Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce (No Corn Syrup: 3 Ingredients)

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How to make an easy homemade caramel sauce with cream and butter, no corn syrup. Perfect caramel sauce for apples or other dessert toppings.

How to make an easy homemade caramel sauce with cream and butter, no corn syrup. Perfect caramel sauce for apples or other dessert toppings.

Caramel Sauce is a rich and creamy smooth recipe that no household should be without during the fall. This incredibly easy recipe uses only 3 ingredients and will make the best caramel sauce that you’ve ever had.

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce

I LOVE caramel dip in the fall for my apples! What I don’t love are the high prices of the store version and the added corn syrup and other ickies.

This recipe is so good. The butter really brings out the caramel flavor and gives it the richness that a wonderful caramel sauce deserves. I also like that this recipe is so easy to make. A few minutes on the stove and you have a wonderful fall treat.


Ingredients for Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe

  • Butter. You can use salted or unsalted; it’s your preference based on taste. I usually have salted on hand, so that’s what we use in this recipe to make a salted caramel sauce.
  • Heavy Cream. You can use more or less of this, depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce to be. Any extra cream can be frozen for future recipes.
  • Brown Sugar. If you have raw sugar, you can use that in place of the brown sugar, but the most important thing is that you have a sugar that will dissolve into the mixture. If it doesn’t, you will have a gritty mess. You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, whichever you have.

You could also add in a bit of vanilla extract or a pinch of sea salt for variations on the flavor of the basic recipe.


What does adding butter to caramel do?

Butter not only helps develop the rich flavor in this caramel recipe but also helps ensure that your caramel will stay nice and soft and will not harden. Since we are making a sauce or dip here, we don’t want to make hard caramel.

What are the two types of caramel?

A dry caramel is made from sugar and water. A wet caramel is made from butter, and cream, and other ingredients. This recipe is for a wet caramel.

Can I use oil instead of butter in caramel sauce?

You can if you need to but be aware that it will change the flavor. If you absolutely need to use oil instead of butter, be sure and use something mild flavored and not something like extra virgin olive oil.

Caramel Sauce

What to Serve with Homemade Caramel Sauce

  • Apple Slices. Just use it as a dip for apples (or crisp pears or other fall fruit!) and you will have a delicious snack!
  • Ice Cream. This makes a wonderful ice cream topping although you might want to add a bit more cream to make it thinner for that purpose.
  • Cake. This caramel sauce makes a wonderful drizzle for topping a cake or bars.
  • Cheesecake. Try this as a drizzle over a New York Cheesecake or on my Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake.
  • Apple Pie. Use as a drizzle over apple pie or add inside the filling for a Caramel Apple Pie!

Caramel Roll

Why Make Homemade Caramel Sauce?

This homemade Caramel Sauce uses just 3 ingredients. It’s incredibly fresh and delicious tasting and only takes a few minutes to make. This recipe costs about $1.03 to make.

Smucker’s Caramel sauce contains 8 ingredients (the first one being corn syrup) and costs $3.29 for a similar amount.

Boiling Caramel

Step By Step Instructions for Making Easy Caramel Sauce

Combine all the ingredients on the stovetop in a small pot and heat on medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.

If you are going to use turbinado sugar (turbinado sugar is raw sugar) you will want to grind it up before you add it, otherwise, it will be slightly gritty.

Heat the ingredients together until they are at a smooth consistency.

Cook the mixture until it starts to boil, keep stirring constantly, and let it boil for 2 minutes before you remove it from the heat.

Make sure it gets up to about 200 degrees during the boiling time. You will need a Candy Thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Getting the caramel sauce up to the correct temp will help it get nice and thick and make a good thick caramel topping. If you do not get it to the correct temp it might still have sugar crystals in it and make the sauce gritty.

Add a pinch of salt for an extra burst of flavor.

Let it cool slightly before you serve. This amount makes about enough easy caramel dip for 2 or 3 apples.

This would also be great as a caramel topping on these Made From Scratch Brownies or an ice cream topping for Homemade Ice Cream.

The finished sauce should be an amber color and smooth. Total time to cook is only about 5 minutes.

Pour the finished caramel sauce from your saucepan into a jar or another heat-safe container. Store any unused sauce in the fridge in the jar. This sauce won’t do well in the freezer so just make sure you only make enough that can be used within a week.

Tip: Love caramel? Try this Old Fashioned Caramel Icing next!

