Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

caramel buttercream recipe by sugar and sparrow

One of my favorite things to do with my homemade salted caramel recipe is incorporate it into buttercream. It ends up being such an awesome blend of sweet and salty, perfect for topping cakes and cupcakes or using as a cake filling. It can transform basic cake flavors like chocolate and vanilla into something above and beyond, and it also adds complexity to Fall-inspired flavors like apple spice cake. Whatever flavors you love pairing with caramel, this salted caramel buttercream is magic!

caramel frosting recipe by sugar and sparrow

It all starts with a great homemade salted caramel recipe, like this one. It’s only four ingredients, easy as can be, and you don’t even need a candy thermometer to make it! Making the salted caramel from scratch is the key to this beautiful caramel buttercream flavor, so if you have your own favorite salted caramel recipe, feel free to incorporate it into the buttercream recipe below. Just avoid premade salted caramel sauces that tend to be overly sweet, because they might send the sweetness level of this buttercream way over the top.

salted caramel buttercream recipe

When you’ve got your salted caramel made and ready to go, make sure you give it enough time for cooling to room temperature before you add it into the buttercream recipe. It’ll be very hot and runny when you remove it from the stove, and allowing it to cool will not only ensure that your buttercream doesn’t melt into soup, but the caramel will get thicker and more flavorful as it sets. If you prefer to make the salted caramel ahead of time, that’s fine too! You can store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in an airtight container, then when you’re ready to make the buttercream, just microwave it in 15 second intervals to bring it back to room temperature.

salted caramel frosting recipe

Once your ingredients are all room temperature and ready to go, all you need is a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and about ten minutes from start to finish. The process is about as basic as it gets when it comes to an American buttercream recipe, but the end result is buttery salted caramel magic that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful!

caramel buttercream recipe by sugar and sparrow
5 from 5 votes
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Salted Caramel Buttercream

A sweet and salty caramel buttercream, perfect for frosting cakes and cupcakes or using as a cake filling. 

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 Cups (480g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup (120ml) salted caramel, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high until it’s fluffy and light (almost white in color), 5-6 minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle a few times in between. Turn the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar a few cups at a time, scraping down the bowl and paddle after each interval. Add the vanilla. 

  2. With the mixer still on low, add the salted caramel. Add a pinch of salt, increase the speed to medium, and mix for 2 full minutes.

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips: You can make this salted caramel buttercream ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you're ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip in your stand mixer to bring it back to smooth buttercream consistency. 

76 Comments

  1. Hi there, you mention topping cupcakes and filling cakes… what about covering a cake completely prior to putting fondant on it? Do you think it would tolerate the weight of fondant? And get a dry enough crust to put fondant on? Thankyou for any advice!

    • Hi Christine! This salted caramel buttercream will totally work for covering a cake before putting fondant on. It’s a crusting buttercream and I would recommend chilling it slightly prior to covering in fondant – that way you’ll get a firm surface and plenty of support for the fondant!

  2. Sounds wonderful! I’m planning on putting this on top of some decadent chocolate cupcakes for a friend’s birthday at work. Does this recipe make enough to pipe 24 cupcakes?

    • Hi Kate! This buttercream is SO tasty on chocolate cupcakes. To pipe 24 of them, I would 1.5 the recipe.

      • Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly! I am so excited for these!

        • Tabatha

          Oh my GOODNESS.

          Just made this to use for a birthday cake. So impressed. Had to put it away to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful.

          • Yay, Tabitha! So happy to hear you love this recipe as much as I do. It is SO hard to stop eating it by the spoonful!!

  3. Caitlin

    I can’t wait to try this recipe in full next week for my husbands birthday cake… we have the same birthday just 10 years apart, and this is what he requested to be on and in his cake.. Cake layers to be my Italian cream white cake recipe. So I am 1000% sure your SCBC is going to be heavenly on it!

  4. Hi Whitney,
    Why in this recipe you used more powdered sugar than the white chocolate butter cream recipe?
    Can’t wait to try both

    • Hi Giulia, there isn’t really a scientific reason why there’s more powdered sugar in this buttercream recipe. It’s just the way I’ve always made it. If you’re concerned about the amount of sugar, you can always decrease it by 1/2 cup or more, just eyeball the consistency in the process to make sure it’s thick enough to spread/pipe.

  5. So where is the recipe for the salted caramel! Pintrest just takes you around in circles! Not a friendly site
    Don’t show a recipe and then only give us half of it!!!

  6. Hi Whitney! Would this be enough to fill 2 10 inch Chocolate Cakes?
    It will be a 3 layer cake.. and may coat the outside with the luscious looking buttercream, then covering in fondant for a birch tree look. Thank you in advance and sharing your recipe!

    • Hi Laura! This recipe will be enough to fill a 3 layer 10-inch cake. That sounds like it’s going to be lovely and delicious!

    • Hi Taylor! I’ve never tried coloring this white. You can definitely give it a try but my assumption is it would take a lot of white food color gel to color it.

