Frostings & Sauces

Vanilla Sauce

November 28, 2014

This is the easiest vanilla sauce recipe ever! It contains only 3 ingredients and goes perfectly on just about anything sweet like bread pudding, cakes, and pancakes.

Easy 3-ingredient vanilla sauce |

Erez and I agree on most things, but not when it comes to choosing between vanilla and chocolate. I prefer chocolate (obviously), while he goes the more traditional route. The only time I really prefer vanilla is when we’re picking out ice cream.

When I made this cake for a party, as always, the cake itself just wasn’t enough for me and I wanted to add a little something to it. The cake is great on its own, but the bar is constantly being raised among my sweet, demanding friends ever since the moment they tagged me as the baker of the group. So I need to pull something extraordinary out of my sleeves every single time in order to please them. Erez wouldn’t agree with me, though. He says that what I consider to be just ok will surely satisfy his hungry friends, and that I shouldn’t sweat it. He’s probably right, because he almost always is.

So I ended up making chocolate sauce and vanilla sauce to serve with the cake, and no one really cared for the chocolate sauce, but they all asked for the vanilla sauce recipe. 

Only 3 ingredients

With only 3 simple ingredients, this is the easiest vanilla sauce recipe in history. You’ll find yourself making it over and over again. It goes perfectly with just about everything: cakes, pancakes, waffles, crepes, bread pudding, ice cream, and a few other things I shouldn’t even mention I added it to. Or, you can just drink it straight from the jar.

How to make vanilla sauce

All you need for this sauce is to heat together heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla, for a few minutes, and voila! Letting it simmer gently for 10 minutes should be enough for it to thicken, but if it doesn’t, leave it for longer. It should be like thick liquid. I once forgot about it and left it on the stove for a while, luckily on very low heat, and that’s how I learned how thick and wonderful this sauce can get over time.

Easy 3-ingredient vanilla sauce |


  • I usually use pure vanilla extract for this. Don’t use artificial. If you prefer using a vanilla bean, substitute the extract with 1 split and seeded vanilla bean. Cook the mixture with both the pod and seeds, and once the mixture is ready, discard the pod.
  • For a richer, thicker sauce, you can add butter to the recipe – up to 1 stick/113g. .
  • For a thicker consistency, you can add about 1 tablespoon cornstarch. If you do, you’ll have to whisk the mixture constantly until it’s smooth, or it can get lumpy.

Recipe to use this sauce with:

5 from 7 votes
Easy 3-ingredient vanilla sauce |
Vanilla Sauce
This is the easiest vanilla sauce recipe ever! It contains only 3 ingredients and goes perfectly on just about anything sweet!

  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (65 g /2.3 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean - read above post)
  • Optional: up to 1/2 cup (1 stick/113 g) butter for more flavor and a thicker, creamier consistency
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, 10-15 minutes (or keep cooking until desired consistency).
  2. Drizzle sauce over cakes, pancakes, waffles, bread puddings, and more. Serve warm or slightly cool (the sauce will thicken as it cools).
  3. Sauce will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

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  • Reply
    November 29, 2014 at 11:31 am

    שבוע טוב שירן
    קודם כל אני עם ארז 🙂 גם אני מעדיפה וניל
    זה קרם וניל שאני לא מכירה, כי את מבשלת פה את השמנת המתוקה – חייבת לנסות
    תודה על החידוש!!

  • Reply
    Jess @
    November 30, 2014 at 10:15 am

    This vanilla sauce looks amazing! Love it Shiran!

    • Reply
      November 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks Jess!

  • Reply
    pamela higgins
    June 4, 2016 at 8:32 am

    can you reheat it a day later

    • Reply
      June 5, 2016 at 6:08 am

      Yes Pamela, you definitely can!

  • Reply
    Coach Cheryl
    September 19, 2016 at 1:21 am

    I used swerve instead of sugar, Delish!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I made this with condensed milk and a vanilla bean. OMG amazing.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Hi Shiran, what’s the difference between Vanilla beans and vanilla extract. I tried Vanilla Sauce in Malaysia and am in love with it. I would like to make the tastiest, best, most flavoursome vanilla…I have searched and it seems vanilla beans are harder to get hold of than vanilla extract. in addition vanilla beans seem to be more expensive…I was wondering does it make a huge difference in the taste?