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce

I would keep going on about how amazing and easy this caramel sauce is, but I think you should go ahead and make some for yourself today! Make sure to let us know in the comments what you decide to use it for!

Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe
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Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce
5 from 3 votes

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe

How to make an easy homemade caramel sauce with only 3 ingredients.

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 3 people
Calories 376 kcal
Creator Merissa


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup heavy cream depends on how thin you want your sauce to be
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


  1. Combine all the ingredients on the stovetop and heat on medium heat, stirring constantly.
  2. If you are going to use turbinado sugar (turbinado sugar is raw sugar) you will want to grind it up before you add it, otherwise, it will be slightly gritty. As long as you get it up to temperature though this shouldn’t be an issue.
  3. Cook the mixture until it starts to boil, keep stirring constantly and let it boil for 2 minutes before you remove from heat.
  4. Make sure it gets up to about 200 degrees during the boiling time. You will need a Candy Thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Getting the caramel sauce up to the correct temp will help it get nice and thick and make a good topping.
  5. Let it cool slightly before you serve. This amount makes about enough dip for 2 or 3 apples.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 376 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 140mg6%
Potassium 82mg2%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Sugar 36g40%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 910IU18%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store Leftover Caramel Sauce

Any leftover sauce should be stored in a jar with a lid or an airtight container. The sauce can be left at room temperature on the countertop (for up to 2 days) or you can place it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Common Questions About Making Caramel Sauce

What does adding butter to caramel do?

Butter helps to add a richness of flavor to the caramel as well as keeping it smooth and silky.

Should you stir sugar when making caramel?

Yes, you should stir the sugar in the recipe to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pan.

Old Fashioned Caramel Icing Recipe

More Caramel Recipes

Do you like to make an easy homemade caramel sauce in the fall? What do you like to use it for?

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

This Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce recipe was originally published on Little House Living in October 2012. It has been updated as of October 2023.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Have you tried your crock pot…works well, put your ingredients in a canning jar after they are mixed, place canning lid loosely, turn on LOW, and let it go….when it gets the color you like, remove from crock pot to counter, cool .
    You can also use sweetened condensed milk for this process.

    1. I buy sweetened condensed milk adI boil it for 3-4 hour’s ia eep pot[make sure it is covered with enough water] also MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE THE LID ON THE CAN LOL.At 3hour’s you will get a nice diping sauce. 4 hour’s and ywill have thick camel for making turtle’s candies.4 to 5 hours yu will have a soid chunk of Carmel. Frugal, but very tasty. Eagle brand is best, but Aldi’s brand will do well also.

      1. Is not caramel! Is manjar blanco or kinda dulce de leche. I’m peruvian and That’s how We make Manjar Blanco. You can fill alfajores (like cookies) with that. If u have a pressure cooker u can do It in one hour!

  2. My grandchildren and I have to avoid dairy. I wonder if I could use butter flavored Earth Balance spread and coconut milk/cream? My hubs loves the caramel sauce at Trader Joe’s but it is expensive! Thanks for the recipe. I could still make it for him since he refuses to go off dairy! LOL

  3. This is wonderful. Wanted some caramel for coffee and other fall treats but couldn’t bring myself to buy the store stuff either. I wonder if I back off of the butter a tad if it would be a little thicker?

    The How to Guru

  4. Have you ever pressure canned this? How does that work? I know the extention offices all say NEVER CAN MILK, but I feel like there HAS to be a safe way to can milk based recipes, right? I can everything else, and if we can can meat, why not dairy?? Help!

    1. I have no attempted to can dairy yet and even if this did not have dairy I’m not sure it would hold up to canning, it would probably separate and/or crystallize.

  5. This was delicious and super easy, unlike all of the other recipes I have tried so far today! Ha! I put a little bit of vanilla extract in after it was finished cooking. Delicious.

  6. Do you need to keep this in the fridge? Have you tried canning it for gifts? Wondered how that would work. Thank you.

    1. Yes, this should be kept in the fridge. I have not tried canning it, I think the temps would be too high and it might separate.

  7. Hi – I made your yummy recipe last night and put it in the fridge. It’s not a soft caramel any more – it’s like a fudge now. Any idea what would’ve caused this? Thanks!

