christmas Theme and here: Salted Caramel Sauce- Generic Theme . You are welcome to use these labels for your sauce, but please do not take the .pdf’s and re-print them anywhere else. Link to here if you should decide to make salted caramel sauce on your own blog. Many thanks!
The labels fit perfectly on the 4-ounce jelly jars- the labels are 2-inches in diameter. You can either print them on card stock, cut them out and tape them to the tops of the jars. Or you can just print on nice paper and do the same. Or you can get really fancy and buy some 2-inch round label stickers. I thought taping it on top worked just fine though.
So what can you use Salted Caramel Sauce for?
My gift idea is to put the jar in a festive box or bag, along with 2 red apples and 2 green apples for dipping. It can also be used as a dessert sauce for ice cream, and it would make a fabulous Salted Caramel Milkshake too.
No double-dipping allowed.
Now can’t you just imagine how delicious this must be? Yes, you’re imagining correctly. This is delicious. It’s caramel… with a hint of salt.
This is what my neighbors will be getting for Christmas this year, along with a few apples. I figure it’s a nice little treat for their families to enjoy together.
P.S. The sauce DOES need to be refrigerated, and it will stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1½ cups granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1½ tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Four 4-ounce jelly jars with lids, cleaned and dried
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat. Stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and shake/swirl the pan very often (don't stir it while it's boiling) until it turns a medium amber color (should take 12 to 15 minutes). If sugar crystals gather along the sides of the pan during the cooking process, you can use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the sugar down the sides of the pan so that it becomes incorporated into the boiling mixture.
- Remove the pan from heat and pour in the cream. It will bubble up like crazy. Give it a whisk, then add in the butter, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk again until everything is nice and smooth. It should be the color of caramel. Cool it in the pan, or pour it into a large measuring cup so that it will be easier to transfer to jars when cooled.
- Divide the sauce evenly among the four jars. Place lids and labels on and refrigerate until ready to use or gift to friends. The sauce must be kept refrigerated and it will stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks.
- *I like to boil my jelly jars and lids for a couple of minutes to really get rid of any grime that might be in there from packaging. Then I just let them dry thoroughly before adding the sauce.
- *If your sauce solidifies (I speak from experience), you either let it cook too long or the heat wasn't high enough. Pull it off the heat when it is a nice, medium amber color. It's important that it maintains a nice boil at medium-high heat and that you don't take yours eyes off of it. Keep swirling the pan and don't let it burn!
- *Serving suggestions: Serve with apples, cheesecake, ice cream, or incorporate it into a milkshake!
Can’t wait to make this recipe. We try to avoid cow dairy and usually use a heavy coconut cream for other recipes. Has anyone tried using heavy coconut cream in place of “whipping cream”?
I have not tried it that way!
I really wish I could understand what I am doing wrong in making this caramel! It seems fairly simplistic but I can’t seem to get the right “shade” of amber, therefore compromising taste. If I let it get too dark, it instantly solidifies, too light seems like just the right texture but tastes like thickened sugar, not caramel. ? I was hoping to do these as gifts for my neighbors, but after 4 batches it just isn’t working out.
Is there any pictures of the caramel sauce?
There are a lot included in the post. Do you not see them?
Love it! I would like to make this and use it as a wedding favor can it be canned and stored till Oct 2016 when its given out?
I don’t think so… I think it would need to be stored using proper canning techniques.
Feel free to send some to me!! I’ve got to try this ASAP. What a gorgeous gift!
Loved it! It was the easiest gift ever and my daughters teachers loved it and have already asked for more!!! Took me longer to buy the jars and clean them than to make this sauce! Awesome!
I have a question. I want to make this as a Christmas gift and ship it to family a few states away. I see that it should stay refrigerated, is it okay to ship it? I am in Michigan and I am shipping it to Louisiana. I have never made caramel so this is all new to me.
I’m not sure if it’s the best option for gifting across states… because of the refrigeration needed.
I am excited to make this to give as gifts! I am going to do a trial run in the next week or two.
If it works out, I will make a batch or two in December. How long will they last in the fridge. I don’t want to make them too late in the month. I want to make sure there is time to remake a batch if need be.
The sauce must be kept refrigerated, and it will stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks.
I’ve been making salted caramel sauce for yrs now, never used butter in the recipe. Planning on trying this one out soon 🙂 a few tips for people new to the caramel game….Use a heavy bottom pan, shake the molten sugar when it reaches a dark amber(depending on hot spots this may not be all over color), remove from heat, & now add your cream very slowly! Stir simultaneously with wooden spoon (to disperse the liquid preventing clumps) adding the rest of the cream in small amounts. For thinker sauce use less cream. **pro tip** don’t walk away!! & don’t move the pan before it’s time, causes the sugar to solidify.
Thanks for the tips!
