This delicious and easy homemade butterscotch sauce is the perfect way to add a sweet and rich flavor to your favorite desserts. Made with only four ingredients, it combines light and dark brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream to create a smooth, creamy texture. It can be enjoyed with ice cream, milkshakes, fresh fruit, or cake. It’s sure to be a hit with family and friends!
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What is Butterscotch Sauce?
Butterscotch sauce is a sweet, creamy sauce made from brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream.
The sauce is smooth, thick, and luscious. It has a buttery, sweet, caramel flavour and it is a delicious topping for ice cream, cakes, a dip for crunchy fruits such as apples or pears, or mixed into drinks such as coffee or milkshakes.
The butterscotch sauce can easily be made at home. It takes less than 15 minutes to make and can be enjoyed immediately as a warm dessert topping or allowed to cool before serving.
You can change the consistency of your sauce just by the time you allow it to simmer before removing it from the heat. For a thinner sauce, simmer for just a couple of minutes, but you can simmer it longer if you want a thicker, more solid consistency for filling cakes or cupcakes.
A jar of this sweet dessert sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
For a full list of ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Butterscotch sauce is made with just four simple ingredients.
- Dark brown sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Salted butter
- Heavy cream
The combination of dark and light brown sugar gives this sauce a sweet, rich flavour. However, if you don’t have both at home, it can be made using only dark or light brown sugar. Using only dark brown sugar will give the sauce a deeper flavour, while using only light brown sugar will make it lighter in colour and flavour.
Salted butter is used in this recipe as it adds more flavour than unsalted butter, but you can use it if that is all you have. Just add a pinch of salt, which will help bring out the flavours in the sauce.
Heavy cream gives this butterscotch sauce its silky, creamy texture. Without the cream, the butterscotch will solidify into a toffee candy instead of a creamy sauce.
How to make butterscotch sauce
For complete instructions, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making butterscotch sauce at home takes less than ten minutes of cooking time and doesn’t require any special equipment.
All you need is a pot, a whisk, and a stove.
You will begin by melting the butter and sugar over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Then add the heavy cream and simmer for 4-5 minutes before removing it from the heat and pouring it into heat-safe containers.
You want to be careful when adding the cream, as it can cause the hot sugar mixture to spatter. We recommend removing the pot from the heat and slowly pouring the cream while whisking the mixture before returning the pot to the heat to finish the cooking process.
If you have a candy thermometer, you can heat the butterscotch to 225°F before removing it from the heat to cool. If you don’t have a thermometer, that’s ok. A four-minute simmer should give you a smooth, pourable sauce that will not fully harden when cooled.
The longer you heat the sauce, the stiffer it will become at cool temperatures, forming more of a sticky toffee candy than a sauce.
If this happens, you can warm it before serving to return it to a sauce consistency.
There are so many ways to enjoy this homemade butterscotch sauce.
- Drizzle over ice cream: One of the most common ways to enjoy this decadent sauce is drizzled over a bowl of ice cream. You can use it in a sundae or make a delicious butterscotch milkshake.
- Drizzle over pancakes or waffles: Want an extra decadent breakfast treat? Instead of maple syrup, drizzle some warm butterscotch sauce over your pancakes and waffles.
- As a dip: Creamy, sweet butterscotch sauce is perfect for fresh fruit. It goes exceptionally well with crisp, tart fruits such as apples and pears.
- As a dessert filling: Butterscotch sauce can be used for cakes, cupcakes, and pastries. Try using this butterscotch sauce as a filling for chocolate poke cake for a quick and easy dessert.
- Add to coffee or hot chocolate: Create a fancy coffee shop drink by mixing some butterscotch sauce into a latte or hot chocolate.
Top Tips & FAQS
You can store homemade butterscotch sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks. If you notice it is starting to separate, you can give it a good stir before serving. Sometimes it will become thicker after being stored; a quick reheat in the microwave will make it creamy and smooth again.
Butterscotch and caramel are very similar, but caramel generally uses all white sugar, while butterscotch uses brown sugar. In most cases, the two can be used interchangeably in recipes.
More Dessert Recipes
Easy Butterscotch Sauce
- ¼ Cup salted butter
- ½ Cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- ½ Cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
- ½ Cup heavy cream
- Place the butter and sugars in a medium-sized pot and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted, the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture has started to bubble.
- Remove the pot from the heat and, very slowly, pour the heavy cream into the pot while carefully whisking the mixture. Be sure to work carefully as the sauce will want to bubble up and splatter if you add the cream too quickly.
- Once all of the cream is added, return the pot to the heat and simmer while stirring for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. If you have a candy thermometer, the butterscotch is ready at 225°F. Otherwise, err on the side of less time, rather than more.
- Remove the butterscotch sauce from the heat and carefully pour it into heat-safe containers. Do not allow the sauce to cool in the pot, as the residual heat from the pot will continue to thicken the butterscotch.
- You can use the butterscotch immediately if you want a hot dessert sauce; otherwise, let it cool completely and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.