You know what takes someone from being a good cook to an excellent cook? Knowing how and when to use salt. And guess what? It’s one of the most budget-friendly cooking techniques you can use too. ;) Salt isn’t just about “saltiness”, it actually helps your tongue distinguish different flavors. So you’ll often hear me talking about adding a bit of salt at the end of a recipe to really make the flavors “pop.” This recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Iced Coffee is the perfect example. A little bit of salt amplifies the nutty flavor of the caramel and perfectly contrasts the sweetness, making a truly multi-dimensional flavor. You’ve got to try it!
Homemade Salted Caramel Iced Coffee
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp butter*
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 5-6 cups strong coffee
- To make the salted caramel, add the granulated sugar and water to a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and it begins to boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the sugar to boil, without stirring, until it turns a deep amber color (about 7-10 minutes).
- Once the sugar turns deep amber, remove it from the heat immediately, as it can go from caramelized to burned rather quickly. Whisk in the heavy cream until smooth (if the caramelized sugar clumps from the cold cream, simply return the pot to very low heat and whisk until it has dissolved in). Whisk in the butter, salt, and vanilla extract.
- Allow the caramel to cool (it will thicken considerably as it cools). This batch of caramel makes about 10 ounces and can stay refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
- To make the Salted Caramel Iced coffee, place about 2 Tbsp of the salted caramel in the bottom of a mug or heat safe cup. Add 8 ounces strong coffee and stir until the caramel has dissolved.
- Fill a separate serving glass with ice (if desired, drizzle more caramel inside the glass first). Pour the coffee and caramel mixture over the ice. Serve immediately, or add a splash of milk or cream, and a small pinch of sea salt.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make a Salted Caramel Iced Coffee – Step by Step Photos
Making homemade salted caramel is a fast process, so I like to gather my ingredients before I begin. You’ll need 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup heavy cream, 3 Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
Add 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to a heavy bottomed sauce pot.
Place the pot over medium-high heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow it to continue to boil without stirring until it turns a deep amber color (about 7-10 minutes). Once it reaches this color, remove it from the heat IMMEDIATELY. Sugar can pass from caramelized to burned rather quickly. If you’re worried, take it off the heat when it’s even slightly lighter than this.
Whisk in 3/4 cup heavy cream until the mixture is smooth. If the caramelized sugar seizes up from the cold cream, place the pot back over low heat and whisk continually until it dissolves in, then remove it from the heat again.
Whisk in 3 Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. The caramel is now done! If you decide to taste it at this point, be very VERY careful. Molten sugar is hotter than it seems and will burn you badly.
The caramel will be quite runny while it’s hot, but will thicken up as it cools. You can keep this in your refrigerator for about 3 weeks (and have many delicious coffees!).
To make each Homemade Salted Caramel Iced Coffee, add 2 Tbsp of the caramel to a mug or heat proof container and add 8 oz. strong coffee. Stir until the caramel is dissolved. Because the caramel contains heavy cream and butter, the coffee will already be quite creamy!
For extra effect, you can drizzle more caramel inside the glasses you’ll be serving the iced coffee in. Fill the serving glass with ice cubes (larger chunks are better than crushed because they don’t melt quite as quickly and will not dilute your drink). Pour the coffee-caramel mixture over the ice cubes.
You can serve the drink as-is, or finish it off with a splash of milk and another small pinch of salt. Either way, they’re GREAT.
I’m not sure how to price these puppies because coffee can be really confusing to break down (beans to grounds to brewed?), but I’ll bet you $5 that they’re at least half the cost of what you’d pay in a coffee shop for a Salted Caramel Iced Coffee!!