Balsamic Caramel Dessert Sauce

Balsamic Caramel Dessert Sauce

When strawberries are at their beautiful berry best, it’s time for a little balsamic drizzle. What??? Balsamic vinegar? Yes, that sweet-tart vinegar is the one savory tip that will make strawberries taste better. However, if you want to go a step farther, try this balsamic caramel dessert sauce. It’s creamy, thick, tangy and utterly luscious with the same oozy, tongue-coating satisfaction of caramel, bumped up with the rich, tart flavor of real balsamic vinegar. This sauce is no wall-flower!

brown sugar and balsamic vinegar for caramel.

This balsamic caramel is one of those ridiculously easy to make recipes, with only 5 ingredients that’s ready in about 5-10 minutes. In other words, my kind of recipe and probably yours too…

Ingredients For Balsamic Caramel 

  • Brown Sugar
  • Balsamic Vinegar 
  • Heavy Cream
  • Butter
  • Sea Salt
cooking the vinegar and caramel together.

How To Make The Balsamic Drizzle

  1. Add the brown sugar and vinegar to a saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Boil for 3-4 minutes longer or until it reduces a bit to a syrupy consistency. Check the consistency by dipping the back of a spoon into the caramel sauce. Lift the spoon and let it cool for several seconds.  Run your finger through the caramel. It should feel thick and syrupy and the streak shouldn’t run. (Now lick your finger, cause that’s balsamic caramel, baby!)
  4. Add the cream. Don’t stir… yet. The sauce will bubble furiously at first.
  5. When the balsamic drizzle calms down, whisk the caramel sauce and cream together until well combined.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. 
  7. Transfer to a glass jar and cool to room temperature.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Dessert sauce in a jar with a bowl of berries.

Best Balsamic To Use For Dessert Sauce

Ok, look… I’m using the word “balsamic” pretty loosely here.

Real balsamic vinegar is aged for a MINIMUM of 12 years in barrels (made of woods like cherry, ash, mulberry and chestnut). The casks get progressively smaller as the balsamic reduces in volume, producing a thick, syrup that’s so sublime, a few ounces can retail for hundreds of dollars. If you have THAT kind of balsamic – just drizzle a few drops over your berries and call it a day. In fact, that’s where the concept of strawberries and balsamic vinegar came from, because the real deal Balsamic of Modena is so complex that just a few drops on berries or aged parmesan is transformative.

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However, for this recipe, defer to this article on the Best Balsamic Vinegars on the cheap. I used the $10/bottle from Costco for this recipe and it worked perfectly. Since this dessert sauce only uses about 1/3 cup of vinegar, you’ll have plenty left over for salads, sides and the like.

Balsamic drizzle over berries.

Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar Caramel Sauce 

I figured I didn’t need to give you a recipe on how to cut your strawberries, Just make sure you get the ripest, juiciest berries you can find. A spoonful of sauce over a dish of berries will cloak the fruit in a sweet, tangy lusciousness. The strawberry juices will leak into the balsamic caramel adding a floral component which melds beautifully.

Dessert sauce after it's been refrigerated.

Refrigerate The Sauce

Immediately after cooking, the caramel won’t be super thick, but refrigerate it for a few hours and it will thicken up to a soft, ropy consistency.  The photo above was taken after the caramel had been refrigerated overnight. Look at how the caramel sauce lazily folds back on itself. That’s what you want.

While this dessert sauce is fantastic spooned over a simple dish of berries, it really reaches new heights when the strawberries and balsamic vinegar caramel are paired with a bit of good vanilla ice cream. That is nirvana folks. Sophisticated and fun at the same time. Perfect for Easter desserts or a simple but standout treat for Mother’s Day.


Balsamic caramel with a dish of ice cream and berries.

More amazing dessert sauces and fillings:

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4.62 from 13 votes

Balsamic caramel sauce

Tangy and sweet, this rich caramel sauce is perfect over strawberries and luscious with ice cream. Why not make a sundae?
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword balsamic, sauces
Dietary Restrictions Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 10


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup regular whipping cream


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is boiling rapidly, cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream. The mixture will hiss and spit (be careful), then start to assimilate with the balsamic caramel. Whisk together until smooth and remove from heat. Stir in the butter and salt.
  • Transfer the balsamic caramel dessert sauce to a glass jar. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. 
  • Spoon balsamic caramel sauce over strawberries or ice cream (or both).


YouTube video


Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 33mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Pin “Balsamic Caramel Drizzle” For Later!

Craving the tang of a balsamic drizzle? This rich, creamy Balsamic Caramel Dessert Sauce is a luscious way to do Strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Easy! #springdessertrecipes #balsamicglaze #caramelsauce


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  1. Libby Melton says:

    5 stars
    I really love this caramel sauce! I made some a few months back to put in mocha macarons and OMG!

    1. 5 stars
      How long does it preserve for? Is it stored on the fridge or panty?

      1. Store it in the refrigerator — it’s not preserved. It should last for 1-2 weeks

  2. Looks delicious! How long is it shelf life?

  3. I made this for a tomato cake! It was soooo good! Thank you

    1. Ooohhhh — tomato cake? You must share your recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I sell pecans at farmers markets and I love your praline sauce recipe. Next door to us is Kim, who has a booth that sells balsamic vinegars that are fabulous. I’m going to not only make this recipe for myself and gifts to others that I know would love it, but I’m going to share it with Kim. I know she will just love it! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know how you liked the caramel — I hope you enjoy the Balsamic sauce as much! Lucky you to sell pecans at the market – pecans are one of my favorites!

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my! This is going to satisfy all the cravings!
    I can’t wait to find a reason to use this caramel sauce …

  6. 5 stars
    I love balsamic on desserts! It really adds something extra special to it. This sounds amazing.

  7. 5 stars
    Oh, yum! Haven’t thought of adding balsamic to caramel sauce before, but why not? Looks delicious!

  8. Sara Welch says:

    5 stars
    What a fantastic recipe! Packaged in mason jars, this would make a great gift for my daughter’s teachers at the end of the year!

    1. That’s a great idea — just make sure to let them know to refrigerate it!

  9. 5 stars
    I have used balsamic glaze with watermelon and feta but never as a caramel sauce. I love this. I am going to have to try this out.

  10. 5 stars
    This sounds so wonderful! Sound so good with strawberries!