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.
4.92 from 134 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 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. 5 stars
    I searched the grocery stores in my area and couldn’t find Butterscotch Sauce anywhere! The stores said it just isn’t popular anymore so they don’t sell it. To that I ended up saying, “Good for me!” because I had to find a recipe for it and make it myself! Your recipe was a thousand times better than any jarred sauce and it was so easy to make! I’m so happy I found this recipe! In 2019, I posted a picture of what I made and a comment on Pinterest with a bunch of other ways I used the sauce too!

    Just a note about when you change the recipe from 1X to 2X to 3X…the reference to “1/2 stick” of butter doesn’t change when you increase to 2X or 3X. Some folks may not notice this and only use a half stick even though the tablespoon amount increased.

    1. Yay! I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the butterscotch sauce, Kitty! And thanks so much for your note at the end, too :)

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Kelly!
    I’ve been making this great sauce for a year or so now for our extended family when we have our “Sunday Evening Sundae Bar”. Our family loves it! After experimenting, I actually settled on 1/4 teaspoon regular salt for my taste (I haven’t tried it with the large flake salt YET…)
    I was just wondering if there are any changes that you made from when the recipe was published before? One thing I’ve found is that I need to boil it a little more to have it thicken enough – maybe because we are at a higher altitude. I’m not sure why.
    Also, I always use a good quality dark-brown sugar and a good quality butter.
    Thanks again for the great recipe Kelly!

  3. 5 stars
    This was the most perfect butterscotch sauce! Truly– incredible! I will never buy it again from the store when I now know how amazing it can be from scratch. Thank you for sharing!

  4. 4 stars
    Super easy to make but too salty even ing unsalted butter and large grain salt. I will cut the salt in half. I wish i had read the comments first, but I will make it again with half the salt.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Gayle! I look forward to reading your results next time you make the recipe! :)

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! I make often for summer desserts. It’s easy to make and doesn’t even compare to a store bought option. Far superior!

  6. 4 stars
    Mine turned out beautifully—but slightly too salty. I’d maybe half your specified amount next time.

  7. Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much salt even with unsalted butter but the taste was nice…had to toss the first lot….made another double batch with just a half teaspoon of flaked salt total and it was really good

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