Recipes Desserts Sauces Classic Caramel Sauce
Classic Caramel Sauce

Classic Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4
Follow these instructions carefully and your caramel sauce will turn out perfectly. Remember that you cannot rush the caramelizing process, but once the sugar turns amber, it can cross the line from caramelized sugar to burned sugar in an instant, so watch it carefully. Drizzle the finished sauce over ice cream for a decadent dessert.


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


In a heavy 2- to 2 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook until it turns amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir the sugar with a wooden spoon during the first 1 to 2 minutes of cooking; do not stir after this point and, instead, tip the pan to ensure even cooking. Do not allow the sugar to burn. If the sugar burns, turns very dark and smells acrid, discard it and start again.

Remove the pan from the heat and very carefully pour the cream into the hot syrup. Take care it does not splash; the syrup is very hot. Use heavy pot holders to protect your hands and arms. Stir with a long-handled wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth and blended. Let the sauce cool to warm or room temperature.

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.To reheat, set the bowl or pan holding the sauce over a saucepan partially filled with gently simmering water. Stir until the sauce is warm. Makes about 1 cup.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Ice Cream, by Mary Goodbody (Simon & Schuster, 2003).