{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce

This gooey, buttery, homemade caramel sauce requires just five ingredients and is ready in under five minutes…and a jar of it makes a fabulous gift!

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}In my opinion, caramel sauce is akin to the nectar of the gods. It complements a variety of other flavors, it turns even health food into a decadent treat, and it’s pretty darn tasty with no other accompaniment than a straight-up spoon.

But would you believe me if I told you that you could make your very own gooey, sticky, homemade caramel sauce with just five ingredients in under five minutes? I’m not even kidding here. You can, and it’s amazing!

Let’s take a moment to analyze those five simple, yet critical, ingredients.

BUTTER: Say it with me…everything is better with butter. (Hmm…I think I may have recently said the same thing about bacon.)

BROWN SUGAR: In my younger days, I used to babysit a little girl who would hop up on the kitchen counter and eat lumps of brown sugar straight out of the jar when her ever-observant childcare provider wasn’t looking. (Why yes, she was a tad bit energetic. Why do you ask?) Years later, I tried a lump of straight brown sugar myself. I totally get it now, kid.

HEAVY CREAM: AKA, the key to rich, silky caramel. Yum.

VANILLA EXTRACT: Make sure you use the pure stuff here. Y’all already know that I have an obsession.

SALT: Salt complements caramel beautifully. The end.

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}Most homemade caramel recipes call for cooking granulated sugar until it reaches a specific temperature and, well, caramelizes. The caveat is that it takes awhile and it’s easy to burn the sugar if you’re not monitoring it closely.

This recipe relies on brown sugar for the same caramel-sauce-end-result but in a fraction of the time. And the best part? It’s easy to make, but not so easy to burn! Just melt butter, add brown sugar and stir for 2 minutes, add cream and stir for 2 more minutes, mix in vanilla and salt, and you’re done! It really is that quick and simple.

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}There is just one small problem. Those five minutes I mentioned do not include the time it takes for said homemade caramel to cool sufficiently enough to eat it by the spoonful without singeing your mouth. This stuff is pretty molten when it first comes off the stove. In fact, you may be concerned by how thin and almost watery it appears. Don’t be. Once the caramel cools to room temperature, it will set up to the perfect consistency. And once you refrigerate it, it will thicken even more.

Since you will naturally want to taste test as soon as your caramel is done, however, my advice is to scoop some out on a spoon, set it on a plate for a few minutes until it comes to a reasonable temperature, and then sample away. After all, let’s be rational here. If you burn your tongue right off the bat, you’re not going to be able to taste the rest of it anyway!

So what do you do with your marvelous homemade caramel sauce now that you’ve spent a whole five minutes of effort on it? Well, it’s a perfect partner for fresh apple slices, and if you’re feeling particularly benevolent, you can even use it to fashion an after-school snack of apple nachos for your eternally grateful preschooler and first grader.

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}Of course, if you try to snap a picture of the aforementioned apple nachos before they get devoured, there’s a good chance that a 13-month-old chocolate chip bandit will make her move while your hands are otherwise occupied with your camera. Those of you who follow me on Instagram already got a sneak peek of this action:

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}Little turkey.

After you’ve test driven this caramel sauce with apples, might I suggest next sampling it poured over a classic bowl of vanilla ice cream? It’s also delicious drizzled on apple pie, brownies, blondies, cheesecake, bread pudding, pumpkin waffles, gingerbread pancakes, French toast, sweet potatoes…the list goes on and on.

Just as exciting as all of those mouth-watering options? Caramel sauce makes a fabulous gift! With the holidays coming up, I’m always looking for homemade gifts that are quick to make and economical, but that I know will actually be used and appreciated. I mean, who wouldn’t love a jar of homemade caramel sauce? It’s a hostess gift that will guarantee that you’re invited back…

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}…or it’s a thoughtful gesture for your neighbor, your child’s teacher, the mailman, or anyone else to whom you care to extend some holiday cheer. As much as I love a plate of Christmas cookies, homemade caramel sauce is a treat that’s just a little bit different, and it can be enjoyed right away or saved for a special occasion. Indeed, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce ~ a jar of this makes a perfect gift! | {Five Heart Home}(Pssst…if you’d like to download these beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas gift tags for yourself, see the links listed just below the recipe!)

This recipe is a keeper and I hope that you end up loving it as much as I do! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a carton of vanilla ice cream and a jar of caramel goodness calling my name. 😉

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce

5 minutes

Yield: approximately 2 cups

{5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce

This gooey, buttery, homemade caramel sauce requires just five ingredients and is ready in under five minutes...and a jar of it makes a fabulous gift!


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low to medium heat, melt butter. Mix in brown sugar and stir for 2 minutes. Mix in heavy cream and stir for 2 more minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and salt until well incorporated.
  2. Pour hot caramel sauce in a jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.


Use real butter here...no substitutions! Salted butter is recommended for this recipe but unsalted would work as well.

Be sure your saucepan is deep enough to account for the bubbling caramel that will rise up the sides of the pan as it cooks.

The caramel sauce will be thin when it is done cooking, but it will thicken up nicely at room temperature, and even more so once chilled.

Recommended applications of caramel sauce: as a dip for apples, drizzled over ice cream, apple pie, brownies, cheesecake, bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, sweet potatoes...or eaten straight out of the jar with a spoon.

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Adapted from Food.com. The beautiful free Thanksgiving gift tag printable is by She Wears Many Hats. And the gorgeous Retro Type Printable Christmas Tags can be found over at Simple As That.

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See all of our recipes <<< HERE!

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I always love hearing from you! ~ samantha {at} five heart home {dot} com



  1. Wow! This is the BEST Caramel Sauce that I have ever tried.. It is creamy not grainy,,I have tried several other recipes that turned our gritty with sugar crystals in it, This recipe turned out very creamy and flavorful… This is a keeper recipe.. I am putting this recipe in my recipe book. I have made it several times and it turns out GREAT every time..Very Creamy and buttery flavor….I was buying the Caramel for my Starbucks Style Coffee Macchiato that I make every morning…Cause I use a lot of it…Then I decided to see if I could make the Caramel Sauce myself. I tried several recipes before I found yours.. It is the BEST…Thanks for the recipe…

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