RECIPE: Super-delicious, super-easy apple cider caramel sauce (made with milk, not cream)


I often open blog posts by diving into my history with a particular food and how it has influenced a recipe I’ve developed, but for this sauce, I’m going to cut straight to the chase because there is no history.  

This caramel sauce was a successful fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants experiment for the apple cider doughnut ice cream sandwich post a few weeks back.  It’s so damn good that it deserves its own post...and to be drizzled on French toast, ice cream, and oatmeal; or mixed into caramel corn, pastry cream, or millionaire bars.  

Most apple cider recipes start with a time-intensive step of reducing apple cider down to a syrup before proceeding to the actual recipe, a dealbreaker for me.  However, when looking at how caramel is made via the wet method, you can kill two birds with one stone if you want apple cider caramel simply by using apple cider in lieu of water to soak up and cook the sugar in, yielding a flavor-forward caramel with no additional steps.  Enter: this recipe.


Super-delicious, super-easy apple cider caramel sauce (made with milk, not cream)

By: Kathleen Hayes, inspired by The Spruce Eats; yield = ~1 ½ cups



  • 200g (organic) sugar

  • 100g apple cider

  • 112g butter, room temperature

  • 63g whole milk, room temperature

  • 4 large pinches flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)

Special equipment


  • Caramelize the sugar and apple cider in a medium saucepan: place sugar and top with apple cider, making sure all sugar granules are covered in liquid and that there aren’t any rogue sugar crystals on the sides of the pan (remove those with a wet finger).  On high heat, cook until the mixture is a dark amber color. Do not agitate or stir your mixture.

  • Off heat, whisk in the butter until it’s incorporated.  Add the milk slowly, continuing to whisk.

  • Bring back on medium heat and whisk for 3-5 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.  Add flaky sea salt to sauce.

  • Let cool before using, and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.  Bring it back to room temperature before using again.


  • Adjust the level of salt in your caramel.

  • Double the recipe so you have more of it lying around. :)

  • Experiment making the caramel with brown sugar instead of granulated (white) sugar for a more molasses-y flavor profile.

  • Play around with how you use it! I mentioned many applications of it above, but you can also mix it as a swirl component in brownies and cheesecake, add it between layers of cake, or fill shelled bon bons with it.


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