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Creamy Caramels

I discovered this caramel recipe in a local newspaper years ago and have made these soft buttery caramels ever since. I make them for Christmas, picnics and charity auctions—and they are so much better than store-bought caramels. Once people have a taste, they ask for the recipe. —Marcie Wolfe, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. Cook: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2-1/2 pounds


  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Line an 8-in. square pan with foil; grease the foil with 1 teaspoon butter and set aside.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and remaining butter; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil slowly for 4 minutes without stirring.
  • Remove from the heat; stir in milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until a candy thermometer reads 238° (soft-ball stage), stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.
  • Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan). Cool. Using foil, lift candy out of pan. Discard foil; cut candy into 1-in. squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Dark corn syrup may contain molasses and/or caramel color and flavor. Use it for a more robust taste.
  • Find more ideas for homemade caramel candy.

  • Editor's Note
    We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
    Nutrition Facts
    1 piece: 72 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 45mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Maureen
      Sep 17, 2019

      I have literally made these caramels no less than 20 times (maybe 30) and they are by far and away "THEE BEST" caramels ever. However, I have been successful (every time) in combining all ingredients in the pan at the same times as opposed to adding the milk after everything else has been cooked. Suggestion, you parchment paper instead of'll be glad you did, TRUST ME !!! YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY!!!!

    • JMartinelli13
      Oct 12, 2018

      Used light corn syrup instead of dark, still came out awesome!

    • sstetzel
      Oct 8, 2018

      Can't wait to try these!

    • dflack628
      Jan 8, 2018

      I made these recently and they turned out delicious. I've tried other caramel recipes over the years with little success, but these are great! I lined my pan with non-stick foil and the caramels came off easily. I also sprinkled coarse sea salt over the top of half of the pan immediately after pouring to make salted caramels, a family favorite. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    • Stella
      Dec 17, 2017

      I love this recipe. The caramels taste fabulous. However; this year they turned out too chewy and buttery. What did I do to cause this?

    • tayrose
      Dec 2, 2017

      Fantastic caramels and so easy to make. First tried these last year for holiday gifts and got many requests for more this year. Doubling the recipe worked very well but wouldn't try more than that at a time. Used parchment paper and it worked like a dream.

    • lauripobanz
      Aug 29, 2017

      I've been making these for several years, and always get lots of compliments. I've used raspberry extract instead of vanilla for a nice twist. If you do use foil, butter it well and use heavy duty as I spent a long time peeling it off of the one pan I made with "regular" foil.

    • 2124arizona
      May 8, 2017

      This is incredibly easy!! My son love these.

    • Melody
      Dec 20, 2016

      Turned out perfectly and could not have been easier! Another recipe I tried last year failed miserably. Thrilled with these results and have plans for another batch with chopped pecans stirred in!! SO excited!

    • Linda
      Dec 13, 2016

      This recipe is fabulous. Very light and creamy and doesn't stick to your teeth.