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Salted Caramel, Sauce, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Recipe

Gemma’s Signature Salted Caramel Sauce

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Hi Bold Bakers!

I receive a lot of requests to share my Signature Salted Caramel Sauce, which I’m happy to do because I believe everyone deserves a great caramel sauce recipe.

This sauce is a staple in my fridge. I make it every few months and it instantly transforms any dessert you put it on. Don’t get into the habit of eating it off a spoon. That’s a slippery slope, trust me.

It goes great in ice cream, trifles, and as the finishing touch of roasted banana, or whatever your heart desires. And you can use it in some of my Big & Bold baking recipes including my Salted Caramel & Chocolate Brownie Trifle, my Secret Monkey Bread, and now my Starbucks Ultra Caramel Frappuccino.

How to Make Caramel Sauce

Making caramel sauce is easy if you follow the steps and have patience. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble, then turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, you can stop stirring and watch as your mixture transforms into a beautiful amber color – taking somewhere between 8-12 minutes. Once you’ve achieved that pretty gold color, carefully and slowly whisk in the heavy cream and the mixture will bubble. Mix in the butter, one cube at a time until everything is incorporated then remove your pan from the heat.

Homemade, salted caramel, sauce, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Baking videos, Baking, recipes

My Favorite Uses for Caramel Sauce:

4.47 from 77 votes
Gemma's Signature Salted Caramel Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Gemma Stafford
  • 1 cup (8 oz/225g) granulated sugar
  • around 1/4 cup (2oz / 57g) water, enough to just cover the sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (3oz/85g) unsalted butter, cut up into 6 pieces*
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Don't let it simmer at this stage.
  2. Once all the sugar has dissolved bring the mix to a simmer on medium heat. Do not stir the caramel once it comes to a simmer or it can crack.
  3. Cook steadily until you reach a rich amber-colored caramel, roughly 6-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
  4. Once you have a rich caramel immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
  5. Next, very slowly, drizzle in the heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.
  6. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool down before using.



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Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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Write a Comment and Review

  1. Linh on September 13, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Took me 2 tries to get this caramel sauce right but i finally did it! Thank you for another delicious recipe!
    I just have 1 question. My sauce tastes just a bit oily. Is it supposed to be that way?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 14, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      No, it shouldn’t. I suspect the butter separated from the sugar in the recipe. Caramels contain butter (a fat) and sugar in high quantities. If it is not handled properly during the cooking process, the butter sometimes separates from the sugar and forms an oily layer on top.

  2. Khushbus2712 on August 29, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Hie Gemma,

    I am new to your website and your you tube channel but lemme tell u m your biggest fan already.. your recipes are just fab.. thanks for making baking bigger bolder and fun…
    Out of all your recipes I tried this salted caramel very first and it turned out just perfect it’s like a little heaven in a bottle..

    Thanks again,

    • Gemma Stafford on August 29, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      You are so kind, Khushbu! Thank you for being here! Gemma 😊

  3. Erica on August 25, 2019 at 11:48 am

    This is now my go to caramel sauce. Never going to get store bought again. This sauce is easy to make and so delicious!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 26, 2019 at 10:53 am

      I am delighted that you like my recipe! I hope you give my other recipes a go. Let me know how you get on. Thanks!

  4. vaishnavi prabakar on July 10, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Hi Gemma!! I mean this is just sunshine and love in a pot❤️❤️❤️❤️ I am gonna have to make desserts just to smother them with this gorgeous sauce

    • Gemma Stafford on July 11, 2019 at 5:20 am

      Hi there,
      Caramel is one of the most seductive flavors know to man! I do not quite know why, but it is so.
      I am delighted you love this one, there are many ways to use it,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Meliha on June 15, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I made your recipe but butter and cream separated – what could be the cause for this?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2019 at 6:11 am


      Oh I’m sorry to hear that. Old cream can be the cause of this or maybe it got cooked too far. I know what you are talking about. This can happen when you add dairy into piping hot sugar.

