These Sweet Sauces Will Instantly Upgrade Any Dessert

Pumpkin-Honey-Beer Bread Pudding with Apple Brandy-Caramel Sauce
Photo: Alison Miksch

Doctor up your desserts with these all-time favorite dessert sauces for filling, garnishing, topping, and plating your favorite sweet treats. If your pie turned out dry, or your pound cake needs an additional boost of flavor, these rich creams and sweet syrups will turn any dessert into fool-proof delicious dishes. From classic caramel sauce to gourmet-level vanilla creams, these sweet sauces make even the simplest desserts seem sophisticated. Gooey homemade caramel sauce, drizzles of crunchy pecans coated in syrup, and even German Chocolate syrup will your dessert into a show-stopping (and ultra-decadent) dish. We also advise keeping a few on standby in your fridge—they make the best ice cream toppings.

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Apple Brandy-Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin-Honey-Beer Bread Pudding with Apple Brandy-Caramel Sauce
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Apple Brandy-Caramel Sauce

This smooth, sugary sauce is made from a combination of sugar, cream, powdered sugar, and a kick of apple brandy. Use it to take French toast, pound cake, apple pie, or ice cream to another level.

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Café Brûlot Sauce

Café Brûlot Bread Pudding
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Café Brûlot Sauce

Inspired by the signature flavors of New Orleans, this strong sauce is full of chicory coffee and a splash of brandy. Serve on top of decadent Café Brûlot Bread Pudding.

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Sticky Maple-Caramel Sauce

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Sticky Maple-Caramel Sauce
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Sticky Maple-Caramel Sauce

Made with caramel candy, heavy cream, pure maple syrup, and a dash of salt, this sticky sauce is an ideal way to sweeten up any breakfast.

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Praline Sauce

Cream Puffs with Praline Sauce and Toasted Pecans
Helen Norman

Recipe: Praline Sauce

Disclaimer: You'll want to put this classic Southern sauce on everything.

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Sweet Mascarpone Cream

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Sweet Mascarpone Cream
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Sweet Mascarpone Cream

Mascarpone cream, made from whipped cream and sweetened mascarpone cheese, is the perfect light and fluffy topping for classic dessert staples, like pound cake and shortcake.

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Apple Cider Syrup

Chocolate Chip-Toasted Pecan Pancakes
Photo: Alison Miksch

Recipe: Apple Cider Syrup

Sugar and spice and everything nice make up this classic fall topping. Made from three variations of apple-flavored ingredients (cider, jelly, and apple pie spice), this sweet syrup pairs perfectly with Apple-Spiced Pancakes.

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Whiskey Caramel

Cornbread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel
Photo: Brian Woodcock

Recipe: Whiskey Caramel

What's better than plain ole caramel sauce? Caramel sauce infused with a quarter cup of whiskey, and served on top of sweet Cornbread Pudding. It doesn't get more Southern than that.

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Easy Vanilla Glaze

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Easy Vanilla Glaze
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Easy Vanilla Glaze

Keep the ingredients for this 4-ingredient glaze on-hand at all times—your cinnamon rolls will thank you.

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Coconut Cream

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Coconut Cream
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Coconut Cream

Hands-down the creamiest coconut sauce we've ever tasted, this decadent recipe combines coconut milk and heavy cream for a lush, smooth topping that tastes great dolloped on pretty much anything.

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Vanilla-Orange Glaze

Chocolate Rolls
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Vanilla Orange Glaze

Add a citrusy kick to your typical vanilla glaze with an easy dash of orange zest. This sweet spread is great drizzled on top of our Easy Orange Rolls.

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German Chocolate Syrup

German Chocolate Pancakes Recipe
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: German Chocolate Syrup

We may have outdone ourselves with this one. Think chopped pecans, sweet coconut, butter, vanilla, and sugar held by egg yolks. This sauce is basically the dessert in itself, but we won't judge you for whipping up a batch of pancakes and serving the syrup on the side.

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Amaretto Cream

Lemon Sherbet Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Amaretto Cream

This three-ingredient recipe is the perfect pie topping. Luscious, sweet, and with a splash of almond-flavored liqueur, this smooth topping adds just the right additional kick to any sweet pie.

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Caramel Syrup

Caramel Cake Pancakes Recipe
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Caramel Syrup

This four-ingredient take on traditional caramel sauce is freshened up with a dash of lemon juice, and thickened with a healthy dollop of whipping cream. Serve with Caramel Cake Pancakes, over ice cream, or wherever caramel syrup is needed (which is everywhere).

