Filed Under: Dessert | How To | Videos

How to Make Butterscotch Sauce

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
September 17th, 2019
4 from 1 vote
4 from 1 vote

How to Make Butterscotch Sauce from scratch in just 10 minutes! Just as good as caramel but so much easier. Can be made ahead of time. This recipe makes 1 1/3 cups sauce.

Yield:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

How to Make Butterscotch Sauce from scratch in just 10 minutes! Just as good as caramel but so much easier. Can be made ahead of time. Full step-by-step video included.

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: I love butterscotch because it’s sweet without being one dimensional. And I super love adding salt in order to really bring out all the flavors!
Texture: Thick, rich, and perfectly pourable.
Ease: Practically fool proof, quick, and much simpler than caramel.
Appearance: I mean, it doesn’t look like a whole lot, but it’s practically liquid gold!
Pros: Never buy store-bought butterscotch again.
Cons: None! I love that this stays good for 2 weeks, though I doubt it’ll last that long.
I make this again? Mmmhm.

I can’t believe I’ve never shared a recipe for butterscotch before.

Homemade butterscotch sauce with sea salt

I’m always rambling on about how the best chocolate chip cookies have a slight butterscotch flavor to them.

You know, that caramelized complex sweet flavor that sends you into crazy cravings mode where you NEED SOMETHING SWEET STAT just thinking about it.

Well, some sweets develop a butterscotch-like flavor due to a high portion of brown sugar and butter being cooked together.

That’s basically what butterscotch is, and if you peek at the ingredients below it’s 5 simple ingredients and just 10 minutes. No thermometer needed! No corn syrup either.

It’s especially perfect drizzled over ice cream. Check out how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker here!

Butterscotch sauce poured over vanilla ice cream

How to Make Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients for Butterscotch Sauce - brown sugar, butter, cream, salt, vanilla

Why won’t my butterscotch sauce thicken?

Once your sauce comes to a bubbling simmer let it cook for 3 full minutes without touching it. If you don’t cook the sauce enough it won’t thicken. If you cook it for too long, or at a full boil, then it will thicken too much and be more like butterscotch candy.

Hot Butterscotch sauce in saucepan

What’s the difference between butterscotch sauce and caramel sauce?

Generally speaking, caramel is made by cooking down white granulated sugar until it caramelizes into a liquid mixture then adding it butter and cream. Butterscotch is made by cooking brown sugar with the butter and cream all at once. This saves time and is much simpler.

If you’re interested, check out my recipe for salted caramel sauce here.

What sugar to use for butterscotch sauce?

Brown sugar, as I mentioned above. I prefer to use dark brown sugar for its intense flavor, but you can use light brown if that’s what you have.

Does butterscotch sauce have alcohol?

In this recipe you’ll see I’ve written the option of adding in 2 tablespoons of dark liquor. This can be scotch (hehe), bourbon, rum, whisky, or cognac. It adds a nice hit that cuts through the sweetness and adds to the complexity of flavor. However, it’s totally optional.

What kind of salt to use for butterscotch sauce?

Sea salt is definitely best. It’ll balance out and enhance the sweet flavor. If you prefer, use a higher end flaky finishing salt for an even better taste.

How to make SMOOTH butterscotch sauce?

To ensure there’s absolutely no clumps of sugar or grainy texture, you can take the optional extra step of straining your butterscotch sauce with a fine mesh strainer after it cooks and before it cools. Stir in the salt called for after straining since the strainer may remove a large part of it.

How to store homemade butterscotch sauce:

Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Can butterscotch sauce be reheated?

Yes. Reheat the butterscotch sauce in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave until it’s slightly warmed but still thick.

Butterscotch sauce in a jar with a spoon

More Butterscotch Recipes

4 from 1 vote

How to make
Butterscotch Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
How to Make Butterscotch Sauce from scratch in just 10 minutes! Just as good as caramel but so much easier. Can be made ahead of time. This recipe makes 1 1/3 cups sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons dark liquor, optional

Directions

  1. In a large heavy saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, salt, and cream and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Bring to a simmer. Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a bubbling simmer for three minutes. Be careful not to boil too long, or you’ll end up with chewy butterscotch candies instead of a sauce. Mixture will thicken considerably as it cools.

  2. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stirring in the vanilla extract and liquor (if using). Pour into a resalable container, preferably glass. Don’t scrape the sides of the pan into the container or you may end up with gritty pieces of undissolved sugar. You should end up with about 1 1/3 cups sauce.

  3. Serving and Storage: The sauce should be served warm. It can be stored in a jar, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Reheat the butterscotch sauce in a saucepan over low heat.

Recipe Video

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Recipe originally published in 2016 and recently updated with new photos, recipe improvements, and tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Leave a Reply to Carol Rhodes-Rice

Leave a Reply to Carol Rhodes-Rice

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  1. #
    taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — January 15, 2016 at 4:53 am

    These look so mouthwatering! Don’t mind me over here drooling over it’s goodness! If only I had some to shovel in my face right now 🙂

  2. #
    oskar. — January 16, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    you have page in Spanish

  3. #
    Rach's Recipes — January 23, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I assume you add the liqueur with the vanilla? Any suggestions – rum seems too strong? Amaretto? Frangelico? Cognac? Brandy?

  4. #
    Ema — February 14, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Uuuuuummm

  5. #
    Carol Rhodes-Rice — March 14, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I would also like to know what kind of liqueur you recommend?

    • #
      Tessa — March 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      I’d start with a tablespoon and taste and adjust from there.

  6. #
    Katiekate — April 5, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Your recipe has so little butter compared to mine and I’m going to try it. I’ve only made butterscotch once and, though it was delicious, it was grainy which bothered me. Once the dairy was in there I didn’t dare try cooking it more to dissolve. I was wondering if I had started by dissolving the sugar in a little water first until dissolved, would that solve my grainy problem? And in my research I read that too much stirring can cause crystallization which would yield a grainy result. A couple of your photos looked like it may have been grainy and a couple looked very smooth … did you find any graininess?

  7. #
    Sabrina — September 21, 2019 at 8:30 am

    great fundamental recipe, thank you, a great resource!

  8. #
    Jennifer J. Harmon — September 22, 2019 at 4:57 am

    The knowledge gives by you is not only helpful for me but also for all humans. thank you very much.

  9. #
    Patricia — September 28, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    I love all the information and the description of the recipe thanks

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