Homemade Caramel Sauce (no corn syrup!)

A few weeks ago, Busy Mom in AL left a comment stating that she’d used my Caramel Frosting recipe to make Caramel Sauce.  Then, a little while later, the people at Challenge Butter sent me a package and asked me to come up with a recipe using their butter.  Well, what’s a girl to do but make Homemade Caramel Sauce with one of those sticks of butter, and then blog about her experience?

I didn’t think you’d mind.  Especially if you think about the possibilities this Caramel Sauce presents.  Not only can you make it for your own family and serve it on ice cream or cheesecake – wouldn’t this make a perfect Gift in a Jar?

Why yes, I believe it would.

And then, what if you took it a step further and created a big Ice Cream Sundae Basket to give as a gift?  In your basket you could include a jar of this Caramel Sauce, a jar of Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce, a container of nuts, an ice cream scoop, some bowls and spoons – who wouldn’t love to receive this inexpensive, yet thoughtful and fun gift?

Alright, now I’m giddy and need to figure out who I can make an Ice Cream Sundae Gift Basket for.

Here is the very simple – and sort of healthy because at least it doesn’t have corn syrup in it - recipe:

Homemade Caramel Sauce

2 cups sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream (heavy whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the sucanat, butter, and cream into a medium sized saucepan.

Cook over medium to high heat until ingredients are melted and well mixed, stirring constantly.  Bring mixture to a boil and boil for one minute, while continuing to stir.

Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and add vanilla extract.

Serve immediately or pour into a pint sized jar for a gift.  Store in refrigerator and reheat before serving if desired.  (This recipe makes one pint jar or two cups of sauce.)

Beyond ice cream, cheesecake, and the Ice Cream Sundae Gift Basket, don’t you think I should come up with some sort of Caramel Swirl Brownie recipe?  Or maybe a Turtle Fudge Something or Other?  We could even use it as an apple dip I bet!

Homemade_Caramel_Sauce

Interested in giving this as a gift?  Here is a fun FREE printable gift tag you can use along with this sauce.

CaramelSauceTag-prev

caramel_dip_with_apples

What do you think?  How could you use this Homemade Caramel Sauce?

Comments

  1. Jamie says

    O…M…G. I have been searching for one. I miss caramel sauce so very much. Thank you. Can’t wait to try this. I must stop reading recipes at 11:30 at night. It makes me too anxious to start cooking!

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  2. bonnie sikes says

    i have made five batches of this caramel and have only gotten one correct.. i have followed the steps each time but cant seem to get anymore to be smooth like its supposed to be.. can you please help me??? how can i make every batch smooth and not gritty??? please help…

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    bonnie sikes Reply:

    i have tried boiling it for the time on the recipe and also letting it
    boil for alittle longer and ended up last time boiling it for 5 mins
    and it still turned out grainy not smooth… can you tell me what i am
    doing wrong?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yikes, I can’t figure out what might be going wrong on this. :( So sorry it’s not working for you!!

    [Reply]

    Kaley Reply:

    Try melting the butter before hand and blending the Sucranat in a blender to make it it smooth. No
    t too smooth like confectioners sugar, but to the texture of regular sugar. Hope this helps :)

    [Reply]

    bonnie sikes Reply:

    ok ill try that.. thank you.. i had just about given up hope on making it correctly… hope it works..

    blinkme Reply:

    They problem here is that your sugar is crystallizing. That’s why most recipes actually tell you NOT to stir until the sugar gets in the 300 degree range. It’s also why most caramel recipes call for a little bit of corn syrup to prevent crystals from forming. If you don’t want to use corn syrum, try adding a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar instead. Might work.

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    Beth Reply:

    Answer to gritty sauce: this is simple to fix. When you are
    dissolving sugar ingredients to make a syrup, make sure ALL the sugar
    is dissolved by heating over medium to low heat before bringing the
    mixture to a boil. Check the sides of your pan for grains of sugar
    as well. This also applies to fudge. BE CAREFUL not to scrape sugar
    that might be on the sides down into your syrup or when you are
    emptying the pan. If you absolutely must scrape the sides of your pan,
    put that part by itself onto another plate.
    Why it happens: when you heat the syrup ingredients, the molecules
    expand and the sugar molecules find cozy places to hide and when the
    syrup cools down, the sugar is tucked in between everything else. BUT
    when the mixture boils before the sugar grains are completely
    dissolved, the sugar molecules doesn’t get to find cozy hiding places
    so they start gathering around the big leftover grains of sugar, and
    poof you end up with grainy syrup, fudge, etc.

