Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce
Cook time
Total time
There are caramel recipes that use water - called "wet method", but any water you put in has to be boiled back out again, and from what I can see the ones using water tend to be more temperamental, so though the dry method takes a bit more babysitting at first to make sure you don't burn the mixture early on, it is worth it for a faster, more reliable result.
Recipe type: Sauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel or other sea salt
  1. Use a heavy pan – about 3 quarts – to promote even cooking, and to prevent boil-overs.
  2. Measure sugar into the pan, and add the scraped vanilla bean seeds. Save the pods to make vanilla sugar, or add to your next batch of vanilla custard.
  3. Turn heat to low-medium, and stir sugar with a wooden spoon or silicone scraper, as it begins to melt. You will probably see some lumpiness going on, but don’t worry, it will dissolve. Continue stirring, just until the majority of the sugar has liquefied. After this, just kind of swirl the pan gently to keep things mixed together.
  4. You want a deep color – as deep as you can get without burning it, because that is where the flavor is. It should just start to have a few wisps of smoke coming off it, and be an even, dark amber color. I kind of lift it off the burner and inch or so while swirling to slow it down a bit, which lets you get a darker color without burning.
  5. Carefully add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cream. Take care when adding the butter and cream - the caramel with bubble furiously which is why you use a large pan to contain the flying bits. It may lump up on you a bit, or seem as though it’s not going to meld, but be patient and keep whisking. Once it is mostly smooth, stir in the salt, and keep stirring until it is completely smooth.
  6. Cool for a short time, no more than about 10 minutes, and then pour into a heat safe container – I usually use a canning jar. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Makes about 10 ounces of sauce.
Recipe by The Creekside Cook at