Easy Caramel Sauce with Milk

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This 5-ingredient Caramel Sauce recipe is extremely easy to prepare and something that you can make with the whole family.

Easy Caramel Sauce with Milk

The first time I made caramel sauce at home was in the seventh grade for science homework. I thought it was weird for the teacher to assign a cooking project for homework but little did I know the impact of one homework assignment on my life.

This caramel sauce was probably the easiest caramel recipe I’ve ever seen. It only calls for 1 cup of sugar, a medium skillet, and patience. It took about 5 minutes to see the chemical change of the sugar go from solid white to a melted golden amber color to some ice cream I had in the freezer.

Now, my recipe isn’t that easy, but you only need 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to make enough caramel sauce to last you a long time. Unless you go crazy and pour it over everything you can find.

Let me show you how easy this caramel sauce with milk recipe really is.

caramel sauce in pot

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this caramel sauce. You probably have everything at home already.

Granulated sugar

All you need is white granulated sugar for this recipe.

Water

Tap water will do the job.

Kosher Salt

A little salt goes a long way to bring out the sweetness of this caramel sauce.

Heavy cream

Heavy whipping cream will lighten the color of the caramel sauce and give it a creamy consistency.

Unsalted butter

I only use unsalted butter in my recipe.

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How to make Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe

Making homemade caramel sauce is simpler than you think. After making this creamy caramel sauce, you’ll wonder why you bought it from the store.

Step 1: In a medium pot, add sugar, water, and salt over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes until sugar melts and begins to turn a light caramel color.

Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat, add heavy cream (caramel will bubble up), bring to a boil over low heat, and stir constantly until caramel sauce smooths out.

Step 3: Turn off the heat and stir in cold unsalted butter until smooth. The caramel sauce will thicken and turn a lovely golden brown color as it cools.

caramel sauce in pot with whisk

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are the best practices, techniques, substitutes, and flavor builders you’ll need for making caramel sauce with milk.

  • The sauce will go from clear to golden amber brown really fast. One minute it’ll look like nothing is happening. Then in the blink of an eye, it’ll begin to turn brown fast.
  • For a brown sugar caramel sauce, use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • If you use salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe.
  • If you would like a thinner caramel sauce use 1 cup of water.
  • For a thicker sauce, cook the caramel longer after you add the cream.
  • When you stir the sugar, water, and salt, you can cause sugar crystals to form on the side of the pot. Then you have to dip a brush in water to brush it down, so it doesn’t burn. The secret to not doing that is patience and letting the heat do all the work.
  • Hot caramel is something you do not want to get on your skin. If this happens, immediately rinse the spot off with cold running water.
  • After your sauce cools, add sea salt to it for a salted caramel sauce.
  • You can use whole milk, almond milk, or evaporated milk in place of heavy cream.
  • Try adding vanilla extract to your caramel sauce for a boosted flavor.
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What can you serve caramel sauce with?

Caramel sauce with milk in it is perfect for a wide range of toppings. Here are a few things you can place it on.

  • Pour it over some ice cream for a delicious sundae.
  • Drizzle over fresh fruits like apples, bananas, or strawberries.
  • Make a fruit dip by mixing in some Greek yogurt.
  • Top off a warm slice of apple pie.
  • Use it as a pancake or waffle topping.
  • Popcorn.
  • Add it to your morning coffee.
  • Milkshakes.

FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about caramel sauce with milk.

What are the ingredients to caramel sauce?

Sugar, water, salt, and milk are the base ingredients for any caramel.

Can I substitute milk for heavy cream in caramel?

Absolutely! You can use any milk you have at home, whether whole, non-dairy, or evaporated, to make a deliciously creamy caramel sauce.

What is milk based caramel?

A sweet sauce made from sugar and milk, milk-based caramel is a flavorful condiment. The milk aids in creating a smooth and creamy sauce that may be drizzled over desserts or consumed by the spoonful! It can be soft, rich, or hard.

How do you thicken caramel sauce without cream?

If you want to thicken your caramel sauce without using cream, you use evaporated milk. Once you stir in the milk, bring the sauce to a boil and allow it to boil until it reaches the consistency that you desire for your caramel sauce. 

Another option is to increase the ratio of sugar to water. The recipe below is 1 ½ cups of sugar to ½ cup of water. This is an excellent ratio for thickening caramel without cream.caramel sauce in glass jar with whisk

What makes caramel thick?

The main ingredient in caramel sauce is sugar. As sugar cooks down, sugar crystals slowly dissolve, resulting in a thicker consistency. Also, by adding a milk based product like heavy whipping cream, you help the sauce thicken.

How to store caramel sauce?

Caramel is best used 3 days after making but will be fresh for 7 days in a cool dark place.

Reheat small portions in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to loosen the caramel, so it’s pourable. 

I wouldn’t recommend freezing caramel sauce because the sugars will crystalize when frozen, making the sauce watery.

caramel sauce in glass jar

More Dessert Recipes

If you’re wondering what I can serve with caramel sauce? This list below should tangle your sweet tooth:

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Before getting started, here are the steps I use to get organized.

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the caramel sauce on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Start following the recipe and get ready for the best homemade caramel sauce ever!

I hope you try this easy recipe and enjoy it on everything you drizzle it over. If you make it, I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment and star rating below.

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caramel sauce in glass jar with whisk

Easy Caramel Sauce with Milk

Kenneth Temple
This 5-ingredient Caramel Sauce recipe is extremely easy to prepare and something that you can make with the whole family.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 20 persons
Calories 93 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Instructions
 

  • Add the sugar, water, and salt to a pot over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes until the sugar melts and turns a light caramel color. Remove from the heat, add cream (sugar will steam and bubble up), bring to a boil over low heat,, and stir until the the sauce smooths out.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cold butter until smooth. Cool before placing in an airtight container.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are the best practices, techniques, substitutes, and flavor builders you’ll need for making caramel sauce with milk.
  • The sauce will go from clear to a golden amber brown really fast. One minute it’ll look like nothing is happening. Then in the blink of an eye, it’ll begin to turn brown fast.
  • For a brown sugar caramel sauce, use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • If you use salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe.
  • If you would like a thinner caramel sauce use 1 cup of water.
  • For a thicker sauce, cook the caramel longer after you add the cream.
  • When you stir the sugar, water, and salt, you can cause sugar crystals to form on the side of the pot. Then you have to dip a brush in water to brush it down so it doesn’t burn. The secret to not doing that is patience and letting the heat do all the work.
  • Hot caramel is something you do not want to get on your skin. If this happens, immediately rinse the spot off with cold running water.
  • After your sauce cools, add sea salt to it for a salted caramel sauce.
  • You can use whole milk, almond milk, or evaporated milk in place of heavy cream.
  • Try adding vanilla extract to your caramel sauce for a boosted flavor.
Storage:
Caramel is best used 3 days after making but will be fresh for 7 days in a cool dark place. 
I wouldn’t recommend freezing caramel sauce because the sugars will crystalize when frozen, making the sauce watery.

Nutrition

Calories: 93kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 0.3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 32mgPotassium: 9mgSugar: 15gVitamin A: 149IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.02mg
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