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Cream Cheese Syrup

Italian Cream Pancakes Recipe
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Cream Cheese Syrup

If you can't get enough cream cheese icing, this over-the-top Cream Cheese Syrup will quickly become your favorite recipe. Great used as a bread glaze or served with cinnamon rolls, this versatile syrup will become a staple.

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Whipped Peppermint Cream

Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Whipped Peppermint Cream

This light and fluffy whipped topping tastes like Christmas in a cream, and comes together from three pantry basics you probably already have on hand (heavy cream, peppermint extract, and powdered sugar). For the ultimate holiday dessert, spread this whipped topping on homemade Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake.

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Blackberry Syrup

Blackberry Syrup
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Prop Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham; Food Styling: Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

Recipe: Blackberry Syrup

Skip the store-bought stuff and make your own flavored breakfast syrup from leftover summertime blackberries and other pantry basics.

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Apple Brandy Crème Anglaise

Apple Bread Pudding
Helen Norman

Recipe: Apple Brandy Crème Anglaise

Crème Anglaise is a French term, and usually takes the form of a light custard made from sugar, egg yolks, and hot milk. We Southern-ized this European classic with a dash of apple brandy and a cinnamon stick, and served it on top of hot Apple Bread Pudding.

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Caramel Apple Topping

Caramel Apple-Brownie Cheesecake
Jennifer R. Davick

Recipe: Caramel Apple Topping

Served warm over cakes, ice cream, or even brownies, this decadent topping combines fresh apples, butter, and sugar for a rich sauce that tastes just like apple pie filling.

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Fudge Sauce

Christmas Recipes: Hot Fudge Sauce
Photo by Beau Gustafson

Recipe: Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Hot Fudge Sauce

Recipe: Whiskey Hot Fudge Sauce

Recipe: Espresso Hot Fudge Sauce

Upgrade any ice cream sundae with one of these delicious hot fudge variations. They make great gifts, too.

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Bourbon Sauce

Creole Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Bourbon Sauce

This Creole classic comes straight from the queen of Creole cuisine herself, Leah Chase. She shared her decadent bread pudding recipe with us once, and we've trusted her ever since—and so should you. We promise, you'll want to pour this buttery, creamy bourbon sauce on everything from here on out.

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Spiced Hard Sauce

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Spiced Hard Sauce
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Spiced Hard Sauce

Your gingerbread recipes just met their match with this flavorful hard sauce that features our favorite holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. We love it dolloped on top of classic Gingerbread Muffins.

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Two-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Sauce

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Two-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Sauce
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Sauce

Perhaps the easiest way to incorporate chocolate into our daily lives, this decadent sauce comes together in the microwave in under 5 minutes. For a fancier dessert, serve atop White Chocolate Panna Cotta.

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Sticky Caramel-Pecan Sauce

Sweet Sauces and Syrups Sticky Caramel-Pecan Sauce

Recipe: Sticky Caramel-Pecan Sauce

This reader-submitted sauce recipe won plenty of cook-off contests—and we completely see why. The sweet and creamy syrup is cut with instant coffee granules for delicious complexity.

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Dark Caramel Sauce

Peanut Butter-Banana Sandwich Bread Pudding with Dark Caramel Sauce
Photo Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Dark Caramel Sauce

The key to cooking this sauce is cooking to the right darkness—too long and you'll scorch the sauce, not long enough and you'll fail to achieve that rich, amber, nearly burnt flavor. Our best advice is simple: just don't walk away from the pot. This recipe requires constant stirring.

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Virginia Willis's Caramel Sauce

Virginia Willis’s Caramel Sauce

Video: How to Make Caramel Sauce

We love this rich, creamy caramel sauce recipe from Georgia-born chef and author Virginia Willis. It will be your new favorite caramel sauce.

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Vanilla Hard Sauce

Buttermilk-Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Vanilla Hard Sauce

If you've never tasted this butter-based topping, you're in for a sweet treat. Hard sauce is actually a soft, spoonable spread meant to be dolloped onto warm desserts. It holds its form at first, and then melts down for a decadent dessert. This versatile vanilla spread would be good on everything from bread pudding to warm pecan pie.

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Raspberry Sauce

Berry Bread Pudding
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Raspberry Sauce

We first served up this fruity sauce on top of our Berry Bread Pudding—but quickly realized that it's the perfect instant upgrade for our holiday brunches, poured over everything from hot pancakes to crispy waffles.

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