Skip the store-bought sauces and whip up a quick and easy recipe for Homemade Butterscotch Sauce.

Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce poured over vanilla ice cream in wooden bowl

I had grand plans today to share 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? Keto-lovers, shield your eyes.

Butterscotch ingredients in heavy-bottomed saucepan

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: Butterscotch sauce is made with brown sugar, while a traditional caramel sauce is made with white sugar.

Easy homemade butterscotch boiling in saucepan

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.

Pouring Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce into mason jar

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.

The best homemade butterscotch sauce over scoops of vanilla ice cream

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Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Skip the store-bought sauces and whip up a 10-minute recipe for Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce.
4.93 from 124 votes
Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce poured over vanilla ice cream in wooden bowl
Prep Time 0 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 1 cup


  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon large-flake 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.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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Calories: 1241kcal, Carbohydrates: 111g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 89g, Saturated Fat: 56g, Cholesterol: 283mg, Sodium: 2408mg, Potassium: 235mg, Sugar: 107g, Vitamin A: 3150IU, Calcium: 182mg, Iron: 0.8mg

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  1. 4 stars
    This is a good recipe; simple and straightforward. I added the cognac which took it to a new level. simply delicious! The next time I make this however, I will use less salt. Also, I converted all the measurements to grams and millilitres (mls) which is so much easier and far more accurate than cups and tablespoons. Thanks for this very tasty treat!

  2. 5 stars
    Kelly–this is a wonderful sauce! It took me less time to make this than to put on shoes and walk across the street to buy a commercial Butterscotch full of chemicals. I used salted butter and put in less than 1/4 tsp of salt since I don’t have the large flake. It is perfect to my taste buds and a struggle to wait for it to thicken. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Just made my first batch of ice cream and had a little double cream left, was perfect for this recipe! I put about 3/4 tsp maldon sea salt in and think I’d probably drop that to 1/2 next time.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for this simple and delicious recipe. I’ve made it several times now. I add it to my homemade eggnog!

  5. 5 stars
    Fabulous! LOL no hiding my keto eyes, just used monkfruit brown with a tiny bit of molasses.Simple and delicious.

  6. 5 stars
    It’s absolutely delicious & so easy to make absolutely love this recipe! No more store bought Butter Scotch . Kelly this is absolutely one of the best recipes ever!

  7. Hi!
    When I make this sauce, sometimes the butter separates from the sauce after it’s cooled. Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

    1. Hi there! Separation can occur if the sauce goes through a quick temperature change. For example, it could be that the sauce was too warm when it was transferred to the fridge. However, the sauce should re-emulsify when it is warmed. Hope that helps!

  8. 3 stars
    Way too much salt! I used ¾ teaspoon and it was still too much. I would recommend scant ½ teaspoon salt. Boiled 3+ minutes for great consistency after cooling.

    1. Hi Debbie – Did you use large-flake salt? Large-flake salt and table salt are not interchangeable so you’d need to use much, much less table salt since the crystals are so much smaller.

  9. 5 stars
    This was excellent! I used it as a filling between 3 cake layers, and it tasted amazing!
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. It will be my go-to for butterscotch sauce!

  10. 5 stars
    Hi Kenzie! I’m also making the sauce to make butter beer to celebrate us reading the first Harry Potter book. It also happens to be my son’s 9 3/4 birthday

  11. It’s my son’s birthday and he requested a Harry Potter theme. I made this yummy butterscotch so that we could make some butterbeer!
    Suggestions on how to store it? Would the fridge be best?

    1. Hi Kenzie! I recommend storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last up to two weeks. And happy birthday to your son!

  12. Can you substitute heavy whipping cream with whole milk or 1/2 1/2? If I don’t have the salt flakes, how much sea salt would you add? THANKS:)

    1. Hi Shani – Substituting whole milk or half and half should work but they have a lower fat content so I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same consistency. Also, large-flake salt and table salt are not interchangeable so you’d need to use much, much less table salt since the crystals are so much smaller.

  13. 5 stars
    It’s Valentine’s Day and I decided (last minute) to make a dessert for my husband. I had brownie mix and a mini 3.6 oz container of vanilla Haagen Dazs and thought how can I make this extra special. I made this butterscotch every with bourbon and voila. Perfect dessert. It was delicious

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