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Soft Chewy Caramels Recipe

Soft Chewy Caramels Recipe

One of my first experiences with cooking was helping my mother make these caramels. We'd make up to 12 batches each year. Today, I do at least 95 percent of the cooking at home, but my wife does much of the baking. —Robert Sprenkle, Hurst, Texas
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 5 min. Cook: 20 min. + cooling YIELD:100 servings


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup butter, divided
  • 2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup


  • 1. Line a 15x10x1-in. pan with foil; grease the foil with 1 tablespoon butter. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining butter. Add the brown sugar, milk and corn syrup. Cook and stir until candy thermometer reads 250° (hard-ball stage).
  • 2. Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan). Cool completely before cutting. Yield: about 2-1/2 pounds.
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.

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 58 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 7mg cholesterol, 32mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

Reviews for Soft Chewy Caramels

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Lucy User ID: 8974342 257180
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2016

"I made this recipe yesterday fit the first time, I added vanilla at the end but next time will add spiced rum. I cooked it to 250 and the texture was perfect. I then dusted the top of the caramel with kosher salt. Super awesome delicious and will be wrapping them in a ginger cookie for a super awesome sweet treat. Thank you for this recipe"

bluewithoutu User ID: 4349299 256004
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2016

"I used this recipe last night and while the flavor was amazing, heating it to 250 degrees was WAAAAAAY too high. I have brittle, not soft chewy caramels. Pretty disappointed.

I wasted a lot of ingredients to have a pan full of inedible caramel.
Do NOT boil this to 250! Otherwise the flavor is perfect!"

dot444 User ID: 6616315 244663
Reviewed Feb. 29, 2016

"These are SO GOOD!!!! I kept some in the fridg to keep for a while, of course I had to hide them."

randcbruns User ID: 828588 239490
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2015

"This is one of the best caramel recipes I've made. These never last long in my house."

Nerak1960 User ID: 1430605 239482
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2015

"I would have given a 5 star rating, because the caramels are great, but they do not keep long. They start turning sugary and grainy. Maybe they don't last that long at your house, but when I gave them for gifts everyone said they were great, but started getting grainy after a few days. Has anyone ever put them in the refrigerator? Would that work?"

tsuop User ID: 6274346 238826
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2015

"I also make these every year. It is important to cook them long enough, I too use the cold water method. It is also important to use a non-stick pan, makes clean up sooo much easier!! I use a jelly roll pan, it gives the correct thickness for me. Thanks for the pizza cutter idea. My husband ( the cutter upper) will appreciate that tip!"

ilenemchone User ID: 8369422 238786
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2015

"I would give this recipe 6 stars! I have made this recipe for decades using light corn syrup instead of dark syrup. They are an institution! :) I make them every year for family and give them to my employees as part of their Christmas. The caramels are very much expected! I prefer using the cold water method to test when they are done. I pour just a little mixture in cold water. I roll it into a ball and taste. Whatever the firmness is then is about what it will be when they are cool. So you can instantly tell how soft or firm they are. I did made them too firm one time. I put the room temp caramels into a bigger pot, added all the ingredients for another batch and cooked them again. They turned out perfect. I have also cooked them in a huge pot with four batches at once. It works fine....just a little longer cooking time. I usually make about 8 batches each year, so this cuts down on cooking time considerably."

PaulID User ID: 8042664 235554
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2015

"I like to add rum extract at the end my family keeps asking for these."

[email protected] User ID: 2044675 234123
Reviewed Oct. 6, 2015

"This is an awesome recipe, love it. Thanks Hoosier Texan for the pizza cutter idea it worked great and made the cutting and wrapping in the waxed paper so much easier!"

