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Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

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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  1. Cora White

    August 8th, 2011 at 3:08 am

    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

    August 8th, 2011 at 4:32 am

    wow this looks great!!

  3. The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    August 8th, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Oh goodness…salted caramel sauce!? Obsessed!

  4. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

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

  5. The Cafรฉ Sucrรฉ Farine

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:28 am

    This does look quite dangerous ๐Ÿ™‚ but insanely delicious! Love your pictures too, so clean, clear and lovely, thanks, Chris

  6. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    thank you Chris.

  7. Chris

    September 25th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    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?

  8. bakedbree

    September 26th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    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.

  9. Jaime

    October 27th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    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.

  10. bakedbree

    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    thanks for sharing!

  11. Shawna {The Blue Muse}

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:12 am

    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!

  12. Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:18 am

    You’re killing me! I don’t even like caramel sauce and I’m drooling over this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    you will like this one. Amazing.

  14. Hilary

    August 8th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

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

  15. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Me too! This sauce is so good.

  16. alison

    August 8th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Beautiful images today Bree. The sauce looks lovely!

  17. Swee San @ TheSweetSpot

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    divine!! Love them on cheesecakes too

  18. bakedbree

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:43 am

    yum. Forgot about it on cheesecake.

  19. Caroline @ chocolate and carrots

    August 9th, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I do think there’s any such thing as too much heavy cream. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It looks delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. bakedbree

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:42 am

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

  21. corey

    August 9th, 2011 at 7:11 am

    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!

  22. bakedbree

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    See, have faith my friend.

  23. corey

    August 9th, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Oh, and yes. This is perfection in a cup when added to coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. bakedbree

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:41 am

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

  25. Nichole

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Holy smokes…that looks amazing!
    Could I just eat it with a spoon? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. bakedbree

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:40 am

    why yes. And, I may have done that myself a time or two. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Emma Aubry

    August 9th, 2011 at 9:18 am

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

  28. bakedbree

    August 11th, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Sure you can. Or lemon would be delicious.

  29. thelittleloaf

    August 10th, 2011 at 1:03 am

    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!

  30. bakedbree

    August 11th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

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

  31. Heather

    August 10th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    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!!!

  32. bakedbree

    August 11th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

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

  33. Shannon

    August 11th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    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?

  34. bakedbree

    August 11th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

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

  35. Lori Dennis

    August 12th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    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…..

  36. bakedbree

    August 12th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Yes, you can get them in the spice aisle.

  37. Deb

    August 15th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    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 recipeโ€”I canโ€™t wait to try it!

  38. bakedbree

    August 15th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks Deb!

  39. Hannah

    August 30th, 2011 at 12:09 am

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

  40. Lauren

    September 19th, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    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!

  41. bakedbree

    September 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 pm

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

  42. Jessica

    September 24th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

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

  43. bakedbree

    September 25th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

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

  44. Steph Zuehlke

    September 30th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    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?

  45. bakedbree

    October 3rd, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    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.

  46. Stacy

    September 30th, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ TIA and it was this very recipe that brought me to your wonderful blog.

  47. bakedbree

    October 3rd, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    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.

  48. Bree

    October 11th, 2011 at 7:33 am

    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!

  49. bakedbree

    October 11th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I am so glad that it was successful for you!

  50. Erin

    December 4th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    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?

  51. bakedbree

    December 4th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    A little over 2 cups.

  52. Diane

    December 10th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    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!

  53. bakedbree

    December 14th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

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

  54. Kim

    December 20th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    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.

  55. bakedbree

    December 22nd, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    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.

  56. Mzzy

    January 8th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    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!

  57. bakedbree

    January 17th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    At the end, when it is off the heat.

  58. Wendy Mullen

    February 20th, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    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)

  59. bakedbree

    February 21st, 2012 at 12:05 pm

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

  60. Susan

    September 27th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Can I can this for later use?

  61. bakedbree

    September 27th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

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

  62. Lorie Bischel

    October 4th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    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.

  63. bakedbree

    October 8th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    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.

  64. Lisa

    December 15th, 2012 at 11:09 am

    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!

  65. bakedbree

    December 16th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

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

  66. Kate Scott

    May 21st, 2013 at 3:20 am

    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!

  67. bakedbree

    May 23rd, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I am so glad! Thanks!

  68. Lorie Wilkins

    August 29th, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    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!

  69. bakedbree

    September 2nd, 2013 at 9:55 am

    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.

  70. Christine

    September 15th, 2013 at 2:28 am

    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 ๐Ÿ™ Thanks!

  71. bakedbree

    September 19th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Maple sea salt? Need to buy right now!!

  72. Shari

    September 26th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    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.

  73. bakedbree

    September 29th, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Try Cape bottle. They might have silver tops. https://www.netbottle.com/

  74. Tanya

    October 8th, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Can you freeze it?

  75. bakedbree

    October 11th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

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

  76. Shari

    October 18th, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    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?

  77. Shari

    October 18th, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Sorry…. just saw your reply to my last post ๐Ÿ™‚

  78. Elizabeth

    October 20th, 2014 at 11:40 am

    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?

  79. bakedbree

    October 24th, 2014 at 11:33 am

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

  80. Erin

    November 11th, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    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?

  81. bakedbree

    November 11th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Yes, you add it at the very end.

  82. Sarah

    February 9th, 2015 at 6:55 pm

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

  83. bakedbree

    February 17th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

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

  84. Jamee

    May 15th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  85. bakedbree

    May 17th, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Dairy. Give half of it away. ๐Ÿ™‚

  86. Joan Penfold

    August 23rd, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    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?

  87. bakedbree

    August 26th, 2015 at 11:43 pm

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

  88. Angie

    December 21st, 2015 at 11:42 am

    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

  89. bakedbree

    December 29th, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    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.

  90. Carol

    December 29th, 2015 at 1:28 pm

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

  91. bakedbree

    December 29th, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    1 1/2

  92. Holly

    March 7th, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    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!

  93. Holly

    March 7th, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Sorry, I just saw you answered that previously. ๐Ÿ™‚

  94. Carrie

    May 3rd, 2018 at 4:16 am

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

  95. bakedbree

    May 5th, 2018 at 2:42 pm

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

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  98. Lindsey

    December 19th, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I have made this recipe several times for teacher Christmas gifts. I pair it with snickerdoodle cookies usually, but let them know itโ€™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 couldnโ€™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

  99. bakedbree

    December 22nd, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    This makes me so happy! Happy Holidays!!

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