The holiday season is upon us and that means candy making! Homemade Caramels are easier to make than you think. With just a few ingredients you can make these soft and chewy morsels that will literally melt in your mouth.
I love this time of year, don’t you? To say that I am a fan of candy would be a bit of an understatement, and the fact that I get to make it and feel zero guilt is even better!
Homemade Caramel Recipe
Making candy at home doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few uncomplicated ingredients and some patience, these caramels can be whipped up fairly easily.
Heavy cream, butter, and corn syrup come together for a rich, chewy, indulgent treat. These little goodies are great holiday gifts for a hostess or teacher’s gift. They keep really well and also make the perfect after-dinner treat. Make a batch and wrap them up individually in wax paper. Buy nice bows or ribbons and you’ve got a cute little candy to place on everyone’s plate.
Ingredients Needed To Make Homemade Caramels
Find the complete measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Sugar – I used granulated white sugar in this caramel candy recipe.
- Heavy cream – These caramels need heavy cream to give them the right texture and flavor.
- Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter but salted will also work.
- Corn syrup – I chose light corn syrup to make this recipe for homemade caramel candy but dark corn syrup would also work.
- Vanilla extract – I like to use real vanilla extract but imitation will also work.
- Flaked Sea Salt (optional) – for making salted caramels.
How to make soft caramel candy recipe recipe
First: Butter a baking dish. Set aside.
Note: The first time I made these I buttered the baking dish. Since then, I have opted to line the baking dish with parchment and butter the parchment paper. It makes them easier to lift out of the dish for cutting.
Second: Combine all ingredients, except the vanilla, in a heavy pan.
Third: Stir, cooking over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Make sure to keep stirring taking care not to let it scorch. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan well.
Fourth: Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, constantly stirring the entire time, until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage. Use a candy thermometer to ensure the hot caramel reaches the correct temperature.
Fifth: Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.
Sixth: Pour into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly.
Remove the candy from the baking dish.
Note: Love salted caramels? After spreading the caramel mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle some flaky sea salt over the tops. So good!
Seventh: Cool until the caramel is at room temperature. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.
Wrap them in wax paper.
Love it? Pin it!
If you love this easy caramel recipe make sure that you don’t lose it! Pin these chewy homemade caramels to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!
Why did my homemade caramels turn out hard? If you find your caramel candy is hard it could be because you were cooking it on too high a heat.
How long do caramels stay fresh? Caramel candy has a long shelf life. If you store the creamy caramels in an airtight container they can last up to 6 months. Keep the container away from light or heat.
Why are my homemade caramels soft? If your caramels turn out too soft it may be that you did not cook them at a high enough temperature.
You can place the caramel mixture back into the saucepan and reheat to between 234 to 240 degrees F. In lieu of using a candy thermometer, you can do a cold water test. To do a cold water test drop a teaspoon full of the sugar-syrup mixture into cold water and see how it holds its shape. Shape the sugar-syrup mixture into a ball while it is under the water. If it keeps its shape underwater but gets soft when removed it has reached the correct soft-ball stage.
Why do caramels need corn syrup? Corn syrup is the ingredient that helps the sugar from crystallizing. This ingredient is called an ‘interfering agent’ as it disrupts the natural process of the sugar molecules.
How do you make soft caramels? The key to soft and chewy caramels is using the right amount of heat to cook them and ensuring they reach the correct temperature for the firm ball stage.
- You can substitute brown sugar for white sugar however the taste may be slightly different.
- Dark corn syrup will work just as well as light corn syrup.
Tips & Tricks To Make This Soft Caramel Recipe
- Make sure to grease the baking pan well or line it with parchment paper so the caramels do not stick.
- Invest in a candy thermometer so you can accurately measure the heat which will ensure you get the right consistency.
- Stir the sugar mixture constantly and don’t leave it unattended or you will have a big sticky mess to clean up.
- Cut the cooled caramel and store in a container.
MORE Candy RECIPES TO LOVE
- Peanut Brittle (pictured above)
- Never Fail Fudge
- Turtle Fudge
- White & Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- See ALL of my Candy Recipes
Homemade caramels are a delightful little treat to have on hand during the holidays or any time of year really. Make a batch today for a little taste of heaven any day.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup butter
- 1 ½ cups light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- flaky sea salt (optional)
- Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and butter it. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients, except the vanilla, in a heavy pan.
- Stir cooking over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Make sure to keep stirring taking care not to let it scorch.
- Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage (245 degrees F.) Do not let the temperature exceed 250 degrees F. Be patient, this will take about 45 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly.
- Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and wrap them in pieces of wax paper. (makes the perfect little candy wrappers!)
This recipe comes from an old church cookbook. It says to reach the soft ball stage when cooking, but I have found that the caramels didn't set up correctly there. Reaching 245-250 degrees had a firmer caramel and it was easier to work with.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 51mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g
Please note that nutrition is not guaranteed accurate.