Homemade caramels from scratch, for a fun homemade holiday gift-giving! Surprisingly easy with one special tool!


Small batch of homemade caramels @dessertfortwo

I’m on a homemade candy bender.

It really freaks people out when you make homemade candy. I get a million questions about how this sweet treat they thought could only be bought in a store came out of my kitchen. Last week, when someone tasted my homemade marshmallows, they asked if I bought the round marshmallows at the store and melted them down to cut into squares. He was 100% serious.

When I picked my jaw off the floor, I went on a homemade candy mission. I want to make small batches of your favorite candy all day! Did you see my homemade apple cider caramels? <–Love those!

The only thing you need to make homemade caramels is a candy thermometer. I have one of those clip-on candy thermometers, but I also really love this one with the thermometer inside the spatula! Either will work for this recipe.

For homemade chewy, sticky, creamy BEST EVER caramels, you just have to be able to boil a mixture. Twice. To two different temperatures. I think we can handle that, yes?

Homemade candy small batch @dessertfortwo

A small batch of caramels @dessertfortwo

Homemade caramels recipe, plus variations.

When you make your own homemade caramels, you no longer have to ask a Trader Joe’s employee if they could give you all of the boxes of fleur de sel caramels they have in stock and a bigger shopping cart. (Guilty).

I want to try making all sorts of flavored caramels now. Even if you leave the vanilla out of the batch (like I did the first time), the caramels still taste great. I’ve got my eye on apple cider caramels next. I’m not from a state with abundant apples, so I’m not well versed in apple treats, but I want to be! Would you believe I’ve never had a proper apple cider donut? I’m on a mission!

Please, friends, be careful when making these caramels. Boiling things are, um, hot. Don’t burn yourself. When the sugar gets to the right temperature, move quickly but skillfully. And please, whatever you do, do not scrape the pan! You will burn your fingers!

Use both hands to steady the pot of boiling hot stuff, and then be done with it. Let the caramels cool a few hours, or overnight (uncovered).

Yield: 20

Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

A small batch of homemade caramels with just 5 ingredients. Optional sea salt sprinkle on top!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Line a 9 x 5 x 3-inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, add the heavy cream, butter and salt. Microwave in 30 second pulses until melted and steaming. Set aside.
  3. In a 2-quart saucepan (seriously, don't use a smaller one-it boils up), add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Turn the heat to high, and cook without stirring until it reaches between 290-295 degrees.
  4. Turn the heat off.
  5. Slowly stream in the heavy cream mixture, and whisk gently. Turn the heat back to high, and cook without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees.
  6. Turn off the heat, and add the vanilla. Whisk gently to combine.
  7. Immediately pour the mixture into the loaf pan; do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
  8. Let sit for at least 30 minutes until firm but somewhat soft. This might take a few hours on humid days. You can always leave them overnight, too.
  9. Slice into desired shapes and wrap individually in wax paper.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 0g

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