      Hope this helps,

  6. LadyIreland on April 23, 2019 at 9:48 am

    I’m at it again Gemma. I think you may have created a monster by introducing me to Bigger Bolder Baking. I baked your best ever banana bread in a bundt pan, turned it out onto a serving plate and drizzled it with 1/3 cup of salted caramel sauce then put a couple tiny rosettes of whipping cream on the top. So good. All my neighbors stop and take a big whiff to see what I’m making and if they can have some. Oh Irish Sausage has been ordered so Dublin Coddle is eminent. Can’t wait. I love exploring my roots and it’s culture. Karen.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you for the lovely message! I am delighted to hear that! That sounds delicious, next time send us a photo 😀

  7. Dorothy on April 22, 2019 at 1:07 am

    i love caramel chocolate bars, but i suffer with high blood pressure, could I just make caramel sauce not salted? can you please reply to my email I am a senior and not great with computers, and my grandchildren are also alergic to milk products

    • Gemma Stafford on April 22, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      Yes, you can always omit the salt.

  8. Amanda on March 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I know that you love vanilla extract as do I , so can you add it to this recipe as I did not see it in the list?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 21, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      Hi, yes its one of my favorite flavors you can add it in here, that’s a great addition!

  9. Amanda on February 12, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Hi Gemma, is it whipping cream that u use ?thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2019 at 9:32 am

      Hi, yes it is heavy cream.

  10. Shrishti on February 10, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Hey Gemma, I made the sauce and loved it! However there’s a lot leftover. How do I store it??

    • Gemma Stafford on February 11, 2019 at 1:21 am

      Hi there,
      I am happy you liked this sauce.
      I store this is a sterile sealed jar in the fridge. This sauce will keep for some time depending on how it is stored. If it stiffens too much you can melt it for a few seconds in the microwave. It should hold well for a couple of weeks.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Azra on February 8, 2019 at 2:57 am

    Heeey Gemma !
    I am surely gonna try ur recipe !
    Just a doubt … should the cream be ice cold ? Or room temperature ?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 9, 2019 at 2:07 am

      Hi Azra,
      You always use fresh cream from the fridge, left at room temperature it will begin to spoil rapidly!
      I hope you like this recipe!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Shilpa bafna on February 25, 2019 at 11:10 pm

        Hi Gemma, u r just wonful n your recipes also,will surely try this ,only one small doubt should we use whipping cream or fresh cream.

        • Gemma Stafford on February 26, 2019 at 10:23 am

          For this i would suggest you use whipping cream. Enjoy!

  12. Kathleen Genoni on January 3, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Gemma, would this caramel be suitable to make a caramel cheesecake, and would you just add it to the cream cheese.and how much. thank you, love your video’s they are so informative

    • Gemma Stafford on January 4, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, that would be great together! I would probably swirl through about 1/2 cup. Enjoy!

  13. Fieldman1012 on December 20, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I have never made caramel anything from scratch. First try and it came out perfect.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      YAY great job i am delighted to hear that 😀

  14. Rosanna on December 7, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Gemma, Ok…I made the caramel sauce today it came out great. Will be using it next week for the salted Caramel & Brownie Trifle. However, it made just over a cup once done. You say to use reserved caramel sauce (I assume it’s one cup based on the ingredients) to add to the mousse. If so I will have very little left to drizzle in the layers. Do you think I should make another batch? Or is the one cup not the right reserved amount to add into the mousse? Thanks for your help!! Merry Christmas!!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      Hi there, no that is the correct amount! I hope you enjoy!

  15. Liza S on November 11, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Hello Gemma,
    I made the sauce exactly as you described but it turned out a bit grainy, although it tastes wonderful and the colour is good. Just missing the silky texture in your pictures. What do you think might have gone wrong?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Liza,

      Was the sugar fully dissolved before your mix came to a simmer?? this is really important as it can make your caramel grainy.

      Check out my trouble shooting caramel video


  16. Astha on November 8, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Hiii..I tried this recipe my sauce was too thick when it cooled down..not at all sauce consistency..can u plz help what the problem might be..

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Astha,

      Next time feel free to add more cream, like 1/2 cup. Just so you know, when you heat it up in the microwave or in a pot it turns liquid again. This is totally normal.

