Vanilla Sauce

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This simple stovetop Vanilla Sauce requires only five ingredients and less than 10 minutes prep time!

We love drizzling this vanilla sauce over bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, and french toast. It’s the perfect sauce to serve with all your brunch/breakfast favorites!

Overhead photo of vanilla sauce in a bowl with berries surrounding it

Most mornings, I eat a pretty healthy breakfast – a protein shake, acai bowl, smoothie/green juice, or yogurt with granola and fresh fruit. But, whenever I’m making a large breakfast/brunch meal (usually reserved for holidays, birthdays, or special occasions), I’m all about the sweet, syrup-covered, should-actually-be-served-for-dessert kind of breakfast choices.

Process shot-- image of the sugar and butter being added to a sauce pan

You know, like French Toast drenched in caramel or crepes stuffed to the brim with Nutella®. Those are my special-occasion breakfasts. And those breakfasts are always in need of a really great sauce. This vanilla sauce is JUST that sauce to drench your breakfasts in. It’s smooth, creamy, sweet, flavorful, and the perfect companion for so many different breakfast ideas.

Process shot-- image of the brown sugar and heavy cream being added to the pan

So today we’re talking Vanilla Sauce process, how to thicken it up, and finally, what to serve it over!

How to make Vanilla Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients: Add butter, sugars (white and brown), and heavy cream in a small pot.
  • Heat: Stir these ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil.
  • Mix in vanilla: Remove the pot from the heat and add in the vanilla as soon as everything has slightly cooled. You don’t want to add the vanilla while you’re heating the mixture or it will cook out without flavoring the sauce

Process shot-- image of the vanilla being added to the sauce pan

How do you thicken Vanilla Sauce?

Make sure you allow the mixture to come to a full boil to thicken the sauce. As the sauce cools, it will continue to thicken.

Variation ideas

  • You can make Vanilla Sauce with milk (whole milk only) or with half and half, but it won’t be nearly as thick/creamy as it would be with the heavy cream.
  • Feel free to use vanilla bean paste or a full vanilla bean in place of the vanilla extract in this recipe. There are general equivalency directions on jars of vanilla bean paste, so consult that for how much to use. To use a vanilla bean, replace the extract with one full vanilla bean.
  • To make a vegan Vanilla Sauce, check out this recipe.

Image of the Vanilla Sauce being poured into a bowl

Serve Vanilla Sauce over:

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Vanilla Sauce

5 from 2 votes
This simple stovetop Vanilla Sauce requires only five ingredients and less than 10 minutes prep time!
Print Recipe

Vanilla Sauce

5 from 2 votes
This simple stovetop Vanilla Sauce requires only five ingredients and less than 10 minutes prep time!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vanilla sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 172kcal


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  • Combine the butter, white sugar, light brown sugar, heavy cream, and salt in a heavy bottomed pot. 
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture thickens up and comes to a full boil.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to slightly cool (stir frequently). Stir in the vanilla. Serve over your favorite breakfast or dessert!


Nutrition Facts

Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 24mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 382IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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This simple stovetop vanilla sauce requires only 5 ingredients and less than 10 minutes prep time! Perfect for bread pudding, french toast, pancakes, etc.! via #breakfast #brunch #vanilla #sauce #syrup #easy #quick #recipe #sweet #dessert


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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have always had vanilla in sauce over hot banana fritters and it is heavenly.
    But I have never heard of using brown sugar, just white sugar.wouldnt that add a kind of maple flavor? I’m curious if it is better than the sauce I’m used to

    1. We’ve tried it both ways and like it better with brown sugar! 🙂 But, if you’re concerned, you can use all white sugar instead.

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