Making homemade caramel can seem daunting. But it’s not at all when you follow these tips (and make sure to look through the step-by-step photos below).
What is caramel?
Making caramel is like making candy, which is why it can seem intimidating—but it’s really not! You begin by combining sugar, salt, and water in a small saucepan and bringing it to a boil to let the sugar dissolve. This is the hands-on part: You want to whisk it occasionally until you’re confident the sugar is fully dissolved. Then, keep a close eye on the sugar-water mixture as it cooks into a pretty golden color.
How do I know when the caramel is ready to turn off the heat?
Here’s the easiest way to always remember when it’s done: You want the mixture to be a deeply golden color that resembles a copper penny. Once you see that, turn off the heat!
How does it become creamy?
After the sugar-water mixture is cooked to the right color, remove it from the heat and stir in butter and heavy cream—this is what transforms it into the caramel you know and love. Be careful! The sugar mixture will be VERY hot and this mixture always bubbles up, so use caution.
Do I need a candy thermometer?
OK, so here’s the cold hard truth: No—I’ve eyeballed caramel many times—but it will reduce your stress. Caramel goes from a nice and silky texture to…well…toffee (!) in a matter of a minute or two, so it’s super important to monitor the temperature. If you don’t monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer, your other option is to do the color test.
How long does homemade caramel last?
You can store it in a jar for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
What should I use caramel sauce on?
If you’ve made this recipe, we’d love to know how you liked it—be sure to leave us a comment and rating down below!