  17. Eric Flemmings on October 18, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Gemma. Can I use salted butter and omit the salt? Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on October 19, 2018 at 1:10 am

      Hi Eric,
      Sure you can. I tend to use slated butter in everything, it is what I grew up with. It never stops me adding a touch more salt, though the good thing here is that you can taste it, and add a little more. If you drop a little on to a cold plate it will cool it sufficiently to taste it, caramel is hotter than hell!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Eric Flemmings on October 19, 2018 at 5:19 am

        Thank you For getting back. Had to learn never to touch anything in the pan when on heat the hard way.

  18. Sally Forth on October 9, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I’m confused about how to add butter and cream in this recipe. There are three different directions on this page and they don’t agree, in my opinion.

    Before the actual recipe, the directions say to “carefully and slowly whisk in the heavy cream…”, then, “Mix in the butter, one cube at a time.”

    The actual recipe says, “Once you have a rich caramel, immediately add the butter…” then, “…very slowly, drizzle in the heavy cream.”

    In the comments, the directions say, again, “Once you have a rich caramel, immediately add the butter.”

    My questions are 1- Do I add the cream or the butter first? 2- Do I add the butter one cube at a time? 3- Can this recipe be made on a humid day?

    Love your recipes and videos and have tried several of them with great results!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Sally,

      to answer your questions

      1, Do I add the cream or the butter first? cream first, then finish with butter

      2- Do I add the butter one cube at a time? yes, one cube at a time

      3- Can this recipe be made on a humid day? humidity is a tough one as it does affect recipes. I’m not sure if it really would mess with a caramel. Ideally it wouldn’t be humid.


  19. Traades Rep on October 9, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Will it be alright to use all purpose cream instead of heavy cream? I’m from the Philippines. Heavy cream here in our area is too much expensive.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 11, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Hi there,
      You can try it! The cream which I use for most of my recipes is fresh dairy cream. This needs to be at least 35% fat content to whip well. This is from cows milk. It is a liquid product found in the chill cabinet in your store. It will spoil in a few days, even when refrigerated. It has no additives, it is just natural cream, skimmed from milk.
      In some places, where there is no dairy industry, there are manufactured products, usually made with milk powders and fats. These are good for some applications, but they are not fresh cream. That is what you have here, I think it is worth a try. Make sample to test it. I am not really familiar with this particular product.
      You can always try an experiment with full fat milk and a touch more butter too, though I am not sure how it will work for you, and it would have to be real butter.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Kelly on October 8, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Hello, will whole milk work instead of cream? Thanks! I love watching your videos❤️

    • Gemma Stafford on October 9, 2018 at 3:20 am

      Hi Kelly,
      not so much. The cream tends to thicken and enrich this sauce. I think adding a little more butter with milk may resolve this, but I have not tried it. Remember real butter is dairy cream. I think you can experiment, add the milk, then a little more butter as required by the recipe, cube by cube!
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Priya Rajasekaran on October 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Hello is it possible to use margarine or vegetable fat instead of butter? Butter is very expensive comparatively. If I could can I skip the salt? Thank you 🙂

  22. TIffany on September 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Is there a dairy free alternative for the cream? My youngest has a dairy allergy and I would love to make this friendly for her.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Tiffany,
      how about coconut cream? That would work for this one.
      allergies are a pain for little ones, so nice to find solutions for him, well done,
      Gemma 🙂

      • tiffany Montgomery on October 1, 2018 at 3:46 pm

        I use coconut cream for other things… it does work well. I’ll try it! Thanks! BTW, my kids and I watch all your videos on FB and try the ones that are super simple. They are huge Fans!

