Homemade Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

Obviously I have caramel on the brain right now, but that’s a good thing, I think.

This is your favorite homemade caramel sauce…but with pumpkin. (I know, right??) Who knew that such a wonderful thing existed?

Allow me to introduce you to your newest #pumpkinallthethings recipe: Pumpkin Caramel Sauce.

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Caramel Sauce Recipe - caramel infused with pumpkin puree for fall!

Trader Joes is going to be the death of my waistline. Am I right? Seriously people, do not go there hungry. The last time I did that, I ended up with these.

This time I did that and I ended up with those cashews, more peanuts, pumpkin Jo-Jo’s, and an idea for Pumpkin Caramel Sauce.

Trader Joe’s is an evil, evil place. Evil genius, that is.

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Caramel Sauce Recipe - caramel infused with pumpkin puree for fall!

The same day I went to TJ’s I had decided to make real homemade caramel for the first time. Yes, real caramel: melting sugar in a hot pot, the whole 9 yards. I tried 2 recipes before I found my favorite one, I added some salt and another secret ingredient and called it a day.

Then I dropped Jordan at her theatre class and headed to Trader Joe’s, where I spent $122. How is that possible?

While I was in the nut aisle getting all the things, I spotted Pumpkin Caramel Sauce. A worker was stocking the shelf and made a disgusted face, “they have to put pumpkin in everything,” he groaned.

Yes. Yes, Mr. TJ’s worker, yes they do.

Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

I rushed home from the store and made my second batch of caramel in one day, with 5 minutes to spare before I headed back out to pick up the kid. No caramel for 37 years, then 2 in one day. I’m on a roll.

Okay, so you’ve never made homemade caramel before (or maybe you have). I’m going to give you some tips about how to make this the perfect caramel sauce ever…but with pumpkin.

  • Making caramel is serious business. It’s not hard and it’s really not that scary, but it can be dangerous. One walk away to answer the phone or scream at your kid because she’s watching YouTube again and you’ve told her 100 times it’s not allowed, and your caramel is a burned, smelly mess. Make sure you are free of distractions before ever attempting this recipe. That will be your first step for success.
  • Gather all your ingredients before starting. Once the sugar melts it’s a really quick process and you don’t want to stop and measure pumpkin puree.
  • Stir the sugar in the pan carefully, so you don’t spread the sugar all over the sides of the pan. Watch it carefully. You’ll start to notice some clear liquid in the bottom, then some of the sugar will get clumpy. Keep stirring then and you’ll notice the clumps start to melt and everything starts to turn an amber color.
  • Once it turns a medium amber color, finish up the recipe. If you like a darker caramel, you can let it go a little darker, but just be careful. Dark to burned happens in just a few seconds.
  • The caramel thickens as it cools. Once you refrigerate it it will become thick like pudding, but a quick microwaving before serving will turn it back into a thick and rich sauce.

After I made my first batch of secret caramel sauce (I’ll post it soon) I didn’t think I could do any better.

I was wrong, because this pumpkin caramel sauce is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever had.  Good luck not just drinking it.

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Caramel Sauce Recipe - caramel infused with pumpkin puree for fall!

But I wouldn’t judge you if you did.

Did you make this recipe?

Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

This homemade pumpkin caramel sauce is one of the best caramels ever! Simply adding canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to homemade caramel adds an unparalleled depth of flavor that will be perfect for ice cream or on top of pie this fall!


  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons

  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch salt, optional (or up to 1 teaspoon if you want a “salted” pumpkin caramel)


  1. Note: making caramel is something that needs your undivided attention. Make sure you have all your ingredients gathered before starting and that you are not distracted. Leaving the caramel alone at any point can cause it to burn. Read the entire recipe before continuing.

  2. Place sugar in a heavy-bottomed medium sauce pot. Make sure the sides of the pot come up a little bit (that it’s not a shallow pan) because it will boil up when you add the cream later.

  3. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Cook stirring often, but being careful not to spread the sugar up the sides of the pan too much. The sugar will become a little bit liquidy, form clumps, then finally melt into a light amber liquid. Keep stirring until the liquid is amber in color. This will take about 7-12 minutes, depending on your pot and the heat of your stove. DO NOT LEAVE THE SUGAR ALONE, it will burn fast.

  4. Once the liquid turns amber and all the sugar crystals have melted, add the butter and stir until it’s melted. Add half of the heavy whipping cream, stir, then add the rest. It will bubble up as you add it to the mixture. Turn off the heat and then stir in the pumpkin, spice, vanilla, and salt, if using. Stir until smooth. You may need to whisk it to get out all the clumps.

