Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

When you hear Buttermilk Syrup, you still probably think about maple syrup. This syrup is amazing because it can be used similar to a maple syrup on breakfast recipes from pancakes to waffles to crepes, but it’s also my go-to caramel sauce for desserts like ice cream and cheesecake and makes an incredible gift, all wrapped up in a cute mason jar. The flavor is incredibly well rounded and it lends itself well to so many different uses. It’s also a great use for leftover buttermilk, if you bought a container for a single recipe (like my Buttermilk Ranch Dressing) and now don’t know what to do with the rest! Once you learn how easy this is to make, it will become a household staple!

Ingredient and Equipment List

  • Buttermilk – I don’t recommend buttermilk substitutes in this recipe, and I haven’t tried it with powdered buttermilk. I like to use real buttermilk, though low or full fat is just fine.
  • Butter – I use real, salted, butter. If you use unsalted butter, you’ll want to add a little extra salt to the sauce to balance out the flavor.
  • Sugar – Use regular white granulated sugar.
  • Corn Syrup – Corn syrup is an important ingredient because it prevents the sauce from crystallizing.
  • Baking Soda – Baking soda is important because it reacts with the acidic ingredients and helps with the sauce’s texture.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla adds flavor to the finished caramel sauce.

Instructions

  1. Combine buttermilk, butter, sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda in a large pot.
  2. Heat and stir to combine all ingredients and then bring to a low simmer.
  3. Continue to simmer until the mixture turns deep golden in color.
  4. Let cool to warm and stir to smooth.
How do I store this sauce?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can heat in the microwave to warm up.

How long does this sauce last?

Your sauce will probably start to get a little grainy and crystallize before it goes bad. Eat up up in 3-4 days for best results.

Can this sauce be preserved and canned?

No, this recipe is not designed for canning. If you gift it in a mason jar, make sure the recipient knows to just keep it in the fridge. TIP: Sometimes after this sauce sits unused for a day or two, it will get a little crystallized (but still tastes amazing!) Testers have found adding an extra tablespoon or so of corn syrup helps with this. If you plan to gift this buttermilk caramel, you may want to try that.

Buttermilk Syrup

5 from 3 votes
Your newest go-to sauce and syrup for...well, everything.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons 1 stick real butter
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot. Like one you'd make soup in. Yes, you'll have way more pot than ingredients but this will boil all over your newly-cleaned stove if you put it in a smaller saucepan.
  • Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it's still bubbling, you're okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes. You're basically making candy here and candy-making requires constant vigilance.
  • When it's done, it should take on a golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  • There will be foam on top. As it cools a little, just keep stirring and the foam will subside.
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk syrup, caramel, caramel sauce
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Yeah, I'm with Sara–my gut instinct says no subs in this recipe. Maybe that's just because I'm scared of changing anything when doing candy-ish stuff…

  2. I don't know the technical mumbo-jumbo, but I'm pretty sure the baking soda has something to do with the acids and the ph level. I think it prevents crystallization. It's used often in caramel corn and things like that as well.

    Imajacobs- I'm not so sure that substitution would work in this case. Don't ask me why, I just think it might come out with a different texture because of the thickness of buttermilk. I don't know though…

    1. I didn’t have buttermilk so I put lemon juice in some milk and let it thicken for about 5 minutes, and the recipe turned out just fine. I haven’t made it with real buttermilk before, but it was TO. DIE. FOR. So, I’d say yes, the substitution was no problem!

    2. 5 stars
      I have made this multiple times and it turns out different every time! Haha. It’s me, I’m the problem. But it always seems really thick. Like more of a sauce then a syrup …. Should I add more milk or butter?
      It is so delicious though!!

      1. If you want really consistent results, you might try using the same pan every time. When this sauce is hot it’s thinner, but as it cools it’s definitely more of a caramel sauce consistency!

  3. How do you think it would turn out if I substituted milk and lemon juice for the buttermilk?

    Your timing is perfect as I have a loaf of Texas Toast waiting to become french toast!

  4. You know, ungourmet, I don't know why it calls for baking soda. Where's Alton Brown when we need him?? My guess is that the chemical reaction it produces does something to improve the texture; you often see small amounts of baking soda in old-fashioned homemade candies like caramels and peanut brittle.

  5. It's me again. I have a question. Why is baking soda needed in this? I looked through and I don't think you explained but if you did sorry to have missed it.

  6. Now, that just sounds wonderfully warm, rich and delicious!

    I would love to try it!

  7. I just tweeted this b/c it has my saliva production at an alltime high. I have this recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes that would combined with this just be me dying happy and fat and happpy. 😀 😀 😀

  8. This stuff is to die for! If any of you are skeptical about trying it, don't be. Every single person I have shared it with has LOVED it!

  9. This looks so delicious! I don't think I've ever heard of something like it before!

  10. You know what's funny- the whole "cube of butter" must be a regional thing because we had that problem when I posted my peppermint brownies on Lolly's blog last winter. People were like, "What the heck is a 'cube' of butter??" and I thought it was the strangest thing ever, but I guess in some places no one refers to it as a cube! Interesting… this might have to be a future poll, lol.

