Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

from 255 votes

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.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.84 from 255 votes
Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce poured over vanilla ice cream in wooden bowl
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
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!


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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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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4.84 from 255 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    This is the recipe for liquid GOLD! I make this exactly as per recipe (as often as I can), and it turns out unbeatably luxurious and unctious and oh so morish that Every. Single. Person. that has tried it is in love with it – pure perfection! Thank you :)))

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! Just whipped a batch for my husband’s Father’s Day gift. I used Kerrygold salted butter and forgot to reduce the flake salt to compensate. Guess what? It’s salty, but amazing. Served over sweet vanilla ice cream this should be perfection. And SO easy to make.

  3. 5 stars
    Used Trader Joe’s cultured salted French butter (because the price is very good for the quality) and skipped the flake salt. I find Good & Gather (Target brand) makes a great dark brown sugar with very fine crystals that dissolve easily. Whipped this up and OMG I’ll just have a bowl of this thank you very much!

  4. Made this to add to my homemade vanilla ice cream. i wasn’t sure how much butterscotch to add to the churn but it came out terrific. in fact, i plan to make this again using even a bit more butterscotch sauce.

      1. 4 stars
        Excellent flavor, but alas, 5 min boiling turned it into candy vs sauce. Maybe my stove runs hotter? Is there a Temperature I could heat it to instead of using a timer? Is there a way to salvage it & make it sauce again?

      2. Hi Patti! Aim for 225°F. You can heat it over low and try to thin it with heavy cream but if it’s at the hard-crack stage, it’s hard to re-thin.

  5. 3 stars
    I made this with large flake kosher salt and it was so salty, could barely eat it.. will definitely half the salt next time!

    1. 4 stars
      Same here. hadn’t made it for a while and totally forgot about the saltyness. its perfect otherwise. Im cutting the salt by a 1/3 approximately.

    2. Well, Sticky date lover- you said it yourself. The substitution of large flake kosher salt is a deviation from the recipe. Salts are all different. I suggest following the recipe before leaving a review. It isn’t fair to the Chef who wrote the recipe or the people looking for recipes by star ratings.

  6. 5 stars
    I just made this sauce to accompany a cheesecake for my husband’s birthday today! He loves butterscotch. This sauce is simple but so elegant! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Sarah! It depends on how you store it, but sealed in an airtight container in the fridge, it’ll last up to two weeks. Enjoy!

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