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Homemade Butterscotch Sauce (Dairy-Free, Vegan Options)


Homemade Butterscotch Sauce (Dairy-Free, Vegan Options)

Homemade butterscotch sauce is irresistible and incredibly easy to make. All you need is 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to produce a versatile treat you can also offer as a sweet gift!

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce: An easy 5-ingredient, 15-minute homemade gift! //

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I’m a big fan of caramel, the kind that’s enjoyed from liquid to chewy, depending on the degree it reaches on a candy thermometer. The slightly burnt taste of caramel is intriguing, and my favorite way to enjoy it is by making Salted Butter Caramels, which are difficult to forget once you’ve tasted them.

I admit that, for the longest time, I wasn’t very interested by butterscotch sauce. I saw it as an unsubtle, sweet blanket that completely saturated tastebuds with sugar. I know, that’s terribly judgmental, but I’ll say, first, that I’d tasted mostly only industrially made butterscotch sauce, and second, I’ve changed my mind. In fact, I may have become one of the biggest supporters of homemade butterscotch sauce you’ll ever meet!

This turnaround started when I wanted to make caramel sauce that would turn my Brownies in a Jar into a decadent treat. I first made a textbook caramel sauce, but I wasn’t satisfied with the results: the combination of the slightly bitter, sophisticated flavor of the caramel just didn’t go well with the unfussy brownies I was making. Because I was using butterscotch chips in the brownies, trying a butterscotch sauce seemed like the logical step. I whipped up a batch in a few minutes, not really believing it would live up to my expectations, given how fast and easy it was to make. Well, let’s just say I basically ate that whole first batch by the spoonful. It was that good!

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce: An easy 5-ingredient, 15-minute homemade gift! //

Homemade butterscotch sauce is made with just 5 ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry, and it takes all of 10 minutes to make. There simply is no excuse not to make this amazing butterscotch sauce, but be aware that it’s highly addictive. Once you try it, you’ll be tempted to use it on anything and everything from crepes, cakes, and pies to vanilla bean gelato and roasted fruits—I’ll gladly admit I even dip madeleines in it!

Store butterscotch sauce in cute jars and give it to everyone you love. Homemade butterscotch sauce is an easy, inexpensive gift to make, and I promise the lucky people who receive it will thank you a thousand times over.

Helpful Tips for Making Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Make it salted butterscotch—or not

I happen to find salted butterscotch sauce utterly irresistible, but some people might prefer a more straightforwardly sweet sauce. The great thing with homemade butterscotch sauce is that you make it exactly how you like it. If you go the salty route, please, oh please, make sure not to use regular table salt in this recipe. The harsh flavor of iodized salt would be much too strong to create the delicate balance between salty and sweet you’re aiming for. Any type of fine sea salt or flaky sea salt will work, but for the best flavor use French fleur de sel, which not only seasons gently but adds complexity to the flavor. Because salt varieties vary in power, always make sure to add just a pinch at first, then taste and adjust until the sauce tastes delicious. This will prevent you from oversalting and ruining your whole batch of caramel.

Easy Salted Butterscotch Sauce: An easy 5-ingredient, 15-minute homemade gift! //

Pick your butter carefully

It’s best to use unsalted butter because its means you get to control how salty the butterscotch sauce will be. If you only have semi-salted or salted butter, omit the salt first, then taste the sauce when it’s done, and adjust the seasoning if you’d like the sauce to have savory notes. If you can, try to find artisan or European butter, which will make the sauce even more aromatic. I like to use cultured butter, which is made with fermented cream and thus develops a fuller flavor and texture.

High quality European butter is best for making butterscotch sauce //

Use the best vanilla extract you can afford

You do not have to use vanilla extract in butterscotch sauce, but if you use it, make sure to use products labeled “pure vanilla extract,” which are made with real vanilla. Cheaper vanilla extracts are artificially vanilla-flavored, which means the aroma won’t carry through the sauce.

For a truly luxurious touch, use half a vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp (2 ml) of vanilla bean paste. The flavor and aroma of natural vanilla is just intoxicating, plus you get those cute vanilla seeds in the sauce, which makes it extra chic.

