Caramels—it doesn’t matter how you pronounce them—they’re a delicious, sweet, chewy treat and there really is nothing like our easy homemade caramel sauce with only 4 ingredients!
Caramels are so versatile, right? You can eat them like candies, caramel sauce, toppings. Pour caramel over bananas or brownies for an extra gooey kick, or let one melt in your mouth.
What we love about this recipe is that it’s incredibly easy to make and pretty much foolproof. Using these 4 ingredients you will for sure get a creamy caramel sauce that’s perfect for dipping and desserts!
We also love the rich history behind caramel. It’s part of our history with food! Early findings date caramel back to at least the 1650s when American settlers were making hard caramel candies in a kettle. Our updated version has added extras like fat and milk, making the modern caramel we know and love today.
If you have an event, party, or dinner coming up, or want to play around in the kitchen… try making your own easy caramel sauce. This recipe is super simple and works every time! It also tastes amazing!
Everything you need to know about caramel sauce is below!
Caramel Sauce: It’s All in the Details
Let’s get started by answering some key questions about caramel sauce.
What Is the Difference Between Caramel Sauce and Caramel Topping?
Admittedly, there is not much difference between sauce and topping. The biggest difference between the two is in the thickness.
Caramel sauce is thicker and usually richer, whereas a topping is thinner and sweeter.
How Do You Make Caramel Sauce Thicker?
To make that classic, thick caramel sauce, what needs to happen?
First, keep in mind that caramel will thicken as it cools. If it’s still not as thick as you’d like, simmer it on medium heat anywhere from 5-10 minutes. This should thicken it without changing the flavor or color.
This recipe will also thicken as it sits. You won’t have any problem getting a perfect caramel sauce with the easy 4 ingredients we share below.
What Is the Shelf-Life?
It keeps nicely for up to two weeks. It must be in an air-tight container and stored in the fridge. You can also freeze caramel sauce for up to three months while maintaining its quality.
To use after it’s been in the refrigerator, simply warm the sauce up.
How to Make Caramel Sauce with Sweetened Condensed Milk
Now that you know what this sauce entails, let’s get to cooking! This recipe only uses 4 ingredients!
- Brown sugar
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Corn syrup
Over medium-low heat, melt the butter and brown sugar and a medium saucepan. Add the sweetened condensed and corn syrup.
Stay away from medium-high heat, as this could burn the sugar.
While the sauce thickens over the next 5-7 minutes, continue to gently whisk the mixture until it thickens and the sugar melts.
Take it off the heat, allow it to cool a bit, then stick it into your air-tight container.
There you have it—a delicious, easy-to-make sauce! Altogether, it should take no more than 15 minutes to have your final product.
Is Dulce de Leche the Same as Caramel Sauce?
There’s a common misconception that caramel sauce and dulce de leche are the same, and understandably so. They are often used interchangeably because of how similar they are.
The main difference between the two is in their ingredients. Dulce de leche means “sweet milk,” and the making of it requires heating up condensed milk. The sugar in the milk browns, giving it that caramel color.
Caramel, on the other hand, typically uses ingredients like butter, brown sugar, evaporated milk, salt, and sometimes vanilla extract. Recipes vary, however.
Have Fun Creating This Delicious Treat!
As you can see, making caramel sauce is as easy as 1-2-3.
It requires minimal ingredients, time, or labor, and the end result is a fantastic treat you can drizzle over your other favorite desserts and snacks!
One fun way to use your homemade caramel sauce is for dipping! Add it to a board with sliced apples, pears, and other delicious fruit and dip away! We even added a bowl of salt to sprinkle on the caramel, for salted caramel. So good!
More Desserts You’ll love!
Ice Cream Sundae Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting and Sprinkles!
Sugar and Charm is full of fantastic recipes and inspiration like this. Check out our section on desserts for all your go-to ideas. Your caramel sauce would pair wonderfully with our peach cake recipe!
Easy Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14 ounces
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- Over medium-low heat, melt the butter and brown sugar and a medium saucepan.
- Add the sweetened condensed and corn syrup.
- While the sauce thickens over the next 5-7 minutes, continue to gently whisk the mixture until it thickens and the sugar melts.
- Take it off the heat, allow it to cool a bit. It will thicken as it cools too.