    [Reply]

    Chris Kindem Reply:

    I tried making the caramel sauce before reading other people’s comments and the replies. Consequently, I ended up with gritty sauce. So my question is — is it possible to do anything to the gritty sauce I have already made that will turn it into a creamy sauce? I don’t imagine there is, since the gritty-ness happened during the cooking process and involves molecular structure that has already taken place, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask!
    Thanks for your help!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I have no idea…I am doubting it will work to do much to it now, but if you wanted to try maybe you could reheat it again and add a little liquid to see if you can get it to dissolve??? It could be worth a try. :)

  3. Trudi says

    Hi Laura — Bless you for this recipe and the Hot Fudge Sauce recipe! I can’t wait to make them! One question . . . how long can these sauces be stored in the refrigerator? Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    They will keep for about 2 months!

    [Reply]

  4. Meghan says

    Laura- Thank you for all the hard work you have done in creating delicious recipes for the world of blog addicts, like myself, to experiment with and use. Like I’ve said before I’m a newly stay at home momma again and I vowed to do things right this time around. With some careful planning and a massive cook day after church on Sundays I’ve managed to stock my freezer & pantry with HEALTHY HOMEMADE goodies that give me the conveniences of boxed foods without all the yucky ingredients!! I can spend more time with my kiddos during the week and still get to soccer practice and gymnastics on time!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

    BTW- this recipe is DIVINE!!!!

    [Reply]

  5. Bernadette says

    Just a thought for the caramel sauce being gritty… I have read on other blogs that caramel requires a “heavy bottom pan” so it doesnt scald or something. Maybe it is the pan?

    [Reply]

  6. kentucky Lady 717 says

    Thanks for this recipe….I am making it to put over ice cream….after going to the store to buy some and read all the ingredients that were in it…….I said no way……I will make my own…..I know Laura will have a recipe :) I really wanted BUTTERSCOTCH TOPPING, but this will do……

    [Reply]

  7. Lisa says

    I didn’t have any cream, so just used whole milk and it turned out fine. My son loves caramel popcorn and had to have it and I wasn’t about to run out to the store. Just thought I’d share.

    [Reply]

    Lison Hackett Reply:

    Thank you for mentioning whole milk instead . I have no cream and am lactose intolerant . So I will be using lactose free whole milk !!! Can’t wait to try it !

    [Reply]

  8. Anne Carithers says

    For lactose intolerance, goat milk can help. Since the cream is still in the milk it is thicker than cows milk. I’ve used it in place of cream for homemade ice cream.

    [Reply]

  9. Becky Hyatt says

    ok, so I just made this and i think i would bathe in this stuff – actually no, strike that – then I wouldn’t be able to eat it!

    This stuff is amazing! I followed another reader’s suggestion about blending up the sucanat to more of a powder and the sauce was absolutely perfect – silky smooth and mmmmmmmmm.

    thanks for a great recipe!

    [Reply]

  10. Kentucky Lady 717 says

    THANK YOU LAURA FOR THIS…I LOVE CARAMEL ON ICE CREAM, WILL DEFINITELY BE MAKING THIS….
    DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG THIS WILL KEEP ?

    [Reply]

  11. Kentucky Lady 717 says

    Sorry Laura, I just read all the comments and have my answer….and see that I had already commented some time ago……funny I don’t remember seeing this before :) guess I’m having a senior moment :)

    [Reply]

  12. lazlo rugoff says

    Just wondering, could you mix the caramel with a fork as our beater as not at home and we don’t have a beater. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I believe you could – it just may take some time and make your arm a little tired. Worth it though for caramel sauce!

    [Reply]

  13. Kristina says

    Hi!
    I am thankful to have found your blog! You have made cooking with real food easy and simple! We are at the very beginning of our real food journy. I really really really enjoy caramel latte do you think this would work in it?

    thanks a bunch

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, definitely!

    [Reply]

  14. tiana says

    We got a family full of lactose intolerant people, but this looks yummy.. what can we use as a substitute for the heavy cream that would work out?
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm, off the top of my head I can’t think of what would work in place of the cream in this recipe. If I come up with anything I’ll come back and comment again!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Ah, I’ve got it! (maybe) How about a can of coconut milk? I bet that would work!