  7. I’m going to try this frosting with Carmel filled chocolate cupcakes!! They are cooling now and getting ready to start the frosting!

  8. Connie Churchill

    5 stars
    Oh my!! This is amazing! The directions were spot on, and I’m in love with the caramel and the frosting! This will be my go to recipe. I’m overjoyed, thank you for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    Also left a comment on the salted caramel recipe – which I used for this and it was amazing with my banana cake, which everyone agreed. Substituted sea salt flakes as can’t get kosher salt, and it was lovely every now and again a tiny taste of it! Smell of the caramel in the icing was dizzying! Thanks for a couple of great recipes. Don’t normally provide feedback but couldn’t see much from people who had already made it so thought help to add one having had such success with this!

  10. 5 stars
    I’m not a big frosting person – I typically scrape off about 80% of it on cakes (even when I make them)… BUT this? This is amazing. Seriously, so good. I just licked the entire paddle after making it (don’t tell my kids). I may develop diabetes by the end of this fall because I plan on making this a lot. Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Carol Chapa

    I just tried both the salted caramel and the SC buttercream frosting. Your descriptions were very accurate and helpful! I used the frosting to frost my husband’s 66th BD cake. Both recipes turned out perfectly! Thank you for posting! Super yummy!

  12. 5 stars
    Ever since I heard about salted caramel buttercream from a local baker, I’ve been itching to make this! This morning I did (for a Halloween layer cake I’m making for tonight’s party). I have an electric stove and the sugar got hot too fast on medium high and burnt before I realized it was happening. Round two on medium heat throughout the process was a success (just took a little longer)! It tasted delicious on the spoon and I can’t wait to taste the buttercream later!

    • So happy you had success with this recipe, Lisa! It’s one of my very favorites. Hope it was a hit at the Halloween party!

  13. I came here looking for a yummy caramel frosting to go on apple cider cupcakes. The recipe called for a brown sugar buttercream, that was a weird texture for me personally. I think this salted caramel frosting is exactly what an apple cider cupcake is screaming for!!

    • Hi Tiffany! I bet the salted caramel frosting is perfect on those apple cider cupcakes!! I’m gonna have to try that sometime.

  14. Can I use margarine for this recipe? I live in a place where you cant find butter easily and its super expensive.

    • Hi Noemi! You can substitute margarine, although I’ve never done that before so I don’t know how it will taste. Let me know how it goes!

  15. Search for “ sugar and sparrow salted caramel buttercream” on Pinterest and you will find quite a few pins using your photo but they aren’t linked to your site. I suggest you report they are using your intellectual property to Pinterest.

    I searched the web to find your real website since you had its name on your picture. Thank you – i will try your recipe soon – it looks fantastic.

  16. Laura Saravia

    hello! Can I make this buttercream with a standard mixer that does not have the paddle attachment?

    • Hi Laura! It depends on what kind of attachment you are using instead of the paddle. I think a whisk attachment would work fine!

  17. I would love to try this. Do you think I can color this frosting yellow or blue and the colors will turn out ok?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Carin! Since this buttercream has a beige base, any color you add to it will mix with beige. I think adding yellow would make it more of a mustard color but adding blue might be ok, you’ll definitely end up with more of a murkier blue than if you were to add the food coloring to a pure white buttercream. Hope that makes sense!

      • Carin Woods

        Thanks Whitney! That’s what I was thinking but thought I would ask. I’m going for a deeper yellow and blue so I’m hoping it will work out ok. I may try a small batch and test it out. Thank you!

  18. Hello. Silly me put the salted caramel into the buttercream and it was still a tiny bit like warm is there a way or getting the buttercream thick and creamy again please?

    • Hi Stacy! If it’s thinned out due to warmth of the caramel I would just put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let it cool down and then re-whip it. Let me know how it goes!

  19. Hi! I’m making a 4 layer cake, would I need to double the recipe or would this be enough? Thank you!☺️

  20. Mikayla

    Hi!
    I have to questions. The first one is, can i use this buttercream for the icing on the cake? Second question is that your salted caramel is it liquid because I have the « syrup one » can that still work? It’s probably a stupid question but can it?

    • Hi Mikayla! You can totally use this buttercream to ice a cake. The salted caramel I use has the consistency of a thick syrup, so as long as your is a thick syrup consistency and you like the taste of it, it should work!

  21. would this be enough to fill and cover the sides of a three layer cake or should i double it?

    • Hi Arthur! Depends on the diameter of the cake layers. For 6-inch, 8-inch, and 9-inch cakes I would double the recipe.

  22. Oh my goodness!!! Thank you!!! It’s soooo DELICIOUS!! I used for my chocolate cupcake, salted buttercream, & chocolate dipped pretzel!!! They are scrumptious thank you!!

  23. 5 stars
    This frosting and the salted caramel were both amazing! My daughter requested a vanilla cake with caramel frosting for her birthday cake, and I’m so glad I found this! It was fantastic!

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