This isn’t your basic caramel sauce. It’s salted and spiced! These easy-to-follow instructions will show you how to make a Salted Spiced Caramel Sauce with cozy and warming spices. The perfect topping for ice cream, cakes, pies and so much more.
Of all the things I make in the fall and colder months, this salted spice caramel sauce is the thing I make the most. It’s requested often, and for a good reason -it’s insanely delicious. The texture is exquisite, and the sweet, salty and spiced flavors are to die for.
Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and sea salt add warm and cozy flavor. This sauce is perfect with apples, oatmeal and served simply with a spoon. This recipe is inspired by a recipe on my friend Valentina’s blog, Cooking on the Weekends, and I’m so glad I found it. It’s perfect for holiday gifting. This homemade salted spice caramel sauce is so simple and so tasty, you’ll never reach for a jar at the store again. Enjoy!
- Water: You will need to add some water to the saucepan for the sugar to dissolve.
- Sugar: Caramels are made by heating sugars, so it’s pretty important. No substitutions -granulated sugar is vital.
- Light Corn Syrup: There’s a bunch of sciencey stuff involved, but corn syrup keeps the caramel from crystalizing and becoming hard.
- Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter here. You’ll be adding sea salt, which is plenty of salt.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is another non-negotiable ingredient. It helps make a velvety caramel sauce and can not be substituted.
- Sour Cream: adds another layer of rich and decadent flavor to this sauce. It also makes it “drippy,” so it’s perfect for drizzling over ice cream and desserts.
- Sea Salt: highlights the sweet flavors and adds salty flavor to the sauce. You can also use kosher salt here.
- Warming Spices: I used cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to spice up this salted caramel sauce. Clove and ginger also add warm and cozy flavor or you can add pumpkin pie spice.
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Boil sugar.
In a small saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir it and transfer it to the stove. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until it becomes an amber color (about 10 minutes).
Step 2: Prep the remaining ingredients.
While the sugar is boiling, you should measure out the remaining ingredients. You want to be prepared because when the sugar gets to the right color, you have literal seconds before it burns.
Step 3: Add remaining ingredients.
As soon as the liquid is the right color, add the spices, salt, cream, sour cream and butter to the saucepot and whisk. It’s normal for the caramel to sputter and spit. Continue whisking. It may seize a little but keep whisking. It will come back together.
Step 4: Remove from heat and serve.
When the sauce is thick and super sticky, remove the saucepan from the stove. I like to serve my caramel sauce with sliced honey crisp apples! Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks //
- When the sugar reaches a deep amber color, you need to move quickly and add everything to the saucepan. Sometimes I mix the sour cream, spices and salt in a measuring cup and pour it all in together instead of separately to save a few seconds.
- Carefully pour the remaining ingredients into the saucepot. The sugar will be hot. You don’t want it to splash.
- That said, use a reasonably large saucepan with tall sides. When the caramel starts bubbling, it can get messy.
- Don’t walk away from the stove. If caramel becomes even the slightest bit overcooked, you’ll have to toss it and start all over.
Why is Salted Spiced Caramel Sauce So Good?
- It’s quick, easy and so much better than any store-bought caramel sauce.
- It tastes incredible on so many things -apple pie, cheesecake, cottage cheese, etc.
- The texture is smooth and buttery and the flavor is next-level sweet and delicious.
- No candy thermometer is needed!
How to Use Salted Spice Caramel Sauce //
Let’s be honest. Caramel sauce is good with just about anything, but just in case you need some ideas:
As a dip: served with sliced apples, pears and marshmallows!
Drizzled over pies:
Drizzled over cakes:
- Regular Caramel Sauce: If you’re not a fan of salt and spices, you can use this recipe to make a regular caramel sauce. Omit the spices and use just a pinch of salt. A dash of vanilla would also be nice.
- Bourbon Caramel Sauce: Finish the sauce with bourbon. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of bourbon to the sauce right before taking the saucepan off the stove.
- Chocolate Coffee Caramel Sauce: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a tablespoon of brewed coffee.
Storing & Freezing //
Storing: Allow your salted caramel sauce to cool completely to room temperature before storing. Pour into sanitized glass jars or any glass airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Reheat it in the microwave or place the jar in hot water.
Freezing: Let your sauce cool to room temperature and then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
The caramel may separate since we used fat in this recipe (butter, cream and sour cream). No big deal! If this happens, reheat the caramel over medium heat while stirring continuously.
Heating sugar with butter and cream to make caramel makes it so the sauce won’t harden and stays smooth and creamy. Without it, the flavor won’t be as rich and full-bodied.
No. Once the caramel is overcooked, there’s no turning back. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the stovetop. As soon as the sauce is a deep amber color, it will quickly go from perfect to overcooked.
More Recipes Using Caramel //
Pumpkin Salted Caramel Blondies
No-Churn Salted Cinnamon Ice Cream | Step By Step | Baked Bree
Wednesday 11th of November 2020
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Wednesday 26th of September 2018
[…] October, I make a caramel apple treat for my neighbors. I make jars of spiced caramel and add them to a gift bag full of apples. I love making caramel and it gives me an excuse to do […]
Friday 13th of November 2015
I always refer back to this recipe because it's a favorite.
Question--if I wanted to add bourbon to this, would I just add it to the mix or sub it out for something? Also, what's the reason for the sour cream in this recipe?
Sunday 15th of November 2015
Same here. Add the bourbon at the end, off the stove. Sour cream adds tang and cuts some of the sweetness.
Carrie @ poet in the pantry
Monday 7th of November 2011
Mmmm... caramel! Love your presentation of it inside the apples, too! I bet it's fantastic!
Monday 7th of November 2011
thank you Carrie!
Sunday 6th of November 2011
We tried this recipe last night & it couldn't have been any easier! It was such a perfect treat on a cool fall night!
Monday 7th of November 2011
I am so glad Celeste! Isn't it divine?