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EASY Microwave Caramels

Homemade microwave caramels made in 6 minutes with only 5 ingredients! No candy thermometer needed. These will be the easiest candy you will make this holidays!

caramels cut on counter
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The Easiest Homemade Caramels

These microwave caramels are soft, chewy and SUPER easy to make! I seriously love how homemade caramels taste and these have that delicious flavor. I love pretty much any dessert that has caramel like this microwave caramel corn, caramel brownies and caramel apple pie bars.

These microwave caramels are pretty dang close to my grandma’s homemade caramel candy recipe but so much easier to make. I still love making those every year, but they take quite a bit of time (and stirring), so it is nice to have this recipe on hand for when you need a quick treat.

The best part about this recipe is you only need to stir it once. Seriously it couldn’t be any easier. They are so soft, chewy and have the perfect flavor! Everyone always asks for this recipe.

microwave caramel ingredients

Ingredients

There’s only a 6 basic ingredients in this recipe, I bet you have most of these already in your pantry.

  • Butter: I like to use unsalted butter so that it does not splatter while cooking. You can always add in a pinch of salt if you prefer saltier caramels.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: This adds a sweet taste and a creamy consistency. You can find this in a can on the shelf in the baking aisle.
  • Karo syrup: The light corn syrup works best. It has a more mellow flavor than the dark (which has a similar flavor to molasses).
  • Sugar: Use granulated white sugar for this recipe (brown sugar will give it a butterscotch taste).
  • Pure vanilla extract: A little goes a long way to add a big boost of flavor.

How to Make Microwave Caramels

You seriously won’t believe how easy these caramels are to make! It’s done in one bowl in your microwave.

  • Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Then you’ll add the sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth.
  • Place in the microwave and cook for six minutes, stirring half way in between.
  • Allow to set and then slice and wrap in wax paper.
Caramel in bowl in the microwave

Helpful Tips

  • Test the caramel by dipping a spoon in the caramel and then dipping in cold ice water. If it comes out the caramel texture (a soft ball), it’s ready. Then pour it in your dish and allow to set. If it’s too soft, microwave another 30 seconds.
  • I love using a plastic knife to cut the caramels. I’ve tried fancy knives and for some reason the plastic knives work better.
  • Once the caramels are cut make sure to wrap them in your wax paper squares and then place in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.
  • If you’re adding nuts, make sure to add right away before the caramel starts to harden.
  • Dip in chocolate or drizzle over top with a little sea salt for a more gourmet caramel.

How to Store Microwave Caramels

After the caramel has set, use a plastic knife to cut them into pieces. Then wrap each piece in wax paper so that they don’t stick. They will stay soft for about 2 to 3 weeks.

5 star review

“All I can say is WHOA! We made these yesterday and they are crazy delicious!”

-Lauren
Sliced caramels

More Candy Recipes

Homemade treats are my favorite to pass out around the holidays. Everyone always loves them. Here’s a few of my other favorites.

cut caramels

Microwave Caramel Recipe

4.72 from 7 votes
Homemade microwave caramels made in 6 minutes with only 5 ingredients! No candy thermometer needed. These will be the easiest candy you will make this holidays!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 6 mins
Total Time: 21 mins
Servings: 36

Ingredients 

Optional: 1/4 cup chopped pecans

    Instructions

    • Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper. Run a stick of butter over the top to prevent the caramels from sticking. Set aside.
      parchment paper on clear pan
    • Melt the butter in a large 8-cup microwave-safe bowl. Add the sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth. Place in the microwave and cook for six minutes, stirring half way in between.
    • To test if the caramel is ready, place a spoon into the caramel and then dip into a cup of cold ice water. If it resembles a soft ball (the texture you’d want your caramels to be), then it’s ready. If it’s still too soft, cook for an additional 30 seconds at a time. It should be about 240°F.
    • Remove bowl from microwave and stir in vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Add pecans if desired. Pour caramel into prepared pan and allow to set. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. You may place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to cool them quicker.
    • Cut with a plastic knife and then wrap in wax paper to prevent the caramels from sticking. Enjoy! :)

    Video


    Notes

    Testing: Make sure to test your caramel with the ice water method mentioned above or a candy thermometer. It should reach about 240°F. Make sure to test every 30 seconds at the end to get the right temperature. 
    Butter: I find that using unsalted butter is best so that it does not splatter while cooking. If you like your caramels salty, add in an extra pinch at the end.

    Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 16mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 51IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

    Cut caramel candy on wax paper

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