Easy Caramel Sauce Made With Milk

Easy homemade caramel sauce recipe

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 16 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
131 Calories
3g Fat
27g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 131
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 55mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 1g
Calcium 43mg 3%
*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.)

Caramel sauce is a wonderful topping for ice cream, cake, pie, and bread pudding. While a typical caramel recipe calls for heavy cream, what if you don't have any handy? This easy recipe uses milk and butter instead, ingredients you're more likely to have on hand. If you want to make delicious caramel sauce without running to the store, this recipe will do the trick.

The key to creamy caramel sauce is to avoid stirring the sugar and water mixture once it begins to boil. Otherwise, you run the risk of it becoming grainy by incorporating sugar crystals from the sides of the pot into the mixture. Once the caramel forms and you add the milk, whisk to combine. Adding the butter at the end helps keep the texture creamy and soft.


Click Play to See This Easy Caramel Sauce Come Together


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy caramel sauce
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and cover the pan with a lid.

    Combine sugar and water in saucepan
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 
  3. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, remove the lid. Do not stir the caramel after this point. If your caramel is cooking unevenly, you can gently swirl the pot to even out the sauce.

    Lid off caramel
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 
  4. Cook the caramel until it is a golden brown color. Once it is a dark amber, add the milk. Be careful: The milk can boil up quickly when it hits the hot caramel. The caramel can also separate because the temperature changed too quickly. Once the milk has been added, gently warm the mixture over medium heat. Whisk the mixture together and boil for 1 minute until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the salt and stir the mixture until it is well combined and liquid.

    Cook caramel
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  5. Once the milk has combined with the sugar and becomes completely incorporated, turn off the heat. Add the butter and whisk to combine.

    Add in miilk
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  6. Return caramel sauce to heat
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  7. Allow your caramel to cool before serving.

    Allow caramel to cool
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii


  • By covering the sugar and water with a tight-fitting lid, condensation will build up and run down the sides of the pot, cleaning off any sugar that may have collected there. You also can use a wet pastry brush to wash the sides of the pot. If you skip this step, crystals may form on the edges of your caramel, causing the sauce to become grainy.
  • Before the caramel starts to darken, the bubbles will slow down and the mixture will look thicker. This is when you should start keeping an eye on it. Caramel goes from light to dark very quickly and burned sugar doesn't make a good sauce. Once you can smell the sugar cooking, don’t walk away from the kitchen. At this point, cover the pot one more time for 1 to 2 minutes to ensure there won’t be any crystals.
  • Adding a pinch of salt to your caramel will actually make it sweeter because the salt counteracts the bitter notes of a deeply caramelized sugar. However, you can always add more salt to make this a true salted caramel. Add 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt for a gentle flavor, or 1/2 teaspoon for a bold salted caramel sauce flavor.