Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe – Easier Than You Think!

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Caramel Sauce Recipe with Milk

Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe – Easier Than You Think!

Have you ever tried a homemade caramel sauce recipe? Once you have tried the real thing, there is no turning back to store bought caramel sauce…especially when you find out how easy it is to make your own! Caramel sauce is such a delicious, sweet treat that you can pair with apples or apple pie in the fall or drizzle over ice cream, cupcakes or cakes for decadent desserts. It’s a delicious addition to your coffee too with a spoonful added for some extra flavor! This simple caramel sauce is so easy to make, it may surprise you. You make this caramel sauce with milk, sugar, butter and water (so really only three ingredients you need to purchase).

The best part about this DIY caramel sauce is that you can use everyday ingredients that you would most likely have right at home,  which makes it such a simple but delicious addition to any dessert. All it takes is a little bit of patience to make this turn out delicious. I love the versatility of the many ways you can use this DIY caramel sauce in your cooking.

Make a batch and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, up to a couple of weeks. You can easily warm it in the microwave one serving at a time, if you like it warm.

How To Make Caramel Sauce with this Recipe

This caramel sauce recipe uses three simple ingredients, plus water. You can use heavy whipping cream for a decadent sauce, or make it with milk for a more affordable version (either is delicious).


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (you can use milk or even skim milk instead of whipping cream for your homemade caramel sauce – it won’t be as decadent, but it will help your waist line :) )


Homemade Caramel Sauce Boiling Ingredients

Using a heavy sauce pan, add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.

Place on medium high heat and stir constantly (using a wooden spoon)  until all the sugar dissolves and it begins to boil.  After it begins to boil, do not stir.

Homemade Caramel Sauce on the Stove

This next part takes the longest!  Wait until the mixture has reached a dark amber color.  The lighter the color, the less caramel flavor it will have – if you like a lighter caramel,  don’t wait quite as long. But if you want that strong caramel flavor, then you’ll want it to be the dark amber color.

Once the mixture has reached a dark amber color,  remove from heat.

Making Homemade Caramel Sauce

Add 1 tablespoon butter,  stir constantly.

Add ½ cup heavy cream-the mixture will foam up.  Continue stirring until mixture is smooth.

That’s it! Your caramel sauce is all ready to go! You can pour the caramel mixture into glass jars and store in the refrigerator. You can store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks at a time.

We love this homemade caramel sauce  on ice cream, in our morning coffee, in apple cider, dip for apples, on apple pie, apple cake, or really just by the spoonful! It’s just that good!

This caramel sauce recipe is sure to become a staple around your house, once you start making it. The store bought stuff never tastes the same afterwards!

Printable Recipe for Homemade Caramel Sauce:

Print this recipe off to add to your recipe box or binder. It’s a easy recipe to keep on hand to use any time you would like to have some caramel in your baking or with any produce or treats.

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DIY Caramel Sauce - 3 Ingredients & So Easy to Make!

Homemade Caramel Sauce

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  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (you can also use milk or even skim milk, depending on the richness of the flavor you want)


  1. Using a heavy sauce pan, add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.
  2. Place on medium high heat and stir constantly (using a wooden spoon) until all the water dissolves and it begins to boil.
  3. After it begins to boil, do not stir.
  4. This next part takes the longest! Wait until the sugar has reached a dark amber color. The lighter the color the less caramel flavor-if you like a lighter caramel, then you don’t wait quite as long.
  5. Once the sugar has reached a dark amber color, remove from heat.
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Price Comparison – Homemade Caramel Sauce vs Store-Bought Caramel Sauce

caramel sauce recipe with milk


To make caramel sauce, it costs about $1 to make 8 oz. If you want to buy good, pre-made caramel sauce in the stores, it is about $2 for 8 oz. , so that’s a 50% savings.  Once you make it homemade,  you won’t be able to go back to the store bought caramel sauce because the taste can’t be beat! Plus, being half the cost, you can’t go wrong making your own caramel sauce!

Apple Pie Recipe using Caramel Sauce:

Here’s a recipe for apple pie using the homemade caramel sauce – it’s so delicious when you add in that homemade caramel sauce for the extra boost of flavor & creaminess!


  • (2) 9” prepared pie crusts
  • 7 cups tart apples (the key to using apples to bake is using ones that are smooth on bottom-the bumpier on the bottom the less well they bake)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. homemade caramel sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons butter


  • Place one prepared crust in greased pie pan
  • In bowl mix sliced, peeled apples, sugars, lemon juice, flour, salt and cinnamon
  • Place mixture in pie dish
  • Pour slightly warmed caramel over the top
  • Place butter in pats over the top
  • Put top crust on and crimp edges
  • Place pie in 400 degree oven for  50-60 min.
  • After it’s finished baking, remove from oven & let it cool at least 45 minutes before serving

Pie Crust Guards

You may want to use pie crust guards (like the one pictured above) to ensure the edges don’t get too brown.

Gift Idea::

If you love to give homemade gifts, this would make a nice gift to hand out at Christmas, for Teacher Appreciation Week, or anytime of year to give to friends or neighbors. Just put them in some cute glass mason jars for them to store in their fridge for a few weeks.

Here are a few glass jars that could work for storing the caramel sauce:

Wide Mouth Jars

Wide Mouth Canning Jar (16 0z)

Ball Crystal Jelly Jars

Ball Crystal Jelly Jars (4 oz, 8 oz, 12 oz)

More Recipes You May Like: 

Hot Fudge Cupcakes

Hot Fudge Cupcakes with Marshmallow Topping & Drizzled Caramel  – this cupcake recipe is the perfect recipe to drizzle some caramel sauce on top of the cupcakes!

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cake

Salted Caramel & Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake – Use homemade caramel sauce in this yummy ice cream cake

diy vanilla extract

 DIY Vanilla Extract – Another great idea for a kitchen staple you can make at home is homemade vanilla extract.

For more DIY Recipes , make sure to check out our DIY Recipe board on Pinterest::

Follow Jen & Sia | Thrifty NW Mom’s board Recipes: DIY on Pinterest.

What are your favorite ways to use caramel sauce?

homemade caramel sauce



  1. Sounds great for me but most of my family is lactose intollerant can you use soy-rice or almond milk it is so hard to get recipes for desserts

  2. Or you can just boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water for 3-4 hours. Stick on a cute label and give as a gift….SUPER YUMMY Caramel and no mess to clean up:)

    1. I have made this for years… just keep adding water to the pot as it will boil down. This is soooooooo good and creamy.. I got the idea from my Italian friends…

  3. Just a FYI – when I clicked the “print friendly” button to print out this recipe, I got 5 pages of ads before I cancelled the print. I didn’t wait long enough for the recipe printout due to the waste of paper and ink. Bummer.

  4. DWC – I’m not sure why that was the case for you. I just tried it using the Print Friendly button & it printed just 3 pages, with only the info from the post & pictures. Maybe try it again?

  5. Ironically, the first step is the same way I make sugar wax for, well, waxing; plus a little vinegar or lemon juice. :)

  6. I’m not sure about the almond milk, but she said that lactose-free milk would probably be best – the soy definitely does change the flavor.

  7. Hi christina,
    I have never tried it with almond milk, but I don’t see why you couldn’t -It will change the flavor though, but honestly almond and caramel sounds really good:)

  8. Am I the only one who got their caramel a little too dark (burnt) (twice?!) I watched the pot, but was not quick enough apparently to avoid. Can you tell that I love caramel but am too cheap to buy it? I’m going to try again once the kiddos are asleep and I can watch the whole time. Good thing my hubby likes flan!

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