My Homemade Caramels recipe makes the most buttery, chewy caramels ever. Adding a little flaked sea salt makes them the perfect salty/sweet treat!
I partnered with my friends at Challenge Dairy for this recipe. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this website possible!
Have you ever made Homemade Caramels? I will tell you, they are pretty special!
Caramels are such a nostalgic and simple candy, they can easily get overlooked, but have you ever had a fresh caramel, sprinkled with a little flaked sea salt? I am telling you, LIFE CHANGING. Which is why these beauties are the PERFECT treat to include in my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies series this year. Not only that, it is the FINAL recipe in my 12 days!! Can you even believe that we’re at the end? It’s been so much fun the past two weeks sharing all new cookie/bar/candy recipes for you guys for this holiday. December is truly my favorite month of the year…so many traditions, festiveness, and sweet treats! And if you missed any of the first 11 days of treats, I’ll be recapping them at the bottom of this post!
So, like I said, today we’re making HOMEMADE CARAMELS! Get your candy making pants on today, because this caramels recipe is a keeper!
How Do You Make Homemade Caramels?
Honestly, making caramels is really easy. You only use a few ingredients, which is why you want them to be quality! And I partnered with my longtime friends over at Challenge Dairy on this recipe, which is always a fun thing to do! If you have been a reader for any length of time, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Challenge and have worked with them for many years. Challenge Butter is so fresh, you can taste the difference. They are the only dairy company that controls the whole process from milking the cows, to transporting milk, to packaging the product. And they use milk that has not been treated with the growth hormone rbST, which is very important to my family and me.
And while quality ingredients are definitely key, there are definitely a few tricks to getting the perfect caramels:
- Make sure you are using a heavy-bottomed saucepan. I love using my Le Creuset Dutch oven for this. The heat distributes evenly and you have less chance of burning!
- Stir, stir, STIR! This isn’t a multi-tasking recipe. You have to be prepared to stand next to your stovetop for a good hour+ stirring. There is just no way around it. I wrote in the recipe you have to stir constantly. While, yes, this is true, it’s ok to take short breaks, just don’t let it go too long because once the temperature reaches 230°F, it can jump up quickly!
- Which brings me to my next tip…become friends with your candy thermometer. You need one for this recipe. I LOVE my ThermaPen. It’s fast and accurate. While you don’t have to get a fancy candy thermometer, just use one…that’s what’s most important.
- Wrap your caramels in wax paper. You will want to cut your pieces of wax paper about 3″x3″. This does depend on how large your cut your caramels, but make sure you have enough wax paper to wrap the candies tightly!
- When you cut the caramels into pieces, use a bench scraper if you have one! It’s a trick I use when cutting these perfectly! Caramels are much easier to cut when they are chilled. Don’t cut them as soon as they come out of the refrigerator, though. Let them warm up slightly, so they are chilled but not cold.
Can you Freeze Homemade Caramels?
Yes! You can freeze this caramels easily! Just place the wrapped candies in a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze them for up to 3 months! You can certainly store these in the refrigerator as well for best freshness for up to a month, or at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. These are all based on my own research for best tasting caramels.
What If You Don’t Have a Candy Thermometer?
If you don’t have a candy thermometer and still want to make these you can! After the caramel has been bubbling away and is thick and amber colored, drop a spoonful of the hot caramel into a cup of ice water. Mold the caramel with your fingers into a ball. The caramels are ready when they feel firm and pliable!
Or if you don’t trust the candy thermometer you have, just bring a small pot of water to a boil. The temperature on the candy thermometer placed in the water should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
And to show you just how easy it is to make these Homemade Caramels, I made you a little video! Enjoy!
Homemade Caramel Candy is chewy, sweet, and buttery
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup (2 sticks) Salted Challenge Butter, cubed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of flaked sea salt (or more depending on your preference)
- Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray, or butter. Set aside.
- In a medium heavy saucepan combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, half and half, corn syrup, and butter over medium-low heat. Cook and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 250°F on a candy thermometer. The mixture will bubble up and get thick as it cooks, while turning an amber color. The process will take over an hour, so be prepared to stir!
- Once it reaches 250°F remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wait 30 minutes and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Cover the pan with foil and place in refrigerator until set.
- Remove the candy from the pan with the foil. Gently peel the foil from the sides and bottom of the caramel. Allow the candy to come to almost room temperature before cutting into pieces.
- Wrap each candy with a small piece of wax paper.
Keywords: caramel, candy, candy making, brown sugar, candy recipe
Did You Miss Any of the First 11 Days? Catch Up Now!
Day 1: Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Day 3: Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Day 4: Peanut Butter Balls
Day 6: Gingersnap Cookies
Day 8: Frosted Egg Nog Cookies
Day 9: Black and White Cookies
Day 10: Chewy Noels
Day 11: Malted Milk Fudge
Day 12: Homemade Caramels