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{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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

Tips, Tricks, & Variations

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.

http://fivehearthome.com/2013/11/15/5-minute-5-ingredient-homemade-caramel-sauce/

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

 

This post may be linked up to The Life of Jennifer Dawn, Live Laugh Rowe, Mandy’s Recipe Box, House of Rose, 4 Little Fergusons, Lil’ Luna, Uncommon Designs, SNAP Creativity, and these fabulous parties!

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Comments

  1. Yummy–I am all about a 5 minute treat. Love the cute tags. I think I will take a jar of this to my daughters house for Thanksgiving!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Cindy! I agree…it’s hard to believe that something so yummy only takes five minutes! And aren’t the gift tags cute? Such talented bloggers out there! I’m totally going to use them myself this holiday season. :)

  2. OH.MY.WORD! You’re killing me here! After I type this note, I’m running to the kitchen to make a batch of this. I am a Caramel Monster! Your photos are amazing too. Thanks a million for sharing at Weekend Potluck. I am sharing this at my FB page as well.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you for the kind words! I hope you enjoy this caramel…I don’t think the jar I made for the photos is going to last long around here. ;) I also really appreciate you sharing on FB! I link up to y’all’s party every Friday morning. It’s a great one…thanks so much for hosting! Happy Friday!

  3. Lisa Thetford says:

    Ok ,now I’m a fan of caramel. Made some for my husband’s birthday. I know he will love this. My grandson and I really enjoyed the “sample”. Thank you so much.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      How fun, Lisa…happy birthday to your husband! I’m so glad that you and your grandson approve of the caramel…I hope your husband does, too! Have a great weekend! :)

  4. Yup… akin to the nectar of the gods is correct. There are two things I can eat with just a spoon, peanut butter and homemade caramel sauce. Love this! Pinning girl! :)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Krista! Add cookie butter to the list of things I can eat with a spoon, and we sound just alike. ;) Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  5. Debbie Caraballo says:

    You had me at “bread pudding”! This sauce would take it to a whole new level!
    So many yummy things to make, so little time…lol.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha ha, Deb! Yep, bread pudding is definitely even more decadent with a little bit of caramel sauce on top…hope you get to try it soon! :) Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  6. Just the basics caramel sauce- I love it! So many times we try to fancify dishes with no need. I love making (and eating) brown sugar caramels & imagine the sauce is amazing over apple pie and ice cream and really anything :) Pinning.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment and the pin, Jelli! This caramel sauce is definitely basic, but I agree…that’s what makes it so good! I appreciate you stopping by…have a great week!

  7. Looks delicious! One of my absolute favorite treats is vanilla ice-cream with caramel sauce. And this looks easy too, perfect!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Bethany! I actually just had some on vanilla ice cream tonight…great minds think alike! ;) Thanks for stopping by…hope you enjoy this recipe if you end up trying it!

  8. What is the shelf life of this?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi, Sulema! I indicated in the recipe that this sauce can be refrigerated for up to a month, but it’s honestly never lasted that long in this house! ;) Hope that helps…thanks for the question! :)

      • I was thinking about making a batch to use for canning. I would like to be able to keep the jars for long periods of time. Would the caramel sauce do good in hot water?

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          Hi, Ann! I am not very experienced with canning, but I just did some quick research and found several sources that said it’s not safe to attempt canning products containing dairy at home. So personally, I think I would stick to just storing this sauce in a jar in the refrigerator (or maybe even freezer? though I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure if the consistency would be affected once thawed). Sorry…that’s probably not the answer you were hoping for! Hope you enjoy this caramel sauce anyway… :)

  9. Samantha, this looks divine! I haven’t made caramel sauce before but this recipe looks the perfect one to try! Yum!! (Found you on Twelve O Eight’s Link Party.)

  10. Homemade caramel sauce… is there anything better in life? Thanks for sharing your great recipe, Samantha! And that photo of your little chocolate chip bandit just kills me!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Liz! I totally agree…caramel sauce = bliss! And that little chocolate chip bandit is into everything. She sees me taking pictures and she hurries right over! It’s a wonder I get any photos at all without her chubby little hands in them… ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  11. This looks awesome! Definitely going to have to try this sometime.

  12. YUM and YUM – LOVE this caramel sauce – and it makes a great hostess gift

  13. This looks amazing. I was just eating some store bought carmel with apples and it just tasted wrong. I can’t wait to try this, thanks for sharing.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Tammy! It is truly so quick and easy that there’s no need to ever eat store bought caramel again. I hope you enjoy it…thanks for stopping by! :)

  14. I love anything caramel! I’m pinning this right now to try later. I’d love for you to share it at my weekly link party! Hope to see you there!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Jennifer Dawn! I’m glad you stopped by and I’ll definitely check out your link party. :)

  15. Oh my goodness, I just love that picture of your little one sneaking a choc chip!! ☺️ And what a fantastic way to make caramel!! Love!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      She is such a mess, Jocelyn. She has figured out that Mommy standing near the window with a camera = FOOD, so she trucks on over every time she spies me there. And she’s also learned that by having my hands occupied with that camera, it’s a prime opportunity for stealing whatever I’m trying to take a picture of! Oh well…if I get too frustrated with her, I just eat a big spoonful of caramel and I feel all better! ;)

  16. Yummy!!! This caramel sauce looks delicious!!!
    Stopping by from Show Stopper Saturday Link Party! :)

  17. Ryan Repan says:

    About how many jars did the recipe fill?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Ryan! The recipe makes about 2 cups. I used a pint jar, one batch gave me one jar. Thanks for the question!

  18. Oh my gosh! Stop it, you are killing me with these yummy recipes!! YUM :)

    Mandy @ The Hankful House Blog

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Mandy! :) Hope you get to try this caramel sauce, and hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family this week!

  19. Marilynn says:

    I made this for the first time this afternoon to put in a caramel apple crisp and I could not get over how simple and quick it is. My daughter (35 years old) could not wait to try it and had to have it on ice cream. It is delicious, thank you so much. Can’t wait to try some other recipes on your site.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Marilynn! I’m so glad that this recipe was a success for you and a hit with your family! I hope you find some other recipes here that you enjoy just as much. :) Thanks again for taking the time to let me know how your caramel sauce turned out, and I hope you’re having a great weekend!

  20. Merri Jo Prusse says:

    Hi Samantha~
    I have some dietary issues with dairy and wondered if the cream could be substituted with coconut cream? This recipe looks divine and I would really love to make and eat some caramel deliciousness!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Merri Jo! I wish I had a for-sure answer for you, but I’m honestly not sure how coconut cream would work in this recipe as I have not tried it. I think it has a good shot of turning out well, though. At the very worst, your caramel might not thicken as much as if you had used regular cream, but I bet it would still taste good. ;) If you end up trying this substitution, please come back and let us know how it turns out. Good luck! :)

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