Creamy Brown Sugar Sauce With Vanilla

Bread pudding with sauce

Frans Schalekamp/Getty Images

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 11 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
81 Calories
6g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 16mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you’ve never made a homemade dessert sauce, there are several good reasons to get cooking, and this easy Southern brown sugar sauce is a great way to start.

First of all, it is quick and easy to prepare. The sauce is ready in a little over 10 minutes. If you are mindful about sugar consumption, homemade sauce made from scratch lets you control the amount of sugar. And you can add flavorings of your choice, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices, a hint of salt, rum flavoring instead of vanilla, or bourbon—the possibilities are virtually endless. 

Another advantage of homemade sauce is that it does not contain any additional additives or preservatives. This means that it won’t keep like a store-bought bottle, but the sauce is meant to be used right way and not stored long-term. This recipe yields one cup, but you can also make only half a batch. A smaller amount usually cooks faster so make sure you don’t let the sauce simmer for too long and darken, otherwise you might end up with hard candy. 

Corn syrup is added to the sauce because it withstands high cooking temperatures and prevents the sugar from crystallizing so that the sauce does not become grainy. It also lends the sauce sheen. The corn syrup sold at grocery stores is different from high-fructose corn syrup.

Serve this creamy, buttery sauce as a topping for pancakes and waffles for a Sunday breakfast, or drizzle on slices of pound cake, cheesecake, apple pie, or Christmas pudding. It is also delightful as an ice cream topping.

If you don’t use the entire sauce at once, store it in the fridge in an airtight container or a jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to five days. Due to its butter content, the sauce will solidify, but you can easily soften it by letting it come to room temperature or reheating it briefly in the microwave just until it softens. Do this in short 10-second intervals and check the consistency to ensure the sauce does not burn, which happens quickly. If the ingredients separate, give it a quick stir.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, heavy cream, and pure vanilla extract. Bring the mixture to a boil while whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and boil gently for 5 minutes. 

  3. Remove the sauce from the heat. The brown sugar sauce will thicken as it cools.

  4. Serve over bread pudding, cake, pie, cobbler, or ice cream.