Love Caramel? You’ll Want To Put This On Everything

homemade caramel

My husband Dave loves caramel sauce on his ice cream—or, perhaps more accurately, he loves caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, and peanuts on his ice cream. And while I’ve already learned how to make homemade chocolate sauce that’s every bit as good as what we usually get at the store, I hadn’t attempted making caramel sauce until now.

I looked around a lot of different recipes, but when I saw this one from Ree Drummond, I knew I had found “the one.” (Her recipes tend to be easy to follow and rarely feature complex methods or ingredients, and this caramel sauce recipe is no exception.)

Give it a try—I’m sure you’ll find it every bit as delicious as Dave and I do!

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce

adapted from The Pioneer Woman (via Food Network)

homemade caramel


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
homemade caramel


Combine the brown sugar, half and half, butter, and salt in a saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture thickens.

homemade caramel

Add the vanilla and cook 1 more minute, then remove from heat. Let the caramel sauce cool slightly before pouring it into an airtight jar and storing it in your fridge.

Like I said, easy!

homemade caramel

7 Delicious Ways To Use Homemade Caramel Sauce

  1. Drizzle it on ice cream for an amazing sundae.
  2. Dip apple slices into it.
  3. Stir some into your yogurt or oatmeal at breakfast.
  4. Drizzle it over popcorn for the most amazing caramel popcorn ever.
  5. Dip pretzels in it for a sweet and salty treat.
  6. Drizzle it on pancakes or waffles.
  7. Add a tablespoon or two to coffee or hot cocoa.

Got any other tasty caramel sauce ideas? Share them in a comment below!

homemade caramel

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Jill Nystul
My husband loves putting caramel sauce on ice cream (make that "caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, and peanuts"), and this homemade version tastes better and costs less than any store-bought variety.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigerate 20 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1.5 cups
Calories 1433 kcal


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat.   
  • Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened.
  • Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.
  • Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.


Calories: 1433kcalCarbohydrates: 223gProtein: 5gFat: 59gSaturated Fat: 37gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 535mgPotassium: 485mgSugar: 220gVitamin A: 1828IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 327mgIron: 2mg

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • That looks so yummy. For the people talking about boiling the condensed milk. I actually tried it once several years ago. My brother had told me about making
    Dulce de Leche. You rake the label off. Make a slight hole with the pointed in of the can opener. I just added water and let it set for several hours in the crockpot. According to family members who have lived in South and Latin American countries they sell it in their grocery stores.

  • Vicky Lynne (or Ree, if she’s reading!), or Jillee: how much caramel results from either recipe?

    I’ve been saving creamer containers, and will be so happy to fill them with chemical-free goodness!

    Thank you so much in advance.

  • LOVE THE CARAMEL SAUCE!!! Have made this several times. Instead of adding all of the 1/2 and 1/2 to make the creamer I only add about 1/2c. to 1c. cream to the caramel mixture. This keeps it at a shakeable liquid consistency in the fridge but doesn’t dilute it so it is always handy for other uses. My daughter loves it to make salted caramel hot chocolate and at this consistency it can be used to drizzle across the whipped cream.

    With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I would try to mix things up a bit and use some prepared eggnog I had in the fridge in place of the 1/2 and 1/2. I substitued 1/4c. eggnog and 1/4c. whipping cream in place of the 1/2 and 1/2 and it turned out awesome! Next time I will try it with all eggnog for more of that eggnog flavor.

    Thanks for the wonderful site and all of your great tips!

  • Okay Jillee, can you please tell me if I do or do NOT need to add the 1c heavy whipping cream to your caramel sauce in order to make the creamer? Or do I just make your sauce, then pick up the creamer recipe at adding 4 more cups of half & half and vanilla extract? I am so confused! Lol! I’m grocery shopping today & would hate to buy heavy whipping cream if it’s not needed for the creamer recipe, since I doubt I would be using it for anything else. I hate to waste! Thanks so much!!

  • Several years ago, when purchasing the “creamer” for the hubby, I pointed out all the chemicals and convinced him to only get the whole cream kind…cost a bit more but worth it! Then last month, inspired by YOU I thought I should start saving the containers for “something”…then I remembered this recipe! I made a batch last night, my 2 containers were only 1/2 full…1 went to his (and my daughters) WORK to live in the fridge with NO LABEL, and the other stays here at home.

