Bourbon Caramel Sauce is a rich, easy-to-make topping with sweet, salty, and smoky flavors that’s perfect for all of your favorite desserts!
Why We Love this Bourbon Caramel Sauce Recipe
- Bourbon Caramel Sauce is wonderful over ice cream, a must-have over fruit crisps and brownies, and a total treat when drizzled over a great cup of coffee!
- This recipe is actually REALLY easy to make and will take you less than 20 minutes.
- There are no complicated ingredients, cookware, or utensils needed. Just your favorite Bourbon, easy grocery items, plus a pot and typical measuring tools, so no need to run out and buy special stuff!
- Looking for a great homemade gift to give the special people in your life? Bourbon Caramel Sauce makes a wonderful present so pour it into small jars to share with friends and family!
What is caramel sauce made from?
SUGAR: You will need both granulated sugar for this recipe as well as corn syrup.
CREAM: Heavy cream is needed for this caramel and something lighter, like half and half, is not recommended because it will not make the sauce thick enough.
BOURBON: You only need a little bourbon for this recipe but why not use your favorite if you have one? For those who don’t care for bourbon, go with one that is popular without being pricey, like Bulleit.
PANTRY: For this recipe, you will need a little water and a little salt, which helps bring out the caramel flavor.
How to Make Caramel Sauce with BourbonJump to Recipe
STEP 1 Pour the sugar, water, and corn syrup into a medium saucepan. Place that over medium heat and swirl the pan for about 15 minutes until a deep amber color is reached. Swirling vs stirring is really important, see my tips below.
STEP 2 Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream. (It’s going to bubble up, don’t worry.) Then whisk in the salt and bourbon. Let the caramel cool before transferring it to a mason jar or air-tight container to store for later.
Tips & Tricks
- You don’t want to stir the ingredients… just gently swirl the pan so the liquid doesn’t splash onto the sides of the pan and cause the sugar to stick.
- Make sure you don’t scrape the crystalized sugar on the sides of the pan into the sauce when you whisk in the heavy cream. Stirring the crystalized sugar into the caramel will cause the sauce to clump up.
- If you prefer to leave out the salt, you can. It’s there to help boost the flavors of the caramel.
Homemade Caramel Sauce FAQ
How do you thicken caramel sauce?
If after you’ve made this Bourbon Caramel Sauce you find that it’s too runny or just not as thick as you would like it, pour the caramel back into a pot to reheat. Let the caramel completely cool before you make the call to reheat it though. When the sauce is fresh off the heat it is looser because it hasn’t had time to cool and set up a bit.
If the caramel has been in the refrigerator, start to heat the sauce on low until it is warm and then turn the heat up to medium, until the sauce starts to bubble. Basically, you are recooking your sauce for a little longer, allowing the sugars to firm up more.
What is caramel sauce vs caramel syrup?
There are several differences between caramel sauce and caramel syrup, from the taste and ingredients to the use of each. Caramel sauce is a buttery, rich sauce while caramel syrup is thin and tastes more bitter. Using heavy cream to make the sauce creates that signature thickness, whereas caramel syrup is just sugar and water so it remains a thin liquid.
Because they each vary not only in terms of texture and taste, it is how they are used that is the biggest difference. Caramel syrup is primarily used in coffee drinks and desserts, where its bitter flavor compliments or enhances other flavors, but it would not be used as a topping or main ingredient.
Caramel sauce, on the other hand, can be liberally applied to just about any dessert, coffee, or hot chocolate drink. While caramel syrup can be added to hot or cold drinks, caramel sauce is really only good for hot drinks – cold drinks will make it clump up and it won’t melt into the drink! (Which is the best part!)
Other Recipes You May like
- Caramel S’mores Martini
- Salted Butter Rum Caramels
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
- Caramel Pecan Blondies
- Caramel Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- Pour the sugar, water, and corn syrup into a heavy-bottom medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and swirl the pan (DO NOT stir) for about 15 minutes until a deep amber color is reached. Watch closely it doesn't burn.
- Remove the an from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Be careful not to scrape the crystallized sugar on the sides of the pan into the caramel.
- Whisk in the salt and bourbon and allow the caramel sauce to cool before using. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
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