Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

I had grand plans today to share what I touted in last week’s newsletter as a recipe starring “nutrient-packed leafy greens.” Instead, my lack of willpower has resulted in Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce. Leafy greens. Butterscotch sauce. Same thing, right? New Year’s weight loss resolution-makers, shield your eyes.

In researching what goes into a successful—and incredibly simple—butterscotch sauce, I discovered countless discussions across the interwebs about butterscotch versus caramel. To summarize: A butterscotch sauce is made with brown sugar, while a traditional caramel sauce is made with white sugar.

I’ve caramelized sugar a million times and a thousand different ways—white sugar, brown sugar, butter, no butter, bourbon, whiskey, cream, vanilla. This recipe is hands-down the winner when it comes to a fast (10 minutes!) and easy sauce for ice cream sundaes. I tested the recipe with light and dark brown sugar, and the dark variety inevitably won out for its deeper molasses flavor and intense amber color. I also opted for large-flake sea salt to balance out the sweetness. And the texture? Silky smooth, and totally eat-it-with-a-spoon-worthy.

Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Craving more? Sign up for the Just a Taste newsletter for a fresh serving of content delivered every week to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.

Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Yield: About 1 cup

Cook Time: 10 min


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt (regular or large-flake sea salt)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (not non-stick) over medium heat.

Add the brown sugar, salt and heavy cream and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until it's well blended. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping down the sides occasionally, and boil it for 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the butterscotch sauce to a container to cool. (See Kelly's Notes.)

Kelly's Notes:

The butterscotch thickens significantly as it cools, so it's important to not over-boil it or you'll end up with chewy butterscotch caramels rather than a pourable sauce.

If you want to add a kick to your butterscotch sauce, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of your choice liquor (think bourbon, whiskey or cognac) at the same time you stir in the vanilla extract.


38 Responses to “Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce”

  1. #
    Bintu@recipesfromapantry — January 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Hi ya,
    Happy new year.
    We used to make something like this in Sierra Leone using condensed milk. Oh the joy we had scrapping the sides of the pot clean at the end. Memories……

  2. #
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — January 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Glorious, would be awesome over so many things! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. #
    Leanne @ healthful pursuit — January 2, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Ha, I’ve had days like that! Just yesterday I had every intention to have a balanced lunch – a big bowl of veggies with some squash… And instead I snacked on 3 muffins I’d made for the blog. Doh!

  4. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — January 2, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Eat it with a spoon I would!!

  5. #
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — January 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Oh, what the heck…start the diet tomorrow! This is too delicious not to enjoy!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 2nd, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

      I’m with you, Lana!

  6. #
    Liz — January 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Caramel or butterscotch…I love them BOTH! Now you’ve put me in the mood for an ice cream sundae, even though it is bitterly cold outside! Your butterscotch sauce looks incredible!

  7. #
    Dayyna — January 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    This look delicious! How long will it last if refrigerated? (Not that it will last longer than an evening with my husband and boys around).

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 2nd, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

      The butterscotch sauce will last up to 4 days in the fridge, but just remember to re-warm it before eating! And I agree, mine wouldn’t last more than 24 hours :) Enjoy!

  8. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — January 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I pretty much want to pour this all over my face. In slow motion. In front of a fan. And a camera.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 2nd, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

      Haha! This is an amazing visual. Happy New Year, Bev!

  9. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — January 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Stunning, Kelly! I am a huge fan of butterscotch. And now I’m craving a bowl of ice cream with this sauce running all over it!

  10. #
    JulieD — January 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    What diet? Huh? I love love this, Kelly!! I’m going to try this soon!

  11. #
    Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine — January 3, 2013 at 7:44 am

    This is perfect Kelly – I needed a great butterscotch recipe for a dessert I’m making this weekend. Great timing and it looks delicious!

  12. #
    Jamie — January 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you!! It is delicious. Enjoying some right now. :-)

  13. #
    Emily @ She Makes and Bakes — January 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Yes please!!! Maybe add in a little vanilla bean, too, although it looks pretty perfect as is!

  14. #
    Cass @foodmyfriend — January 7, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Oh stop it! It look so ooey gooey and yummY! I have some caramel ripple ice cream but it won’t cut it after seeing this! How does it keep?

  15. #
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — January 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    yes please!!

  16. #
    Tanya Schroeder — January 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I totally prefer butterscotch to caramel! I guess it’s the brown sugar! I fear if I made this sauce, it wouldn’t make it to the ice cream! All I need is a spoon! Yummy Kelly!

  17. #
    aco — January 8, 2013 at 4:33 am

    I really love your pictures of caramel flowing down on somethin else delish! Love, love, love your blog!!!

  18. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — January 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    YOUR BLOG IS AMAZING! These photos are out of this world gorgeous and the food looks delicioussss!

  19. #
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen — February 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Oh yes, brown sugar makes the best caramel. It looks so darn good!

  20. #
    Chris — April 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    yum! so good. we added about 3 tablespoons of this sauce per cup of seltzer for homemade Harry Potter Butter-beer. SO good and truly easy. I will make again as a sauce. Thanks for posting the receipe

  21. #
    maggie barkley — June 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I half a white peach. Fill it with ice cream and put the warm sauce over it. Then I top it with crushed macademia nuts and few raspberries. People love it

  22. #
    Aubrey — July 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Yum, great recipe! I’ve between hankering to make Hello Dolly bars, but the recipe calls for butterscotch pieces, so I’m thinking iof swapping with this sauce. Think it would stand up to being baked?

  23. #
    jenny — July 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Whoa, this is amazing! I was just thinking of trying a sauce like this. So glad I found yours!

  24. #
    Sonja Fagan — September 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    The recipe worked great but the sauce is very salty. I would reduce amousalt tont of sale to 1/2 tsp. Thx for the recipe.

  25. #
    Zieggenfuss — November 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I was wondering if anyone had dabbled in using coconut milk instead?

  26. #
    John Cotterell — March 16, 2014 at 1:24 am

    If you don’t at least double this wonderful recipe it will never last more than 24 hours as the family pours spoonfuls over ice-cream.

    It’s superb. Thank you very much, Kelly.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 16th, 2014 @ 10:09 am

      Haha! I love it, John! So glad you all are enjoying the recipe :)

  27. #
    Flavia — March 17, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I love making butterscotch sauce! I could eat it straight out of the jar.

  28. #
    Julie Trimble — March 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Kelly, as usual you have come up with somethingGreat! I,ve never made Carmel sauce or butterscotch sauce but I love them both I really didn,t know there was a difference See there you learn something new everyday! Thanks Kelly u are great!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 17th, 2014 @ 9:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Julie!


  1. Pingback: Just a Taste » Raw Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

  2. Pingback: Just a Taste » Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce

  3. Pingback: Video: Serving Ice Cream to a Crowd | Just a Taste

  4. Pingback: Video: Homemade Butter Recipe | Just a Taste

  5. Pingback: ∞Easy Butterscotch | Stacichristina

Leave a Comment