  5. Pour the caramel carefully into a jar and let cool to room temperature. Cover and store in the refrigerator. When ready to use, remove the lid and heat in 30 second increments until the caramel is melted and smooth and the desired consistency (about 60-90 seconds for the just-made texture). Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Caramel Apple Blondies

Caramel Apple Toffee Blondies (6 of 6)

Hazelnut Caramel Apple Nachos

Hazelnut Caramel Apple Nachos (1 of 8)w

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert (2 of 10)w

Sweets from friends:
No Fail Caramel Sauce from The Slow Roasted Italian
The Best and Easiest Homemade Caramel Sauce by Averie Cooks
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce by Something Swanky

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  1. Making caramel is scary. But when it works…oh, man. The best. And this is so great with the pumpkin! By the way, you have to try the pumpkin pop tarts at TJs. Talk about dangerous! You can dip them in this caramel!

  2.  Good luck not just drinking it = I may just do that, no shame 🙂

    I love your detailed recipe instructions about this needing your full attention, etc. I write the same thing in my caramel recipes on the blog and books and people actually write back a little bit astounded…but if you’ve ever made caramel, you know it can burn on a dime and you can’t be texting with your friend about your day. LOL 

    Gorgeous stuff! pinned!

  3. This sounds like the perfect sauce to cheer me up on a Monday morning! I love that you made it into a pumpkin kind! What a great idea, Dorothy! Pinned!

  4. This really COULD NOT look any more delicious could it! As Averie says, good luck not eating it all out of the fridge – I certainly would! 

  5. Oh TJ’s is dangerous. I always end up with way more than I planned to get. They just have too many interesting things! And caramel sauce…yes please. I pretty much always have a jar of homemade caramel sauce in my fridge. It’s a necessity of life. Love love love the fall twist here, Dorothy!

  6. YUM! I always end up buying for at Trader Joe’s then I intended 🙂

  7. Wow, you brought back memories of making caramel as if I knew how to spin gold. Once I made a caramel cream and next thing I knew it had to be at every family gathering and event for the next 3 years. 

    I haven’t made it for yeeeeears because I got burnt out, but this recipe has me thinking of going down that road again. It sounds so good! 

  8. Just pass me a straw because this looks amazing! Pinned!

  9. Oh wow. This pumpkin caramel sounds incredible. And dangerous. Why must pumpkin and caramel taste so delicious?!

  10. This looks delish! I looove Trader Joes. Brilliant!

  11. At the risk of sounding mega-obvious here…*sigh* caramel is so great. And you have created a great way to make it greater. Yes, this post has reduced my capacity for grammar!

  12. I think I would drink this sauce if I could. It is that perfect.

  13. Normally, I’d probably side with the TJ’s worker…But a home made version sounds VERY tempting!!

  14. Oh..My… I think I may of found my heaven! Caramel is already amazing but with pumpkin as well, that just kicks it out of the park! If I made this, I would probably eat it by the spoo….Jar! Pinned 😀 x 

  15. 1. Caramel on the brain is never a bad thing.
    2. They make pumpkin Jo-Jo’s?! Mind. Blown. 
    3. This + ice cream = my Monday night dessert. 

  16. This looks just gorgeous Dorothy and my favorite pumpkin twist on caramel! I can imagine a lot of recipes that would be just so much better with a drizzle of this sauce! Pinned 🙂

  17. Homemade caramel sauce is so incredible. I love that you pumpkined it. 

  18. Mmmm, I saw pumpkin caramel sauce somewhere else and then promptly forgot about it before making it!  Pinning this one so I don’t forget again because adding pumpkin to all the things is the best!  And sometimes I think I’m glad that we don’t have TJ’s in Canada, because I think that I would definitely spend too much money there!  🙂

  19. Having caramel on the brain is always a good thing. This sauce is a must try.

  20. Oh gosh, this looks so insane. I would probably dive in head first if I had the opportunity. Yum!

  21. TJ’s is so dangerous – I always leave with more than I planned for.  And pumpkin caramel sauce? Heck yes! Pass the straw please – #noshame 🙂

  22. Homemade caramel is so intimidating! This looks awesome though, and your tips are so helpful! It’s a pretty good reason to have caramel on the brain 🙂

  23. Pumpkin and caramel sound like a match made in heaven.  I could eat this on just about anything.  Pinning this! 

  24. I totally cracked up at the disgruntled TJs worker (completely pictured Luke from Gilmore Girls in my mind on that one)–but, yes, pumpkin really should be at least tried in anything sweet. Never made real homemade caramel, but I will definitely give this a go! Pinned 🙂

  25. Hmmmm, I could serve this over pie, ice cream, blondies, cake…..so many decisions! Really this pumpkin-caramel would be luscious over so many things! Candy making definitely requires more finesse than my ususal cookies 🙂 I found that a candy thermometer is often easier than eying it and worrying.

