sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipeI could not tease you any longer.  In my last post, I shared a recipe for The Best Chocolate Sauce Ever, in it, I had a jar of caramel sauce.  Now, let me preface, I love my first caramel sauce recipe.  Love, love, love.  But, I was making a batch for an ice cream party, and I decided to see if I could make a good thing, great.  And this went beyond great.  It is so delicious, that you could eat it from a spoon, and not miss the ice cream.  All it took was a vanilla bean and a sprinkling of sea salt.  The sea salt does not make this sauce salty, but enhances the caramel and vanilla flavor.  It is to die for.  I cannot wait to make this after my first trip to the apple orchard in the coming months.  I cannot wait to swirl a little of this sauce into some apple sauce, or drizzled over a slice of apple pie.  I have made this sauce many times, and always give the leftovers away because I cannot be trusted alone with it.  I have been told by a reliable source that it is also perfection spooned into your morning coffee.

Come Christmastime, this will for sure be a gift for neighbors, friends, teachers.  It will be so cute in little jars, with some cute ribbons and some festive embellishments.  Like this one, from pinterest.

or this.

Ready to make some?  Let’s go.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipe1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (used 2 cups by accident, oops.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeded
1 teaspoon sea salt

Slice a vanilla bean in half.  Using the back of the knife, scrape the seeds from the pod.  You can save the pods, and put them in a jar of sugar.  Pretty soon, you will have the most fragrant and delicious sugar.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipe Pour the cream into a measuring cup and add the vanilla bean scrapings, and sea salt.  Set aside.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipePut the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring the sugar to a boil.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipeLet the sugar cook (do not stir using a spoon, at most, you may swirl the pan to avoid hot spots) until it reaches a deep amber color.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipeWhisk in the cream mixture.  It will bubble and go nuts, but keep whisking.  It will come together just like this.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipePour into a jar and keep in the fridge.  The sauce will thicken, but it is more of a loose sauce.  This will keep for about a week in the fridge.

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipeFor more tips on making caramel sauce, check out my original caramel sauce recipe.

Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (used 2 cups by accident, oops.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Slice a vanilla bean in half. Using the back of the knife, scrape the seeds from the pod.
  2. Pour the cream into a measuring cup and add the vanilla bean scrapings, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sugar to a boil. Let the sugar cook (do not stir using a spoon, at most, you may swirl the pan to avoid hot spots) until it reaches a deep amber color.
  4. Whisk in the cream mixture. It will bubble and go nuts, but keep whisking. It will come together.
  5. Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge. The sauce will thicken, but it is more of a loose sauce.
  6. This will keep for about a week in the fridge.

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87 Responses to Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

  1. Cora White says:

    Sounds divine. I will make it mid week after our brief beach trip. YUM
    Oh and sea salt in caramel is always a hit with me

  2. Oh goodness…salted caramel sauce!? Obsessed!

  3. This does look quite dangerous :) but insanely delicious! Love your pictures too, so clean, clear and lovely, thanks, Chris

  4. Oh. My. Me thinks this will pair well with the gallon of vanilla ice cream I just made. Thanks for a new Christmas gift idea, too!

  5. You’re killing me! I don’t even like caramel sauce and I’m drooling over this! :)

  6. Hilary says:

    I am SO in! Homemade caramel sauce. Vanilla bean. Sea salt. Yep, sounds incredible!

  7. alison says:

    Beautiful images today Bree. The sauce looks lovely!

  8. divine!! Love them on cheesecakes too

  9. I do think there’s any such thing as too much heavy cream. 😉 It looks delicious! :-)

  10. corey says:

    Oh man, I will never forget the first time you made me caramel sauce. I really thought it was going to be a huge process and not that much different from store bought. Boy, was I wrong. It didn’t take long and it is no comparison to store bought. The addition of the sea salt must take it over the top. I think this will be my holiday gift this year. I love your packaging ideas too!

  11. corey says:

    Oh, and yes. This is perfection in a cup when added to coffee. :)

  12. Nichole says:

    Holy smokes…that looks amazing!
    Could I just eat it with a spoon? 😉

  13. Emma Aubry says:

    THIS. LOOKS. MOUTHWATERING. I wonder if you could add lavender notes to it? That might make my head explode in all its gourmet deliciousness.

