Last Updated on June 17, 2022
There are few things as good as a smooth flavor-packed caramel sauce for cinnamon rolls. Especially not when it is as versatile as our recipe today!
Our caramel sauce is incredibly easy to make and exceptionally versatile. You can not only use this sauce for cinnamon rolls but virtually any other dessert in your repertoire. We all but guarantee that you will be adding a new quick dessert sauce to your recipe binder!
What Is A Caramel Sauce For Cinnamon Rolls?
Cinnamon rolls, also commonly known as cinnamon buns, are Swedish sweet rolls made from a yeast-leavened dough. The dough is rolled out into a sheet before being doused with cinnamon sugar.
Over the decades, the topping for these rolls has changed frequently. You may be very familiar with the cream cheese frosting or simple sesame seeds, but today we are making a caramel sauce topping.
What makes our caramel sauce incredibly unique is how easy it is to make and how incredibly flexible it is. You can substitute all of the ingredients to alter the flavor completely. And, even by making these substitutions, the sauce will still easily form as it should.
You can also adjust the consistency of the sauce by allowing it to reduce over low-medium heat. Or, you can make it runnier by adding some cream. Just make adjustments to the consistency of the sauce slowly. You don’t want to overdo it and struggle to fix it afterward.
Adjusting the intensity of the flavor for this caramel sauce for cinnamon rolls
Because we aren’t making caramel with a sugar syrup, it is hard to adjust the intensity of the caramel flavor. But, this technique is all but foolproof, which is why we prefer using it. The flavor that this caramel sauce gives is a lot more neutral, but not bland in any way.
If you want to create a darker (more bitter) caramel flavor, we recommend using dark brown sugar.
Brown sugar is already a form of white sugar that contains molasses. molasses is what gives this sugar a caramel-like flavor. So, the darker the sugar, the more molasses it contains, and the more bitter the sauce will be. The color of the sauce will also become darker.
You can also simply add a bit of molasses in place of the syrup. But, don’t substitute the entire amount. The flavor may be too bitter to enjoy. Start by substituting a quarter of the amount and make notes for next time.
What You Will Need To Make Caramel Sauce For Cinnamon Rolls
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated brown sugar
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 can (15 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large non-stick saucepan
- Candy electric thermometer
- Cooling rack
Step by step instructions
Step 1: Make the caramel sauce base
To start, place the salted butter into a large non-stick saucepan. Heat it over medium-high heat until it starts melting. Then, lower the heat slightly and allow the butter to melt completely. You don’t want to have it burn for this sauce.
Once your butter has been completely melted, add the brown granulated sugar, the maple syrup, and your can of sweetened condensed milk.
Step 2: Cook the caramel sauce
After combining all of your sauce ingredients together, bring the mixture to a rapid boil over high heat. Make sure to stir constantly so that the caramel doesn’t burn and the heat is evenly distributed.
Allow the mixture to keep boiling until it reaches 215-220ºF (101.6-104.4ºC). Once it reaches 220ºF (104.4ºC), you can remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for a minute.
Step 3: Pour the sauce
Don’t allow the sauce to cool before pouring it. It will make it too hard and not pour nicely. Especially because we are using it for cinnamon rolls, you can pour the sauce once it has rested for a few minutes.
This pour will give the cinnamon rolls a rustic look, just like they should be! And, it will allow them to be covered better and with a thicker coating. This will ultimately also help keep the cinnamon rolls moist on the inside.
Tips And Tricks
- There are loads of variations you can make for this recipe. The biggest is the flavor – yes, that means the entire thing! One of our favorite alterations to make is to use salted butter. This will give the sauce a less overpowering sweet flavor. You can even add some sea salt flakes to make a salted caramel sauce for cinnamon rolls.
- Furthermore, you can reduce the amount of brown sugar used in this recipe. This will lower the overall sweetness. You can also use white sugar, but the brown option gives you a richer deeper flavor.
- A great substitute for maple syrup is golden syrup in this recipe. But, any syrup will work. Just make sure that it matches the flavor profile of the sauce. For example, molasses can work, but it will be difficult to create a balanced flavor.
- We don’t recommend using unsweetened condensed milk. And honestly, you will probably have a difficult time finding some anyway! But, the thickness that the sugar adds is what gives this recipe its fantastic texture. So, if you want to lower the sweetness, rather add less syrup or granulated sugar.
- If your cinnamon roll recipe isn’t spiced enough, you can also add some additional spices to the caramel sauce. Just make sure that they are finely ground spices. And, even just adding some ground cinnamon will make a massive difference.
- If you want to add some texture to the caramel sauce for cinnamon rolls, then add some toasted chopped nuts. Pecan nuts always work incredibly well, but walnuts, almonds, and even cashews will also do the trick.
We hope that you will love this caramel sauce for cinnamon rolls recipe as much as we do. If you made it at home, let us know what you think about it in the comments below! And, don’t forget to share this amazing recipe with your family and friends!
Easy & Versatile 15 Minute Caramel Sauce For Cinnamon Rolls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large non-stick saucepan
- Candy electric thermometer
- Cooling Rack
- Make the caramel sauce baseTo start, place the salted butter into a large non-stick saucepan. Heat it over medium-high heat until it starts melting. Then, lower the heat slightly and allow the butter to melt completely. You don't want to have it burn for this sauce.Once your butter has been completely melted, add the brown granulated sugar, the maple syrup, and your can of sweetened condensed milk.1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated brown sugar, 1 cup maple syrup, 1 can (15 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
- Cook the caramel sauceAfter combining all of your sauce ingredients together, bring the mixture to a rapid boil over high heat. Make sure to stir constantly so that the caramel doesn't burn and the heat is evenly distributed.Allow the mixture to keep boiling until it reaches 215-220ºF (101.6-104.4ºC). Once it reaches 220ºF (104.4ºC), you can remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for a minute.
- Pour the sauceDon't allow the sauce to cool before pouring it. It will make it too hard and not pour nicely. Especially because we are using it for cinnamon rolls, you can pour the sauce once it has rested for a few minutes. This pour will give the cinnamon rolls a rustic look, just like they should be! And, it will allow them to be covered better and with a thicker coating. This will ultimately also help keep the cinnamon rolls moist on the inside.
What can I add to my cinnamon rolls?
The best garnish or topping to add to your cinnamon rolls is a sauce of some type. These rolls do have the tendency to sometimes come out dry, so to counter the possibility, you can make a delicious caramel sauce. Cream cheese frosting is also a great way to go, but very traditional, which can become boring. So, rather spice things up with our recipe.
What do you put caramel sauce on?
Caramel sauce is incredibly versatile. You can actually use it on top of cinnamon rolls, but it also works well as a cheesecake topping. You can use it for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and a variety of baked bars and treats. Serve it with breakfast pancakes, in a smoothie bowl, or on top of ice cream. There is nothing this sauce doesn't go well with!
How do you keep cinnamon rolls moist?
The best way to keep cinnamon rolls moist (apart from storage techniques) is by adding a thick frosting or sauce over the top. This coating will help keep the moisture inside the rolls and prevent them from drying out as quickly. Other than that, the best way to keep them moist is by storing them inside of an airtight container.
Is caramel sauce made from brown sugar?
Caramel sauce isn't always made from brown sugar, but it is the best option. The brown sugar has a much deeper and richer flavor that works well for caramel. White sugar is in comparison very bland and flavorless. But, as we have said, brown sugar doesn't have to be used.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.