You’re going to love this butterscotch ice cream sauce recipe, you guys. It’s rich and creamy and is equally at home drizzled on cake or just eaten off a spoon!

You may also really like my butterscotch coffee syrup recipe–it brings the butterscotch goodness to your morning cup of joe!

For ease of browsing, you can find all my butterscotch recipes all in one place. Thanks for stopping by!

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A small, light blue dish of ice cream with a spoon drizzling rich butterscotch sauce on it.

See my butterscotch ice cream sauce web story here.

[NOTE: The video in this post is for butterscotch creme brulee, but in it, I make butterscotch so you can see how it’s done.

If you have never had true homemade butterscotch ice cream sauce, you owe it to yourself to try it.

It’s deeply flavorful with a chewy texture that is irresistible. Let me tell you all about it!

Why Make This Particular Recipe?

A jar of butterscotch sauce with a wooden spoon in it. In the background is a dish with pats of butter on it, a small white bowl of salt, and a pile of brown sugar.
The stuff dreams are made of. I mean, would you look at that slow slide off the spoon…? Sigh..,

This is real butterscotch ice cream sauce, friends.

By that, I mean you cook butter, sugar, and molasses together until the butter browns and the sugar caramelizes. That’s real butterscotch.

You’ll be able to taste it in the depth of flavor and see it in the thick, chewiness of the sauce.

And the butterscotch is perfectly complemented by the coffee flavor.

If you’d rather, you can also leave out the coffee extract and just have a delicious plain butterscotch sauce.

PRO TIP: This is a very molassesy butterscotch sauce. If you want a less molassesy flavor, either substitute dark brown sugar for the sugar and molasses or cut back on the amount of molasses you use.

How to Make This Sauce

First, you’ll make butterscotch.

Then, stop the cooking by adding cream. Boil for a few minutes, and then add your flavorings (if using).

Here’s what you’ll need:

Labeled images of the ingredients for making butterscotch sauce: butter, dark brown sugar, kosher salt, water, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and coffee extract (optional).
  • butter: use unsalted here and then add your own salt. Use fresh butter, because it’s an integral part of the flavor of butterscotch. Make sure it’s a tasty part!
  • dark brown sugar: Dark brown sugar is preferable to using light brown sugar to get the most well-rounded butterscotch flavor. If all you have is light brown sugar, add a tablespoon or so of molasses to the recipe
  • water: to ensure the sugar dissolves completely so you end up with a nice, smooth sauce
  • salt: this recipe is salt-heavy. Salt is also an integral part of the butterscotch flavor profile. I used Morton’s brand kosher salt in this recipe. If using Diamond Crystal, use additional
  • heavy cream: stops the cooking process, mellows the flavor, and allows the sauce to be pourable
  • coffee extract: this is technically optional, but not if you like this flavor combination, then you’ll want to use it.

How to Make the Butterscotch

Collage of  photographs showing cooking butterscotch in a pan, step by step. From all the ingredients added to the pan, to melting and mixing, to bubbling and stirring.

Making the butterscotch is the most important part of the process.

  1. First, melt the butter and add the sugar and molasses (or brown sugar) and salt
  2. Stir to moisten all the sugar
  3. Cook and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved. The butter won’t cleanly mix in with the sugar at this point
  4. Keep stirring and heating until the butter and sugar come together
  5. Watch carefully and stir contantly. As the butterscotch cooks, it may break and separate again and then come together.
  6. You will know it’s ready when the mixture darkens a bit in color and starts to smell like caramelized sugar. It may smoke just a bit.

Once the butterscotch is done, pour in the cream and stir over low heat until smooth.

Take the mixture’s temperature. If it’s below 230F, cook until you reach that temp.

If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, I strongly recommend you get one. I use mine for everything from taking the temps of cakes and custards to making candy.

Then stir in your coffee extract (or vanilla extract if making a classic butterscotch sauce)

Tips for Success

A high-angle shot into a jar of butterscotch sauce with a wooden spoon in it. The sauce is rich and thick.

It’s easier to accidentally burn butterscotch than it is to burn caramel, because the molasses color can mask the caramelization.

At least until you’ve done this a few times, consider erring on the side of less cooking rather than accidental burning.

Once you add the cream, make sure the temp gets up to 230F, and you’ll have a great sauce.

If you can take it all the way to “the edge,” the flavor will be deeper, but it will still be delicious if you add the cream a bit early.

If you’re still concerned, please watch the video I’ve included with this recipe. It’s for my butterscotch creme brulee, but the procedure for making the butterscotch is exactly the same.

Q & A

How long does it keep in the fridge?

Keep the cooled sauce in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

How do I reheat it?

You can reheat the whole container in the microwave. You could also spoon out a portion and heat it on the stove over medium heat. A third choice would be to place the container in a pot of very hot water for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce is loose enough to pour.

Can I make other variations?

