homemade caramels featured image
This homemade caramels recipe is easy and straightforward, complete with tips for the perfect sweet taste and soft texture. Great for gift-giving, serving during the holidays, or curing a candy craving.
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Table of Contents
  1. Easy Homemade Caramels (No Corn Syrup Needed)
  2. Why We Love This Homemade Caramel Recipe Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Homemade Caramels
  7. Tip From Our Recipe Developer
  8. What to Do If You Don't Have a Candy Thermometer?
  9. Storage
  10. Frequently Asked Questions
  11. other Easy Recipes Using Caramel
  12. Homemade Caramels Recipe

Our homemade Caramels recipe has only 5 ingredients and is super easy, even if it’s your first time making candy from scratch.

Soft, chewy, rich, and buttery tasting, these melt-in-your-mouth morsels are so much better than anything store-bought.

homemade caramels hero

Easy Homemade Caramels (No Corn Syrup Needed)

Our Homemade Caramel Candy recipe is easy to follow; just stick to my simple candy-making steps, and you’ll have the best batch of caramel candies with the perfect taste and texture every time!

A homemade candy caramel recipe can’t be rushed; the key to creating a candy with a soft and chewy consistency is all in the cooking time and temperature.

But don’t worry if you don’t have a candy thermometer because I’ve also included instructions for the old-fashioned ice water test.

Why We Love This Homemade Caramel Recipe Recipe

  • Easy to make at home with this simple caramel candies recipe.
  • Only uses 5 ingredients.
  • Wrap each piece in wax paper, rolling up the ends, and package them in boxes or bags for gifting to neighbors, friends, teachers.
  • Sweet candy treat that won’t break your teeth.
  • Perfect for holidays, dessert platters, stashing in your purse, or a snack to cure a sugar craving.

More Homemade Candy Recipes

homemade caramels ingredients image

Ingredients

  • Granulated white sugar
  • Honey: You can use light corn syrup instead, though the flavor will change slightly.
  • Salted butter: You can use unsalted butter but be sure to add an extra pinch or two of salt so your caramels don’t end up too sweet. 
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream: Heavy cream is ideal for caramel due to its high-fat content. It can’t be substituted with any other type of milk. You can also use heavy whipping cream but do not use whipping cream since it does not contain enough fat.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Swap The Sugar: You can substitute light or brown sugar for a slightly different flavor. If you want to alter the caramel just slightly you can do half white sugar and half brown sugar.
  • Add Some Salt or Chocolate: Feel free to sprinkle the caramels with a little sea salt or refrigerate them and then dip them in melted chocolate to make a caramel truffle. 
bitten homemade caramels
  • 8-inch square pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Saucepans
  • Candy thermometer (see note on what to do if you don’t have a candy thermometer)
  • Pizza cutter or sharp knife
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How to Make Homemade Caramels

  1. Make The Caramel Mixture: Heat the sugar, honey, butter and salt until melted and the mixture begins to simmer, about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  2. Heat The Heavy Cream: Heat the cream, stirring frequently. Do not boil the cream!
    Pro Tip: If it begins to steam, lower the heat. When you see small bubbles forming along the outer edges of the pan, it is done.
  3.  Combine: Slowly pour the cream into the caramel mixture, stirring constantly.
    Pro Tip: Be sure that your mixture continues to boil the whole time and do not add the cream too quickly. 
  4. Take The Temperature: Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Pro Tip: The caramel will go through a very frothy stage and then get darker and be more condensed. This process can take 10-30 minutes. 
  5. Pour Into The Pan: Pour the hot caramel mixture into the pan, and let it set at room temperature over several hours to overnight.
  6. Slice and Serve: Cut the caramel into small squares or rectangles and serve immediately or wrap tightly with parchment paper and store for later. Enjoy!
    Pro Tip: Spray your cutting utensil with cooking spray if it is sticking. 

Tip From Our Recipe Developer

  • Be sure to have all your ingredients out and equipment ready so that you don’t have to try to rush to grab something while the caramels are boiling. You want to be able to give your attention to the delicious candy.
  • Make sure to slowly stir in the heavy cream. If you add the cream too quickly, the sudden change in temperature will cause the caramels to curdle.
  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can use the cold water test. Drop a small amount of caramel into a cup of ice water. If it forms a soft ball, it’s done. If not, keep heating it for about a minute and then try again.
  • You want the mixture to reach 240°F before removing it from heat. Don’t let it get hotter than 250°F or it will burn.
  • After the caramel has cooled slightly I recommend covering the pan well with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t take on any strange odors while it finishes cooling, especially if you decide to cool it in the refrigerator. You can refrigerate the caramel for a faster set but it will harden and will need to come back to room temperature before serving.

