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

Vanilla Sauce

Most mornings, I eat a pretty balanced 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 for holidays, birthdays, or special occasions), I’m all about the sweet, syrup-covered, should-actually-be-served-for-dessert kind of breakfast choices.

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 topping or filling for so many different breakfasts.

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


  • Unsalted Butter: Makes the syrup creamy and rich. Use unsalted butter so you can decide how salty your syrup is.
  • White Sugar: Stir until the sugar is totally mixed in so your syrup is smooth.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Be sure to pack the brown sugar when measuring for the most accurate measurement. 
  • Heavy Cream: Cook this on medium heat so the cream doesn’t burn.
  • Pinch of Salt: Just a tiny bit of salt is enough to make a big difference.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a even more flavor.

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 every once in awhile 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 let the mixture 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.
  • You can use vanilla bean paste or a whole vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract in this recipe. Check the vanilla bean paste jar for guidance on how much to use. If you’re using a vanilla bean, use one whole bean in place of the extract.
  • Add a little cinnamon or nutmeg for a cozy, spiced taste. This is great for making your breakfast or dessert feel extra warm.

Image of the Vanilla Sauce being poured into a bowl


  • Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep well for up to two weeks. Remember to let it cool completely before storing.
  • For best results, gently warm the syrup before serving, especially if it has thickened in the fridge.

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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