  14. Salted caramel is one of my absolute all-time favourites – I normally spread it on the bottom of a chocolate ganache tart but I could literally just eat spoonfuls of your sauce straight up. Delicious!

    • bakedbree says:

      Yum. I made a tart like once from Saveur. It almost killed me, I have the scars to prove it, but it was delicious.

  15. Heather says:

    Just made this and am having it tonight over your vanilla bean ice cream…can’t wait! I was hugely disappointed when I added the cream mixture because it globbed it, but you were right – it came together beautifully. And deliciously. I see gifts in the future. Thanks for the recipe and one million thanks for all the pictures!!!

  16. Shannon says:

    Oh my! this looks amazing, I have been searching for maldon sea salt for a while now but it seems my only option is to order it online. Where do you get yours?

  17. Lori Dennis says:

    I really want to make this but can you buy a vanilla bean at the grocery store? I have never seen one and don’t want to get my hopes up if they are hard to find…..

  18. Deb says:

    This sounds great! But you really should try some Himalayan pink salt. I get mine from Sustainable Sourcing The flavor is so much better than regular salt! Thanks for sharing this recipe—I can’t wait to try it!

  19. Hannah says:

    Salt makes everything better. I’ve been dipping banana bread in it all night! It’s like crack.

  20. Lauren says:

    Thank you for the lovely recipe. I tried to make this but my sugar/water mixture never carmelized but instead turned into a white sugar rock in the bottom of the pan. Do you know what I did wrong? I would appreciate the help!

  21. Jessica says:

    Is the vanilla bean + vanilla intentional? And if so, when should the vanilla be added–into the cream mixture?

  22. Steph Zuehlke says:

    So, I made two batches. The first didn’t seize at all even though the sugar was boiling when I added the cream mixture and the second did a tiny bit and got a bit more on the brown side but still isn’t as brown as yours. Both batches would make a even a shoe taste delish!!! Any insight into how to tweak my process?

    • bakedbree says:

      Every time I make it (which is more than I would like to admit) it turns out a bit differently. If you do not want it to seize at all, you can heat your cream. But I usually just keep it on the heat and whisk and it comes back together.

  23. Stacy says:

    Bree, I think I have failed Caramel Sauce 101. I attempted to make a double batch on my very first go, but I didn’t feel this was my down fall. I was unsure about whether I should have removed the simple syrup from the heat before adding the cream. I did this, whisked steadily while pouring the cream in slowly and I got a huge gooey ball, that would not leave the whisk, splashing around in a thin caramel milk. Since I was in this deep and felt any attempt to salvage was worth not tossing the pot, I returned the kit and caboodle to the heat and whisked until the sugary mass relented into the sauce. It’s cooling in the pot now while I stir occasionally to avoid separation before jarring. Any suggestions on what I could do differently next time? This sauce is intended for your frosting recipe in the morning, over pumpkin pie spiced cinnamon rolls for the gaggle of girls who had a slumber party here last night 😉 TIA and it was this very recipe that brought me to your wonderful blog.

    • bakedbree says:

      Well, for starters, I would not recommend doubling this recipe. As a rule, I do not play or change a recipe at all the first time I make it. When you pour the cream, it will clump, but keep whisking over the heat and it will come back together. It will not be super thick, but it wil thicken in the fridge.

  24. Bree says:

    WOW! I just made this today first time ever making candy of any kind. Your recipe was dead on, LOVE the pictures, I didn’t even use a thermometer, when mine looked like yours I knew it was done! I used liquid vanilla coffee creamer in place of the heavy whipping cream, AMAZING! TY!

  25. Erin says:

    Thanks for this recipe idea! I’m going to make it for Christmas gifts- do you know approx how much sauce is made using your recipe amounts?

  26. Diane says:

    I tried this today and it’s such a simple recipe that puts out an amazing product! Made three jars that I will be giving as Christmas gifts to some very special friends. Thanks so much!
    Happy Holidays!

