Using sweetened condensed milk, this caramel drizzle is made in 10 minutes. It's an easy treat to drizzle on apples, a Frappuccino, ice cream, and so much more.
I looooove me some caramel. The soft, smooth, luxurious caramel that melts in your mouth and you eat with healthy things like apples to pretend you're not ingesting spoonfuls of sugar. That kind. Or the kind of caramel drizzled on top of a Starbucks Frappuccino?
While it's not crazy difficult to make caramel from sugar, butter, and heavy cream, there are still a lot of ways to screw it up -- especially if you're busy doing other things in the kitchen or telling your child which way a "b" goes for the umpteenth time. Most notably, caramel burns easily. That's why it's always recommended to use a candy thermometer.
This caramel, on the other hand, is foolproof. It requires no candy thermometer or other special equipment. It uses a can of sweetened condensed milk to make the magic happen and does not require heavy cream. It's also made in under 10 minutes! Last but not least, this caramel drizzle is so versatile. You can use this caramel drizzle for cupcakes, caramel drizzle for cakes, on apples, or recreate the caramel drizzle from Starbucks.
5 Ingredients Needed
Here's all you need:
- sweetened condensed milk
- light or dark brown sugar (dark brown sugar will make the caramel slightly darker than the caramel I used here)
- unsalted butter
- pure vanilla extract
How to Make Caramel with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Brown Sugar
First, in a medium saucepan, bring condensed milk and brown sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly to prevent burning and the sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When it boils, reduce the heat to a low simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to whisk constantly. The caramel will start to thicken slightly.
Then, remove from the heat and whisk in butter, salt, and pure vanilla extract until the butter is melted.
Drizzle on your favorite food of choice immediately or let cool and save for later (see note at bottom for storage).
Caramel Drizzle for All Sorts of Things
How about some caramel drizzle on apples? Your latte or Frappuccino? Some vanilla ice cream? Apple crisp? The list really just goes on and on! Here are some other recipes if you need some inspo:
- Salted Caramel Apple Tart -- an oldie but goodie
- Replace the honey with caramel in these Bacon Wrapped Dates
- Add a couple of Tablespoons in this Puff Pastry Apple Slab Pie to really take it up a notch!
- Use it as a glaze on this delish Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake
- What about a Caramel Frappuccino -- yumm!
Caramel Drizzle That Hardens
The sweetened condensed milk makes this caramel drizzle a bit more luxurious than your average caramel -- and with the luxurious texture comes some hardening if you're not using it right away. It will get slightly harder within about an hour of sitting out and will get even harder in the refrigerator.
But have no fear! Simply put the caramel in a bowl or microwave safe glass and reheat at 50% power for about a minute until the caramel is back to being its melty goodness.
How long does homemade caramel last in the refrigerator?
Caramel can last in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
As always, if you make anything from the blog, be sure to let me know! I love hearing from you in the comments on this post below or find Worn Slap Out on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
Easy Caramel Drizzle with Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, bring condensed milk and brown sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer (low) for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Continue to whisk constantly.
- Remove pan from heat and immediately whisk in butter, salt, and pure vanilla extract*.
I just finished making this caramel and it turned out just like the recipe said it would. It’s quick and easy and fool proof. Thank you so much. I like to eat it with apple slices as a treat cause it seems a bit healthy with the apples lol!
Thanks so much for coming back and leaving your feedback, Amber! So glad you enjoyed it! <3
This was such an easy way to make caramel, we loves dipping fruit in it!
Thanks, Michelle, for leaving feedback!
This looks absolutely amazing! I would love to drizzle this over vanilla ice cream. 🙂
Yes -- it's really good with ice cream, and it's so easy to make.
Oooh, didn't realize it was so easy to make! Yum, would go well in my morning coffee! 🙂
Yessssss why not caramel for breakfast?! You've inspired me!
Enjoyed some delicious caramel apples for an afternoon snack this afternoon, and this did not disappoint! So creamy and sweet; loved every bite!
Thanks, Sara! So glad you loved it, too.
Woul LOOOVVE this drizzled over the banana nice cream I just made! Sounds amazing and easy too
Ooooh what a great combination! Love that idea!
