This easy butterscotch sauce is made with just 4 ingredients in less than 15 minutes. Lusciously rich and velvety smooth, this sweet sauce pairs well with just about anything!
What is butterscotch sauce?
Butterscotch sauce is a sweet sauce similar to caramel but made of brown sugar, butter, cream, and often vanilla.
It’s a rich, creamy, and versatile sauce to drizzle, spoon, and swirl onto everything.
Butterscotch vs Caramel
Butterscotch and caramel sauces are similar. Both are sweet and rich with caramelized flavors. However, they have different ingredients and preparation methods.
Butterscotch is typically made with brown sugar and butter, whereas caramel is made with white sugar and cream.
Brown sugar gives butterscotch a deeper and more complex flavor than caramel, which has a more intense caramelized taste.
Why you’ll love this butterscotch sauce recipe:
Learn how to make butterscotch with this simple recipe! It’s quick and easy to make, and the results are simply divine!
- Skip the butter! Unlike traditional butterscotch recipes, I make my butterscotch sauce without butter. Yet, it has the same smooth and velvety consistency without compromising the flavor!
- Easy – You’re only 15 minutes and 4 ingredients away from rich homemade butterscotch!
- Silky smooth – It’s rich, buttery, and velvety smooth.
- Versatile – Spoon it over vanilla ice cream, waffles, or brownies. Any dessert or breakfast item is fair game!
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Brown sugar – One of the main differences between caramel and butterscotch is the type of sugar used. Brown sugar gives you the bold flavor of molasses! For a deep, intense flavor and color, use dark brown sugar.
- Heavy cream – Without heavy cream, the sauce will harden. The cream creates a luscious sauce!
- Vanilla – Vanilla enhances the flavors of the butterscotch sauce.
- Salt – A crucial part of any good caramel. Salt rounds out the sweetness of the sugar. For best results, use coarse kosher salt. If you only have table salt, cut the amount in half.
How to make homemade butterscotch sauce:
- Combine the heavy cream and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- Once the sugar is melted and no longer grainy, cook for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt. Carefully taste the butterscotch and adjust as needed. Add more vanilla or salt if necessary.
- Let the sauce cool and thicken up.
Be sure to use a 2.5 quart saucepan or larger. The sauce bubbles up and might overflow in a smaller pan.
Tips for Success:
- For best results, use a heavy bottomed saucepan. They cook evenly without hot spots. Hot spots can cause burning or curdling, neither of which we want!
- Whisk to prevent burning, but don’t go crazy. If you whisk too much, the mixture will crystallize and get grainy. You want to whisk enough to prevent it from burning, but not too aggressively.
- Butterscotch thickens as it cools! It should be somewhat runny when you remove it from the heat. If it’s too thick, it’ll harden as it cools.
- Homemade butterscotch lasts a while in the refrigerator so if you go through it quickly, make a double batch! It’s good for at least three weeks.
- The butterscotch sauce also freezes well. Pour the cooled sauce into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Ways to enjoy butterscotch sauce:
I honestly can’t think of anything that won’t taste amazing with this sauce! But here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Use it as a dip for sliced Honeycrisp apples!
- Drizzle it onto ice cream for decadent sundaes.
- Stir it into your oatmeal for a caramel flavor.
- Spoon it over buttermilk pancakes and waffles with whipped cream!
- This sauce is also used in my overnight caramel rolls.
- If you have an espresso machine at home, butterscotch makes amazing lattes!
- Store homemade butterscotch in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks!
- Freeze the sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, then drizzle on your favorite desserts.
Brown sugar. It’s a crucial ingredient to get that quintessential buttery toffee flavor!
The main two differences between caramel and butterscotch are the type of sugar used and the cooking process.
Butterscotch uses brown sugar for a deep flavor from the molasses, while caramel uses white granulated sugar.
With caramel, the sugar is caramelized first, then the other ingredients are added. And with butterscotch, the ingredients are all cooked together.
No, caramel and butterscotch taste very different! Butterscotch has a distinctly buttery flavor, with deep flavors from the molasses in the brown sugar. It tastes more like toffee than caramel.
- Homemade Caramel Sauce, + 4 Flavors
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EASY Butterscotch Sauce
- 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar Note 1
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- In a medium (at least 2.5 qt) saucepan, combine heavy cream and brown sugar. Bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- Once the sugar is melted, continue to cook it for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Add vanilla extract and salt. Taste and make sure you’re happy with the flavor. Add more vanilla extract or salt, if needed. The sauce thickens as it cools.
Tips & Notes:
– Store homemade butterscotch in a jar sealed with a lid or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks!
– Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, then drizzle on your favorite desserts.
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