Cooking Basics

How do you make caramel?

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Caramel candies
Why buy caramel when homemade is so delicious?
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Know how do you make caramel for a very simple, delicious homemade treat

Wondering how do you make caramel, and is it something you can do at home?

It's easier than you might imagine, especially with our step-by-step instructions.

Whether you want to make old-fashioned caramel candies, luscious chocolate-dipped caramels, or need to make a caramel sauce, you can master the art of caramel making in no time at all.

Let's start with a basic caramel candy that can stand alone, or form the sweet center of a chocolate dipped confection.

Caramel candy

  • 2 c heavy cream (do not substitute anything else!)
  • 1/2 c sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 2 c light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) salted butter, softened slightly and cut into small cubes
  • Cooking spray


  • 9"by 9" baking pan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Foil
  • Pastry brush
  • Waxed paper


  • Line the baking pan with foil, then spray it generously with cooking spray.
  • In a small pot, combine the cream and condensed milk/  Heat over low just until warm.  DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE BOIL!  Cover and set aside in a warm spot.
  • Combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar in a second pot.  Heat on medium high, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely.  over medium-high heat.
  • Wipe down the inside of the pot with the wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming on the sides (This is critical to making your caramel smooth.)
  • Reduce heat to medium.
  • Using candy thermometer to check the temperature, bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the temperature is 250 degrees.
  • Add the butter and the milk mixture. Check the temperature again.  It should be around 220 degrees.

  • Cook the mixture, stirring constantly. Make sure the candy does not scorch.
  • Continue to cook until the temperature reads 244 exactly. The caramel should now be a beautiful deep golden color.
  • Remove the caramel from the stove and immediately pour it into the foil-lined pan, without scrapping the pot
  • Allow the candy to sit at room temperature overnight to firm.  Do not refrigerate or chill.
  • Cut into 1" pieces by lifting the whole candy from the pan using the foil, placing a sheet of waxed paper on top and flipping the whole square at once. Cut into squares with a sharp, greased knife (you can use cooking spray on the knife.)
  • Wrap the squares in waxed paper, dip them in chocolate or place them in candy cups immediately after cutting. 
  • Store at room temperature.

Caramel Sauce

If you're wondering how do you make caramel sauce instead of candy, here's a simple recipe that will yield a rich, creamy sauce just perfect for topping ice cream or desserts.

A word of caution before you begin.  Measure out your ingredients before you start cooking.  There's no time to measure once you start...when it comes to making caramel sauce, seconds count!


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (do not substitute...lower fat creams or mixes will not work)


  • Heavy-bottomed sauce pan, medium or large
  • Glass canning jar (8 oz or larger, or several smaller ones)
  • Large whisk


  • Pour sugar into heavy-bottomed saucepan. Do not preheat the pan.
  • Heat over medium high heat, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon until melted sugar begins to boil.
  • If sugar begins to scorch before all is melted, add 1/2 cup room temperature water to the pot and stir in.  When the water evaporates, and the sugar begins to boil (mixture will be rich golden brown), move to next step. 
  • Add butter to the pan, and whisk until all the butter has melted and is incorporated (you should not see streaks of butter)
  • Remove pan from heat, count to 5, and then slowly whisk in cream, pouring in a slow steady stream. Mixture will foam up.
  • Continue to whisk until mixture is completely smooth
  • Pour hot caramel sauce into clean canning jars. Cap and allow to cool on the counter. (Remember the glass will be very hot!)
  • Store cooled jar(s) in fridge for up to 14 days, warming to use

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