  26. Trader Joe’s has so many pumpkin products this year!  Your recipe is so tempting – awesos (awesome sauce).  Now you have to make a bread pudding worthy of this sauce. Or I’ll just have to use it on apple pie!  Thanks for your always-great tutorials.

  27. This looks super yummy! Is it weird I’m craving it on apple pie? #dontjudge

  28. Man Dorothy, this is spectacular!  I love homemade caramel sauce.  It’ so rich  and delicious.  Your pumpkin version sound pretty amazing.

  29. Pumpkin caramel sauce is the best idea ever! This would be incredible over brownies or ice cream! So good. 

  30. I love that we both did this because seriously (and I rarely google stuff) I wasn’t finding it anywhere.  I try to avoid  TJ’s because it’s a money pit and well the one by me is just crazy all the time.  I spend enough at Whole Foods on a weekly basis! Put pumpkin in all the things because in caramel sauce, it’s just that good! 

  31. You are brilliant! This caramel sauce needs needs to happen asap!

  32. This is why I have banned myself from shopping at TJ’s. It’s trouble. Every single time. I don’t even have to be hungry. But they do have the bestest ideas! I can’t wait to try this pumpkin caramel. It would be so good on EVERYTHING. The oatmeal I’m eating right now? It needs your pumpkin caramel sauce like woah. Pinned! 

  33. I would have NO self control with this in the house!! 🙂

  34. Dorothy can you please tell my kid that I am not the only mom that doesn’t allow their child to watch youtube. Please. 🙂 I am going to have to give this a try. I love homemade Carmel sauce and then add pumpkin. I think I will drink it. 🙂 Pinned. 

    • NO I hate it when she does! Mostly she wants songs that she doesn’t have on iTunes but I hate the videos and you never know what’s going to come up! She does it when she thinks I’m not looking and I hate that there is no way to stop it (on her iPod there is no Safari, but we want it on the iPad!) I wish there were better controls for it.

  35. It’s probably a very good thing we don’t have a Trader Joe’s closer than an hour. I would spend way too much time and money there. Love this awesome looking caramel…all I want to do is eat it all with a spoon!!!!

  36. Oh my word! I think I could drink this sauce!

  37. aaaaand I just pretty much want to drink this.

  38. I always find something interesting to make at Trader Joes – LOVE this caramel

  39. We are finally getting a Trader Joe’s down the street from me.  I’m scared after this post!!  😉  This caramel looks amazing!!

  40. Whoa. Pumpkin Caramel Sauce. Excuse me while I jump with joy.

    Ok, I’m back. This is such a crazy good idea for  recipe, Dorothy! Looks SO good!

  41. I fully intend on making a batch of this and treating my flatmates to pumpkin caramel sauce and crepes this weekend!

    Your recipe is in my top picks for alternatives to pumpkin spiced lattes – thank you for your post!


  42. I stopped by TJ’s this afternoon, and OF COURSE this was the first thing I saw, thanks to your post! I literally put my hands over my eyes and shook my head to make myself concentrate on my list. But boy oh boy… If I had a jar of your caramel sauce, I’d dig in with a spoon until it all disappeared. 🙂 Pinned!

  43. I am making pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and am planning on making this sauce to go with it. 

  44. After my daughter and I decimated a jar of T.J.’s pumpkin caramel(it’s amazing in coffee!) I took to the internet to find a homemade version.  I was so excited to find your recipe and will try it today.  Thank you! 

  45. Love it, love the hack, love you!!  Thanks

  46. Oh my word!!!! I’ll be putting this on everything…but most importantly I’d be putting this on a spoon and straight in my mouth 😉

  47. This looks amazing. I’m thinking of topping a plain cheesecake with it and some candied pecans. Do you think that would be a good combo?

  48. Hi Dorothy!
    This recipe is awesome! Do you think it’s a good idea to use it as a filling for chocolate cake? “Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Caramel Filling” would be a great dessert for thanksgiving! 😋😋😋

  49. Hi, I have a question. Not sure if you will read this. You posted last year, but I’ll try.  Do you think this Sauce will work like so I can make Carmel apples?

  50. So happy I found this today on Pinterest. I found out this weekend that TJs has discontinued their Pumpkin Carmel sauce😕  My family loves it paired with their cinnamon dusted cheese and apple slices for dessert. 
    I will now be using your recipe, every fall! Thanks

  51. Do I keep the same heat throughout?  Did you use a spoon or a whisk to stir?  I tried using a whisk but once I added the cream, the caramel became clumpy.  Was I supposed to keep the cream at room temp before pouring it in?  Thanks!

    • I used a whisk to stir it in. Sometimes it can do that if the mixture is too hot, when it happens I’ll strain it to get the lumps out. If it’s super lumpy you can try warming it up again and whisking to get them to melt.

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