14 Delicious Uses For Canned Caramel Sauce

Anything graced with luscious, golden amber caramel is inherently delicious. Caramel has a richness and complexity to it that adds big flavor and texture to the main event. Whether it's a punchy miso salted caramel apple, a delicate flan, or simply warm caramel drizzled over a few heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream, caramel deserves to be a regular in your sweet rotation.

It's understandable if you're feeling overwhelmed by making caramel after seeing one too many disasters on Food Network reality TV. It can be a bit daunting. When to stir and when not to stir? Did you add the sugar too quickly? Are you using the wrong pot? Don't worry —for all those who are looking to indulge in the world of caramel without having to troubleshoot a stovetop mess; there are plenty of canned caramel options out there that do the trick.

From budget-friendly squeeze bottles to artisan jars, canned caramel comes in a wide range of hues and thicknesses for all occasions, so you can find that Goldilocks melt-in-your-mouth match made in heaven. These classic takes are easily elevated by popping open a jar of buttery caramel to incorporate.

Caramel apple galette with Fleur de Sel

A classic combination for a reason, salt, caramel, and apples is a trio that was simply meant to be. In galette form, the richness of the caramel matched by juicy, tart apple with a pinch of fleur de sel is not only mouth-wateringly delicious, it's also an easy dessert to pull together, especially when relying on luscious and effortless canned caramel. That way, you can focus your energy on nailing a flaky crust and overlaying apples to make a mesmerizing showstopper.

Go ahead and make your apple galette like normal. The pizazz of the caramel is added once you pull the warm pastry from the oven. Simply sweep a spoon through a mid-weight canned caramel of choice and, in galette fashion, rustically drizzle the caramel in zig-zags, swirls, or whatever pattern your heart desires across the galette, letting it warm and sink into little puddles in between the slices of baked apple. Top this off with a pinch or two of delicate fleur de sel and violà. The winning combination has an oh-so-lovely balance of sweetness and richness from the caramel, acidity from the apple, and fat from the butter-driven pastry while being pulled together by the salt.

Iced caramel macchiato

Have an odd amount of caramel sauce leftover lingering in your fridge? If you somehow haven't taken a spoon to the last of the can, you can finish it off by drizzling it into an iced macchiato to make a next-level coffee drink of your own. Move over, Starbucks. Who's the barista now?

This decadent drink is a game changer for your afternoon pick-me-up on a hot day. Not only does the addition of velvety caramel make your caffeine boost extra buzzy, but it also transforms your drink into an Insta-worthy concoction, where drips of caramel are met by frothy swirls of milk on a dark canvas of rich coffee. If you really want to dial it in, search out a thinner caramel better suited to drizzling so it stays smooth and viscous when it hits the icy brew. Then, taking a hint from the original, add a splash of vanilla syrup. Italian blasphemy? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely.

Sticky buns

Sunday morning brunch just got a whole lot more scrumptious. You can make those perfectly oversized, ooey gooey sticky buns sitting in a puddle of caramel with canned caramel sauce, and no one will be the wiser. This is, perhaps, one of those breakfast delights that will get the most attention of anything you could put down on the table. Smear a healthy amount of caramel sauce into the base of a baking dish and place your carefully crafted buns on top. As the buns bake, the caramel seeps into every nook and is absorbed up into the bread, transforming it into something truly ethereal.

The inverted buns are laden with pockets of rich, sticky goodness that add a whole other dimension of complexity. When warm, the caramel will stretch into long strands as you pull the buns apart. As they cool, the caramel will set into a glossy coating, adding another level of texture. So go buy a jar of caramel and get that oven pre-baking ASAP.

Caramel brownies

Brownies are great and all, but taking them to the next level of decadence with a rich caramel sauce swirled through the batter is the real key to success. Honestly, caramel brownies aren't even in the same bracket as normal brownies. They are a notch up in more ways than one.

Firstly, even though they are yet another brown dessert, they are a looker thanks to the glistening ribbons of caramel that make a somewhat cosmic mosaic on top. This look comes about when you generously drizzle that canned caramel sauce on top of the brownie batter and take the tip of the knife in delicate sweeping motions to integrate the caramel in swirls.

Secondly, the overall profile of the brownie goes from, well, normal, to extra rich with nuanced caramelized notes and an ooey gooey texture. The next time you are doing your brownie ingredient shopping, throw in a can of caramel sauce to make them extra.

