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 152 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. I would love to gift this for Christmas. Homemade gifts are so special. Have you tried preserving it with a water bath? I want tips.

    1. 5 stars
      You shouldn’t can anything with milk in it, esp with a water bath. Sorry. I give these as gifts anyway – just make sure it goes straight from your refrigerator to theirs!

  2. Wow! I am going to make this. Which salt do you prefer and do you refrigerate this after cooling or store it in the pantry? Thanks.

    1. Hi Jerry! Any brand of large-flake salt will work and I recommend storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last up to two weeks.

  3. Hi I’m thinking about making this but how much does it make? Is the serving size 1 cup or the yield 1 cup?

  4. 5 stars
    I used this recipe to make tasty butterscotch sauce, then used the sauce as an an ingredient for butterscotch pudding. Delicious stuff.

  5. This has become a family favorite, and the last thing kids request before heading back to college. A little bittersweet, but that’s family, right? Thank you for the excellent recipe.

  6. Hi Kelly! May I know if I could substitute the brown sugar with honey or coconut nectar and the heavy cream with milk? Would love to try out your recipe exactly if I hadn’t run out of these in my pantry.

    1. Hi Liyana – I haven’t made this recipe with those substitutions so I can’t say for certainty what the results would be.

  7. 5 stars
    This was the first time I ever made butterscotch sauce and it turned out so perfectly. I couldn’t get enough of it. Half of it went directly from the saucepan onto freshly made popcorn and it was devine! I will definitely make this recipe every time I need… or should I say want butterscotch sauce. Thanks for sharing your recipe

      1. 5 stars
        Delicious I’m curious though what the purpose of using flake salt is since it’s just being mixed in. Seems like any salt would do, albeit in different measurements.

      2. That’s correct! I originally developed the recipe with large-flake sea salt, but you can use any variety of salt (as long as you adjust the quantity based on the granule/crystal size).

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