HoosierTexan User ID: 8358956 225819
Reviewed May. 3, 2015

"This is basically the same recipe I've used for over 45 years. It is really hard to beat, and everyone loves them and begs for more. In fact, this week I have to make 800 of them for a fundraiser that will go in the guest's goodie bags. I have been asked to make them for this same fundraiser for the past 3 years, ever since those in charge tasted them. I find that if I let them sit in my 9x13 pan until not quite cool, but cool to the touch, and then dump the entire pan out onto a piece of parchment paper, I can quickly cut the strips with my pizza cutter, and then snip off pieces with kitchen scissors before wrapping them in waxed paper. If I wait until totally cooled, the cutting process takes longer."

localmjamie User ID: 8238094 223964
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2015

"These sound great! I tried a sous vide caramel recipe ( not long ago, and it was absolutely delicious, so I'm really excited to give this one a try as well."

romance1982 User ID: 4055424 56074
Reviewed Dec. 8, 2013

"These are absolutely wonderful! I've been making them for a few years now at Christmas to give as gifts and everyone loves them. I've added different extracts to make flavored caramels with great success. I've used orange and rum, so far. The only thing I've done differently with this recipe, other than the extracts, is cooking it to 244 deg. instead of 250 deg. I have no trouble with the caramel setting as long as I use my candy thermometer. Lastly, I wrap the individual caramels in wax paper which works great!"

cassierasco User ID: 1031961 130554
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2013

"The absolute best ever soft caramel. I've been using this recipe for years."

ZacsMom User ID: 645117 134284
Reviewed Dec. 20, 2012

"I make these many times every year, although I have tweaked the recipe a bit. For everyone that is having trouble wrapping them: I pour the hot caramel into 2 Wilton Silicone Brownie Pans, there are 24 1" x 1" squares in each and a full batch fills nearly every square. After it's cool, turn the pans over and just pop out the caramels. I wrap in parchment paper.

I use 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar, it gives a little lighter taste, and then I cook to about 240. You can tell it's done (or close) if you are using a non-stick pan to cook in, when it starts to get thicker and pulls from the sides of the pan when you stir.
If you're caramel doesn't set up, you can recook it, just put it back in the pan and cook it slowly back up to temperature. Be careful with this step because once it's over-cooked, there is no fixing it. Or you can put it in a jar and use for ice cream topping"

dragonflymyty User ID: 6378455 137483
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2012

"I am a waitress at a diner and brought these in several years ago as a Christmas treat for my regular they start reminding me in about November that Christmas is coming and they are waiting for "their" caramels!!! Thank goodness they are easy!!!"

Baker Me User ID: 6947563 103300
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2012

"I have been making this recipes for years. My family has come to expect these at Christmas. The only way I have found to wrap them is with foil squares purchased at Michel's or the like. I would like to know if others have used cellophane or something else that worked for them.

As far as them not setting up make sure you are hitting the 250 degree mark. They are very soft, although they do hold their shape if cooked properly. They will stick to each other if not individually wrapped or spaced apart."

mrumpz User ID: 5531525 50693
Reviewed Dec. 21, 2011

"Like a previous reviewer stated, the caramel didn't set up. I'm not a seasoned baker or candy maker, so I'd appreciate any advice. In fact, I purchased a candy thermometer today for the first time ever! I'm more of a cook, but my daughter wanted caramels and I was trying to find a recipe similar to one that mom used to always make. Did I boil it to long or not long enough? Any help would be great!!!"

Mykaela User ID: 6401688 137478
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2011

"These are SOOOOOOO good!!!!!!!!!"

mwalker21 User ID: 987317 134282
Reviewed Dec. 7, 2011

"Help..... These have the best imaginable flavor, but they did not set at all!

Perhaps I did not boil them long enough, I am not sure. I have the batch which is still in the pan in the freezer in hopes that I will be able to at least pick each one up to wrap."

laurij99 User ID: 2127002 134117
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2010

"I accidentally reviewed another caramel recipe instead of this one, which is the one I have made. It is delicious and everyone asks me to make it for the holidays. It is also pretty easy to make. Thanks for sharing."

chamb1km User ID: 5634135 60470
Reviewed Nov. 26, 2010

"I made this recipe for gifts last holiday season and people wanted to know what candy shop in town I got them from. They said that they had never had a caramel as good as these ones."

cateinva User ID: 2531081 90304
Reviewed Jan. 17, 2009

"Let it boil a minute then, using a ladle, fill a baby food jar with the runny caramel - caution very hot. Refrigerate it to use later as a topping for ice cream."

StaceyAdamache User ID: 3561566 205790
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2009

"I made these to give as Christmas gifts and everyone who received them absolutely loved them!"

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