Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Best Ever Homemade Caramel Candy

Soft caramels are my most requested holiday treat. They are tender buttery, with just the right texture when made correctly. I roll them up yearly and put them in the kid's stockings or a string around the tree. For a few years now, I've ordered them from a friend due to health issues, but I can make them again this year, and I'm thrilled! If you've been searching for an old-fashioned caramel recipe that works without fail, this is the one. 

My youngest son, Luke, is home from his missionary service this year. He will be here for a few months and then off to college.  My older son Samuel started his mission in August. He is serving locally, and we're blessed to have him home. I know these last two precious years are going to go by quickly! It seems like I started this blog only yesterday. The days are long, but the years are short. As we gather together in the kitchen, there is joy! I have never felt more blessed as a mother. 

So yes. We're making the caramels. It has to happen. 

Chef’s note:

  • Temperature matters. The most important part of making homemade caramels is ensuring they reach the right temperature. For soft caramels, 238°F is the perfect temperature. I like to use a candy thermometer while stirring/cooking the caramels, and then, MOST IMPORTANTLY, I double-check the temperature with an instant thermometer. Be sure to check the temperature in the middle of the caramel mixture! The temperature won't be correct if the thermometer touches the pan's bottom.
  • Use a stainless-steel pot if possible! These caramels turn out so much better when made in a stainless-steel pot (as opposed to an enameled Dutch Oven).

Prep Time15minutes minutes

Cook Time1hour hour

Best Ever Homemade Caramel Candy

2 sticks butter (1 cup)
4 cups sugar
2 cups dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
2 tsp. vanilla


  • Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Melt the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt together in a large, heavy-bottomed stainless-steel pot over medium heat.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the evaporated milk a little at a time, taking 10 minutes per can and stirring constantly.
  •  Once all the milk is added, bring the mixture to 238-240°F. Temperature is pivotal.  Use a candy thermometer, not any hotter! Even a few degrees hotter will make the caramels really chewy instead of tender and soft. This will take another 15-20 minutes. Double-check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Be sure to check the caramel mixture in the middle without touching the pan's bottom.
  •  Immediately pour into the prepared pan and cool completely. Once the caramels are cool, it is recommended to refrigerate them for a few hours to get the caramel solid enough to slice. Cut and wrap in individual pieces of wax paper.


Store them in an airtight container or in a candy jar. One can also store them in the fridge. They will last several weeks!

There you go! Make some amazing caramels and enjoy this Christmas with those you love. I know I am! 

Always My Very Best, 
Your Friend Chef Tess

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