Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

from 243 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 243 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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  1. 4 stars
    I made the recipe with just a pinch of salt and at the end I added a tablespoon of gold rum. The flavor was delicious. It was silky smooth when cooled on the counter but did get grainy after I placed it in the fridge.
    I would say I had it at a simmer/boil for 5 minutes. Should it have been at a rolling boil? Perhaps a targeted temperature may help with consistency.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Lauren! It sounds like the sugar didn’t completely dissolve so, yes, I’d boil it longer.

    1. Hi, Linda! I haven’t tried using half and half for this recipe but it should work! Let me know if you try it!

  2. 5 stars
    I am not much of a chef, but a Home Brewer and wanted to have that as part of my Winter Warmer Recipe . I didn’t want to add an off the shelf Butterscotch with 98 chemicals, which could cause problems with fermentation so I made your recipe. This was so easy and tasted amazing. It was so amazing, I was reluctant to cast it in to a hungry yeast colony that will reduce the amazing flavor down to hopefully a recognizable flavor of butterscotch at kegging time. The next time I make this, it will be for icecream.

  3. Hi I wanted to ask about something,
    I made this butter scotch recipe before and it worked really well but i made it again today and it’s kinda grainy(ish)‍♀️ so I wanted to ask why that happened (if you know)


  4. 4 stars
    Good recipe. Easy for sure. Just a note about your stipulation regarding reposting/sharing this recipe (or any recipe in general for that matter). I have at least a dozen cookbooks, some that date back to my great grandmother’s era, that have this exact recipe in them. This recipe isn’t new or original by any means. At the end of the day, most recipes have come from somewhere, handed down or shared by someone, especially when it comes to baking.

  5. 5 stars
    OH MY GOOOOODNESS!! I have been wanting to try to make homemade butterscotch but the recipes always seemed daunting and I don’t have much time! My 14 year old went to mow the yard and I wanted to make something special for a great day of homeschooling and obedience. This recipe was SO easy and is SOOOO wonderful! I used salted Kerrygold butter – next time, I will then use 1/2 the salt called for. The recipe calls for unsalted butter. I used half and half cuz that’s all I had. STILL amazing. I am so happy! I am following you on IG. Looking forward to trying other recipes. Thank you!!

    1. I’m so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the recipe, Yvonne! I look forward to hearing how you like other recipes!

    1. Great gift idea, Andrea! The butterscotch sauce should last up to 2 weeks in an airtight jar in the fridge.

  6. I’m not sure if I had overboiled the butterscotch or not. I guess we’ll see when it cools, but but on a side note on what I have tasted so far of the mixture. It seems to be good but I had to use 4 tsp of salted margin. Regular Margi instead of unsalted butter. But a did cut back to a 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to compensate, so it may make a difference in the taste

    1. Hi Jonathan! Margarine will not work as a substitute in almost any recipe that calls for butter. Margaine is made from oil and butter is made from milk/cream so the texture and taste will be completely different. Hope that helps!

    2. 5 stars
      I made this for my coffee and it was so good! I caught my teenager (who doesn’t like butterscotch) eating it with a spoon this morning! Fantastic recipe!

  7. 3 stars
    I think it would be much better with half the amount of salt given in the recipe. I also verify the “don’t overcook” suggestion. Though mine was darker than the picture given, I would make it again.

      1. Hi Spencer – It’s a very similar flavor, but the brown sugar (specifically the molasses in the brown sugar) will give this the butterscotch flavor.

  8. 5 stars
    So good and so easy! I only had light brown sugar, so I added a touch of molasses, which gave it a nice depth of flavor.

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