        • Gemma Stafford on October 2, 2018 at 3:03 am

          Hi Tiffany,
          Thank you, and say hi to the kids for me. It is good to have all of you here with us,
          Gemma 🙂

  23. Susan Bethune on September 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    I have followed your recipe for caramel sauce and twice it didn’t turn out. I did everything as in your recipe, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. First time I think I may have had the heat to high because it had a bitter taste and the second one would never darken. It’s almost a light yellow colour. Help!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 22, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Hi Susan,
      The first one sounds exactly as you say, cooked too fast, and too high a temperature, which would burn the sugar.
      The second one then was not taken far enough, you can get that back on the stove and carry on, it should resolve. Get it simmering, see the gentle bubbles, but not mad bubbles, I think this will tell you and then you will never get it wrong again.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Stankovic on September 19, 2018 at 3:17 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Can this recipe be made into a caramel candy? Like, you put it into a dish for it to become kind of mold. But it can’t be a mold, right? It’s a sauce after all.. Haha I guess not.😀 But would you make a caramel candy recipe for me? I’ve found one but I wanted the recipe especially from you because you always make it seem easy..! 😂
    Thanks a lot!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2018 at 6:22 am

      Hi there,
      You are right about this one, it would not become solid enough to be a candy. ( this recipe would do what you want, you can add what you want in terms of fruit/nuts etc.
      I hope you like this recipe,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Stankovic on October 9, 2018 at 11:38 pm

        Thanks Gemma! Always a fan of you!

        • Gemma Stafford on October 10, 2018 at 1:58 am

          Thank you Stankovic, I appreciate your kind support,
          Gemma 🙂

  25. Jacqueline R on September 14, 2018 at 4:38 am

    How do you store this sauce? Does it have to be refrigerated? Do i need to reheat it everytime i want some of it in a recipe? Does it need to be brought to room temperature to use it?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 15, 2018 at 4:05 am

      Hi Jacqueline,
      yes to all questions.
      As a homemade sauce it will need to be slightly warmed to pour. A few seconds in a microwave will do it, or warm room temperature for about 30 mins.
      Store in the fridge for best results,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Racheal Atieno on September 25, 2018 at 9:57 pm

        Hi Gemma, How long can it last in the fridge?

        • Gemma Stafford on September 26, 2018 at 10:16 am

          Racheal, it depends on who knows it is there!
          Seriously though it will last about 4 – 6 weeks, depending on the storage container.
          I hope you will like this recipe,
          Gemma 🙂

          • Racheal Atieno on October 1, 2018 at 12:58 pm

            Oh yes….. Will try it out soon…. Thank you

  26. NAdhirah on September 11, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Hi! Tried making this but it turns out lumpy & bitter, do you know what might cause these problems during the cooking process?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 12, 2018 at 2:58 am

      Hi there,
      At a guess I would say too high a temperature! This is a process and the steps are important.
      Here are the directions and they are important to success with a caramel.
      Heat granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Don’t let it simmer at this stage.
      Once all the sugar has dissolved bring the mix to a simmer on medium heat. Do not stir the caramel once it comes to a simmer or it can crack.
      Cook steadily until you reach a rich amber-colored caramel, roughly 6-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
      Once you have a rich caramel immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
      try again, you will get it right,
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Flordelyn on September 11, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Ms. Gemma,

    Great recipe for caramel sauce! 🙂
    May I request for a caramel cake recipe?
    Thank you and looking forward for it. 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on September 12, 2018 at 3:05 am

      Thank you for this nice idea Flordelyn, I will add it to my list,
      Gemma 🙂

  28. Mark Williams on September 8, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Hello Gemma, nice recipe, but is it ok if I use brown sugar instead of white?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Not for this recipe. Butterscotch sauce is where you use brown sugar, not a caramel sauce. Here’s a recipe


  29. Micaelis on September 7, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Gemma

    Can heavy whipping cream be used in this, or what kind of cream exactly?


    • Gemma Stafford on September 8, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Michael,

      For this recipe any type of cream can be used as it doesn’t need to be whipped. So you can use heavy whipping if thats what you have access to.


  30. Nicole H. on September 2, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Great recipe! And for anyone decent in recipe division, if you make 2/3 of the recipe, it fits perfectly into a Ball half-pint jar. (For storage or gift-giving purposes.) 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on September 3, 2018 at 4:10 am

      Hi Nicole,
      Thank you for that great suggestion, and for your kind review of this recipe too, good to have you here with us,
      Gemma 🙂

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