A recipe for homemade Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce! This thick and creamy caramel is speckled with vanilla and perfect for pairing with ice cream.
In about 20 minutes, you can have your own homemade caramel sauce with just a handful of ingredients. Granulated sugar and water are simmered in a medium saucepan until a deep amber color develops. While stirring the golden caramel, pour in half of the vanilla-studded heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and steam wildly. Give it a second (and be careful- the caramel and steam will be hot) and whisk in the remaining cream, followed by the salt and vanilla extract. If any of the caramel has solidified after adding the cream, place back over low heat and stir gently until melted.
Keep an eye on the caramel as it becomes golden. The perfect deep amber color can quickly become burnt.
For even more decadence, mix in a couple tablespoons of butter after the cream. You can also bump the cream up to a full 1 cup. I personally like to keep it closer to 3/4 cup to really allow the almost smokey flavor of the caramel to shine through.
The Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce will be thin while it is still hot, but start to thicken as it cools. If the refrigerated sauce is too thick to drizzle, warm for a few seconds in the microwave or on the stovetop until the desired consistency.
Don’t toss out the remaining vanilla pods after scraping! I like to use them to make vanilla extract or vanilla sugar.
Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce Recipe
Adapted from Everyday Annie
Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce
- 3/4-1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, add heavy cream and scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean. Whisk to break up the beans.
- In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, evenly pour the sugar in a layer and add the water. Cook (do not stir) just until the sugar becomes develops a deep amber coloring and remove from heat.
- While stirring the caramel, pour in half of the heavy cream. Once the sugar has stopped bubbling and cream has combined, whisk in remaining cream. Mix in salt and vanilla.
- If any of the caramel has solidified while mixing in the cream, put back over low heat, while stirring, until smooth.
- Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. If desired, microwave or melt the chilled caramel in a saucepan to rewarm.