Caramel sauce pouring off a clear teaspoon into a clear bowl
12 Tips You Need To Make Perfect Caramel Sauce
The Right Pot
Using the right pan for making caramel sauce is crucial. You’ll want one that’s as heavy-bottomed as possible for more control over the heating.
A thin pan causes a loss of control over how quickly the sugar heats, often resulting in burning. Meanwhile, a thick bottom holds steady and guarantees heat is distributed evenly.
Make sure the pan’s bottom is light enough in color to visually monitor the changes in the caramel's color. It also needs to be clean to keep food remnants from getting mixed in.
Granulated Sugar
Using white, granulated sugar is the tried and true way to get a smooth caramel consistency. White sugar is perfect because it’s completely pure.
Any impurity in the sugar you use can cause it to burn faster, torching your caramel. Avoid any sort of brown sugar or sugars that are less granulated.
Wet Sugar Cooking
While dry caramel is a faster method, wet sugar cooking is more beginner-friendly. In the wet method, water is added to sugar as it dissolves over the heat.
Using water aids in a more even distribution of sugar across the pan and ultimately makes the heating process easier.
Avoid Stirring
Stirring caramel while cooking can cause the caramel to crystallize and might ruin the whole process. Once it crystalizes, you'll be left with a grainy texture.
It may be tempting to mix the water and sugar during the heating stage, but it’s better to gently swirl the pan to ensure an even distribution of color instead of stirring.
Combat Crystallization
If you notice crystals starting to form in your pan, use a wet pastry brush and run it along the sides of your pan to sweep any sugar into the mixture.
Another trick is to cover the caramel for a little bit while it's heating. The moisture on the bottom of the lid will find its way back into the caramel, giving it some liquid.
One final way to prevent crystallization is by adding some form of acid, such as cream of tartar or a squeeze of lemon, to the sugar and water before heating the mixture.