Quick and easy shortcut 5-minute caramel sauce!
This is a quick and dirty post for 5-minute caramel sauce. I’ve used this caramel in a ton of recipes across the site, like my Caramel Macchiato, Apple Pie Sundae, and Salted Caramel Snickerdoodle Milkshake, and I will certainly use it in many more, so instead of re-typing the recipe every time, I thought I’d give it it’s own dedicated page.
Why is this recipe called *shortcut* 5-minute caramel? Because it uses brown sugar instead of the traditional white sugar (which technically makes it a butterscotch) so it only takes 5 minutes to make.
To get the dark, amber color in caramel, you have to melt granulated white sugar, which isn’t all that hard but requires fairly careful watching and more time than I’m often willing to give to a quick dessert or my morning coffee.
By using brown sugar, you get the delicious caramel flavor and almost none of the work. You just throw the ingredients together and let it simmer away.
This shortcut version is perfect for serving over ice cream, whipping into buttercream frosting, or drizzling over whatever takes your fancy. It’s also quite good by the spoonful out of the jar, if you’re into that sort of thing… 😉
More Perfect Dessert Sauces
Shortcut 5-Minute Caramel Sauce
- 1/4 cup (2oz) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small pot, over medium-high heat, combine cream, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Cook, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted and ingredients mixed.
- Bring to a low simmer, turn heat down to medium and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Slightly Adapted From Smitten Kitchen
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them. There is absolutely no additional cost to you.
Tyra B says
Oh my goodness,
This is do delicious!
I’m sitting here eating it by the spoonful. ..lol.
Did that yesterday too
As soon as it was cooled down enough to eat.
I have a couple of questions:
I put it in the refrigerator for storage in a mason jar.
It solidified- which I expected.
I want to use this to create your “Better than Starbucks Caramel Macchiato”
Am I supposed to heat it up again to liquefy it before I use it for this?
I’ve never drank one before, my husband is the coffee drinker & I want to surprise him with one.
He does like Starbucks Coffee.
Mine is not smooth- just slightly grainy. But it doesn’t offend in any way.
It dissolves as soon as it touches my tongue…just melts smooth.
& on the bottom of the mason jar – maybe about 1/16th ”
It looks amber clear
Sort of like the equivalent amount of
When there’s a bit of fat on too of a dish that has to be ladled off
But this is on the bottom of the jar.
Does this mean that maybe I didn’t let it simmer long enough?
I made a double batch
So I simmered it for 5 minutes.
I also put all the ingredients in at the same time
Minus the vanilla.
I noticed that in the Caramel Macchiato recipe
It says to melt the butter alone first
Then add the rest of the ingredients
Minus the vanilla.
Do you think that made the difference.?
Should I simmer the entire jar ingredients again for a few minutes?
I don’t want to totally ruin this deliciousness…by doing that if you don’t recommend it
Because I can live with it as it is.
I used light brown sugar,
was I supposed to have used dark brown sugar?
Thank you ahead of time for your reply.
I enjoyed your post of the Museum.
I’m originally from Los Angeles. …love that place.
Thanks again ♡
LOL, by the spoonful is the way I like to eat this too. 😉
– No need to reheat, you can just stir it into hot coffee and it will melt on its own.
– Yes, sounds like it needed a little more simmering time. When doubling, I usually add a minute or two extra. I found the extra step with the butter didn’t really make a difference so I cut it out for this recipe.
– Light brown sugar works just fine—it’s what I usually use.
And yes, I love that museum too! It was my first time back as an adult and I had so much fun visiting.
Enjoying all these wonderful sweet sauces. I have tried several Carmel the white sugar receipe does not make a very large amount so I went the brown sugar very good but somewhat grainy I suspect maybe I didn’t let it simmer long enough?? Do yu think that isvthe jey? I definetly like the heavy cream vs evaporated milk . Thanks for this great receipev
So glad you enjoyed it, Carol! And yes, if it’s still grainy, it probably didn’t simmer quite long enough. All the sugar should dissolve into the caramel.
Um, this ~barely~ made it from the saucepan to the jar; it took a huge effort to not literally eat it out of the pan. So simple and so delicious – I’ll be coming to this one time and again.
OMG this is delicious. I use 35% cream for my coffee! I hate waste of any kind and had about 1/2 a cup left which was on the verge of turning off so I was looking for someway I could use it up quickly…. when I came upon your recipe. My big love is caramel ‘anything’ and especially salted caramel. I used salted butter and added a little extra salt….. it’s soooo good. I like that I can make my own salted caramel at home now, and I can adjust the ‘saltedness’ to my personal taste. I also use Demerara Sugar in my house which is the very dark sugar, it’s more ‘real’ than the regular brown sugar and has a somewhat different and more intense flavor. It suited this recipe to a tee.
I cannot thank you enough for this very easy, delicious sauce that I know I will be making many times. I buy my cream in 1 litre cartons, (grass fed) and sometimes am in a hurry to finish the carton before it turns off, but now I won’t worry any more because this recipe solves that problem perfectly.
Now I am going to have to check out your whole site as you obviously have very good ideas and taste. Thank you 🙂 Namaste.
Lol! Thank you, Jillian!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Could this be used for caramel apples?
Probably not. Caramel for candied apples usually contains corn syrup to help it stick to the apples better, and this caramel doesn’t cook long enough for it to reach the temperature where the caramel will set. It is great for dipping apple slices into though!
Hi Tracy, can this delicious concoction be frozen?
It should freeze okay. Just be sure to give it plenty of time to defrost before you try to use it.
just added in the vanilla and tasted it so i’m really excited for this to cool 🙂
Can this be canned to make shelf stable?