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Rum Caramel Sauce (So Easy!)

Homemade caramel sauce is made even better with the addition of rum! Enjoy this Rum Caramel Sauce with a scoop of ice cream, a slice of pie or cake, or spoon it over bread pudding. Caramel sauce with rum is also great for homemade gifting. You’ll be amazed how easy this caramel rum sauce is to make!

photo of rum caramel sauce drizzling off a spoon into in a jar full of caramel

Making this Rum Caramel Sauce Recipe

First there was bourbon caramel sauce, then pumpkin caramel sauce, and now I’ve created the absolute BEST caramel sauce with rum. 

The rum caramel sauce is quick and easy to make (yes, really!), is silky smooth in texture, and tastes divine with the addition of rum. 

The caramel sauce is incredibly rich and buttery, and the rum balances out the sweetness of the sauce nicely. 

There’s just 2 tablespoons of rum in the entire recipe, so while you can definitely taste the rum in this caramel sauce, it’s not overly boozy in flavor. 

In this post, I’ll be sharing my top tips for caramel sauce success as well as my favorite ways to enjoy this special treat. 

Tools Needed for Making Caramel Sauce

Making caramel sauce requires minimal kitchen tools, but there are a few you absolutely must have on hand: 

  • Heavy Saucepan – Make sure it is a larger saucepan so you don’t have to worry about overflow. However, don’t use a stockpot. I recommend using a quality saucepan with a heavy bottom; cheaper pans are typically very thin, which makes it easier for the caramel to scorch on the bottom. 
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons – To measure out all of the ingredients.
  • Wooden Spoon or Heat-Safe Spatula – To stir the caramel sauce while it cooks.
photo of ingredients needed to make this caramel rum sauce

Ingredients in Rum Caramel Sauce 

The caramel rum sauce calls for just a handful of basic ingredients: 

  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Rum
  • Vanilla extract

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

What’s the Best Rum for Caramel Sauce? 

For this quick caramel sauce, you’ll want to use dark or gold rum. Do not use white rum as it is too mild in flavor. 

Can I Use Spiced Rum? 

Yes, you can make caramel sauce with spiced rum, noting that it will have a slightly different flavor.

Dark rum is aged for longer than most spiced rums, and spiced rum will also contain additional spices (hence the name). 

Can This Recipe Be Made Without Rum? 

Yes, you may omit the rum entirely to make a classic homemade caramel sauce. 

Can I Use a Different Liquor Altogether? 

Yes! I have a similar recipe for bourbon caramel sauce that we love, so I imagine bourbon or whiskey would work well in this recipe too.  

step by step photos of how to make caramel sauce with rum

How to Make Caramel Sauce with Rum 

Making rum caramel sauce from scratch is much easier than you might think! Follow these basic instructions for perfect caramel sauce every time: 

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally if needed to ensure even cooking. 
  4. Once the mixture is at a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook until sugar turns a golden brown caramel color. Do NOT stir the sugar mixture anymore once it’s boiling. 
  5. When the caramel is golden brown, remove it from the heat immediately. 
  6. Carefully stir in the butter. 
  7. After butter is mixed in, add the cream, stirring until completely incorporated. 
  8. Stir in the rum, vanilla, and salt. 
  9. Let cool to a safe temperature before enjoying. 

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

overhead photo of this rum caramel sauce recipe in a jar

Tips for Making Homemade Caramel Sauce

  • Use a heavy saucepan. A heavy saucepan will distribute heat better and will prevent the caramel from scorching on the bottom. 
  • Stop stirring the sugar mixture once it’s boiling. Once the sugar water begins to boil, you need to reduce it to a simmer and let the heat work its magic undisturbed. If you continue to stir the hot sugar water, it won’t caramelize properly. 
  • Be patient! The cook time for caramel sauce can take up to 10 minutes. You don’t want to walk away from the saucepan (in case the sugar starts to crystallize or burn), but you don’t want to stir it either — just be patient. 
  • Remove the sugar mixture from the heat before stirring in the remaining ingredients. If you add the cream or rum while the sugar is still on the heat, it can bubble up too vigorously and burn you. Or, the sugar will burn by being kept on the heat for too long. 
  • Use caution when adding the cream. As I just mentioned, the heavy cream can bubble up quite violently when it first touches the hot sugar mixture, so be careful when stirring it in. 
  • Add rum to taste. 1 tablespoon adds just a nice hint of rum flavor, while 2 tablespoons is more pronounced. Just keep in mind that adding rum thins out your sauce, so you don’t want to go too crazy. 
photo of a jar of caramel rum sauce recipe with a spoon full of rum caramel sauce

FAQs About This Recipe for Rum Caramel Sauce

How to store caramel sauce

Store rum caramel sauce in an airtight container in the fridge (like a jar). The caramel sauce will need to be allowed to cool to room temperature before being refrigerated. 

