Caramel is one of those things that has to be homemade, dairy, and full fat. No shortcuts. It should be rich, smooth, and buttery, with a hint of salt to balance the sweetness. Warm. Fragrant. Decadent.

You can use this caramel sauce for just about anything: drizzle over ice cream, serve warm over apple pie or brownies, use it to top a cheesecake, or mix through for a marble effect. Dip an apple into it, swirl some into your coffee, or eat it by the spoonful. It's extremely versatile.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract


  1. Place the heavy cream, butter, and salt in a saucepan and cook over gentle heat until the butter has melted. Remove saucepan from the heat but keep warm until ready to use.
  2. Pour the sugar and water into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking the mixture and watch it change color. It will turn light amber and slowly get darker. Do not whisk or mix the sugar mixture while this is happening. If it seems to be darker in one part than another, gently swirl the pot to distribute the color more evenly.
  3. The darker amber the sugar, the stronger the caramel flavor will be.
  4. Immediately pour the warm butter and cream mixture into the sugar and whisk until incorporated. When the cream-butter mixture hits the sugar, it will bubble up wildly, so make sure you use a big enough pot to accommodate that.
  5. Remove the pot from the stove and whisk in the vanilla extract. If you prefer, replace the vanilla with rum or bourbon.
  6. Pour into a glass jar and leave caramel sauce to cool. Warm, or at room temperature, the caramel will be loose and pourable. In the fridge it will firm up but you can easily get it back to pourable texture by warming in a pot, in the microwave, or simply leaving at room temperature for a couple of hours.
  7. Store in the fridge for up to a month.

Yields: 2 cups caramel sauce