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Salted caramel frosting just may be the best frosting on earth. It brings together all of the best flavors to create a frosting that meets all of your salty & sweet desires.

Piping this caramel frosting on chocolate cupcakes instantly elevates them from basic to extraordinary with hardly any extra effort. And I highly recommend trying this frosting on top of a delicious chocolate brownie! Don’t miss any of my cake recipes where you could use this frosting!

An image of a cupcake in front of a jar of caramel sauce with caramel dripping off the frosting.

I was never the kid who ate the frosting and left the cupcake. In fact, usually I would scrape the frosting off and only eat the cake portion of a dessert.

But that was usually because people would so often serve cupcakes with store-bought canned frosting. Which, I’m sorry, but yuck. No thank you!

Homemade frosting is so far superior as to be almost a completely different food, in my opinion. And I love that I can customize the flavor to whatever my hearts desire like this salted caramel frosting that is the bees knees!

Also, homemade frosting is incredibly easy to make! If you haven’t tried it, what’s stopping you?

An image of swirls of salted caramel frosting piped onto chocolate cupcakes.

This salted caramel frosting is light and fluffy, with rich caramel flavor. I like to make homemade caramel sauce to use in this recipe, although it does take some advance planning since the caramel has to cool COMPLETELY or else it will melt the butter and the frosting will not work.

But I’ve also done a semi-homemade version where I use store-bought caramel sauce when I’m running short on time.

You can also taste and adjust the saltiness to your desired level. I really love the combination of salty and sweet, so I will even sprinkle flaked salt on top of my pipes frosting along with a little extra caramel drizzle. It’s messy and not very practical, for sure, but it makes a beautiful presentation as well as giving that extra bump of flavor.

An image of chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting on top.

I piped the swirls on these cupcakes using the Wilton 1M piping tip (affiliate link). My other favorite tips for frosting cupcakes are the Wilton 8B and the Ateco 828 and Ateco 808. (affiliate links)

It’s so easy to make professional-looking cupcakes with basically zero talent and the right tip. I’m sort of the worst decorator ever, but I’m always happy with how my cupcakes turn out thanks to these tip choices!

I love, love, love the combination of salted caramel frosting with chocolate cupcakes, but you can also sandwich it between your favorite cookies, use it on yellow or vanilla cupcakes, top brownies with it, or heck, just spread it on graham crackers. It’s oh-so-good.

How to make this salted caramel frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes until it’s light, creamy, and smooth.
  2. Add in two cups of the powdered sugar and blend on low speed until the butter and powdered sugar come together. Then add in the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix until combined.
  3. Add the caramel sauce and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add additional heavy cream or milk only as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to get the frosting to a nice pipeable consistency. Note that you may not need any additional liquid depending on the thinness or thickness of the caramel you added to the frosting base, so this step may be unnecessary. 

An image of a chocolate cupcake with salted caramel frosting that has been sliced in half.

How do I store this salted caramel frosting?

Store any unused frosting in an airtight container inside your fridge for up to 1 week. Let it sit on the counter for about an hour to come to room temperature before piping onto any desserts. 

The frosting can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge and let it sit out for a couple of hours to come to room temperature. You may want to dump it back into a mixer and beat it again to get it really nice and smooth before using.

An image of a chocolate cupcake with salted caramel frosting on top.

Which caramel sauce should I use for this recipe?

I highly recommend my own salted caramel sauce recipe because it’s great, but if you don’t want to make your own, you can buy a store-bought version.

I’ve even used leftover buttermilk caramel syrup recipe in a pinch once and it worked fine, although the caramel flavor didn’t come through quite as strong.

Another image of cupcakes with caramel drizzled over the top of a salted caramel buttercream frosting.

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Salted Caramel Frosting
Yield: 4 cups of frosting

Salted Caramel Frosting

Salted caramel frosting just may be the best frosting on earth. It brings together all of the best flavors to create a frosting that meets all of your salty & sweet desires.

Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes

Ingredients

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Heavy cream or milk, only as needed

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until light, creamy, and smooth, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add two cups of the powdered sugar and blend on low speed until the butter and powdered sugar come together. Add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix until combined.
  3. Add the caramel sauce and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add additional heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, only as needed to get the frosting to a nice pipeable consistency. You may not need any additional liquid (I usually don't, but if your caramel sauce is on the thicker side, you might).

Notes

  • If a store-bought caramel sauce instead of salted caramel sauce, increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon, then adjust from there.
  • This recipe makes enough frosting to pipe onto 14-16 cupcakes or frost a 2-layer cake. If spreading with a knife, you can cover 24 cupcakes.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 257 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 34mg Sodium: 186mg Carbohydrates: 37g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 36g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g
This calculation is based on piping a generous amount of frosting on each of 14-16 cupcakes. If spreading with a knife, this recipe is enough to frost 24 cupcakes.