A 4-ingredient salted butter caramel sauce to slather on everything

A sweet taste of Paris is only minutes away . . .

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published February 15, 2022 6:25PM (EST)

Parisian caramel sauce (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Parisian caramel sauce (Mary Elizabeth Williams)

You don’t need an expensive new piece of equipment, or an obscure ingredient you have to hunt for. You just need a fresh way of preparing an old favorite. In "One Way," we’ll revisit classic ingredients and dishes, giving them a new twist with an easy technique you haven’t tried before.

The French sure have some given the world some really great ideas. Cinema. The handbag. The hot air balloon. Salty, buttery, caramel that you can squeeze.

While visiting friends in Paris recently, my eyes immediately fell to an inconspicuous item on their kitchen counter — a tube of something called Regliat Caramel Spread. It appeared on the table for dinner one night soon after, when we had a perfect meal: hard cider and crepes slathered in caramel. 

Regliat promises that its spread is "for gourmets, or for sports enthusiasts looking for a quick source of energy." Sure, you could eat it because you're . . . a sports enthusiast. If you're not of a particularly athletic bent, however, I'm here to say that a big dollop of caramel is also perfect for anyone whose Continental tastes run toward Biscoff and Nutella.

France takes its caramel very seriously. Its preferred version comes from Brittany, where the confection originated and where it excels. Back home in New York, I can come close with my own intensely deep, rich, homemade version. Best of all, it only takes four ingredients and 15 minutes to make.

David Lebovitz's recipe is perfection — just heed his advice that "the trick is to get the caramel base as dark as possible in step 2, close to burnt, but not quite." Don't be shy with the salt, either — the crunch is essential. I also like to add a hit of good balsamic vinegar for a surprise kick, but it's entirely optional.

RELATED: From café au lait to cocktails, David Lebovitz offers a master class in French drinking culture

Use this as you would any delicious, sweet spread. You can pour it warm over fruit or ice cream, spoon it into your morning oatmeal or drizzle it as an irresistible topping for cake. Or you can just smear it on crusty bread for the easiest, Frenchest snack possible — a taste of Paris wherever you are.


Recipe: Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Inspired by David Lebovitz and Garlic & Zest

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
 10 minutes


  • 6 tablespoons salted butter 
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt 
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar



  1. Over medium heat, add the butter and sugar to a large saucepan or pot.
  2. Let the butter and sugar melt together, stirring often with a wooden spoon. It takes a few minutes for everything to get smooth and incorporated — don't give up!
  3. When the mixture is a rich brown, remove from the heat.
  4. Slowly pour in the cream, stirring constantly, until smooth. Be careful: It may bubble and sputter.
  5. Mix in the salt, and vanilla or balsamic vinegar, if using. Serve warm, or let cool and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Cook's Notes

If you want to go full French, pick up some butter by Isigny Ste Mère.

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By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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4-ingredients Butter Caramel Food One Way Paris Recipe Sauce