Whole vanilla beans give a deliciously aromatic flavor to homemade butterscotch sauce //

Try different varieties of brown butter

To get the signature pale beige color of classic butterscotch sauce, use light brown sugar. For a more assertive flavor and a darker color, try substituting dark brown sugar.

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce: An easy 5-ingredient, 15-minute homemade gift! //

How to Make Vegan Butterscotch Sauce

It’s very easy to make vegan butterscotch sauce. Simply swap a quality vegan spread, such as Earth Balance’s Vegan Buttery Sticks or Becel’s Unsalted Sticks, for the butter, and use soy cream (for a subtler flavor) or coconut cream (for a richer texture) instead of dairy cream. 

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce: An easy 5-ingredient, 15-minute homemade gift! //

How to Make Homemade Butterscotch Sauce //

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

Homemade butterscotch sauce is irresistible and incredibly easy to make. All you need is 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to produce a versatile treat you can also offer as a sweet gift!
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:5 minutes
Total Time:15 minutes
Servings 2 cups butterscotch sauce



  • Set a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the butter and melt it, stirring constantly. Whisk in the cream, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp (2 ml) of the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking a few times throughout. Remove the butterscotch sauce from the heat, then whisk in the vanilla. Taste the sauce (careful not to burn yourself!). Adjust the salt level to your liking.
  • Transfer the butterscotch sauce to glass jars.
  • SERVING: You can serve butterscotch sauce cold from the fridge, room temperature, or warm. A thin layer of sugar syrup can separate at the bottom of the jars after refrigeration, simply give the butterscotch sauce a good stir and serve as desired.
    To reheat, microwave the butterscotch sauce for about 10 seconds at a low heat setting, then stir to verify if the sauce is loose and warm. If the sauce does not seem warm enough, return it to the microwave for a few seconds more.
  • STORAGE: Butterscotch sauce thickens and becomes paler in color as it cools. Even refrigerated, it remains soft enough to use straight out of the fridge–very handy for sudden cravings!
    Keep the sauce refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Freezing is not recommended.
  • MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Replace butter with lactose-free butter or a quality vegan spread, such as Earth Balance's Vegan Buttery Sticks or Becel's Unsalted Sticks. Use lactose-free heavy creamsoy cream (for a smoother flavor), or coconut cream (for a richer texture) instead of dairy cream.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace butter with a quality vegan spread, such as Earth Balance's Vegan Buttery Sticks or Becel's Unsalted Sticks, and use soy cream (for a subtler flavor) or coconut cream (for a richer texture) instead of dairy cream.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


Rate + Review

3.69 from 16 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    My family would adore this recipe for butterscotch sauce. We always have ice cream in the freezer so I’m so excited to try this. Your recipe looks so easy to understand and looks amazing!!

  2. 5 stars
    This is the best butterscotch sauce I’ve ever had! I used mine on some profiteroles which I made for my husbands birthday and it was a perfect addition. I could easily eat it by spoonful straight out of the jar!

  3. This sauce is super versatile and is something I could see going well with a variety of recipes. Love that it is vegan as well.

  4. 5 stars
    This butterscotch sauce is rich, creamy, and lovely!!! I was so surprised how easy it was to make. The flavor comes out perfect.

  5. 5 stars
    Butterscotch flavoring is a favorite in our house and I honestly think it’s underrated. Finding this butterscotch sauce is a true treasure!

  6. 5 stars
    I never thought making the butterscotch sauce was so easy. It turns out so yummy and perfect. I use it for pancakes.

  7. 5 stars
    Awesome! This butterscotch sauce looks incredibly delicious and yummy! Perfectly paired with our dessert! The best part it’s easy to make! Thanks, I totally loved it!

  8. 5 stars
    This butterscotch sauce is so good, I could eat it out of the jar with a spoon. It’s perfectly sweet, salty, rich and creamy and I want to put it on everything. Great recipe!

  9. I need to make this ASAP. Looks amazing. Ice cream, cake, cookies. So many things I want to eat with this sauce. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? lol.