Why You Should Use Sour Cream To Make Caramel Sauce

If you have leftover sour cream in the fridge and want to use it up before it goes bad, here's a great tip. Use it to make delectable caramel sauce. Though sour cream is often used as a topping for savory dishes like tacos and chili, it's also great for baked goods — a little bit goes a long way in a delicious coffee cake, for example.

In this great tip, Lifehacker writes that sour cream is great to add to caramel sauce, especially if you're planning on using the sauce to top something extra sweet like ice cream – in this way, the sour cream can add a different flavor with more depth. The article describes the end result as "a sauce with a delightful tangy surprise at the end." As they note, the reason it works is because caramel in general has notes of sweet, buttery, and browned tastes in its flavor profile. With sour cream's lactic acid, there's even more dimensional qualities and "that extra tang can help cut through those dominating flavors."

How to make caramel sauce with sour cream

Homemade caramel sauce is pretty simple to make and there's an abundance of recipes for it, including this one from Nigella Lawson that winds up as salted caramel sauce. Lifehacker was inspired by one from Jenn Louis, the author of several cookbooks, as seen on her Instagram. It calls for sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, unsalted butter, and salt, and of course sour cream. If you don't have a full cup of sour cream, try this recipe from Food & Wine that needs just 3 tablespoons and also includes dark rum for some extra kick.

Whichever recipe you decide to use, to make caramel sauce, you'll need to start with heating up the sugar and water until the mixture is an amber color. Then you'll want to add the other ingredients on low heat until full dissolved. It's best to serve warm, but can also be refrigerated for two days and reheated, per Food & Wine.

Now that you've got your caramel sauce, it's time to put it to good use. Need some inspiration? Try using it in these caramel apple pie bars or drizzle it all over a caramel vanilla crunch cake. If you like to keep things simple, just pour a generous amount on top of an ice cream sundae. And, if you prefer soft caramels rather than caramel sauce, try this sour cream caramel recipe from Dinner With Julie.