Caramel Icing Recipe – Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Move over, pumpkin spice—salted caramel is the true reason for the fall season! Seriously, when the colder months come around, who among us doesn’t crave a shot of caramel in their lattes, or caramel-covered apples, or caramel candy like the kind your grandparents used to give out? That’s why this salted caramel icing recipe is so perfect…you can turn any dessert into a sweet and flavorful fall treat. Salted caramel buttercream frosting is such a classic flavor year round too. This light and fluffy cupcake frosting recipe will be a staple in your recipe book for years to come!

closeup of salted caramel buttercream frosting in white round dish on plate of fall sprinklesAnother reason this recipe is so perfect? It’s simple. We’re always fans of easy recipes here at Sweets & Treats! Just a few ingredients, a bowl, and a stand mixer (or something else to beat the ingredients together) and you’re good to go.

Yes…great tasting sweets can be that easy to put together. Let’s get started with this salted caramel buttercream frosting recipe! 

overhead photo of salted caramel buttercream frosting with fall sprinkles aroundSalted Caramel Icing Recipe: Ingredients & Utensils


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar

closeup of salted caramel buttercream frosting on metal whiskUtensils & Other Items

  • A large bowl
  • Something to beat the frosting (like a stand mixer)

salted caramel icing recipe ingredientsHow To Make Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the caramel topping and sea salt until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with heavy whipping cream until the icing reaches the desired consistency.
  4. Frost cupcakes immediately, or store the frosting in refrigerator until ready to use. (You’ll want to bring the icing to room temperature before using it again!)
  5. Store frosted cupcakes in refrigerator.

caramel icing recipe stepsTips & Ideas For Making Salted Caramel Icing

Here’s a few pointers for this amazing frosting recipe!

  • You can totally make this ahead of time—put it in an airtight container and throw it in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a full week.
  • You can freeze this frosting, too. It will last for probably three months or so, if you can keep it that long without gobbling it all up immediately!
  • If you don’t have or can’t find caramel ice cream topping for whatever reason, dulce de leche works just as well. You can also use homemade caramel sauce if you’re feeling adventurous…but we wanted to keep things easy for this recipe!
  • Definitely use sea salt over table salt. You’ll taste the difference — sea salt honestly feels like the ocean on your tongue. And even though salted caramel tends to be a fall treat, you want a little beach in your salt! Even a pinch of brown sugar would be an added punch of sweetness and crunch!

smooth and creamy salted caramel icing recipe with fall sprinklesOh, yeah, and here’s our favorite part of any frosting post — giving you scrumptious ideas about how to use it!

  • Our top recommendation is, of course, our Apple Pie Cupcakes Sorry, not sorry — we have to brag here. The frosting plus the cupcakes make an out-of-this world dessert!
  • Other cupcake ideas for salted caramel frosting: pumpkin-flavored and coffee-flavored cupcakes, as well as plain old vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. These ideas also work for bigger cakes — who wouldn’t want a giant chocolate-and-caramel layer cake or sheet cake for their birthday?
  • Feeling cookies instead? Sugar cookies and oatmeal cookies truly hit the spot when you combine them with this icing. You can also use this icing as a filling in a cookie sandwich…or with macarons…we’re drooling just thinking about it.
  • That’s all we have to say. Grab some brownies and grab this frosting and you’re in heaven.
  • It’s so good you may just eat it out of the jar. We won’t judge.

As always, we encourage you to get creative! A world of sweet, sweet flavor is waiting for you.

overhead photo of caramel icing recipe on round metal platter, ready for fall dessertsSalted Caramel Icing Recipe, Fall Perfection

Salted caramel is probably the best fall treat out there, but of course, there’s no law saying you can’t use it during any other season…so let us know in the comments how much you enjoyed this frosting! Did you use it on our apple pie cupcakes, or for something else? We’d love to hear from you. This classic frosting recipe is sure not only hang around this fall but all year long!

If you’ll be using this on cupcakes, top with our Totem Pole sprinkles for extra fall color! Not sure how many bags of sprinkles you need? Check out our conversion How Many Sprinkles Do I Need charts!

closeup of caramel icing in white dishLove this Salted Caramel Icing Recipe? Check out more awesome desserts!

Like us, we know you probably can’t get enough sweets in your life…so here’s a few more icing recipes on our blog for you to try!

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