3 ratings

Homemade Caramel

A last-minute gift that does not feel last minute
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Heading to a last-minute holiday gathering and forgot to get a gift for your host? This quick homemade caramel sauce is the perfect thing and requires common ingredients you probably already have at home.

This recipe by Leah Eskin originally appeared in The Chicago Tribune.


For optional flavoring:

¼ teaspoon flaky salt, such as Maldon

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon

Caramel is delicious as is. Or make a variety of flavors. To one warm batch add either the salt, the chocolate or the bourbon.


  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1 Pinch of fine salt
  • 1 Cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up


Stir together sugar, water and fine salt in a small saucepan.

Heat over medium-high, without stirring.

In about 4 minutes, mixture will turn from cloudy to clear and begin to bubble.

In another 5 minutes the syrup will begin to turn tan and give off a caramel scent.

Swirl the pan, letting the caramel turn a deep amber, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pull pan off heat.

Carefully stir in cream; caramel will foam up.

Pour the caramel (don't scrape the pan) into the heat-proof measuring cup.

Stir in butter.

If desired, to one warm batch add either the salt, the chocolate or the bourbon.

Pour into a clean glass jar, let cool, seal and chill.

Choose plain (consider a 1/2-pint mason jar from the grocery store), fancy (maybe a spring-top cutie from Ikea) or inspired (perhaps an antique egg coddler from the flea market).

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