I don’t know what I did wrong but after I added the cream the mixture hardened so quickly it stuck to the whisk. How can I fix this problem?
Might have been too hot?
Thanks for the great recipe and for the free printables too! 🙂
So delicious! I doubled it and it worked just fine – same cooking time as well. I also only had heavy whipping cream so that’s what I used but I had it warming on the stove while the sugar did its thing and only ended up with a small amount of hard ended sugar at the bottom of the pan (warming over the still hot but turned off eye helped soften it up). I think I ended up using 3 tsp kosher salt and it turned out so very yummy. I warmed the finished sauce on the stove a few minutes and it turned a bit darker and thickened a bit – was very runny at finish but after cooling is now a perfect dipping sauce! This will make a great Christmas present 🙂
After 4 failed attempts, I finally figured it out! It took reading some reviews on other recipes to get it exactly right. I have now made 9 successful batches 🙂 Tip 1: If you need a candy thermometer, the temp should be 350 before you add cream. I was able to eye ball it after using the thermometer a couple times- the sauce will begin to very lightly smoke (first, it will steam as the water evaporates, then you will see nothing as it starts to turn color, then a very light smoke and caramelly smell). 2) Try leaving the cream out a bit to reach room temp. and/or add it very slowly to keep the sauce from seizing up- I added maybe 1/3 of the cream, stirred, then another third, then the rest). Time and again it turned out beautifully! Oh yeah, I also found greater success avoiding my non-stick pans.
Thank you for the recipe!
Oh Yum! This was divine. Thank you so much for sharing. Mine came out quite thin and we enjoyed it with ice cream straight away. The next day I was pleasantly surprised to find the sauce had thickened. Delicious!
Made the salted caramel sauce today! Ruined my first
batch with over cooking ( hardened up ) but tried again and it was fabulous!!
My neighbors & friends will be very happy!!
Omg. Just. Jesus.
So I made this and like others, my caramel was more like the color of butterscotch. It also seized as soon as I added the cream, leaving me with a big lump of sugar. I think it had to do with the temp of the cream. Anyway, I put the pot back onto the stove on medium heat and just whisked the sugar mound away. the heat proved to be enough to disintegrate the sugar crystals further. Be careful that you don’t let the pot boil, that’ll cook the sugar more.
Thank for the recipe!
Made this last night, it is delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂
Wow, just wanted to say that I made this Salty Carmel Sauce tonight and it is amazing!! Recipe is spot on…making these for Mother’s Day gifts and I think they will be a huge hit!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
This was awesome! I made 4 batches tonight and they all turned out very well and all a little different. I loved/hated playing chicken with boiling mixture about when to take it off! I never quite made it to as dark as yours but close! These are going to make such cute and delicious favors for my daughter’s First Communion this weekend! Thanks again and LOVE the labels!
I messed up the first batch too! Very Yummy when you get it right there.
Hu there, just made a batch but mine turned out runny. Does the sauce thicken on standing and can I boil once the cream and butter have bee added? Thanks.
It should thicken a little after cooling.
We used brown sugar towards the end of our batches and it looked much darker and it tasted better.
Hi! This looks delicious and I’d like to make it for xmas gifts this year. Once I make them, they obviously have to be refrigerated. Will they be ok to take out and bring as gifts for a few hours? I know there’s cream in here and wouldn’t want it to go bad!
So excited to try this! Just curious, did you use coarse sea salt or fine?
Thanks so much for such an easy and delicious recipe. The pics and steps were spot-on and I LOVED the results! I made a bunch of these to give out for the adults at my son’s 1st birthday and they were a huge hit! My husband finished off about 8oz of this in two sittings! He loves it and I will be making it again today!! I add it to my coconut steamers and to coffee as well, it’s AMAZING! A huge thanks again! 🙂
Mine is definitely lighter than pictured on this site. But it’s oh, so good!!! I can definitely taste the sea salt too. Mine took 11:30 to get to the perfect color. Use a bigger saucepan than you think because when you add the whipping cream it bubbles up A LOT! I’m serving this to the teachers at school today — with apples. YUM!
I just finished making this, its so good! Thank you for this post! Love it!
What size jars do you use?
small 5-ounce jelly jars
Hello Lori. Thank you for the salted caramel recipe. I love your labels.
I am going to make some salted caramel ‘chips’ to go into my wild fennel ice cream. I used to make it and add a big slug of Bourbon at the end (no salt) and pour it over Bread & Butter Pudding that the Brits love so much.
Best wishes and thanks for info & enthusiasm. L
Just made this for a dinner party, so easy and such a wow. You know that moment when everyone says ‘This is amazing!’, and as the cook you think ‘yeah, it’s good, but amazing?’…this time I was joining in! I have pinned this on my pinterest board for my friends to find – the pin is an image which gives a direct link to this page. I hope that’s ok?
That’s very nice of you- thank you!
