7-Minute Holiday Caramel Sauce
Yield: approximately 1¼ cups
Prefer to make traditional caramel sauce – or a salted caramel sauce? To do this, use heavy or light cream in place of the eggnog. (But if you think the eggnog sounds weird, trust me. It works!) To make salted caramel sauce, increase the kosher or sea salt to ¾ teaspoon.


  • ¼ cup (56 grams) butter (I use salted; unsalted is fine, too)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) eggnog
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt


  1. Chop the butter into four pieces. Add the butter and all of the remaining ingredients to a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisking or stirring the whole time.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes. At the 5-minute mark, the mixture should be starting to simmer. (See tips.) For the final 2 minutes, the sauce should be at a good simmer but not a full rolling boil. After 7 minutes, remove from the heat. The sauce should be a little thinner than you would like it to be, as it will thicken upon cooling. (Resist the urge to taste without cooling because the mixture will be HOT.)
  3. Allow the sauce to cool slightly and serve warm, or cool completely and transfer to a jar. The caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks. Stir before using and reheat gently.

Helpful hints

Preheat the burner if your stovetop is electric.
The mixture should be starting to simmer at the 5-minute mark. Adjust the heat up slightly if the mixture is not beginning to simmer at this point, or down if it begins to simmer before.
Use a medium-size pot. It offers a little more surface area than a small one, and the sauce will cook more evenly as a result.
Stir or whisk constantly.
The sauce should be a little runny when you remove it from the heat. It will thicken as it cools—but won’t be too thick.
I don’t recommend doubling the batch. When additional sauce is needed, I have better success making separate batches.

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