    ALREADY I have reports that the creamer is WONDERFUL in her bold black tea! TY again Jillee!!

  • I just made the recipe. Simple and delicious! Saved a little for my husband’s vanilla ice cream and the rest went in my creamer. I can’t wait until the morning. Thank you, Jillee.

  • Just made this and drizzled it over Granny Smith apples for the kids. It was declared “the best caramel I’ve ever tasted!” by my 8 year old! Success! Thank you for sharing!

    • I put in 2 teaspoons of vanilla and I think it is as good as the vanilla creamers! I also used 3 cups 1/2 & 1/2 and 1 cup of milk, I don’t like it as thick with 4 cups of 1/2 & 1/2 makes it. I’ve tried a bunch of different vanilla creamer recepies and this one is the closest I’ve found!

  • This looks so good. Can’t wait to make the creamer! I usually stay away from the store bought creamers due to all of the added ingredients. We’re working to eliminate GMOs out of our diet, and I find making more things from scratch gives more control to achieve that goal. Thanks for so many of the great things you share :-)

  • I have made this recipe 3 times now, WONDERFUL is all I can say. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, I now can have more than one cup of coffee and the caramel sauce is my hubby’s favorite. Hugs to you Jillee, keep the posts coming as I am trying out most of them!!! 5 STARS…

  • When you make the creamer… Do you add all of that to the caramel sauce? I got lost at the Mix 4 cups of half and half to the sauce. Which sauce since there are 2 recipes on here?

    We buy the chocolate caramel creamer at Walmart all of the time so this will save some $$$. I am going to add a smidge of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup to my cup and see if it works.

  • […] love oatmeal for breakfast on cold mornings!  This morning I made a bowl and added some of the Caramel Vanilla Creamer I made earlier this week and threw in a handful of roasted almonds. […]

  • Not to be all unfriendly but for the person looking to make this more diabetic friendly–As a “practising Type 1” using an insulin pump for the past 4 years I can tell you—it’s not the “sugar” thats the big issue. Oh I am not sayin’ that “sugar” is GOOD for any of us but we are NOT allergic to sugar.

    What it is is–the carbs that sugar etc contains. And for this type recipe the amount of sugar that you would consume—and bear in mind that you can CONTROL the sugar here but you really can’t when it is a store bought item–is probably MUCH less than you would get using the pre-made stuff and also probably a lot less per SERVING than the store stuff and less chemicals (which have a strong connection to becoming diabetic).

    Now what you do want to figure out is how much CARB GRAMS you would get using a realistic measurement for lets say coffee. And then decide if this is worth it for YOU. I am sure Mr. Google can tell you what the carbs for the caramel (as made) and the dairy (or non-dairy coconut milk or soy) would be. Measure what you think you would use PER SERVING and then go from there. Once you have done this math–they TOLD you you were gonna need that High School math SOMETIME didn’t they!!!!—you only have to do it once and done.

    I am pretty sure that the amount is small and easily covered with insulin or careful measurement. I know I am sometimes surprised what a little tasty bit of something will do for me and what I consider “Worth” the “cost” in carbs. And of course this would be so much better for you than the bizarre stuff from the store!

    I have looked at the “Brown Sugar Splenda” and if I remember it right it is just plain old Splenda with some brown sugar “flavor” added. And some Splenda is really a blend of HALF PURE WHITE SUGAR and some proportion of Splenda and fillers to make up VOLUME for baking. (And I tried it and—never again!)

    I use the “Raw” sugar or–when I can find it!-Demarara Sugar. This is a sugar that is not purified or cooked as long as white sugar and has much more of the molasses flavor in it–but it is a “Dry” sugar not moist like brown sugar (which is white sugar with molasses mixed back in to mimic the Demarara sugar! ) Sometimes this is called “Florida Crystals” and it packs a bigger ” flavor punch” with LESS and I can save some carbs and get more flavor right there. This stuff has become easier to find in even Walmart recently. I haven’t used it to bake or cook with but I have used it in marinades and similar and on cornflakes and it is wonderful and does NOT raise my glucose. Might be worth a try!