Sure. Stir in some chocolate chips or chopped chocolate for a chocolate butterscotch sauce. Add some orange zest or a very few drops of orange oil for an orange butterscotch. If you like nuts, some finely chopped toasted almonds or pecans would be a lovely addition as well.

Serving Suggestions

I can think of no greater compliment to a great butterscotch sauce than homemade French vanilla ice cream, y’all. And my recipe doesn’t require a churn, either.

It’s also really good on butter pecan ice cream or drizzled on butterscotch pudding. Both of those options give you double the butterscotch goodness.

Use it as a sauce for a birthday ice cream cake.

Use it as a fruit dip.

You could even use it to sandwich cookies together, like these vanilla wafers.

A Note About Measurements

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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT

Final Thoughts

Y’all, this sauce is a dream.

If you are a fan of deeply flavorful toffee-ish sauces, then this butterscotch sauce has your name written all over it.

What are you waiting for? Hie thee to the kitchen, people!

Once you taste this sauce, you’ll see that you don’t dislike butterscotch sauce. You just dislike bad butterscotch sauce.

Love This? Please Rate and Review

5 golden stars for rating recipes
A high-angle shot into a jar of butterscotch sauce with a wooden spoon in it. The sauce is rich and thick.

Real Butterscotch Ice Cream Sauce

Jennifer Field
Rich, creamy and perfect over ice cream, cake or any number of desserts, this butterscotch dessert sauce (made with, among other things, dark brown sugar, butter, and salt) is the real deal.
This is basically butterscotch "candy" diluted with heavy cream and a little vanilla. It is magical and not too hard to make.
5 from 6 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 256 kcal


  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 6 oz dark brown sugar See Notes below*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I will let you use only 3/4 teaspoon if you must, but no less)
  • 2 oz water (to make sure the sugar dissolves completely)
  • 6 oz heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
  • 1-2 teaspoons coffee extract optional


  • Over low heat, melt butter together with water, brown sugar and salt, stirring occasionally
  • Over no higher than medium heat, bring to a boil and cool, stirring occasionally, until the butter browns at the sugar starts to caramelize. Stir frequently. You'll know it's ready when you start smelling caramel. If using a thermometer, shoot for about 330F. This will take maybe 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and pour in the cream all at once.
  • Whisk over low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sauce smooths out. If using a thermometer, shoot for about 220F.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and optional coffee extracts. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Serve warm over ice cream. Or whatever.
  • Cool to room temperature and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm to serve. Enjoy!

Did You Make Any Changes?



As of 2024, I have updated the recipe. If you are a fan of the original, this is the ingredient list you’ll need:
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 8 oz granulated sugar
  • 1.5 oz BY WEIGHT molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt
  • 6 oz heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla
  • 1-3 teaspoons coffee extract, to taste
If you can’t find coffee extract, use espresso powder or freeze-dried coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water. You may have to play around with how much you add, so start small, taste, and add more if necessary.


Serving: 2TablespoonsCalories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 304mgPotassium: 53mgSugar: 21gVitamin A: 667IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword butterscotch
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  1. Hi, Jenni! Just curious, could I use my newly acquired sorghum instead of molasses? Can’t wait to try this one!

  2. This is the bum diggity of sauces! I made the hot fudge sauce, loved it so much much I decided to make the coffee butterscotch. Oh my goodness, this is unbelievable! Thank for for this great recipe! This is a keeper. Can this be doubled? Also, can I make this on a rainy day- my sister says “no” that it will crystallize.

    1. Hooray, Jules! I’m so glad you love the butterscotch–it’s one of my favorites! This sauce has a tendency to crystallize anyway when in the fridge, but it smooths out when you rewarm it. A few seconds at a time in the microwave and stirring in between should smooth it out no matter the weather when you make it. And yes, double away!

  3. Hi, Jenni! I stumbled upon your recipe when I was searching “butterscotch bs. Caramel”, and I’m so jazzed about this. Question: you show the sauce in a Mason jar…is there a way that this can be canned in a water bath to make it shelf stable?

    1. Did you ever find out if you can CAN this? I was wondering as well. It looks delicious! It would make a wonderful gift.

      1. I would be careful about canning (but I’m not a canner). Since it has dairy in it, I don’t believe “regular” water bath canning will work. Sauces like these do tend to keep extremely well in the fridge, so I believe it would still make an excellent gift even if not canned for long-term storage.

  4. Oh my goodness. I just got weak in the knees reading this post. I love butterscotch, probably more than chocolate. I’m bookmarking this one because I know when it’s your recipe, it is the real deal, Jenni. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi, Jenni. I’m really eager to try your recipe since it is so distinct from loads of butterscotch recipe out there. However, I do notice that your recipe required molasses which something that is hard to find at my place. Could you suggest me substitution for that?


    1. Hi, Abdul! Can you get dark treacle where you live? I’m pretty sure that is the same as molasses but under another name. If you tell me where you are, I can do some research and see what else might work for you!

  6. 5 stars
    Gee willikers, I don’t know how I missed this post but I’m glad you brought it out on Fearless Friends. I need this in my life!

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