    [Reply]

  15. Holley Ohar says

    I made this the other night, I used light cream because I didn’t have heavy and I also mixed light and dark brown sugar due to a shortage (it was the middle of the night when I flund this recipe) it sounded so good I had to make it right then! It came out DELICIOUS, TO DIE FOR!!! I was wondering if tbis same recipe could be turned into caramel chews / soft candy by cooking it longer or hotter, I am brand new to making caramel but this one recipe is so good!! Thank you!

    [Reply]

  16. Linda st. Laurent says

    Hello I was wondering if this has to be refrigerated after you put it into a jar?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It is best to keep this in the fridge, but if it’s left out for a few hours, it’s no problem.

    [Reply]

  17. Jaclyn says

    Do you think this could be canned (like fresh produce) to be made shelf-stable? If so, how would I do that? Thx, Laura.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would imagine so, but you’d have to pressure cook it in this case, and I’m not sure how to do that!

    [Reply]

  18. Patty says

    Is this packed Sucanet or brown sugar or just spooned into measuring cup?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I just spoon it into a measuring cup. :)

    [Reply]

  19. Melissa says

    I am new to your site and am loving it! The only problem I am having with your “gifts in a jar” series is deciding if I should go ahead and start making some now or wait until the last minute to decide – after I’ve seen all your ideas! How many of these do you plan to post?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have 12 to share and plan to share them 12 days in a row. Most of them can be made ahead of time. :)

    [Reply]

  20. Mona Greer says

    Hi Laura, 12/2/12
    Question :) Since several are having problems with the sugar being grainy, could you use powdered sugar and how much ? Just a thought…..
    And I have a recipe for PECAN BARS and it calls for I think 1/2 cup of corn syrup and I don’t want to use corn syrup….could I use 1/2 cup of this caramel sauce instead ? Thanks

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Mona: you might try honey in place of the corn syrup (though I’d be game to try the caramel sauce in its place!). I was making homemade marshmallows one time & ran out of my organic corn syrup. My mom suggested substituting with honey & it worked!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I used honey to make a pecan pie (recipe coming this week!) and it worked great!

    [Reply]

  21. Jamie Bradshaw says

    Does this need to be refrigerated sealed in the jars for mailing to friends and family across the miles?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    That would probably be a good idea.

    [Reply]

  22. Melissa Walters says

    I made this last night and it turned out amazingly delicious. Smooth and sweet. In answer to some of the problems with grainy.
    Completely melt your butter first in the pan. Allow it to become slightly golden. Add in your cream and finish with your sugar. Do all this at a lower temp and slowly bring up the heat. Stirring with a whisk all the while.
    This recipe is perfect and most of all it does not contain Corn Syrup! Yuck :) Thanks for sharing this.

    [Reply]

    dolci Reply:

    **FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS!!**
    Melissa Water’s instructions worked like a charm! I was completely intimidated for nothing. Using a heavy bottom medium sauce pan and grinding the sucanat into powdery consistency first, I followed this word for word and my caramel sauce was thick, creamy and effortless.

    [Reply]

  23. Mona Greer says

    I am wanting to try this so bad, but don’t want to end up with grainy mixture like some say they are having…….I’m wondering if you could use powdered sugar instead of regular sugar???? As it would dissolve better than white sugar…..but brown sugar should dissolve easy too…..does anyone know ?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I really don’t think powdered sugar would work for this – it would not give it a caramel taste. I’ve never had trouble with this being grainy, and I’ve used both brown sugar and sucanat. The sugar dissolves with the butter and cream, then you boil it and it is nice and smooth!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    To avoid becoming grainy, I very slowly melted the butter, sugar, cream mixture and stayed very patient to melt it as best as I could, and it came out fabulous!

    [Reply]

  24. Kim Kirkpatrick says

    Do you think it would work if you used honey or maple syrup? We do not use use brown sugar or sucanat.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m really not sure since I’ve never tried it. Maybe cut the recipe in half to give it a try with honey and see if it works?

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    I would love to know if the Honey or maple syrup sub worked.
    We don’t use brown sugar or sucanat either.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you could use honey or maple syrup. I’d go with 3/4 cup.

  25. Erika Carlson says

    Mine was smooth until it cooled…ideas? Im trying again lower heat to melt longer b4 boiling…any ideas?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure – mine has always stayed smooth after cooling. My guess is that it maybe got overcooked, so it crystalized a little bit?

