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This is a Caramel Pumpkin Sauce recipe that takes a delicious caramel sauce recipe, but adds pumpkin. This recipe is perfect for the fall and is the best topping for any ice cream or pie recipe! 

caramel in a clear jar with a spoon scooping it.

Caramel Pumpkin Sauce for fall

In the fall, I feel that pumpkin should be put in everything. This sauce is no exception. Pumpkin caramel is soft, gooey, and great anytime you need to put a sweet sauce on anything. The incredible pumpkin flavor is accomplished simply with pumpkin puree!

Making caramel can be daunting because it is a tedious process, but I promise with following all the instructions; this recipe will go smoothly! 

ingredients in pumpkin caramel.

Ingredients Needed

How to make Pumpkin Sauce

  • Place sugar in a sauce pan over medium low heat.
  • As the sugar warms it will clump. Do not walk away from the stove!
  • The clumped sugar will continue to heat, melting into a liquid that is amber in color.
  • Continue melting until all the sugar has melted into liquid, stirring occasionally but being careful not to splash sugar up the sides of the pan.
  • Once the sugar is all amber in color, add the butter and cream and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat and stir in spices, pumpkin, vanilla, and salt.
  • Pour the caramel carefully into a jar and let cool to room temperature.

Uses for Pumpkin Caramel 

caramel in a clear jar with a spoon scooping it.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure you are free of distraction before starting this recipe. Caramel can burn easily so to avoid that–pumpkin sauce needs to be watched and stirred consistently. 
  • Once it turns a medium-amber color it is done. If you want your caramel darker you can let it go a little longer, but be careful because it can burn quickly. 
  • Storing Caramel: Cover and store in the refrigerator.
  • Reheating Caramel: 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.


How do you store homemade pumpkin sauce?

In an airtight container, such as a jar.

Why did my sauce thicken in the refrigerator?

Sauces thicken when they’re not consistently on heat. To fix this, put the sauce in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving. 

Why do I have clumps in my caramel?

Sugar is most likely the culprit. When you put the sugar in, don’t spread the sugar all over the sides of the pan. If things start to clump, keep stirring then and you’ll notice the clumps start to melt and everything starts to turn an amber color.

caramel in a clear jar with a spoon scooping it.

Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

4.95 from 20 votes
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!
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 16 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter sliced into tablespoons
  • cup (158ml) heavy whipping cream
  • cup (81g) pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie mix
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or up to 1 teaspoon if you want a “salted” pumpkin caramel)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Recipe Notes

  • Store in the refrigerator; heat to thin.
  • Be careful not to let the sugar hit the sides of the pan too much during cooking. If it gets too high on the side of the pan, use a wet pastry to wipe the sides down. Any crystalized sugar on the sides of the pan can cause crystalized caramel.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1028IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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Last Updated on September 11, 2023

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating


  1. So decided since I had left over pumpkin puree to try something new. Love it and everyone else did too. Was super quick and easy to make.. especially if you’ve made caramel before. I did have to adjust since I was missing some things used rum extract instead of vanilla and improvised my own *pumpkin spice since I did have any on hand. Overall was a success

  2. Didn’t taste much like pumpkin at all. I overdid mine, not your fault, it just wouldn’t stop cooking and my pumpkin was even half frozen! Was good on cheesecake though.

  3. Amazing sauce! I started out to make it more keto friendly by substituting the sugar for monk fruit. It didn’t seem to want to turn amber after twice as much time as suggested so I added 2 Tbs of regular brown sugar and when it had melted, continued with the recipe. Turned out great. Slightly less thick probably but flavor is spot on and it’s less calories. Win Win!!

  4. This is amazing. This is so, incredibly delicious!

    I added more pumpkin, because I wanted to increase the pumpkin flavor – and used a super sweet variety of pumpkin, jarrahdale. It makes the texture a bit different, but the flavor is just so good. I cannot wait to use this in a recipe I’m putting together, and I’m so excited!

    I love it, and this is my first time making caramel EVER, I’ve always found it a bit daunting. Thank you so much for the precise and clear instructions.

  5. yummy stuff! thanks for the simple pumpkin-flavoured dessert idea! we ate this with granola on vanilla ice cream. got many compliments?

  6. Excellent recipe for a unique caramel. I haven’t made caramel in a long while, so I’ll need to practice this more since there were way more clumps than expected. However, for my first-time-in-a-long-while try at it, it went great.

  7. THIS RECIPE IS DELICIOUS!!! Came out soooo good! I added a bit more pumpkin since I wanted to increase the pumpkin taste. Can’t wait to eat this on our pumpkin cheesecake and french toast!!! 

    1. No water. Just put the sugar in the pot and let it melt and then caramelize. That’s why you can’t leave it because it can burn quickly if you aren’t watching it. This is delicious and, honestly, simple, but everyone will be so impressed that you made your own caramel.

  8. 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!

    1. 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.