There's nothing better than a simple recipe like this homemade Easy Caramel Sauce recipe. It's perfect every time and tastes great with ice cream and apples. Why not try it drizzled over my Apple Dump Cake? The best part is that it's ready in about 20 minutes and you only need four ingredients!
Table of contents
Why you'll want to make it
It has a touch of coffee flavor. Did you know mocha is actually coffee not chocolate? This sauce infuses instant espresso powder to give it that mocha caramel taste.
It's so quick and easy. This delicious sauce comes together in about 20 minutes thanks to the quick melting caramel candies used in the recipe. This is my secret weapon when it comes to making a caramel sauce.
It's made with easy to find ingredients. You only need four easy to find ingredient to pull off this recipe. This version is made with evaporated milk not sweetened condensed milk or heavy whipping cream. The other ingredients include maple syrup and instant espresso powder.
It's a a versatile, no fail sauce that goes with so many of your favorite desserts. This caramel can be drizzled on brownies, cupcakes, or apple pie. It's great on this Pumpkin Ice Cream too.
Evaporated milk - this is pantry staple that is shelf stable, meaning it can be kept at room temperature for long periods of time as opposed to fresh milk. It's cooked through the canning process and that's what makes it creamy and a nice ingredient for caramel sauce instead of using heavy whipping cream. It differs from sweetened condensed milk in that does not have any added sugar.
Caramel candies - did you know that you can melt caramel candies into a sauce? It's the no fail way to make a homemade caramel sauce perfect every time! I used the Kraft brand.
Maple syrup - maple syrup is my go to sweetener. I love the flavor and it may even have some antioxidants in it! You can substitute with brown sugar, granulated sugar, or corn syrup.
Instant espresso powder - this concentrated powder dissolves easily and turns this into a mocha caramel. You can skip this ingredient if desired.
Unwrap the caramel candies and place them in a pan. Mix the evaporated milk and instant espresso powder together in a small bowl.
Add the evaporated milk mixture to the pan with the caramels. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture is smooth and caramels have completely melted, stir in the maple syrup.
Salted caramel sauce
Salted caramel is a popular variation. You can make this homemade sauce into a salted caramel. Just simple add one teaspoon of salt when you add the maple syrup. Stir well until it is completed dissolved. If you don't want to add salt to the sauce, you can just sprinkle some flaked sea salt over the caramel after serving.
It's super important to stir the sauce as the caramels melt. This will keep it from burning.
If you don't want to add instant espresso powder, you can leave it out. It adds just a hint of coffee or "mocha" flavor. You can use instant coffee, but the flavor will be even more mild and may not come through.
Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and/or ½ teaspoon cinnamon for a flavor variation.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week.
Try honey, agave nectar, molasses, or corn syrup if you don't have any maple syrup on hand. The flavor will not be the same, but it will still be delicious!
Sugar is heated to 340 degrees F at which point the molecules break down to form a dark, rich flavor and deep golden brown color. This recipe uses caramel candies to make the sauce so it's made without this step.
It's a good idea to use a candy thermometer to make caramel sauce, however since this recipe uses caramel candies, you don't need a thermometer.
According to Carnation, boiling isn't recommended because it can lead to the can bursting.
More easy dessert recipes you'll may like
Easy Caramel Sauce
- 14 oz package caramels
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 ¼ teaspoon instant expresso powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- Place unwrapped caramel candies in a medium sauce pan.
- In a separate bowl, combine evaporated milk and instant espresso powder. Add mixture to pan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until completely smooth. Stir in maple syrup.
- It's super important to stir the sauce as the caramels melt. This will keep it from burning.
- If you don't want to add instant espresso powder, you can leave it out. It adds just a hint of coffee or "mocha" flavor. You can use instant coffee, but the flavor will be even more mild and may not come through.
- Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and/or ½ teaspoon cinnamon for a flavor variation.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week.