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Old Fashioned Caramel Icing

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Old Fashioned Caramel Icing is the most delicious icing for cake, muffins, donuts, and cinnamon rolls. This icing was passed on to me from my mother and it’s a staple for my kitchen!

THIS recipe is my most made icing recipe EVER.

The caramel frosting drizzling off a spoon into a jar.

Brown Sugar Icing

My favorite EVER icing recipe is now on the blog! If you’ve never made this brown sugar icing you are missing out.

This recipe was a constant in our home when I was growing up. My mother made it a billion times (at least!) – for topping cinnamon rolls and banana cake. Now I’ve used it for a handful of recipes on the blog and decided it was time for it to have it’s own recipe here.

We love this recipe for so many reasons – but mostly for the undeniable mouth-watering taste. It’s simple to make and makes everything taste better. Trust me!

Overhead shot of a jar of the brown sugar icing.

Ingredients Used:

Just five simple ingredients to the BEST caramel icing!

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Milk – I used 2% milk but any will do fine.
  • Powdered Sugar – I highly recommend sifting your powdered sugar for a smoother texture.
  • Vanilla Extract
The ingredients on a white background, labeled.

How to make Old Fashioned Caramel Icing:

Step 1
Melt butter and brown sugar. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together until smooth.

Step 2
Add milk. Add the milk and bring to a simmer.

Step 3
Add powdered sugared and vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat and add the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until well combined.

Let the icing sit for a bit to set up. If it gets too firm, add a few drops of milk. If it’s too thick, add a little more powdered sugar. Adjust the icing to your preference!

Step 4
Use icing. Use this icing in all the things. Us it for cakes, cupcakes, rolls, muffins, and quick breads. We love it on banana baked goods especially!

A hand holding a spoon into the jar of icing.

Recipe FAQs

How do you make smooth caramel icing?

I recommend sifting your powdered sugar to get a super smooth consistency.

How do you get the correct consistency for icing?

In order to get the correct consistency, carefully measure your ingredients. If the icing is too thick, add a few drops of milk and stir again. If it’s too thin, add a little bit of powdered sugar.

How do you store caramel icing?

You can store the icing on your countertop for a few days. If you need to store for longer, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator.

Side view of a jar of caramel icing.

xoxo ~Sue

Closeup on a spoon of frosting drizzling into a jar.

Old Fashioned Caramel Icing

Old Fashioned Caramel Icing is the most delicious icing for cake, muffins, donuts, and cinnamon rolls. This icing was passed on to me from my mother and it's a staple for my kitchen!
4.76 from 37 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 1/2 cup servings
Calories: 660kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Melt butter and brown sugar. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together until smooth.
  • Add milk. Add the milk and bring to a simmer.
  • Add powdered sugared and vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat and add the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until well combined.
  • Use icing. Use this icing in all the things. Us it for cakes, cupcakes, rolls, muffins, and quick breads. We love it on banana baked goods especially!

Notes

Let the icing sit for a bit to set up. If it gets too firm, add a few drops of milk. If it’s too thick, add a little more powdered sugar. Adjust the icing to your preference!

Nutrition

Calories: 660kcal | Carbohydrates: 115g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 115mg | Sugar: 113g | Vitamin A: 748IU | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

32 Comments

  1. Liz Doyle says:

    Can you pour it over instead of spreading with a knife?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Sure, whatever method you like works!

  2. Is there enough volume to frost a two layer cake or do you need to double the recipe? Jim

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m not 100% sure but I’d double it and then just store any leftovers in your refrigerator.

  3. Easy and my peeps gobble it up and beg for more

  4. Easy and a winner every time!

  5. M Russell says:

    Great frosting. I used dark brown sugar which gives it a more
    rich appearance. Thank You!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Sounds like a great idea!

  6. Is this recipe a glaze type frosting or the type with some body to it that you spread onto layers with a spatula?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      This one has plenty of body for layering.

  7. ivorymb25@gmail.com says:

    How do you store left over frosting

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      You can store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

  8. Does this frosting work well on layered cakes?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes, you an definitely use this on layered cakes too!

  9. Is this a good recipe for a cake you want to decorate?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m not sure as I’d need more details, Deb.

  10. Sherlynpettway says:

    It has been easy to get it together.

  11. Nice recipe but to much powdered sugar

  12. Judy Marie says:

    Its AMAZING on my grandmothers Blackberry Jam Cake recipe that has been passed down for 5 generations. I make it every CHRISTmas

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Oh yay! I love to hear this!

  13. Have not tried yet but will this stay soft?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes, it will stay soft.

  14. Found this recipe today and frosted apple pound cake with it! Perfect fall cake and icing was so easy

  15. This is the frosting (that’s what we called it) of my childhood. An easy one Mom (of Norma Jean’s Kitchen) could whip up and put on one of her yummy fresh made rolls to be devoured by her many waiting family members. SueBee has remade this recipe to perfection and I love the memories that come with it.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m glad you have great memories of it like I do, Shari! Mwah!

      1. My grand Mother made this cake all the time with home maid cake and home made iceing it was so very good also she made uncooked fruit cake that was really like candy she kept in a freezer and we’d 💤 ce it real thin to nibble

        1. Suebee Homemaker says:

          Such great memories!

  16. Jackie Thill says:

    This frosting is delicious, and addictive. Try it, you’ll love it!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Jackie!

  17. Amazing! 5 ingredients. 4 steps. 1 incredible recipe!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks! So easy.

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