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+ servings

Caramel Sauce

Here, we utilize high heat to create flavor in sugar and create a creamy caramel sauce that's perfect for topping ice cream.
Before you get started, please note that in culinary schools, caramel has a nickname: "napalm." It's just that hot and that sticky, and you should take care when handling it.
Another note: Caramel sauce refrigerated in a squeeze bottle is like concrete. So, about an hour before you plan to squeeze, place the bottle in a vessel of hot, but not scalding water and keep it there until ready to serve.
This recipe first appeared in Season 2 of Good Eats.
Homemade caramel sauce made by Alton Brown in a small saucepan.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
Yield: 1 pint


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Specialized Hardware

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Digital instant-read thermometer


  • Combine sugar, light corn syrup, cream of tartar, and water in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat and give it a stir. Allow the sugar to dissolve.
  • When the sugar has dissolved, reach for your digital instant-read thermometer. Pretty soon, the mixture will reach a boil and the temperature will start increasing.
  • Once the thermometer hits 230°F, turn the heat down to medium. Once the temperature reaches 300°F, after about 5 minutes, give the mixture a stir.
  • Once you get to 340°F, turn the heat off and remove the thermometer. Be careful, it’ll be hot.
  • Pour in the heavy creamStand back because it’ll bubble. and just wait. The bubbling is just the moisture cooking out of the cream. As soon as you can safely approach the cooktop, return the heat to medium and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool thoroughly before containment. In the fridge, the sauce will last about 1 month.