  • I can’t wait to try this!! I can’t find flavored coffee creamer here in Europe – I’m always asking visitors to bring some over in their suitcases. What a pain! I do hope this works…..

      • Are you the Vickylynee, the owner of this beautiful sound recipe for creamer??? I made this, this morning. And I guess I misunderstood about the sugar. I use the white sugar and water, It became a big glob of rock hard sugar mountain in my pot…. I am so embarrased. Do I supporse to use brown sugar…? I didn’t make the first recipe, because it has butter in it, I was not crazy about butter in my coffee. ( I once did this and it made my coffee oily) For the second recipe, can I make caramel without butter in it?? PLEASE HELP!!! And thank you!

  • Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve totally gotta try it. My family is a big fan of flavored creamers, too. My favorite is Hazelnut, and my mother’s is Cinnamon-Vanilla. But, we like a good caramel once in awhile, too. I may have to try my hand at making them all!

  • @ well: it’s probably fat globules from the 1/2 and 1/2. It just needs to be stirred again before drinking. It’s part of what gives it a good “mouth-feel”.

  • I was intrigued, until I noticed the cup of coffe in the bottom photo looks like something is floating on the surface of the coffee. It looks kinda icky, and I was wondering what that is?

  • Have you ever tried making caramel sauce out of sweetened condensed milk? So easy!!
    Peel the label off an unopened can of condensed milk. Drop it in water in the crock pot or large pot, completely submerged for 8 hours. Let it cool, and you have caramel. Yumm Yumm!!!

  • So surprised to see my morning yumminess here today! This really is a good base recipe to add flavorings to as well. With the change in season here…add some pumpkin spice! Amazing!!

  • Does anyone have a hazelnut creamer recipe? We go through a quart of that a week and I’d much rather make it myself to avoid all the “extra” ingredients.


  • Half-and-half is a bit rich for me, but I think this would work with evaporated milk. That comes in a fat free version. I use the regular evaporated milk in my coffee already – this would make it even more yummy!

  • I was just telling my husband I wanted to find a recipe for homemade coffee creamer and when I got online this morning, my prayers were answered! Gonna give this a try this morning after the kids are off to school and a quick run to the store :) Thanks Jillee!

    • Cathy, I do know that Splenda has a brown sugar. But I did wonder the same thing. I am pre-diabetic and hubby is full blown. =) I just has to take a pill before eating, no shots, yet. I does run in my family, but not his. He is diabetic due to pancreatitis. He also can’t have anything with alcohol in it.

  • We have Pero! But my husband drinks coffee every day and while he used to use coffeemate creamer (uggh! horrible!) I have now switched him to the liquid stevia french vanilla flavored, along with raw whole milk. Tastes similar, but no bad stuff, much fewer calories and good enzymes from the raw milk. I want to try this for the caramel flavor of it :)

  • DC Adams, I bet you could make the caramel with just sugar & water, then add coconut milk to it. That would be yummy and dairy free! Valeen, half and half is (like the name suggests) 1/2 milk and 1/2 heavy cream. Just substitute those two things. I’m a coffee creamer addict, I can’t wait to try this recipe! Mmmm

  • I can’t believe I found this!! We recently decided to start the 100 Days of Real Food pledges and giving up my vanilla caramel creamer was going to be the hardest part for me, even with the substitution of maple syrup it just isn’t the same. So excited to try this!!

    We do not have Half&Half here in Canada (at least not in my part) do you happen to know what the percentage is (10, 18, 35?)? Or what other cream could be substituted?

  • Any help for those of us who are lactose intolerant?!? No ice cream, no milk, no half-n-half, no skim milk, no cheese…boo hoo. Thank you for all of your great ideas. (Just did a load of towels using your softener. Yeah!)

    • i would try vanilla almond or soy milk. it might change the taste just a bit, but it is almost as thick as half and half. my daughter cant have milk either and she loves the pure almond vanilla milk. i was thinking about making the caramel with it so she could have some too. :)

  • Always finding “good things” here! I’ve been buying the natural storebought flavored creamer, now I’m going to give this a whirl. Can’t wait to try it.

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