Caramel Sauce vs Syrup: 7 Differences You Need to Know Now

If you love the flavor of caramel, you will appreciate adding it to a drink or a dessert. This is why you will love a touch of caramel sauce or syrup.

You might think both are the same, as you want the distinctive and delectable caramel taste. But both caramel flavors are different and should not be used interchangeably.

To understand their difference, read our caramel sauce vs. syrup comparison. We will break down the significant differences and primary characteristics of each one.

Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup
The main differences between Caramel Sauce and Syrup are their taste, texture, uses, ingredients, preparation method, fat content, and suitability for special diets. Both items are made of caramelized sugar, but the caramel sauce must contain dairy fat, while the caramel syrup is fat-free.

What is Caramel Sauce?

Making caramel sauce depends on caramelizing white sugar. But these are only some ingredients needed to make this tasty and thick sauce.

You must add fatty ingredients such as milk, corn syrup, or whipping cream. Sometimesyou can add butter too. However, you should not add these ingredients until the sugar turns brown.

You should remove the sugar from the heat once the color and flavor have changed to caramelized sugar. Otherwise, it could burn, and the taste wouldn’t be caramelized. The dark orange or brown color indicates that the caramelization process was successful.

Caramel sauce is primarily used as a topping on numerous desserts, particularly chocolate. It goes well with ice cream, too. As a thick topping, it will only improve the taste, but you should expect it to dissolve within the dessert or snack you are having.

What is Caramel Syrup?

Caramel syrup is what it sounds like. It is a syrup made of caramelized sugar. Unlike caramel sauce, making caramel syrup won’t require many ingredients.

It is mainly sugar and water. No butter, oil, or cream is needed to create caramel syrup. You can add a few drops of vanilla extract, but it is optional if you do not have it at home.

Caramel syrup is mainly used to improve the taste of hot or iced coffee drinks like lattes or mochas. It will quickly dissolve as you mix it.

It also works well to draw on the coffee foam layer. Caramel syrup is known to be a bit bitter, as you should add very few droplets of citric acid.

Despite the simple ingredients, it could be tricky to get the perfect syrup. An essential trick for making an ideal caramel syrup is to add more water to the recipe. If the water is just enough to caramelize the sugar, you will end up with a bit of thick syrup.

You might not see it when you remove the syrup from the heat, as it will maintain its thin texture for a while. However, it will get thicker as it cools down.

What are the Differences between Caramel Sauce and Syrup?

At first glance, you might believe that caramel sauce and caramel syrup are the same. The sweet taste of caramel in both items can lead you to this belief.

However, their taste, making, and even texture are different. Additionally, you can’t use them as substitutes for each other.

1. Taste

The flavor of caramel is present in both items, but their tastes are not identical or to be mistaken for one another.

The caramel sauce has a sweet and rich flavor, whereas caramel syrup is bitter and not rich. The bitterness in caramel syrup comes from adding a bit of citric acid.

2. Texture

Another major distinction is their texture or consistency. Caramel sauce is always thicker, as it depends mainly on caramelizing sugar. There are minimum amounts of liquids involved in the process.

For example, adding milk or water is optional after the caramelization process. It also contains butter and cream, adding to the sauce’s thickness and richness.

Caramel syrup, on the other hand, is always thin. Water is the main ingredient in the recipe for caramel syrup. You should add more water to the syrup to maintain its thin texture.

3. Uses

While both items can be used to decorate hot or iced drinks, it is not right to use caramel syrup on desserts. Caramel sauce is a great topping for desserts made of chocolate or vanilla. The thick sauce remains on the top surface of the sweet item to enrich the taste.

Even when you add caramel sauce to a hot drink, it can improve the flavor with continuous stirring. However, it won’t mix easily with cold coffee. 

Caramel syrup, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for mixing with hot or iced coffee. Still, it is not the right addition for chocolate desserts, as it needs consistency to remain on the top surface.

4. Ingredients

Caramel sauce and syrup both depend on sugar to get the required caramelization. However, caramel sauce needs the addition of butter or cream to create the right consistency and taste of richness.

On the other hand, caramel syrup needs more water to be mixed with the caramelized sugar to create the syrup. Also, you should add some vanilla extract or citric acid.

5. Preparation method

While both recipes depend on the presence of caramelized sugar, they are prepared somewhat differently. For instance, you will fully caramelize white sugar before adding other ingredients to make the sauce.

Adding cream and butter to caramelized sugar should be done carefully, as you must boil the cream first. Then mix it with the caramelized sugar. After creating a thick and smooth blend, it is time to add the butter.

On the other hand, making caramel sauce requires adding some water to the sugar to be caramelized. Then, you must add more water after the caramelization is finished to maintain a thin consistency.

6. Fat content

Caramel syrup is an ideal option for mixing with drinks or desserts for anyone wanting to decrease their daily fat intake.

Caramel sauce, on the other hand, depends on the fat coming from cream and butter. So, this rich and tasty sauce has a good amount of fat.

7. Suitability for special diets

Caramel syrup is suitable for all kinds of diets that have nothing against sugar. For instance, vegans will be fine with-consuming caramel syrup, as it is only water and sugar.

Caramel sauce, on the other hand, is not suitable for vegans. It contains dairy fats such as butter, cream, and sometimes cow’s milk.

Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup: Are they the same?

Caramel sauce and syrup are not the same. They come from the same origin, which is caramelized sugar, but they have other differences. The caramel sauce tastes sweet, while the syrup tastes slightly bitter.

 Caramel sauce should be thick and shiny due to the butter and cream. Caramel syrup remains thin and doesn’t look shiny.

The caramel sauce has a high-fat content and is not suitable for vegans, while the syrup contains no fat. It is labeled as vegan-friendly.

Lastly, you can use caramel sauce as a topping, as it won’t dissolve easily. Caramel syrup is easily mixed and dissolved, so it works perfectly as an addition to hot or iced coffee.

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