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Homemade Caramel Dip

Homemade caramel sauce is one of life’s most simple pleasures and this recipe is the easiest (& most delicious) one around!

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A cup of caramel sauce sitting on the counter with apple slices around it.

Easy Caramel Recipe

I don’t know why I grew up thinking that homemade caramel would be the hardest thing to make? I put off trying to make it for years because I was worried it would be overly complicated. But when I finally made it, I realized I was scared for no reason! Today I’m sharing my ultra-easy caramel sauce recipe. My steps for how to make this are going to easily guide you to successfully making this delicious topping from home. Just please don’t hate me for how often you want to make it! 


Homemade caramel sauce is golden and sweet, striking the perfect balance of being delicious without being overly rich. This pairs well with pretty much anything, but I especially love it drizzled over warm brownies, as a dip for apples or topping an ice cream sundae. But really, the sky is the limit here.

A hand dipping an apple slice into a jar of caramel sauce.

Homemade Caramel ingredients

  • Brown sugar
  • Butter  
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla  – There are not very many ingredients in this recipe so it’s important to use quality ingredients! It will affect the flavor so much. 

*Optional: You could add sea salt to the caramel, which would be so yummy!

A hand pulling an apple slice out of caramel sauce.

How to Make Caramel

  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, stir together the brown sugar, butter and heavy cream until well combined and brown sugar is dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes without stirring. (Stirring can cause the sugars to crystalize, which we don’t want! Smooth caramel only!) 
  3. When it reaches the softball stage, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. 
  4. Allow the sauce to cool before using.
A jar of caramel with a spoon sticking out of it.

How do I make sure my Homemade Caramel is done without a candy thermometer?

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can easily do the ice water trick. Fill a small bowl with cold, ice water. Then take a teaspoon of your mixture and drop it into the water. If it forms a soft pliable ball, it is in the softball stage (about 230°- 235°F) and is ready to go!

How to use this Homemade Caramel Recipe

How to store Caramel Dip

Store in an airtight container (I like a mason jar) in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can also freeze for up to 1 month!

Caramel Recipe Easy FAQs

Is caramel just boiled sugar?

Not exactly. While the primary ingredient in caramel is sugar, making caramel often involves more than just boiling sugar! Depending on the desired final product, other ingredients like butter, cream, or water might be added and heated until they caramelize and turn DELICIOUS.

Why shouldn’t you stir sugar when making caramel?

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but TRUST ME on this one. Stirring sugar as it melts can lead to crystallization and when sugar crystals form and are not dissolved properly, they can cause the sugar to seize up into a grainy mass rather than a smooth yummy caramel!

What makes caramel soft or hard?

The consistency of caramel, whether soft or hard, is determined by its final temperature. When making caramel, a candy thermometer can be invaluable! But if you don’t have one on hand, you can easily do the ice water trick. Fill a small bowl with cold ice water. Then take a teaspoon of your mixture and drop it into the water. If it forms a soft pliable ball, it is in the softball stage, about 230°- 235°F, if it forms a firm ball it is around, 245°F to 250°F, and if it becomes hard and breakable, it is in the hard crack stage, around 300°F to 310°F.

A cup of caramel sauce with a hand dipping an apple into it. Across the top it says "how to make caramel"
A cup of caramel sauce sitting on the counter with apple slices around it.

Homemade Caramel Recipe

Homemade caramel sauce is one of life’s most simple pleasures and this recipe is the easiest (& most delicious) one around!
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (about 1 1/4 cups caramel)
Calories: 224kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, butter and heavy cream.
  • Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes without stirring.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
  • Allow the caramel to cool before using.
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Nutrition

Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 53mg | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 455IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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