Caramel Custard Pots with Salted Caramel Sauce

Since making crème brûlée for the first time earlier this year, I have been enamored, experimenting with more custards and puddings at home. Where my mind once had these luscious desserts reserved for fine dining menus, it has now been opened up to all the glorious possibilities of enjoying this thick and creamy yumminess in our very own home.

I know I got these Caramel Custard Pots with Salted Caramel Sauce right. Because it took me four tries. Four! I went through more eggs and cream than I care to admit, just to be able to share this recipe with confidence. So trust me…this is a good one!!

I started out with a caramel pudding that I was just never satisfied with in both flavor and texture, and eventually turned to a very lovely caramel custard by Dorie Greenspan. Then there were issues with jar shapes and sizes. I was determined to use mason jars, and the wide mouth half-pint ones ended up being just the ticket. The salted caramel sauce, however, was perfect from the start. And I enjoyed licking every last spoon, bowl, and mason jar of that vanilla bean speckled deliciousness.

I’m not gonna lie and say this dessert comes together in a quick 30 minutes or less. These cute little layered pots do take some time to prepare, but it’s a fun labor of custard love. I also appreciate that they are very much a make-ahead dessert, perfect for entertaining. And just tell me who doesn’t like their own individual pot of yum?!


Caramel Custard Pots with Salted Caramel Sauce

Yield: 8 servings


for the caramel custard:

  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 large egg yolks

for the salted caramel sauce:

  • 3/4 c. plus 2 T. heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. light corn syrup
  • 2 T. water
  • 4 T. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt


  • lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • crushed chocolate cookie wafers


for the caramel custard:

Center a rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 300°. Line a large roasting pan (with sides that are at least 2'' tall) with a double layer of paper towels. Then place eight wide mouth half-pint mason jars on top of the paper towels. Fill a tea kettle with water and put it on to boil. When the water boils, turn off the heat.

Stir the cream and milk together and warm them in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside.

Measure out 1/4 cup of the sugar and set it aside.

Put a large heavy-bottomed saucepan (I used a nonstick pan) over medium-high heat and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar. As soon as the sugar melts and starts to caramelize, stir it. When the color is uniform, stir in another 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to stir until it is melted and colored. Continue with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, adding it 2 tablespoons at a time. When all the sugar is deep amber, almost mahogany colored, stand away from the pan so you don't get splattered, and stir in the warm liquid. The mixture will bubble furiously and probably seize up, but don't panic. Just keep stirring patiently and it will smooth out. Pull the pan from the heat.

Put the eggs, yolks, and reserved 1/4 cup sugar in a large glass measuring cup or a small bowl and whisk until pale and slightly thickened. Still whisking, drizzle in a little of the warm caramel liquid. This will gently warm the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the remaining liquid. If there is foam at the top of the custard, skim it off with a spoon. If you leave the foam, it will form little craters on top of the baked custards. It's not a crime, but the custards are definitely prettier without the little foam craters. Divide the custard evenly between the mason jars.

Pour enough hot water from the tea kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the mason jars. Cover the pan snugly with foil, poke two holes in two opposite corners and very carefully and steadily slide the pan into the oven.

Bake the custards for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the tops darken a bit and the custards jiggle a little only in the center when tapped or lightly shaken.

Very carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Allow the custards to rest in their warm bath for 10 minutes, then peel off the foil and transfer the mason jars from the hot water (careful!!) to the cooling rack. Refrigerate when they reach room temperature. When the custards are cool, cover them tightly with their mason jar lids.

for the salted caramel sauce:

Place cream in a small pitcher. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and then also add the bean. Set aside.

Stir sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush. It will thicken and turn deeper in color. After about 5 to 6 minutes, it should be deep amber in color. Don't let it get too dark. If it starts to smell a bit burnt, immediately remove pan from heat. Gradually add vanilla cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously. Whisk over medium heat until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and salt. Strain into a heatproof bowl. Let cool slightly.

to serve the custard pots:

I prefer to eat the caramel custard pots chilled. Spoon some of the salted caramel sauce over each custard and top with some lightly sweetened whipped cream and crushed cookie wafers.

It is best to prepare this dessert the day before you want to eat them. The custards should chill for a few hours or overnight to set properly. Just prepare the custards, caramel sauce, and cookie crumbles the day prior. And make the sweetened whipped cream on the day you want to serve. The pots can be completely assembled a few hours before serving.

Caramel Custard adapted from Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan. Overall inspiration and Salted Caramel Sauce adapted from bon appetit, September 2011, originally from Barbuzzo in Philadelphia.


I’m linking up with:


45 Responses to “Caramel Custard Pots with Salted Caramel Sauce”

  1. #
    the wicked noodle — April 4, 2012 at 8:49 am

    These look amazing, Brenda!

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks, Kristy – so delicious!!

  2. #
    Maria — April 4, 2012 at 8:53 am

    This is my kind of dessert!

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      :) I can’t believe I’m not sick of them after making them so much, but they’re incredible. Can’t wait to make them again!

  3. #
    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — April 4, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Oh, I love the pride and care that you take in preparing your amazingly wonderful food. These little custards look beautiful, cute, and delicious all in one. A definite must-try. :)

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Thank you, my dear Natalie. :)

  4. #
    Mariah — April 4, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Looks delicious! I know I’d go through the work though, and my hubs would say “Good pudding”. Going to have to save this recipe for company!

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      You made me laugh. I know what you mean. :)

  5. #
    Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin — April 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

    So glad to know I’m not the only one to make 4 attempts before getting a post right :) The photos look beautiful – I love the black background.