What to Do If You Don’t Have a Candy Thermometer?

A candy thermometer is a handy tool to have and is usually pretty affordable. However, not everyone has one or likes using one.

If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can scoop a small amount of the caramel into a prepared cup of ice water and then mold it into a shape.

It should be firm, malleable, and slightly sticky. This is called the firm ball stage and indicates that the caramel is ready. If you choose to use this method, be sure to have your ice water ready before you start and use lots of ice.

If you overcook your caramel while trying to prepare the ice water it may get too hard! 

Storage

  • To Store: If wrapped well, you can store your candy in a container or bag at room temperature for up to 6 months. You can also store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
  • To Freeze: Wrap your caramels and store them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 1 year.
homemade caramels wrapped in parchment paper

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I store my Homemade Caramels?

These Homemade Caramels are so easy to store. You can wrap them well and store them in a container or bag at room temperature for up to 6 months. If they are stored in a very hot area they may lose their shape. You can also store them in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 1 year, however be aware that they will get extremely hard if chilled and should be allowed to come to room temperature before attempting to eat them. 

Can I heat the cream in the microwave?

If you don’t want to heat the cream over the stove, you can microwave it in 15-45 second increments, stirring in between each heating session, until it is hot. Be sure not to overheat your cream or it will curdle and be very unpleasant in your caramel. However, if the cream is too cold it can curdle when added to the hot sugar mixture. Heating the cream separately makes the process easier and faster.

What is the best temperature to cook my caramel Mixture?

The trickiest part of this whole process is making sure that your caramel mixture cooks enough (reaches that 240 degree Fahrenheit mark) but doesn’t overcook (usually about 250 degrees Fahrenheit will be too much). If your caramel turns out too soft and won’t keep its shape, it is likely that it wasn’t cooked to a hot enough temperature. If your caramel is too hard at room temperature it was likely heated too much. To reach 240 degrees the caramel mixture will foam up for a while and boil rapidly and then continue boiling but the foam will leave and it will be a darker, thicker mixture.

homemade caramels

other Easy Recipes Using Caramel

5 from 3 votes
homemade caramels featured image

Homemade Caramels

Serves — 48
This homemade caramels recipe is easy and straightforward, complete with tips for the perfect sweet taste and soft texture. Great for gift-giving, serving during the holidays, or curing a candy craving.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Chill Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 6 Tablespoons salted butter (¾ stick)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper or grease it well with butter or oil.
  • Heat the sugar, honey, butter and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted and combined and the mixture begins to simmer, about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • While that is heating, heat the cream over medium-low heat in a small saucepan, stirring frequently. Do not boil the cream, if it begins to steam lower the heat. You will know the cream has finished heating when you see small bubbles begin to form along the outer edges of the pan.
  • Once the caramel mixture is bubbling, slowly pour in the warmed cream, over several minutes while stirring constantly. Be sure that your mixture continues to boil the whole time and do not add the cream too quickly.
  • Turn heat to medium low. Allow the mixture to boil and continue stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit. The caramel will go through a very frothy stage and then get darker and be more condensed. This process can take 10-30 minutes.
  • Carefully pour the hot caramel mixture into the prepared pan and allow it to cool and set at room temperature. . I recommend giving it several hours, preferably overnight.
  • Remove the caramel from the pan using the parchment paper to lift it out and then cut it into small squares or rectangles using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Spray your cutting utensil with cooking spray if it is sticking.
  • Serve immediately or wrap tightly with parchment paper and store for later.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: If wrapped well, you can store your candy in a container or bag at room temperature for up to 6 months. You can also store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
  • To Freeze: Wrap your caramels and store them in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 1 year.
Tips:
  • Be sure to have all your ingredients out and equipment ready so that you don’t have to try to rush to grab something while the caramels are boiling. You want to be able to give your attention to the delicious candy.
  • Make sure to slowly stir in the heavy cream. If you add the cream too quickly, the sudden change in temperature will cause the caramels to curdle.
  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can use the cold water test. Drop a small amount of caramel into a cup of ice water. If it forms a soft ball, it’s done. If not, keep heating it for about a minute and then try again.
  • You want the mixture to reach 240°F before removing it from heat. Don’t let it get hotter than 250°F or it will burn.
  • After the caramel has cooled slightly I recommend covering the pan well with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t take on any strange odors while it finishes cooling, especially if you decide to cool it in the refrigerator. You can refrigerate the caramel for a faster set but it will harden and will need to come back to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.02mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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