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An easy to follow recipe for homemade caramel sauce that stays soft - even in the refrigerator! Perfect for dipping apple slices or pretzels or drizzling over desserts or into hot chocolate or lattes.

Everyone loves homemade caramel sauce. This isn’t a broad generalization, it’s just fact. Homemade caramel sauce is easy to make, and you likely have the ingredients on hand, so you can basically whip up a batch whenever, but you have to store the extra in the refrigerator, where it becomes hard. Then, when you want caramel you have to wait, and one should never have to wait for caramel. Over the years I’ve played with a few recipes and finally found my happy ratio of ingredients for a stay soft caramel sauce. The best part is, this caramel sauce stays soft without corn syrup, which most people don’t have in their pantry at any given time. You can probably make this caramel right now, but I’d recommend reading the post first, especially if you’re a caramel-making newbie. 😉

I use the wet method for caramel making here, which is where you add a little water to your sugar to help it dissolve. Working on a home cook top, I’ve found this is the most consistent method and I’ve tested on gas (mine currently), electric (former house), and glass ranges (family). Gas and electric ranges always have hot spots on the burners, and so it’s good to have a little leeway when making caramel to prevent burnt sugar spots because burnt sugar smells disgusting and lingers what feels like forever.

An easy to follow recipe for homemade caramel sauce that stays soft - even in the refrigerator! Perfect for dipping apple slices or pretzels or drizzling over desserts or into hot chocolate or lattes.

Use a heavy-bottomed stainless steel or other light colored pot. You might be able to get a successful batch in a dark pot, I was able to do it when we had a kitchen with crazy good lighting, but I can’t do that in our kitchen now, and it’s just easier to be able to see the color change. It’s important to add the ingredients to the sugar at just the right point in the cooking process.

To help you with this, I took pictures while cooking to try and show you what the sugar looks like in the pot as it caramelizes. The color you are looking for is a penny brown from a penny that has only just lost its brand-new shine, not an old penny brown. The second the caramelized sugar reaches this point, you want to turn off the heat and quickly whisk in the butter and heavy cream. It will bubble like crazy, you might see some lumps for a minute, but keep stirring and whisking until it all smooths out. Transfer immediately to a heat-safe container and allow to cool then store in the refrigerator.

An easy to follow recipe for homemade caramel sauce that stays soft - even in the refrigerator! Perfect for dipping apple slices or pretzels or drizzling over desserts or into hot chocolate or lattes.

The caramel sauce will look very liquid as it cools, but it hardens to a perfect spoon-friendly consistency in the refrigerator. I use it straight out of the fridge to dip apples, drizzle it on desserts, and if I let it sit out 5 minutes, it’s the perfect consistency to use in hot chocolate or homemade caramel lattes.

*UPDATE 11/2016* I went ahead and filmed a caramel making video for you where I talk you through the entire process and let you see exactly what’s going on in the pot. I think it might help some of you overcome challenges and find caramel-making success!

The caramel will keep up to 10 days in the refrigerator. After that, it starts to get a little grainy because the sugar begins to crystallize. The batch only makes about 1 1/2 cups of caramel though, so it doesn’t usually last that long.

An easy to follow recipe for homemade caramel sauce that stays soft - even in the refrigerator! Perfect for dipping apple slices or pretzels or drizzling over desserts or into hot chocolate or lattes.

Enjoy, darlings!

5 from 1 vote
An easy to follow recipe for homemade caramel sauce that stays soft - even in the refrigerator! Perfect for dipping apple slices or pretzels or drizzling over desserts or into hot chocolate or lattes.
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Stay Soft Caramel Sauce
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
12 mins
 
Author: Goodie Godmother
Ingredients
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 1 tbsp pieces
Instructions
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel (or other light-colored) pot.
  2. Set your other prepared ingredients and a whisk within easy reach.
  3. Place the pot over medium heat and stir frequently with a spatula until the sugar has dissolved. If you see sugar crystals forming along the sides of the pot, use a pastry brush wet in a small bowl of water to brush the crystals away.
  4. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, stop stirring! Swirl the entire pot gently if needed, during this next phase of cooking.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high and watch the sugar for the change in color. This takes 4-5 minutes, but you cannot walk away, because the color changes in an instant. Once the dissolved sugar mixture reaches a medium copper color, quickly turn off the heat, and add the butter and heavy cream, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes homogeneous and all clumps dissolve. If you need to, place the pot over very low heat while you stir to help the caramel sauce smooth out.
  6. Transfer immediately to a heat-safe container, allow to cool, and store in the refrigerator up to 10 days.

An easy to follow recipe for homemade caramel sauce that stays soft - even in the refrigerator! Perfect for dipping apple slices or pretzels or drizzling over desserts or into hot chocolate or lattes.

Love it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
This Post Has 26 Comments
  1. OMG! I just made this to take to work for our ice cream sundae bar party tomorrow. So easy and sooooo good! I kind of panicked when it started to clump at the end but just put it on low heat and kept whisking like the directions said. Definitely a keeper recipe. Thanks!

  2. Have you ever tried doubling the recipe? My husband loves Caramel on his coffee I was wondering if I could double or triple the amount. I know if some things doubling won’t work. Thanks

  3. Okay so I am decidedly not the most computer savvy people on the planet and I did not realize that all I had to do to leave a comment was to be patient and scroll down to this section! But, I did want to leave a comment, YOU ARE AWESOME! Thank you for the video, I have always wanted to make caramel but my mother-in-law pretty much scared me to even attempt. Well now that I am a Grandmother (Fafa as I am known around these parts thanks to my beautiful grandson Noah who named me as such.) I could not give up without trying. Thank you for making it so easy to follow. You have an outstandingly gorgeous family btw!

  4. Hey! This is a very easy recipe! How long does it normally take to cool down? Do you put it in the fridge if you need it soon?

    Thanks!

  5. I just made this and it is THE easiest and THE MOST DELICIOUS CARAMEL SAUCE EVER. Thank you for this amazing recipe! At first I was planning to use it in a cake, but I think now I’ll just eat it with a spoon. 🙂

      1. I just made it for the third time and I messed it up. I’m so upset at myself, I really wanted some caramel sauce. 🙁 Hope it still tastes similar at least. I wan’t patient enough and didn’t let the sugar change color. Oh, by the way, my sugar usually goes crusty right before it changes color. Does that usually happen?

        1. Oh no! Usually crystallization in the sugar means that there’s something in the bowl or that the sugar didn’t dissolve completely. Try using a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan as you’re dissolving your sugar, that way no rogue sugar crystals can stick and cause crystallization.

          1. What kind of sugar did you use? The standard white sugar works best. Was your pan clean of any residue? It sounds like the sugar didn’t dissolve all the way so you ended up with crystallization. If you tell me a bit more about your method I’ll do my best to help!

    1. You can, but I usually stir in the butter and cream right after I turn off the heat, but before I remove the pot from the burner. Since I can find it in bulk at the local Costco, I use an organic granulated sugar that has slightly larger crystals, so I find that leaving the pot on the burner when I add the sugar (heat off) helps prevent any grainy bits in the caramel. Adding the butter and cream this way, or after removing the pot from the burner both work though.

    2. I think that’s what she meant Annie. I saw that too, paragraph 5. I believe it should read “add butter and heavy cream while whisking”, instead of sugar. The recipe instructions don’t indicate an addition of heavy cream otherwise.

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