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks, Jen. It’s frustrating, yet so rewarding when you finally get it right. :)

  6. #
    Emily @ She Makes and Bakes — April 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Those look increible. Caramel, vanilla bean, salt…I’m sold! Definitely bookmarking these. Love that you serve them individually in the jars. Great presentation!

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you so much, Emily!

  7. #
    Paula — April 4, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Thank you for working so hard to bring us this delicious looking custard. All your efforts paid off in spades and you have made it wonderfully easy for us to try and replicate.

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you, Paula. I love using mason jars, especially for seeing the layers in this dessert – and they’re probably more accessible/feasible than investing in special custard cups, etc.

  8. #
    Virginia — April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Barbuzzo in Philadelphia is where the original recipe came from. The restaurant is known for it’s “Budino” Italian Caramel Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce”….and it’s the best dessert I’ve ever eaten….

    • Brenda replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Virginia! Thanks for mentioning the original source (Barbuzzo)…I went back and included it on the recipe. I wish I could have gotten that original caramel pudding to work out. I tried it twice, but couldn’t get it to thicken up, and it just didn’t pass the taste test here in our house. I’m wondering if there was something lost in translation from Barbuzzo to bon appetit? The version I posted here is incredible and got a thumbs-up from my entire family. :)

      • Virginia replied on April 4th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

        Wow, thanks for telling me, I was going to make it for Easter…glad I found your recipe (on Pinterest), I’ll make yours then.

        • Brenda replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

          Hi Virginia! Maybe your taste buds would like the original pudding recipe, but none of us here did. Just know that the recipe I have listed, adapted from Dorie Greenspan, is not a pudding. It’s custard…much thicker than pudding. And it’s heavenly. :)

        • Virginia replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

          Hi Brenda,
          The Budino at Barbuzzo is a thick custard and it’s amazingly good…their translation of Budino is Italian pudding.
          But I’m still going to use your recipe…I’m excited to make it…I’ll let you know how it all goes.

  9. #
    Harriet — April 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    My friend who is a chef introduced me to salted caramel last year and although it took me a while to get used to it, I quite like it now. These look fab! I haven’t quite mastered the skill of making custard yet though, I have been sticking to the shop bought stuff!

    • Brenda replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Hi Harriet! :)

  10. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — April 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Oh my! This sounds heavenly!

    • Brenda replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      ’tis!! Thank you, Katrina – have a lovely weekend.

  11. #
    becca — April 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Man, oh man! I love custards, and the little masson jars are perfect. You also have more perseverance with these. Usually after about two attempts at something I’m out. Sometimes if whatever I made was really bad, I’ll stop after the first try :P

    • Brenda replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Becca – I know what you mean, but there was obviously something nagging at me to keep trying. It was so worth the 4th attempt…I have an awesome recipe for life! But, yes, if something is just plain bad, I usually don’t take another run at it.

  12. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — April 5, 2012 at 1:22 am

    These look incredibly gorgeous! I’m sorry that it took you 4 tries but I’m sure you’ve completely mastered and perfected this recipe. Oh and I love your cute little jars!

    • Brenda replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Oh thank you so much! I’m completely fine with the 4 tries…I learned something with every attempt. :)

  13. #
    Cindy @ Once Upon a Loaf — April 5, 2012 at 9:35 am

    You don’t scare me. I’m up for it! I will make these – don’t have those Mason jars and this is the perfect excuse to pick some up. Thanks!

    • Brenda replied on April 5th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Ha! Good for you! Although I surely didn’t mean to scare anyone…I really wanted it come across as I finally got the recipe just right, for everyone else to make it, too!! :)

  14. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — April 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Really these are making my mouth water.

    • Eddie Walker replied on May 8th, 2012 at 9:30 am

      Me too…. just feel like eating right now.

  15. #
    Vicki Bensinger — April 7, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Wow these look incredible and I love them in the mason jars. Such a nice dessert and so easy to save unused desserts – just screw the lid on. Love this idea and will definitely save this recipe to try later.

    Wishing you a Happy Easter or Passover whichever you celebrate.

    • Brenda replied on April 9th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you, Vicki, so nice to hear from you again! :)

  16. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — April 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    You had me a at salted caramel, there’s nothing better than that!

  17. #
    sweetsugarbelle — April 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    These look like Heaven, Brenda!

    • Brenda replied on April 14th, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Thank you! (and they are!) :)

  18. #
    Glory/ Glorious Treats — April 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    These look oh so delicious!!

  19. #
    Javelin Warrior — April 13, 2012 at 6:21 am

    These custard pots look amazing and I’d say it was definitely worth the 4 attempts! Love the contrasting colors and textures. I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

    • Brenda replied on April 14th, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Thank you!!

  20. #
    Sonia — April 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    These make me want to have some… right now!! I would like to try your recipe, but we don’t get corn syrup in South Africa. What can I substitute for it? Thanks for sharing your recipe. – Sonia

  21. #
    Jennifer — April 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I had the great pleasure of cooking for six ladies at an art retreat this last weekend (see and made your amazing caramel custards. They were a HUGE! hit with all of the ladies. I have quite the farmgirl’s recipe collection going :) Thanks for sharing all of your hard work and creativity with the rest of us.

  22. #
    April @ The 21st Century Housewife — May 4, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I’m visiting from Alli n Son, and I’m so glad to discover your blog! Your Caramel Custard Pots look wonderful, and I love how you have served them in mason jars.


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