Caramel spiked Rice Krispie treats

Remember in elementary school when you found out one of your classmates brought Rice Krispie treats for their birthday? Best. Day. Ever. Fortunately, these are a classic treat that, frankly, is just as satisfying as an adult as it was when you were a kid. Quite possibly, the easiest twist to these pull-apart gooey airy bars is to add caramel sauce, giving them a golden hue and another dimension of flavor from the caramelized sugar and butter.

For this version, instead of heating the butter and tossing the marshmallows in to make the "glue," warm your canned caramel sauce on the stovetop and add your marshmallows, stirring to melt and incorporate. Mix in your Rice Krispies and gently press the mass into a lined pan to set prior to cutting. These will give you that overwhelming sense of nostalgia but with a bit of new-age edginess.

Salted caramel ginger thumbprint cookies

Thumbprint cookies have got to win the prize for the sweetest, most enduring little cookie out there. Not only that, they are also endlessly versatile from the dough to the filling. These caramel ginger thumbprints definitely lean into the winter holiday season with their warm spiced flavors and buttery caramel. The dough is a rich dark brown, flavored with the molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course, ginger!

Roll this malleable dough into little balls and pop them in the oven. When you pull them out in their puffed stage you get to playfully push your thumb into the center, making room for a little plop of caramel to nestle in. You'll want to choose a thicker, more viscous caramel here, so it holds its shape and doesn't escape your thumbprint divot.

The joyous combination of warm baking spices, slightly bitter molasses, and sweet, lushess caramel is meant to be. This is perhaps more of an adult cookie with those somewhat brooding flavors, so adding a pinch of Fleur de Sel atop the caramel puddle is fitting. It also pulls together all the flavors and gives it a sophisticated feel.

Caramel corn

The sweet and salty crunch of caramel corn is not only delicious and festive; it's also super easy and fun to make at home. It's the perfect holiday snack to have while decorating the tree or to gift your neighbors. First thing, you need popcorn kernels and caramel sauce. While you can make any canned caramel sauce work here, if you are shopping with this project in mind, look for a slightly thinner caramel. The runnier the caramel is, the easier it is to drizzle across the popcorn and toss to coat without breaking the fragile kernels. Alternatively, if you already have a dense caramel sauce on hand or prefer the taste and/or texture, gently warm it over the stovetop before tossing your popcorn with it. It will thin with the heat and incorporate much easier.

It's really as simple as popping corn in your preferred method (long live stovetop popcorn), drizzling the caramel over the warm kernels, and giving it a healthy pinch of salt to adhere to the popcorn while the caramel is still warm. A low-temperature bake in the oven crisps up the caramel corn and sets it so it can be easily stored and eaten. Start here and then get creative, adding tidbits that you particularly enjoy to the mix. Maybe you add a dash of cayenne for a hot take. Or maybe this is the base to a more involved party bowl mix where pretzels and M&M's join in. Choose your own adventure!

Banoffee pie

Banoffee pie is one of those slightly wacky but absolutely indulgent desserts that is definitely worth saving room for. It's a textural dream, with buttery biscuits turned into crust, thick caramel paired with soft bananas, and whipped cream for the airy flare. Unless you are hanging out in the Commonwealth, you likely won't find this number in many places, so it's a great dessert project to embark on in your kitchen.

Let's talk caramel. You definitely want to search out a thick, dark caramel here. After the buttery crust, the caramel is the second layer in the pie and needs to have integrity to it so it doesn't just slide off the pastry base, carrying everything else with it. You want the caramel sauce to be a rich, full-flavor one as well. Let's be real, Banoffee pie is a bomb. If you are making this, get on board with the indulgence, and don't hold back. On that note ... if you want to be extra about it, add either chocolate or coffee to the equation. You can make a chocolate crust or add chocolate shavings to the top. If you want to make it a bit buzzy, a shot of espresso dabbed across the base — pre-caramel — will do the trick. A wonderfully desserty dessert, Banoffee pie is just as delicious as it is showy.

Caramel apple snacking cake

Tart, juicy apples paired with luscious sweet caramel is always a fan favorite combination. Making an everyday loaf cake that you can slice for a mid-morning coffee break or serve up for dessert is a great way to make the two ingredients shine. While this cake isn't super sweet, it does have a sweet twinge from the caramel, so you want to go with a less sugary apple variety. Something tart, with good acidity and a firmness that will hold up in the bake.

