A recipe for Instant Pot Salted Caramel – Instantly Delicious

I want to share a fun recipe for your Instant Pot®​Salted Caramel Sauce. ​Yes, I know you can easily make it on your stove top. Yes, I realize that this might not be the best way to use your Instant Pot®, but it definitely works and was pretty fun to make. We celebrate Christmas at our house, and after indulgent desserts at Thanksgiving, holiday treats at gatherings throughout December, and my Aunt Jane’s famous chocolate mousse on Christmas Eve, we like to go EASY for Christmas dessert. My mom, sister, and I bake delicious cookies every year, and we bake enough for a small army. After sharing with friends and neighbors, we make one last beautiful platter just for us (because we never sample cookies as we go – KIDDING.) We also serve bowls of ice cream with hot fudge and salted caramel sauce to drizzle on top.  Nothing fussy or difficult and a lovely way to wrap up the Christmas season.
Make sure you start watching the sugar mixture at around 12 minutes. It should turn a really dark amber, maybe just a touch darker than you think it should be. At 13 minutes, your final result would be around the color of a piece of store bought caramel candy. Take it one minute more for a deeper, richer caramel. The pot will read “hot” which just means that it is hot enough to sauté something.  Disregard for this application.

​Instant Pot®
Salted Caramel
​Makes 1 cup


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
​3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
​1/3 cup heavy cream
​1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


​1. Set Instant Pot® to sauté.  Add the sugar and water, stirring to combine.  Then walk away for 14 minutes, not touching the pot (melting sugar can be a fussy task). 

2. Once the time is up, immediately whisk in the butter, followed by the cream, until smooth.  Add in salt and vanilla and immediately remove from heat.  Pour into a heat-proof glass jar and allow to cool.  Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

​Enjoy, Julie

12/22/2016 01:22:22 pm

Thank you for this blog! I’m getting one for Christmas!


12/22/2016 04:41:14 pm

What a fun present! I hope you enjoy!


1/27/2017 07:28:40 pm

Can you clarify if sauté should be set to low, normal, or high? Thanks!


1/28/2017 08:59:25 am

I use the default setting, which I believe is normal.


Janie mann
1/31/2017 05:00:49 pm

Hi Julie! I followed your recipe to a T and my caramel is very pale in color, not dark like yours. Should I have cooked sugar longer than 13 minutes?


2/1/2017 11:50:25 am

Hi Janie. I retested this recipe today, and you know what, at 13 minutes my caramel was pale, too. I was testing a lot when I first made the recipe, and I am wondering if my unit was just hotter an gave me that result sooner than if I had just plugged it in. I amended the recipe to 14 minutes (and took new pics – since I was comparing both). I really appreciate reader feedback to put out the best recipes possible, so thank you.


12/7/2017 09:18:22 pm

Might be a silly question, but do use salted or unsalted butter, or does it matter?


12/8/2017 12:59:52 pm

Hi Bob,

I always use unsalted butter. I will adjust the recipe. If you have salted butter, you can still use it. Maybe cut the salt by 1/4 teaspoon, if you do (give it a taste to see what you think.)



Ellie D.
12/8/2017 10:54:36 am

Does it need to stay refrigerated? I was thinking of giving these out at work and won’t necessarily have a fridge to keep them in.


12/8/2017 12:58:05 pm

Hi Ellie,

I am a bit of a food-safety freak, so I think they should stay cold. Can you bring them in a cooler and give them out at the end of the day? While they probably would be fine, I would hate to advise otherwise and have there be a problem. Maybe someone with more expertise can chime in.



12/10/2017 03:40:36 pm

Hi! Have you ever made more than one batch at a time? I want to make for gifts but didn’t know if 14 minutes would be enough if I made it 8x the recipe or whatnot. Thanks!!


12/11/2017 11:58:42 am

I am not sure if it will be enough time, but take a peek at 14 minutes. It should almost be the color of a copper penny, if that makes sense. If it isn’t, let it go longer, but stay close. Good to burnt happens very fast. I hope it works well for you.


12/12/2017 07:46:17 pm

Thank you! I tried it but the sugar wasn’t all dissolved, even with more time 😞 I may try it again and stir it a bit while it’s cooking. Thanks for your help!

12/13/2017 01:18:07 pm

I might give it a whirl and see what happens if I
make more. I need some for Christmas anyway. Maybe stir around the 14 minute mark.

12/15/2017 09:41:11 pm

Did you try it? I did it two times just by doubling it and it keeps freezing up on me to hard sugar never starts to get Amber brown!😬😩 what am I doing wrong?? Help me I don’t want to be doing the single recipe 12 times!! I did it once single recipe came out great! 😁

12/15/2017 08:54:52 pm

Please do give info on multiplying this recipe I hate to have to do this 10 times. I did try doubling it for some reason it totally Hardened on me never got Brown …I’m wondering if maybe a little bit a water from the previous stir on the spoon made it do that!😳 trying again with just one batch!🤞🏼


12/18/2017 04:59:13 pm

I haven’t tried yet. Sorry. Busy weekend and week ahead. Not sure I will have time to trial it. If I do, I will share.


12/18/2017 05:02:41 pm

I totally understand! Thanks for getting back to me 😉 I found another recipe that makes double I will try it on stove 👍🏻

8/4/2018 08:06:09 am

It might be that some water got in during the cooking. That will cause it to seize. That only fix for that in the conventional candy world is to add water and melt from there and let the water evaporate over time. In the IP, I don’t know.


Paula Tamburro
2/9/2018 08:56:19 pm

This was spectacular. I let it go for 14 minutes. It might be a tad paler than the photos, but oh my, taste. I served it over my IP vanilla yogurt. It is amazing.


Cari Jimison
10/28/2018 04:29:14 pm

Making this in a 3qt mini-duo. Any adjustments needed?


Judy Fortune
4/2/2019 10:57:14 am

I tried this for the first time and the sugar just crystalized.
I have some questions about the procedure.
Do you bring the saute function up to temperature before adding the sugar and water or start from cold?
Do you cover the pot?
Is a 6 quart pot too big? Should I put the ingredients in something smaller inside the main pot?


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