    And the syrup? Oh ya. So good. I'm liking Ty's idea of whipped cream and caramel. Sounds like my kid alright.

  11. Bunny–It's just a stick of butter (yes, the whole dang thing). I changed it to make it more clear! 🙂

  12. How big is a cube of butter?? A Tbls?? I want to make this, I never thought of putting it on waffles!!

  13. I. LOVE. THIS. SAUCE.
    My favorite way to eat it is probably on ice cream because you get the warm gooey bits with the cold chewy parts on the cold ice cream.
    My other favorite is with whipped cream. Not on anything, just whipped cream and buttermilk syrup. Learned that one from my favorite 3 year old. What can I say? Ty is a genius.

  14. Oh, that looks so good. Especially with ice cream on a chocolate waffle. I wish I had the energy to make it right now! I guess I'll just have to dream about it tonight 🙂

  15. So I made this for brunch, and Katie is still licking her plate trying to get the rest of the syrup off, lol. It was yummy!

  16. Okay, I just tried this tonight, and YES, it is PURE EVIL. I seriously wanted to eat it like soup. Sooooooo good.

  17. this syrup is so good. you can eat WITHOUT the waffle. i’m glad you’re my daughter-in-law kate! love, teeny

  18. I will have to add that to my chocolate sauce recipe. Anything with a whole stick of real butter HAS to be good!

  19. Kate, I might have to try this recipe out at my B&B if that’s ok. You’re the best! Thanks!

  20. Ooooh, Erin, there’s LOTS of yummy buttermilk stuff! I think it’s kind of like liquid sour cream. I use it in cakes, pancakes, etc. You can also usually buy it in an 8-oz. container, so then you won’t waste much. I bought a quart because I was planning on making pancakes with the other 3 c. of buttermilk. I have a recipe for buttermilk pancakes that I plan on posting someday, but I’ll email it to you now if you want it. Just email me at [email protected].

    1. You can make your own buttermilk if you use it a lot, and it will save you money, and it is very quick and simple. Just get a gallon of milk and pour it in a glass jar. Scoop out a cup of milk. Then pour in a cup of buttermilk (Winder is a great brand). Let it sit out on the counter for about 24 hours until cultured. Note: I like mine thick. That way I know it is completely cultured. The longer it cultures, the thicker it gets. It’s usually thicker than the store-bought buttermilk. It’s wonderful and I use it a lot in smoothies, pancakes, etc. and now I am going to try this syrup. Also, remember to always reserve a cup of your homemade buttermilk for culturing your next gallon of buttermilk.

  21. Okay, so I’m almost ashamed to admit that in my 10 1/2 years of marriage I have never purchased buttermilk. Is there some wonderful world of buttermilk I am not aware of? What would I do with the rest of the quart (besides throw it away)? Also, does the rest of it (assuming there is any left) store well in the cupboard, or do you need to keep it in the fridge?

    1. You can purchase buttermilk powder. That way you only make what you need. It takes 4 TBL of powder and 1 cup of water to make a cup of buttermilk. I just add the powder in with dry ingredients and the water with wet ingredients when I am cooking. I find it much easier than having to keep fresh buttermilk on hand when I want to make a certain recipe.

    2. Make waffles or pancakes or biscuits with it…especially if you’re going to make this syrup!! 🙂

  22. ooh, someone needs caramel corn?? You ask and I deliver, my friend! Lol. I’m always looking for an excuse to make a treat, so I’ll whip some up and post in place of something coming up that I haven’t made yet!

    And this buttermilk syrup is so good. But I think the fact that it’s called “syrup” is almost misleading. It’s really a delicious caramel sauce. I made it the same day that I had made some homemade caramel sauce (the traditional way with caramelized sugar, heavy cream, and butter)and this buttermilk syrup tasted almost identical to it and is a lot easier to make. I like it on ice cream! Or on a spoon… 😉

  23. Pseudoephedrine may be a no-no, but Afrin is your friend, my friend.

    This looks SO yummy! Hmm, I might foresee breakfast for dinner in my very immediate future.

    And tell Sara that I’m STILL waiting for her caramel corn recipe 😀

  24. Cami, I bet it would turn out great either way. The ONLY thing I can think of is the whole baking soda aftertaste thing; when I only cooked it for 7 minutes, I could still taste a hint of baking soda aftertaste, but when I cooked it a little longer, that went away. Maybe cooking it kills the taste? I dunno.

  25. I’ve made this before, but it was a little different. I boiled everything but the baking soda and vanilla together. Then removed from heat and added the baking soda and vanilla and stirred like crazy.

    What difference does it make to boil the baking soda with everything else?

    P.S. Hope you feel better soon. My daughter has the same thing, too. It’s pretty miserable! (I’m really hoping it doesn’t get passed around the fam.