Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipe

Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce – How to make sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauce for serving over ice cream or cakes.

I 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.

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

Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Yield: makes 2 cups

Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce - I like to keep a jar of this in the fridge at all times. Drizzle on cakes or cupcakes, apple crisp, or spoon over ice cream.


  • 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.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

raspberry orange pistachio ricotta cake slices on a wire rack

Don’t Miss a Thing!

The newsletter you can’t wait to read. Best enjoyed with a beverage and a snack. 

Enter your email address below to join my list and receive my weekly Friday newsletter and new blog posts.

New York Crumb Cake

This Post Has 105 Comments

  1. Cora White

    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. Sisters Running the Kitchen

    wow this looks great!!

  3. The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    Oh goodness…salted caramel sauce!? Obsessed!

    1. bakedbree

      Me too. I can eat it with a spoon. With nothing else. So good.

  4. The Café Sucré Farine

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

    1. bakedbree

      thank you Chris.

      1. Chris

        Bree this looks and sounds amazing! I’d like to make for x-mas gifts. U say it only lasts a week in the fridge. Can this be canned in a water bath like jams and jellies?

        1. bakedbree

          I am sure that it can, but I am not sure how to do it. I would do some research on a valid canning site.

        2. Jaime

          I’m a little late, but hopefully you’ll still see this. Anything that includes more than a teaspoon or two of dairy at most is unsafe for canning, even with a pressure canner. Only industrial canners can get hot enough to make canning something like this safe.

          1. bakedbree

            thanks for sharing!

  5. Shawna {The Blue Muse}

    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!

  6. Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    You’re killing me! I don’t even like caramel sauce and I’m drooling over this! 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      you will like this one. Amazing.

  7. Hilary

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

    1. bakedbree

      Me too! This sauce is so good.

  8. alison

    Beautiful images today Bree. The sauce looks lovely!

  9. Swee San @ TheSweetSpot

    divine!! Love them on cheesecakes too

    1. bakedbree

      yum. Forgot about it on cheesecake.

  10. Caroline @ chocolate and carrots

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

    1. bakedbree

      me neither. My behind doesn’t seem to think so either.

  11. corey

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      See, have faith my friend.

  12. corey

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

    1. bakedbree

      you make the best coffee in the world. Miss Corey’s Coffee House.

  13. Nichole

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

    1. bakedbree

      why yes. And, I may have done that myself a time or two. 🙂

  14. Emma Aubry

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

    1. bakedbree

      Sure you can. Or lemon would be delicious.

  15. thelittleloaf

    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!

    1. bakedbree

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

  16. Heather

    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!!!

    1. bakedbree

      Yeah! I am glad that you kept the faith, it always comes together. I am glad that the pictures helped.

  17. Shannon

    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?

    1. bakedbree

      I have gotten mine at Whole Foods, and I am almost positive that you can buy it at Williams-Sonoma.

  18. Lori Dennis

    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…..

    1. bakedbree

      Yes, you can get them in the spice aisle.

  19. Deb

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      Thanks Deb!

  20. Hannah

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

  21. Lauren

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      Was your heat not high enough? I am stumped about this one.

  22. Jessica

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

    1. bakedbree

      Yes, I like both. I add the vanilla bean and salt to the cream before I add it to the sugar.

  23. Steph Zuehlke

    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?

    1. bakedbree

      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.

  24. Stacy

    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.

    1. bakedbree

      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.

  25. Bree

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad that it was successful for you!

  26. Erin

    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?

    1. bakedbree

      A little over 2 cups.

  27. Diane

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad Diane! You have some lucky friends.

  28. Kim

    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.

    1. bakedbree

      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.

  29. Mzzy

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      At the end, when it is off the heat.

  30. Wendy Mullen

    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)

    1. bakedbree

      That is a very delicious coffee! Happy Birthday to your husband!

  31. Susan

    Can I can this for later use?

    1. bakedbree

      I answered this in a previous post, you need to do some research with a canning website.

  32. Lorie Bischel

    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.

    1. bakedbree

      If you can it, it will last longer but I do not know how to do that. And it is because it has cream in it.

  33. Lisa

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      I love this recipe too. Once you figure out how to make it you will be making it all the time!

  34. Kate Scott

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad! Thanks!

  35. Lorie Wilkins

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      It takes me a few tries sometimes too. I don’t always use the same pan, but it does help to have a heavy bottom.

  36. Christine

    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!

    1. bakedbree

      Maple sea salt? Need to buy right now!!

  37. Shari

    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.

  38. Tanya

    Can you freeze it?

    1. bakedbree

      I’ve never frozen it before, so I really don’t know.

  39. Shari

    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?

  40. Shari

    Sorry…. just saw your reply to my last post 🙂

  41. Elizabeth

    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?

    1. bakedbree

      As I have answered previously in the comments, no I have not. You can look at the Ball website to see if you can.

  42. Erin

    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?

    1. bakedbree

      Yes, you add it at the very end.

  43. Sarah

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

    1. bakedbree

      Just leave it out and add vanilla at the very end off of the heat.

  44. Jamee

    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 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Dairy. Give half of it away. 🙂

  45. Joan Penfold

    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?

    1. bakedbree

      I don’t think that it would work correctly. Almond milk isn’t as thick. I’d try it and see what happens.

  46. Angie

    First off let me start by saying thank you!! I have made this once before using your recipe and it was so easy and delicious with a Granny Smith Apple. I am fixing to make a bigger batch for Christmas presents and was wondering how the 2 cups heavy cream affected the recipe vs. the suggested amount of 1 1/4 cup? The first time I made it I used the suggested amount. If I use 2 cups heavy cream will it just increase the amount each batch yields? Does it affect taste or consistency in a negative way? Sorry if you have already answered this question. I tried scanning previous comments before asking. Thanks again

    1. bakedbree

      I think that I would stick to the 1 1/2 cups over the 2 cups. It doesn’t change the yield enough to make a big difference and I like a deep caramel and I don’t want to dilute it.

  47. Carol

    I’m not sure whether to use 1 1/2 c of heavy cream or 2 cups.

    1. bakedbree

      1 1/2

  48. Holly

    I am obviously a little late seeing this recipe, but it looks absolutely amazing! The only thing I can’t find is where you added the vanilla extract. Did you add it at the end? Thanks!

    1. Holly

      Sorry, I just saw you answered that previously. 🙂

  49. Carrie

    Can I use a vanilla bean paste instead and If so, how much do I use? What about extract? Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      It’s one for one. And absolutely. I use paste all the time.

  50. Pingback: Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce - Baked Bree

  51. Pingback: Holiday/End-of-Year Prep + HM #211

  52. Lindsey

    I have made this recipe several times for teacher Christmas gifts. I pair it with snickerdoodle cookies usually, but let them know it’s also delicious over ice cream, or even by itself. It is a huge hit every time. I have even had other teachers approach me and tell me my sons teacher let them try some and they couldn’t believe how yummy it was. You have saved me many, many times so, THANK YOU!!! I am actually getting ready to make it tonight for Christmas gifts

    1. bakedbree

      This makes me so happy! Happy Holidays!!

Leave a Reply