Love the recipe! Made a double batch added cinnamon to it and poured it over a cayenne triple chocolate truffle brownies. The wife, kids, and friends polished it off that night.
I own a cupcake biz in AZ and was looking for a good salted caramel recipe… I LOVE your recipe and pics!!! Yours was SO easy to follow. I will be incorporating this yummy salted caramel in a few of my new creations!
Just made this and it is amazing! I used slightly less salt b/c hubby isn’t always a fan of salted caramel flavors, but he really liked this one.
I think that the Lord will have this sauce in heaven. It was sooooo good.
Speaking of heaven, I may die from eating too much of this. Thanks for the recipe.
I made this today and I’m so happy they came out right the first time thanks to everyone’s great advice. It was so good.
OK so I made three batches and while they taste awesome they are a bit lighter than your pictures…did I not cook them enough? They are still being given as gifts and they are soooo good and the labels are so cute! Thank you!!! BTW you are not kidding about how much it bubbles and how hot it gets when you add the cream-I think my right lower arm is now hairless..lol.
Don’t worry… I actually looked at a lot of photos of caramel on the internet and most were much lighter than mine anyways. I was kind of wondering why mine turned out so dark! It’s good nonetheless. Glad you had success w/ gifting! 🙂
What is the difference between using unsalted and salted butter in this recipe?
Well, it’s Salted Caramel, so I like to use salted butter too.
My son and I were the cats meow this year because of this recipe and labels. I did this as teachers presents for his 4 main teachers…the 2 counselors and nurse and I put 1 green and 1 red apple in a small gift basket with the sauce. Wonderful ! Thanks so much for sharing !
Happy to hear!!
This is so cute RecipeGirl!
I love it.
Such a good idea for a gift!
This looks delicious, and I LOVE the labels! Do you by chance remember where you bought the little jelly jars?
Just bought them at the regular-old grocery store where they sell mason jars. Ralphs is where I bought them in Southern CA.
Every year(for the past 25 years) I have been making my gifts. With easy recipes like this, the internet, and pdf files such as these, gifting takes on a whole new meaning! Happy Holidays, Lori!!
You’ve got me hooked on this already. Oh YUMMMMM!!! I am just not a candy thermometer person so I actually think I can do this. And I’m going to make it today. What a GREAT gift idea. Love it. And thank your cousin Gina for the labels. I’m going to contact her in the near future. She did a great job.
This sauce looks drinkable!
YUM, yum, yummy….I will have a big fat tummy! (AND other big fat body parts). Really, I do wish someone would make stuff that was calorie free…LOL. Love it, can’t wait to make it. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Very cute presents indeed! Never tried salted caramel sauce. I have to make it one day! Very cute website as well!
Cannot WAIT to make this. thanks for posting!
Perfect timing! I’m making some Mexican Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats for a cookie swap tomorrow and wanted to top them with a salted caramel drizzle. I think this will work perfectly!
YAY! A caramel recipe! I adore adore adore adore caramel. But, I have two burning questions, and this seems like the appropriate time to ask. 🙂
One, how can I ensure my caramel is not grainy? Every time I try to make it, it’s very grainy once it cools. (I do generally use brown sugar)
And two, what changes can I make to this recipe to have it solidify just a little bit, in order to make candies, cover pretzel sticks, etc?
Thanks so much. Love this site!
Hi Shannon, I’ve heard that having salt in the boiling process is key to not making it grainy. I don’t know why, but apparently using salted butter is supposed to help. No idea about how to turn this into caramels- I think that might be a different recipe!
Oh boy! Well you know how much I love salted caramel and this looks crazy awesome. Love gina’s labels too.
Thanks so much for the printables and wonderful recipe. I’d love getting something like this as a present. I need to remember this next year!! 🙂
WHat a beautiful gift idea. The sauce looks great and I love the tutorial photos. The labels are adorable too. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Mmm…who wouldn’t love to receive a gift like that! Cute labels too.
Total SCORE!! On both the recipe and your crafts. Love the sweet jars and how you tied in the striped bows as well. This caramel looks addictive 🙂 The perfect homemade holiday treat. FB & pinning now!
awesome recipe and what adorable labels too 🙂
Love this, both the caramel sauce and the labels! What a great idea!
What a nice gift idea! So creative and who doesn’t love salted caramel?!
This turned out great!
That is right up my alley! Very cool. I think I would probably do just like you said and eat the whole jar, real quick!
I am going to be making some homemade salsa to put in my gift baskets this year. I was considering what to do for labels, and I like what you’ve done here.
I love everything about this post. I love the beautiful photos that have me drooling, I love the labels, the recipes is great and I especially love the step-by-step photos. I am definitely going to make this in the next week. Thanks Lori!
Love this idea! Congrats to your niece. I used to live in Rochester – RIT is an excellent school!