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Easy Microwave Caramels

These caramels were "homework" for a candy-making class that I took some time ago...and I've repeated that assignment over and over since! I usually make an extra batch and freeze it for company or last-minute gift-giving. After only about 20 quick seconds in the microwave, the frozen caramel is soft enough to cut, wrap and pack into a candy jar.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    about 2-3/4 lbs


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2-1/3 cups (1 pound) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional


  • In 2-qt. microwave-safe pitcher, combine the butter, sugar, syrup, milk and salt. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring once after every minute. When butter is melted, stir well. Attach microwave candy thermometer. Microwave on high for about 8 minutes or until mixture reaches 245° (firm-ball stage). No stirring is needed. Remove from microwave; stir in vanilla and walnuts. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring well several times. Pour into buttered 13x9-in. pan (smaller 11x7-in. pan yields thicker candy as shown in photo). Refrigerate until cool. Invert pan. Carefully tap out whole block of candy; cut in squares. Wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator. (Can also freeze.)
Editor's Note
This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.

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  • thecreativebaker
    Oct 31, 2013

    I am a volunteer TOH field editor and have made these carmels for years!!!!! They are so good! My advice is to make sure to use high quality ingredients and measure temp. I have made these every year for my clients at Christmas!! A huge hit!!!!

  • scoutskoshi
    Nov 16, 2012

    Great recipe have made since recipe was first published. It depends on your microwave as to how long it needs to cook. I would encourage you to purchase an excellent candy thermometer.

  • jmpnjac
    Dec 9, 2011

    I've been making these for years! A real family favorite!

  • beckyskate
    Apr 29, 2010

    This turned out hard as a rock. I tried to slice it and my knife got stuck.

  • Lisa502
    Dec 4, 2009

    This recipe was a hit. I get many requests for this recipe.