    • Reply
      February 22, 2017 at 5:02 am

      Hi Khaleel, yes, there’s a difference in taste and vanilla bean has the best vanilla flavor, but if it’s hard for you to find, using pure vanilla extract tastes really good, too.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 2:44 am

    By “seeded”, do you mean remove the seeds from the pod but leave them in the mixture?

    • Reply
      March 5, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Yes, exactly. You need to add the seeds to the mixture.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    how do you make it not liquidly?

    • Reply
      April 29, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Hi Catherine, the sauce should have the consistency of a thick liquid.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    HI Shiran, just found your site. I have gained five pounds just READING, can’t wait to try a few recipes! Beautiful job summarizing and then detailing recipes, great photos! My new “go to”! Do you have a clever trick to get the flavor of simmering vanilla beans/pods, without the black flecks? Thinking of making crème patisserie (spell check keeps replacing word!) and vanilla sauce (not together…sugar overload!). I always use pure vanilla extract, but in ice cream LOVE the richness and little flecks. In pastry creams, not so much liking the look of black pepper! I’m looking for a new source for clear vanilla since I used mine all up.

    • Reply
      June 19, 2017 at 4:45 am

      Thank you Nanette! If you’re using vanilla pod, I’m not sure how you can avoid those black flecks. Personally I like their look. Otherwise, I use vanilla extract.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Just a theory.
    Could you add cinnamon to spice up the flavor?

    • Reply
      August 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      You can definitely try. Sounds good to me!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Do you need to cook it

  • Reply
    February 22, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Just made this sauce and paired it with a marmalade pudding cake. It’s divine.
    Thank you

  • Reply
    February 22, 2018 at 6:29 am

    Made this wonderful sauce today and paired it with a marmalade pudding cake. It tasted divine

  • Reply
    Emily @ Emily’s Tasty Adventures
    May 19, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I’m making this tonight to go along with your Strawberry Cake recipe! Can’t wait to try it!!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Hi. Can you use regular milk instead of heavy cream?

    • Reply
      October 21, 2018 at 7:56 am

      Hi Rose, I recommend sticking to the recipe. If using milk, the sauce will be thin and not as rich.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Would it work as well to replace the sugar with honey or maple syrup?

    • Reply
      December 15, 2018 at 5:53 am

      Hi Ingrid, I don’t recommend it because maple syrup and honey have a strong flavor.

  • Reply
    Susan Rhode
    January 26, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I made this sauce for some bread pudding I had made. I used a half stick of butter but next time I’ll only use about two tablespoons. This sauce was delicious! I added about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to the finished sauce. My bread pudding had cinnamon and nutmeg in it and this sauce with nutmeg was the perfect compliment! It is very similar to what my Mom used to make as I was growing up. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

  • Reply
    Paul Edwards
    May 21, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Hi shiran have you ever made a caramel sauce using golden syrup? I did following a recipe but once cooled i stored in jars in the fridge and the next day the syrup had separated and sunk to the bottom of the jars I don’t know where I went wrong

  • Reply
    Johanna Gibbons
    January 1, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Can the leftover vanilla sauce be frozen?

  • Reply
    April 24, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Can you tell me how much this recipe makes? thank you

    • Reply
      April 26, 2020 at 5:05 am

      About 2 cups!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    This was the best. First time trying to make this sauce. My family loved it. Complimented the bread pudding

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Can I substitute the heavy cream for whipping cream?

    • Reply
      May 17, 2020 at 4:40 am


  • Reply
    Karla Linares
    September 17, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Really good recipe 😋 I love it.
    I was trying to find a vanilla sauce for eat with bananas pancakes and is perfect. I will try to add some cocoa powder will see if it works… what do you think?

  • Reply
    March 3, 2022 at 8:23 am

    Absolutely perfect! This was a huge hit for my boyfriend’s birthday strawberry shortcake. Everyone loved it, I should have made double!

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