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Microwave Caramels

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This easy recipe for Microwave Caramels is simple to make, just takes 6 ingredients and makes the most delicious buttery caramels. Homemade Caramels are a delicious treat to make during the holiday season, they are one of our favorite treats to share.

Are you looking for other simple treats? Check out my recipes for Toffee Bars, Double Chocolate Cookies, or Rolo Pretzel Turtles.

close up of square of caramel topped with sea salt

Soft Caramel Candies

I have been making this chewy caramel recipe for almost 10 years. Homemade candies like caramel or this divinity are a go-to for holiday friend and family gifts.

I got this recipe from my aunt, who makes the most incredible caramels!! This simple recipe is a family tradition that we will keep going every year. The original recipe, I got from my aunt who has definitely perfected it.

slab of caramel next to smaller squares of caramels around it

How to Make Microwave Caramels

There are just a few steps to make this simple caramel recipe, this recipe is so easy, you will have a hard time messing it up!

First, combine the sugar, brown sugar, light corn syrup, and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. I like to use a large glass mixing bowl.

glass bowl of ingredients to make caramels

Place the bowl into the microwave and cook for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes, carefully (it will be hot) remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the butter and sugars together until well combined.

bowl of ingredients to make caramels with a wooden spoon

Add in the can of sweetened condensed milk and stir. The caramels will go back into the microwave and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, depending on your microwave.

I like to cook the caramels in 3-minute increments, removing the bowl from the microwave and stirring in between cooking times.

big bowl of caramel with a wooden spoon

When you get to about 9 minutes in your cooking time, it is time to start testing to see if the caramels are done. You will start to notice that the color will change to be a little darker and the liquid is getting thicker. At this point, you can start cooking the caramels in 30-second increments until done.

hand holding a piece of caramel

Testing Caramel for Doneness

A simple test to make sure your caramels have the texture you want is to do a cold water test. Simply fill a bowl with ice water and drop in a few drops of the hot caramel mixture. If it easily forms a ball, then you are done. If it falls to pieces, then it still needs to cook for longer. 

If you have an instant read thermometer, then go ahead and test it that way. You will want a temperature around 235ºF. 

pan of caramel

Making Homemade Caramels

The last few steps are so simple. Add in the vanilla when you have reached that soft ball stage. Now, the caramel goes into a greased 8 x 11 or 8 x 8 inch pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or freezer for an hour, until caramel is hardened. 

I like to keep my caramels cold when cutting and wrapping, it makes the process a lot easier. Remove the whole pan of caramel with a spatula onto a clean surface, cutting board, or large piece of parchment paper and cut it into bite-size pieces with a sharp knife. Wrap the caramels in small pieces of parchment twisted on each side. 

squares of homemade caramels

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4.45 from 67 votes

Microwave Caramels

Soft, buttery microwave caramels are made with just 6 ingredients and come out perfect every time.
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 64 caramels
Calories: 66kcal


  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla


  • Grease an 8 x 11 or 8 x 8 inch baking pan. 
  • In a large glass mixing bowl combine butter, sugars and corn syrup. Microwave for 5 minutes. With hot pads, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. Pour in one can of sweetened condensed milk and stir. 
  • Place bowl back in the microwave and cook for another 10-15 minutes stopping the microwave and stirring every 3 minutes. For the last 1-2 minutes, stir the caramel and check temperature every 30 seconds.
  • Check the consistency of the caramel by dropping a few drops into a bowl of ice water, if the caramel forms and soft ball it is ready. If using a thermometer, it should reach 235º F
  • Once the caramel is finished, stir in the vanilla and then carefully pour into greased pan and cover with plastic wrap. Place the caramel in a fridge overnight, or in the freezer for one hour, until cool enough to handle. 
  • Remove caramel from the pan and slice into bite sized pieces. These can be wrapped in parchment paper for sharing. 



  • Nutrition facts are just an estimate
  • These can be made ahead and wrapped in waxed paper then frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Remove the caramel from the pan with a spatula or run the pan upside down under hot water to help release the caramel if it is hard to remove.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the caramels into smaller pieces
  • These are good for 1 week if kept in the refrigerator in an air tight container


Serving: 0g | Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.04g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 6mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.03mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Holidays
Keyword: Microwave Caramels
Tried this recipe?Please Rate and Leave A Comment Below!

Post updated with images 11/11/2022, the recipe was not changed.

This easy recipe for Microwave Caramels is simple to make, just takes 6 ingredients and makes the most delicious buttery caramels. Homemade Caramels are a delicious treat to make during the holiday season, they are one of our favorite treats to share.

squares of homemade caramel

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Recipe Rating


  1. Thanks for this recipe! It looks pretty easy and with minimal ingredients. I’m excited to try it! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    1. Hello, just made this beautiful caramel recipe, they are already tasting amazing!!! I just put them in the fridge, it’s still quite hot still, should I have waited for it to cool off longer?

        1. 5 stars
          Caramels came out amazing, so buttery delicious!
          I wrapped in small pieces of wax paper, unless parchment paper works best?
          Can they stay out, not being kept in the fridge, since I am giving out as gifts?!

          1. Wax paper works great too. The caramels can stay out for a few days if you are giving them as gifts.

    1. You can make these on the stovetop if you don’t own a microwave. Place the butter, sugars and corn syrup in a large pot over medium heat, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add in the sweetened condensed milk and continue to cook and stir until the caramel reaches 235 F or soft ball stage. Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla. Pour into a greased pan and allow to cool. Hope this helps!

    1. I add the salt on top at the very last, just before serving. For the chocolate, I just melt some semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and dip the caramels.