Homemade Spiced Caramel Sauce

Homemade Spiced Caramel Sauce is a must this holiday season with any apple dessert, pumpkin cheesecake or to be drizzled over ice cream. It’s a perfect gift as well!a close up of spiced caramel sauce in a jar

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week! I have to admit that I got caught off guard a bit but I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t the only one this year. Since California is a very Democratic state, the blow of losing the election was and still is really hard to come to terms with for so many people. But we all need to eat!  Most of us will gather around the Thanksgiving table with family members and friends, and there, undoubtedly, will be someone with different political views than our own. It is my hope that, instead of fighting, we can concentrate on what unites us and work together.

Today’s recipe is a basic caramel sauce that everyone should know how to make. It is very easy to make and it will take your dessert up to the next level. It can be changed up a bit by adding different spices, like cinnamon, cardamom or salt. Caramel sauce is a necessity when serving any apple pie, chocolate tart, cheesecake or ice cream. It goes amazingly with pretty much any dessert.

You only need 5 ingredients: sugar, cream of tartar, butter, heavy cream and a pinch of salt to make the basic version. The salt is needed here to add depth to the flavor and bring out the sweetness. Add more salt to make the salted caramel version; 2 cinnamon sticks or pinch of cardamom for the spiced caramel.

Start by dissolving sugar and cream of tartar in a bit of water over a medium heat. Make sure you stir it a lot but gently. After few minutes the bubbles will start getting bigger and shinier. At that point stir only every now and then. After few more minutes you will start seeing some change of color and the mixture will go from yellow to golden brown to amber very quickly. changes of color when making caramel sauce

Here are the pictures showing the changes of color and size of bubbles:

caramel sauce in a pot

Starting to get some color.caramel sauce

Getting nice and golden.caramel sauce

Time for butter and heavy cream. The mixture will foam and double in size so make sure you use a medium size pan.caramel sauce in the making

Here is the finished caramel sauce. It will thicken as it cools down. While it’s still hot, remove the cinnamon sticks and add more salt. Store it in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to about 2 weeks. To drizzle it over desserts, microwave it for 15-20 seconds, stir and repeat if not runny enough.

spiced caramel sauce

Some chefs like to serve a Burnt Caramel Sauce which is a caramel sauce cooked a bit longer to develop a darker color and deeper flavor. The finished sauce will look like this:

burnt caramel sauce in a jar

Makes: 1 cup      Prep time: 5 minutes       Ready in: 15 minutes


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt flakes or kosher salt


  1. In a medium pot over low/medium heat, dissolve sugar, cream of tartar and water. Add cinnamon sticks. Stir frequently and avoiding touching the sides of the pot. When the bubbles start getting bigger and shinier increase the heat to medium and let the color develop (about 4-5 minutes).
  2. When the caramel starts smelling toasty and it turns into medium brown (or dark brown for burnt caramel sauce), turn the heat down and quickly add the butter and heavy cream. The initial foam will subside. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt when going for the traditional sauce or 1 teaspoon when making a salted version. Cook the sauce on low for 1 minute. Cool down a bit and remove the cinnamon sticks before pouring into a jar.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Reheat in the microwave when ready to serve.



One comment

  1. Pingback: Apple Galette with Spiced Caramel Sauce | It's Cooking with Magda

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