This was a great drizzle over our warm chocolate chip muffins! I want to put a caramel core with it inside the muffins next time. Delicious, thank you for the easy, and tasty recipe!
I'm so glad, Mindy. I absolutely LOVE the drizzle on top of muffins and putting it in the core ideas!
i just made this with challenges from both ingredients and kitchen tools (as i'm in a temp apt in mexico city), and it still turned out nicely. my magic extra step was to grate some fresh ginger into it. put it on vanilla ice cream with peanuts.
Thanks for leaving feedback, Diego!
When I made this tonight, little brown bits started appearing more and more while I was stirring. Then when I emptied the pot into a jar I noticed all around the edge there was burnt caramel. Not sure how to avoid this next time. I followed the directions.
Hi, Allison. Those brown bits are forming because the heat is a little too high. Caramel is finicky -- and there's a sweet spot between too hot and hot enough to make the caramel. I hope it still tasted great though!
This is a tasty drizzle on apples. I would say it has a closer to butterscotch flavor but still super tasty.
Thanks, Clinton! So glad you liked it -- so easy to make and the perfect fall treat!
After made, can the Carmel be frozen?
Hi, Barbara! I've actually never tried -- but I don't see why not. I just wouldn't freeze in a glass container because the milk expands when it freezes and can cause the glass to break. Let me know how it goes!
I just made this to drizzle over a fresh apple cake I make. This time for the cake I used coconut flour to make it gluten free. I am extremely experimenting on my co workers here. I have to say I’m a little nervous bc the cake still has a few minutes in the oven and I have no idea how this is going to come out. Wish me luck! Oh yeah I’m taking this tomorrow for a Christmas party so no time to make another!!!
Yay! Hope it went well...can't wait to hear how it turned out!
I surprised my man with this recipe on our anniversary along side with some fudge brownies and he LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT! He was so happy and really appreciated all of my "hard work" making homemade carmel. I will absolutely use this recipe forever, thank you so much!
Ooooh fudge brownies! What a perfect pairing! Thanks so much for leaving feedback, Sarah, and I'm so glad you loved it.
Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t have as much caramel flavor as I was expecting and was kind of just sweet. It also seized and got rock hard when I put it on ice cream which was a bummer. Probably better served with foods other than ice cream so that it doesn’t turn hard and is edible.
I'm sorry yours didn't turn out well. You have to be careful the heat isn't too high or else your caramel will seize up.
Oh my lord! This is an absolutely delicious caramel recipe. I followed the instructions exactly as written and it was delicious. The only thing I added was a butter flavoring just cuz I love butter and this caramel topping is to die for! Thank you so much for sharing.
Thanks so much for leaving your feedback, Patty! So happy you loved it -- and that you added your own flair to the caramel!
But condensed milk is loads of sugar why add so much brown sugar
Yes -- this is definitely not your low-sugar kitchen creation! 🙂
Just made this.caramel sauce. Love. It!! Thank you for the recipe!
Yay! I'm so glad, Sharon. Thanks for coming back to leave your feedback!
1 cup of sugar made this “sauce” gritty and makes it come apart. Waste of my time and resources.
I'm sorry you didn't like this. You have to be careful to not use too high of heat and constantly whisk to dissolve the sugar.
It's even better with a teaspoon of molasses and another tablespoon of butter.
Thanks for the feedback, Mike. I love the addition of molasses!
Hello, I was wondering can you use this as icing on the cake?
Hi, Kamilli. This is not a caramel you could frost a cake with. It is a great dip -- as it hardens up quickly.
I have to confess I lick the bowl.
The only thing I did at the very end when it was still hot I put it through a metal strainer, this removed any crystals or lumps that may have formed during cooking, smooth. I dribbled this over homemade apple cake, perfect match. Thank you.
Thanks so much for coming back and leaving your feedback! I'm so glad you loved it enough to lick the bowl! 🙂
I did this twice and both times when it cooled became gritty, what did I do wrong?
Oh no, Maggi! I'm sorry to hear this. Sometimes this can happen if a drop of water (even the smallest amount!) gets into the caramel. It can seize up and become grainy.