Choose your favorite canned caramel for this recipe. There are two ways to incorporate it into the cake. The extroverted addition glosses the top of the cake, giving it a nice shine as it cools, making it instantly appealing. It also gives a nice little crust, adding a textural component to the apple cake. The introverted addition of caramel is on the inside, only giving way when you cut into and study a slice. If you want to go for the latter caramel inclusion, put half your apple cake batter into the baking tin, then drizzle a thin layer of caramel sauce to cover, and add the rest of the cake batter on top. Once baked, this will give a wavy wisp of caramel through the center of the cake. She's beauty, she's grace, she's a caramel apple cake.

Millionaire's Shortbread

Looking for a little throwback? Scottish Millionaire's Shortbread are the perfect little bars layered with a buttery crust, a thick coating of rich caramel, and topped with chocolate ganache. The combination really can't be beat, and it's the perfect way to use a heaping amount of caramel sauce.

Millionaire's Shortbread is essentially three layers. Baked shortbread, caramel, and chocolate. Easy enough; you just need a bit of time to pull these together. Once the buttery shortbread base is baked, it needs time to cool before you add your layer of caramel so it doesn't become a big mess. And once you add your caramel, you need to let it firm up before adding the chocolate ganache. The caramel of choice here is thick. You're looking to have an ¼ -½ inch layer of caramel firmly set in the bars, so this isn't the time for a squeeze bottle of caramel that's built to run across your ice cream. Go thick, big, bold flavor. It's a third of the bar, after all!

Zhuzhed up crêpes

Crêpes are an easy treat to whip up. If you are making brunch and want to go the extra bit, overlay a few nicely folded crêpes on a plate and drizzle with canned caramel sauce. You instantly get a five for presentation, and it makes it an extra sweet treat to enjoy. Once you go down this path, it's easy to ordain the crêpes with berries, sliced bananas, and whipped cream. At this point, you're kidding yourself if you're still calling it breakfast, but hey, we all do it.

Choose your best drizzling caramel for these. You don't want a big gloop of caramel to plop off your spoon and weigh down the thin crêpe. Rather, you want to make delicate strands across the crêpes — a light touch. This probably is a moment for a squeeze bottle of caramel. That, or gently warm your favorite viscous caramel so it can be drizzled lighter and more evenly.

Salted caramel rimmed cocktails

A festive cocktail needs a worthy garnish, and a salted caramel rim is sure to make your cocktail look and taste the next level. Whether you're going for a cocktail or a mocktail, dressing your best glasses with a decorative and sweet edge adds a whole new vibe to the drink. So, which flavors to pair with a bold caramel rim?

Similar to food, think of complementary flavor combinations that highlight similarities or opposing flavor combinations that each bring something different, like acid, sweet, or heat, making a more complex palate when combined. Great candidates include an Appletini, the Electron, a frozen Eggnog, White Russians, or a Spiced Pumpkin Flip.

Sweep a relatively viscous caramel across half the rim of the glass and then sprinkle with a bit of salt or dab on finely crushed hard caramel candy for a double effect. It's showy, and it's a delicious and textural addition to the drink. Thinking that it might also be a good idea to dress up your winter hot chocolate? We think you're right.

Oatmeal caramel bars

Buttery oatmeal bars with a luscious layer of caramel in the center feel like a real treat while pretending to be somewhat healthy (because of the oatmeal). Don't be fooled, though; these are every bit as delicious and indulgent, thanks to the buttery sweet center derived from a can of caramel, as well as an over-the-top drizzle.

Bust out a can of thick delicious caramel to drizzle across the oatmeal crumb bar base. Then layer more oat crumb mixture to complete the bars. Choose a semi-thick caramel for these bars. It will settle and soak into the oat crumb just enough while still holding its own as a layer in the bar. A thin caramel would run and disappear to a burnt crust along the edges of the bars. The bake will help to meld the two components, making a homogenous oatmeal caramel bar that will likely become a new staple in your kitchen.


Pralines are the ultimate sweet confection. And while they seem like they could be a bit of a project, they literally could not be any easier to pull together while still looking and tasting delicious. Except that is, if you are using canned caramel! In that case, it actually does get even easier. You can make custom pralines with your preferred combination of toasted nuts to get them just how you like.

Choose your favorite thick caramel to get started. Then toast your preferred nut combination in the oven until just browning and fragrant. Roughly chop the nuts and add them to a bowl with the caramel. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Then, dollop caramel nut medallions on the parchment to whatever size you're going for. Sprinkle with salt while still viscous and let them sit out until firm, at which point they are ready to eat!