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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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85 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 https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com. 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.
    Hannah recently posted..Lemon Raspberry Sandwich Cookies

  20. [...] Salted caramel is my latest obsession.  I cannot get enough.  My sea salt and vanillla bean caramel sauce is delicious on its own, but the last time I made it, I added about 2 ounces of Jack Daniels Tennesse Honey.  It is the most perfect thing that I have ever eaten.  Sweet, salty, and boozy.  Usually, I am not even a whiskey fan, but on a whim I bought a bottle of the new honey blend (must have been a rough day) and love to cook with it.  And then, I got an even better idea.  Add butter to it.  Lots and lots of butter.  And more sugar.  And then add to it some cake.  And then some cupcakes.  Sometimes, just sometimes, I have really good ideas. [...]

  21. 7 Links says:

    [...] 1. Most Beautiful Post – Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce [...]

  22. 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!

  23. Jessica says:

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

  24. [...] you tired of salted caramel or pumpkin yet?  Me, not so much.  I pretty excited that it is pumpkin and apple season.  I love [...]

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. [...] recipe is super easy, and I wish I had taken more pictures of the process, but you can head over to Baked Bree and check out her gorgeous pictures [...]

  28. 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!
    Bree recently posted..$10.00 off ANY Plum district deal ( Free Family fun magazine, Kate bags and MORE!)

  29. [...] some more caramel sauce over the top. I didn’t take a picture of this either because these weren’t for me! But [...]

  30. [...] a few more from around the web:Peanut Butter and Fleur de Sel Brownies from Love and Olive Oil Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce from Baked Bree Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies from Bakerella Pumpkin Caramels and Chocolate [...]

  31. 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?

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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)

  36. [...] them in my life immediately. The funny thing? I don’t even really like chocolate. But I love salted caramel, and knew that they would be worth making. And eating. And they were. These brownies are deep and [...]

  37. [...] for coffees, for drinking by the gallon. I've mostly resisted them all until I came across Baked Bree's Sea Salt and Vanilla Caramel Sauce. My first thought was, "Just like the Starbuck's Salted Caramel [...]

  38. Susan says:

    Can I can this for later use?

  39. 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.

  40. [...] cream on that bad boy. Caramel is a great addition to anything pumpkin. I have a soft spot for salted vanilla bean caramel. It’s great on ice cream and other flavors of cheesecake. I usually eat it at three in the [...]

  41. [...] sauce (4 batches) caramel sauce (2 batches) strawberry sauce peach sauce raspberry sauce milk chocolate chips white chocolate chips [...]

  42. 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!

  43. [...] cup caramel sauce (store bought is just fine) 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Gold Medal all-purpose flour 1/3 cup cocoa [...]

  44. 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!

  45. [...] recipe in question is a vanilla and sea salt caramel sauce, that I found over at the food blog Baked Bree. It has everything I love in a caramel recipe, and is super easy to make(which, to be fair, mostly [...]

  46. 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!

  47. 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!

  48. […] Here is the original recipe from Baked Bree: […]

  49. […] son found a caramel from Christmas in our tea drawer and it got me craving some vanilla sea salt caramel sauce.  So, maybe if I can find some vanilla beans I’ll be making and giving some sauce this […]

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