How long does homemade caramel sauce last? 

If stored properly, it will last up to 2 weeks. Feel free to gently reheat the caramel sauce on the stove if you prefer warm caramel sauce for your ice cream, pie, or brownies. 

How can I thicken caramel sauce? 

If your caramel sauce is runny, you likely didn’t cook it for long enough.

Once you add the heavy cream and remaining ingredients to the sugar mixture, you’ll have to eat the runny caramel sauce as is.

Next time, be sure to cook the sugar mixture until it’s golden brown! 

What causes caramel sauce to crystallize? 

If your sugar starts seizing up (crystallizing) instead of staying liquid and turning brown, it’s probably an issue of impurities in your sugar.

This can be from the sugar itself, another ingredient on your measuring cup, or in your pan. Using clean equipment that’s been dried with a clean kitchen towel is essential. 

Can I fix crystallized caramel sauce? 

Sometimes! To “fix” seizing sugar, you need to catch the crystallization as quickly as possible (hence why you shouldn’t walk away from a simmering pot of caramel sauce).

This usually looks like flecks of dryness on top of your boiling sugar. 

Once you notice the sugar starting to crystallize, you have two options depending on the kind of crystallization you’re seeing: 

  1. If you notice flecks of dryness on top of the sugar, add a tablespoon of water to the pan and cover with a lid. This usually results in the steam melting your crystals back down. 
  2. If you see crystals forming on the side of your pan, give it a quick spritz with a spray bottle of water. 

If neither solution works, remove the pan from the heat and throw out the crystalized sugar. You’ll just have to clean your equipment and try again! 

It’s a frustrating problem, but can usually be avoided by being doubly sure everything is clean before starting. 

What should I do if the caramel sauce burns? 

Toss it out! Burnt caramel sauce can’t be saved and it will taste incredibly bitter. Clean the saucepan thoroughly before making a new batch of caramel. 

photo of ways to use this caramel rum sauce for bread pudding, ice cream, pie topping, and more

Ways to Use the Caramel Rum Sauce

Use this caramel sauce with rum for any recipe that calls for caramel sauce! It’s also delicious as a dessert topping and pairs especially well with fruit desserts. 

Here are some ways to enjoy this homemade caramel rum sauce: 

photo of a woman dipping apple slices into rum caramel sauce

Try This Rum Caramel Sauce! 

Next time you’re looking for a quick caramel sauce, give this recipe a try! 

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this caramel sauce with rum. 

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see a photo of your rum caramel sauce!

More Easy Caramel Recipes: 

Salted Bourbon Caramels are a perfect holiday gift for anyone who craves sweet and salty. Traditional salted caramels are enhanced with the flavors of bourbon, maple syrup, and vanilla beans!

This Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Sauce is so easy to make at home. It is over the top good thanks to the addition of real pumpkin puree and plenty of pumpkin pie spices.  

Looking for a fun twist on the traditional salted caramel recipe? These Gingerbread Caramels are a delicious and great Christmas candy to add to your Holiday goodie making list. 

Gooey Caramel Pecan Rolls are perfect for a special occasion brunch. They feature a soft brioche dough, cinnamon filling, and tons of caramel pecan topping.

Salted Caramel Budino features a cookie crust that’s topped with vanilla pudding and then a layer of homemade caramel sauce.

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Have you ever made caramel sauce with rum?

photo of rum caramel sauce drizzling off a spoon

Rum Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Homemade caramel sauce is made even better with the addition of rum! Enjoy this Rum Caramel Sauce with a scoop of ice cream, a slice of pie or cake, or spoon it over bread pudding. 


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoons salt


    1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.
    2. Heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
    3. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally if needed to ensure even cooking, Let cook until sugar turns a golden brown caramel color. 
    4. Remove from heat immediately, and carefully stir in butter.
    5. After butter is mixed in, add cream, stirring until completely incorporated. Caramel may thicken and appear clumpy where the cool cream hits it, just stir until smooth again.
    6. Stir in rum, vanilla, and salt. 
    7. Let cool to a safe temperature, then transfer to a storage container. Caramel may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 


Rum: The amount of rum you use is dependent on your taste. 1 tablespoon adds just a nice hint of rum flavor, where 2 tablespoons is more pronounced. Just keep in mind that adding rum thins out your sauce, so you don’t want to go too crazy. 

Vanilla: The vanilla is optional, but I find it adds a nice layer of flavor.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 137Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 21mgSodium 78mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 0gSugar 17gProtein 0g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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