Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce
During the holiday season, I enjoy kicking my baking up a notch! With just a handful of ingredients, this incredible Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce comes together effortlessly and makes any dessert extra special and memorable.
This caramel sauce also makes a great edible holiday gift. A dreamy homemade treat that takes just minutes to prepare and outshines anything you can buy at the store!
Why You’ll Love This Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
- Foolproof: No candy thermometer or any other special equipment needed! This recipe comes together in minutes.
- Delicious: Sweet, sticky, salty, and buttery with a hint of bourbon for balance, this bourbon caramel sauce is complex and hits all the right notes. Tip: I prefer and recommend cooking caramel until it is a dark amber color, this brings out more bitter notes, which helps balance its natural sweetness.
- Great for Gifting: Easy to wrap, pack, and gift, caramel sauce makes a lovely (and easy) gift or holiday present. Looking for more edible gift inspiration? Try these Candied Blood Orange Slices or Chocolate Rochers.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Sugar – like any classic caramel, this recipe starts with basic granulated sugar.
- Light Corn Syrup – inverted sugars, such as corn syrup, help prevent crystallization of sugar during cooking. Another great (more flavorful) substitute is Lyle’s golden syrup.
- Heavy Cream + Unsalted Butter – adds creamy richness and improves texture. Make sure your cream is room temperature or the hot sugar will sieze.
- Bourbon – creates a rich depth of flavor and helps cut the natural sweetness of the caramel. While I’m partial to Bulleit brand, feel free to use your favorite brand of whiskey.
- Vanilla Extract – if you want to take this caramel up a notch, substitute the extract with scraped vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste.
How to Make Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
This bourbon caramel sauce comes together in three easy steps! See recipe box below for full instructions and quantities.
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup (or golden syrup, if using), and water in a heavy-bottomed small saucepan.
- Over medium-high heat, swirl the pan until the color turns a medium-dark amber, for roughly 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the room temperature heavy cream until smooth.
- Lastly, add the diced butter and continue to whisk until melted and fully integrated. Add the salt, bourbon, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Make Ahead Instructions
Looking for ways to prepare for the busy holiday season ahead? This caramel sauce can be prepared more than a week in advance, making it an ideal edible gift. To warm, heat in 10-second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between.
Freezer Instructions: You can also freeze caramel sauce for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator and stir well before serving.
Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) light corn syrup or Lyle's golden syrup
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter small dice
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or more to taste
- 2-3 teaspoons (10-15 ml) bourbon I like Bulleit brand
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup (or golden syrup, if using), and 2 tablespoons (30ml) water in a heavy-bottomed small saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Heat over medium-high heat, swirling the pan, but not stirring, until it turns a medium-dark amber color, roughly 8 to 10 minutes. It will boil more aggressively at the beginning and gradually lessen as it darkens in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the room temperature heavy cream. It will sputter, so be careful. Continue whisking until smooth.
- Add the diced butter and continue to whisk until melted and fully integrated. Add the salt, bourbon, and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour into a heat-safe container, such as a glass jar, and let cool at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use. It will thicken considerably once cooled and more so when chilled.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Warm in 10-second intervals in the microwave. Thaw in the refrigerator, stirring well before using.