Butterscotch Sauce

April 8, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This recipe is from one of my mother's best friends, via her mother, via the San Francisco restaurant Trader Vic's. You can make it with either dark or light brown sugar or a combination of the two. It's great drizzled over crêpes and cakes. One thing to know is that it firms up as it hits ice cream, but it softens back up in your mouth. It gets quite hard and grainy in the fridge, but low heat brings the sauce right back to life. This recipe fits perfectly into a Bonne Maman jar. It keeps for months in the fridge, but it will not last that long.Phyllis Grant

Makes: a little over 1 1/2 cups


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped out
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In This Recipe


  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil until sugar dissolves. This takes a few minutes. It will froth and bubble and go bonkers. Don't panic.
  2. Add heavy cream. Stand back. The mixture will erupt and rise up. Stir in vanilla bean, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Whisk. Bring back up to a vigorous boil for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
  3. Serve right away over ice cream or yogurt. Inside crepes. In between layers of cake. Or store it in the fridge for a few weeks.

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Reviews (10) Questions (1)

10 Reviews

Kelly October 2, 2015
Just made the Butterscotch Sauce. LOVED IT. Poured it over Three Twins Vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the simple and delicious recipe.
Kathleen R. May 24, 2014
So.Delicious. It lasted less than a week in the refrigerator one spoonful at a time! I have all these jars in the fridge labeled "Phyllis's Dressing" "Phyllis's Carmel Sauce" So yummy.
Brandi April 18, 2014
Wait, there's no scotch in butterscotch?! That's a little devastating.
Author Comment
Phyllis G. April 18, 2014
ha! i know. such a bummer. it's fascinating. here's a bit from wikipedia: One explanation is the meaning "to cut or score" for the word "scotch", as the confection must be cut into pieces, or "scotched", before hardening. It is also possible that the "scotch" part of its name was derived from the word "scorch".
Nathan April 14, 2014
Can you substitute Lyle's golden syrup for the corn syrup?
Author Comment
Phyllis G. April 15, 2014
i don't know. let me know if you try. but i don't see why not. is the flavor fairly neutral?
Catherine April 10, 2014
Any substitution suggestions for the corn syrup?
Author Comment
Phyllis G. April 15, 2014
nathan (in comment above) asked about substituting with golden syrup. worth a shot! or just leave it out. the sauce won't be as smooth. but that's okay.
Ann D. April 9, 2014
Thank you for that. I've always wanted to know how to make real butterscotch sauce.
Author Comment
Phyllis G. April 15, 2014
you're so welcome!