4.82 from 38 votes
Homemade Caramels
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

Homemade caramels are perfectly soft and chewy and so easy to make!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Unit: cup, ounce, teaspoon
Servings: 80 caramels
Calories: 94 kcal
Author: Lauren Allen
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 24 ounces evaporated milk (2 cans)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line a 9x13'' pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. (If you don't have parchment paper you can generously butter the pan.) Either size pan will work--9x13'' will yield thicker caramels.
  2. Add 2 sticks butter, sugar, and karo syrup to a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the evaporated milk, one can at a time, taking about 12-15 minutes PER CAN to slowly add it, while stirring constantly. You want to make sure the mixture maintains a constant boil, otherwise your caramels can curdle.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly, scraping the sides occasionally until it reaches a firm ball stage (about 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer). It takes patience and time, but it's sooo worth it! (Also, I don't always trust or rely on a candy thermometer either--I like to test it the old fashioned way. Drop a spoonful of hot caramel sauce into a cup of ice water and mold it with your fingers into a ball. When ready it will feel pretty firm and pliable, but still slightly sticky.) 

  5. Once you reach 238 degrees F / or the firm ball stage, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

  6. Pour caramels into a buttered jelly roll pan. Refrigerate until cooled and hardened. (Best if you refrigerate them overnight, or for several hours. They will be easy to cut and wrap). 

  7. The caramel will seem hard in the fridge after they're set, but they should be soft at room temperature. Cut caramel into small pieces and, if desired, wrap like a tootsie roll in wax paper.

  8. Try these dipped in chocolate or pretzel rods.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

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Nutrition Facts
Homemade Caramels
Amount Per Serving
Calories 94 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 34mg 1%
Potassium 26mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Sugars 17g
Vitamin A 1.8%
Vitamin C 0.2%
Calcium 2.4%
Iron 0.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.