  27. Kim says:

    Thank you! this is a great recipe. Can this be canned (10 minutes in boiling water)? Also, do you have a recipe for Dark Chocolate Carmel Sauce with the sea salt? I had some recently and have been looking for a recipie – it was awsome.

    • bakedbree says:

      I do not know, I don’t can anything, I am scared. I would add a few ounces of dark chocolate at the end and see how it works.

  28. Mzzy says:

    Just had my first attempt and I completely read it wrong…and yet still tasty! I accidentally read 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cup cream…but it still came out great. I also didn’t have sea salt so I used kosher salt instead…will try it and read everything correctly next time.

    Question, at what point do you add that 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla? I missed that part and it tasted fine, but was wondering. Thanks for such a wonderful sauce! A total keeper…I’m trying to keep from straight drinking it out of the jar!

  29. Wendy Mullen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your divine Sea Salt & Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce recipe…it is so good!
    I made it for my Husbands Birthday Coffee…he loves a caramel sea salt latte…he couldn’t believe how amazing the caramel sauce was..he said we made the best coffee in the world that day!
    So…thank you for making every day..the best coffee day…. in the world :o)

  30. Susan says:

    Can I can this for later use?

  31. Lorie Bischel says:

    This sounds like perfection!
    Why will it only last a week? I guess that eliminates it as a good Christmas present idea because I wouldn’t want to give something that has such a short life span. But it sounds perfect for making for special desserts.

  32. Lisa says:

    OH. MY. GOSH. Forget eating this with a spoon, I was drinking it right after it came off the burner! I’m going to call this Salted Caramel Crack because as I was running my finger over the remnants of the pan and frantically licking them clean, I felt like a crack addict must feel. I was very worried about this turning out right. Especially after reading the comments from a different, but similar recipe. But this was so easy and turned out great. I even got a little distracted while the sugar was cooking and thought I burned it (it was very dark and smelled a little burnt) but it still came out great!

  33. Kate Scott says:

    Massively late to the party here, but thank you so much for this recipe – it is so delicious! I made this with an ice cream cake for some friends on Saturday and it went down a storm! I think this will be my Christmas gift to everyone this year – I know I’d be thrilled to get a jar in my stocking. Keep up the great work!

  34. I made this tonight for the first time. The first batch didn’t turn out, but the second one is great! I thought it would be worth sharing what I did wrong so no one makes the mistakes I made. First, use a smallish pan like the one Bree shows, with sides that go straight up, not tapering out. Second, the pan needs to be a heavy bottom pan, not too thin. Looks like the right pan makes all the difference, as my second batch is absolutely delicious! Thanks, Bree, for this yummy recipe!

  35. Christine says:

    I just made this using Maple Sea Salt (can be ordered online) and it is AMAZING. Husband has made short work of cleaning the pot, the spoon and anything else that might have some leftovers on it :( Thanks!

  36. Shari says:

    I was wondering if you could tell me where you get your jars? I have looked everywhere and all I have been able to find is the jars with the gold lids. I really like the silver for Christmas.

  37. Tanya says:

    Can you freeze it?

  38. Shari says:

    Your Caramel sauce looks Amazing!! I wanted to make some for Christmas, but I’m having trouble finding the jars you used. Do you know where I can find them?

  39. Shari says:

    Sorry…. just saw your reply to my last post :)

  40. Elizabeth says:

    I love this as a gift! The idea of having to make it fresh is daunting. I prefer gifts that can be made a month or so in advance so I don’t have to worry about whether I have something or not. Have you tried canning this?

  41. Erin says:

    It says in the ingredients 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla but there is no direction for what to do with it. Do we need the vanilla after all?

  42. Sarah says:

    Is there any way to make this without a vanilla bean?

  43. Jamee says:

    I don’t know much about baking, so I’m curious why will it only keep for a week in the fridge? Why will it go bad? I love it! It is so delicious! But I can only eat so many rich sweets unfortunately, so I can’t use this extremely quick, so that’s why I ask my previous questions :)

  44. Joan Penfold says:

    This sounds great. I forgot caramel sauce for a apple pie cookie recipe and did not realize how easy this is to make…..and I have all the ingredients already. I was wondering if you think I could make a healthier version with Vanilla Almond Milk?

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