    [Reply]

  26. Rachel Olson says

    Thank you! We just made this to go with apples. We just finished reading an Amelia Bedelia book where she made carmel apples for the school children. Fun spontaneous activity!

    [Reply]

  27. Amy H says

    Delicious caramel sauce! Mine came out perfect. I put it into 2 pint jars and am going to share with with my neighbor!!!

    [Reply]

  28. Susan Parker says

    Have you ever used (or heard of Wheylow? I know some peole, even diabetics who use this. I don’t know what sucanant is, but no I can not handle Slenda (severe headaches for 3-4 hours when taken). I tried Wheylow at a friend’s house, and some deserts she made, and there wasn’t any artificial taste or aftertaste…tasted sweet and god like sugar. Just don’t know much about substitutes for white or brown sugar (grew up with that, and still use in many recipes).

    Here is link (also know they now sell Wheylow at Whole Foods…

    http://www.wheylow.com/Articles.asp?ID=252

    Hope you can help me, so I can serve my family less sugar and something healthier.

    Susan

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not heard of it, but if it’s an artificial sweetener, I’d avoid it. Sucanat is cane sugar, just unprocessed so conatains more nutrients. Splenda is aritficial so I do not use it. :)

    [Reply]

  29. AircaCox says

    I make something very similar to this but as a caramel dip. Instead of cream or milk. I add a bar of softened cream cheese.

    [Reply]

  30. says

    This sounds great. I was looking to avoid corn syrup, though I have some to use up :( I’d like it a squeezable consistency right from the fridge. If I place this in a squeeze bottle, will it be too hard to get out?

    Besides ice cream and other desserts, I’ve come to enjoy caramel syrup in my morning coffee. Tastes as good as from the fancy coffee shops. :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    After being refrigerated, I think that it would be too thick to get out of a squeeze bottle. :)

    [Reply]

  31. Misty M. says

    I don’t use regular sugar at all I like truvia, stevia or xylitol on occation. Do you think that could be subbed in place of the sugar?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I am sure it would be worth a try, I just have no idea on what the substitution measurements would be for that. :)

    [Reply]

  32. weddingdance says

    Hi, new to your blog, just had a craving for caramel corn and don’t have any corn syrup handy, so stopped by. What’s wrong with corn syrup? I see a lot of people saying it’s yucky. Is it bad for you? Thanks,

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It is bad for us. Here is an article that explains it better than I could: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/07/10/how-high-fructose-corn-syrup-damages-your-body.aspx

    [Reply]

    weddingdnace Reply:

    Ah, I see, thanks! I’m kind of a ‘whole foods’ gal, hardly any processed food (except marshmallow Fluff!) so only use corn syrup in cooking, and one bottle lasts me about five years. I’ll bet there’s a lot ‘hidden’ in food that has labels on it. Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  33. Mona G. says

    I have made CARAMEL SAUCE twice and it came out perfect both times…..after being in the fridge, it is so thick you have to spoon it out….I just take 2 tsps. out , heat in microwave and pour over ice cream….also tried a tsp. in cooked oatmeal for breakfast one morning :)

    This was Pioneer Woman’s recipe tho. haven’t tried Laura’s recipe yet, but will…..just hate getting mixer out….and with this recipe you don’t need mixer…..

    [Reply]

  34. Ellen says

    Why didn’t my caramel sauce get a nice caramel color? The taste is great, but no color!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Not sure. Glad it tastes good though!

    [Reply]

  35. says

    Laura, have you ever tried using this to make caramel
    apples? We are going to give it a try this week!
    Thank you and God Bless,
    Cynthia

    [Reply]

    Cynthia Reply:

    FYI… I read through all the comments and just made the caramel sauce! WHAT a HIT!! We mad caramel apples and the kids LOVE them! Thank you so much!
    ~Cynthia

    [Reply]

  36. Aly says

    Tried this on a whim, very pregnant and needed carmel. It is amazing and sooo easy! It turned out great! I am making this for neighborhood gifts!

    [Reply]

  37. katya says

    You say to keep it refrigerated. Will it harden in the fridge or will it stay liquidy?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It will thicken some, and need to be reheated before using it. :)

    [Reply]

  38. says

    Love this caramel sauce! We have used to to make the caramel covered popcorn. Also we have used to to make homemade creamer. We mix half &half, milk, your caramel sauce and what ever flavoring you want. It is amazing.

    [Reply]

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