  8. Used this recipes for a topping on my apple cinnamon roll muffins. So good!
    I added half a teaspoon of vanillia to it. I haven’t tried just the original way so I can’t say what is better but my partner has said I’m no longer aloud to make it. He said, and I quote ‘never ever ever ever ever is it aloud back in this house’ lol. Clearly a great hit! Thanks so much for the recipe 😀

  9. You mentioned reheating. How many times can it be reheated? Like…will it go bad if it’s refrigerated, then heated, refrigerated again, and then reheated again…and so on.
    I want to try this on popcorn 🙂

    1. I haven’t tested specifically how many times but I have personally heated it several times with good luck. It will work best to re-heat on the stove.

    1. No, this recipe will require heavy cream to get to the right consistency. You can use milk but it will be a very runny sauce and not quite the same flavor.

    1. I haven’t tried it for caramel apples other than as a dip because I think it might be too thin and not harden, however if you dip the apples and then keep them in the fridge it might work…or make those mini caramel apples?

  10. I am in love with this, the taste and simplicity. I’ve given as gifts to two different people as part of an ice cream sundae kit and used it personally to top ice cream, apple crostata and bread pudding. Yummy and easy to halve, double etc the recipe.

  11. I just made this as an ice cream topping for part of my husband’s birthday gift. I followed the directions exactly and it came out perfect. The only treat my husband is really into is icecream, so for his birthday I have made this yummy caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce and homemade butterfingers and English toffee. All of his favorite ice cream toppings and blend-ins, but homemade versions of them. Thanks for the simple, easy recipe. I tried another recipe before this that started with melting sugar and I didn’t like the way it turned out. This was easier and turned out much better!

  12. Made this today and it was so easy and takes amazing! It has a rich buttery taste and the texture is thick and smooth- i can definitely see how you can make it as thin or thick as you want. Thank you so much! Everyone loves it.

  13. WOW! This was super easy to make and uses common ingredients. I made it tonight as part of an apple pie recipe that I made for dessert. It calls for jarred butterscotch sauce, like the type you put on ice cream. I made this recipe and poured the sauce on top of the apple filling, covered the fruit with the sauce. Then I put the to shell on it and baked as directed. It came out sooooo yummy!!! I will never buy jarred sauce again, this was just too easy and budget friendly! Thanks for the recipe. On a side note: first I love your name Merissa and your picture. You look every bit of the “little house” clan! I can only hope to follow many of your ideas and recipes, your life style is one we are striving to adapt for ourselves. Thanks so much for taking the time to share all these great ideas! Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and may it all be filled with family and friends and lots of love and laughter!

  14. This is incredible! Wanted a thick caramel sauce to top brownies and do not like store bought. This was quick, simple, and delicious. Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    This is similar to a diabetic friendly version I developed from reading various resources I found on the web for use in caramel-peach pie and caramel-apple pie. Basicaĺy I use a cup each of butter, heavy cream, and Splenda’s brown sugar equivalent. I mixed the lot aftŕ melting the butter, and then reduced the volume by boiling very gently. Then I added 600 grams of frozen fruit and returned it to a very gentle boil, reduced the volume until it had the right consistency and let còl to room temperature. At that point I put it into a prepared pie crust (i.e. baked and coated with a couple ounces òf melted semisweet chocolat and yhen reffigerated cor a few hours. My sisters and neices ĺoved both, though my sisters prrferred the caramel-apple pie and my neices preffered tje varamel-peach pie.

    Now, I hid the one failing in this recipe with a thick whipped cream (made with Splenda). That is, invariably, when I removed the pies from the frig, there would be a paperthin buttery film ovrr the surface of the pie. Do you have any idda how to prevent such a film from forming?



  16. 5 stars
    The chocolate syrup sounds like the one my mom used to make, but the only thing different is that she always added a little corn syrup to the recipe. It seem to make it a little thicker. One of my favorites.

  17. Thank you for your simple, amazing recipes. I found your site quite a few years ago, and I believe the Lord led me to it. I have found so many simple, and amazingly tasty recipes, and encouragement on how to live more simply on your site, and I thank you for your transparencey. Keep up the fabulous work. You are changing lives here.

    Blessings Ingrid

  18. Merissa, this looks fabulous! Thank you for a recipe with no corn syrup!! I am thinking of making it for Christmas gifts. I have been giving out jars of your homemade taco seasoning blend every year and people love it, so maybe it’s time for a sweet alternative.

  19. 5 stars
    I just made the caramel sauce and it is delicious! I have several recipes that call for corn syrup, but I’m trying to avoid using it. Thank you so much!!