How to Make Homemade Caramel

Last Updated on December 12, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster

If you learn how to make homemade caramel, you will never again wonder what to give people as a gift.  Homemade caramel is incredibly easy to make and takes only 4 ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store.  You will be amazed at how awesome your homemade caramel tastes compared to the ‘blech’ flavor of the stuff you buy at the grocery store.  Once you get a taste of this sweet, chewy and buttery goodness you will never again buy it in the candy aisle!

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homemade caramel with butter in the background

Is Making Caramel Hard?

Making homemade caramel is not hard.  However, you HAVE to keep your eye on it from start to finish.  Do not wander off to watch TV or answer the phone and forget about it.  Just stir, watch the thermometer, and be patient!

Do not try to speed up the process.  Heat that is too high will just burn your sugar mixture and that is not good at all!  Medium high heat, stir constantly, watch it like a hawk.  This is a good time to put a really long movie on for the kids!

How to Make Homemade Caramel 2

Caramel Ingredients

The ingredients for this caramel recipe are pretty simple.  Real butter, heavy cream, pure white sugar, and corn syrup.  I have no idea why it uses corn syrup but it is vital to the smooth texture of the final caramel.  I buy Karo light corn syrup but I don’t think the brand really matters.  

More Homemade Candy Recipes

making fresh caramel

How to Make Homemade Caramel

The one thing you definitely need before you can make homemade caramel is a candy thermometer!  This is a must-have if you want to learn how to make homemade caramel!  Get a candy thermometer on Amazon before you tackle this caramel recipe.  If you don’t get the temperature just right, you may end up with caramel sauce rather than caramel candies.  Tasty, but not quite what you were aiming for.

Other than a candy thermometer,  you don’t really need any ‘special’ kitchen tools.  You WILL need something to wrap your homemade caramel in after they are done.  I buy pretty foil candy wrappers but you can use plain old aluminum foil and it will work fine.  So, here are the basic directions on how to make homemade caramel (see the actual recipe for full directions to print out):

  1.  Put all the caramel ingredients in the pan.  Start with half the cream.
  2. Heat over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Once the mixture is boiling, brush down the sides of the pan with a small pastry brush dipped in water.  This just dissolves any lingering sugar granules from the side of the pan that could start a crystallization problem.
  4. Cook to approximately 235 degrees.  This may take some playing with year after year…. Make sure your candy thermometer is accurate.
  5. Pour the mixture into a buttered glass pan and let cool overnight.
  6. Cut with a buttered knife and wrap.

Homemade Caramel Recipe 2

Yield: 100 caramels

How to Make Homemade Caramel

homemade caramel with butter in the background

Easy homemade caramel recipe that is sweet, chewy and buttery!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 5 minutes


  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream


  1. Butter a 13 x 9 inch glass pan and set aside
  2. Place sugar, butter, corn syrup and 2 cups whipping cream into a 6 quart pot
  3. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat stirring frequently.
  4. Using a pastry brush dipped in a little bit of cold water, wash down the sides of the pot to make sure there is no undissolved sugar left in the pan.
  5. Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot
  6. While the mixture is boiling, slowly add in the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream WITHOUT BREAKING THE BOIL! Stir constantly. This is very important for a smooth caramel! Just add the cream as a trickle while the mixture continues to boil.
  7. Continue boiling and stirring the mixture until it reaches 244 degrees Fahrenheit. 2 degrees hotter will yield a firmer caramel but I prefer softer. Watch the thermometer!!! The temperature is very important to your final result!
  8. Pour the caramel into the buttered pan and let cool overnight.
  9. Lightly butter a sharp knife and cut the caramel into small squares and wrap in individual foil wrappers.
  10. These homemade caramels will stay good at room temperature for several weeks

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 0gSugar: 34gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information not always accurate

 Want to make homemade caramel?  Pin for later!

How to Make Homemade Caramel


Love making homemade candy?

 Try this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffle Recipe

Chcolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffle Recipe is an Easy Homemade Gift or a Delicious Dessert Recipe for Any Night of the Week

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  1. Ohhh how cool, you made it look so easy and soo pretty, too. Love this post, I had no idea that I could make caramel myself, thanks for sharing. Will pin it so I can make it for my family.
  2. Have you ever used this recipe and substituted a different type of syrup? Maybe maple or simple syrup? My husband has developed a corn allergy and I'm trying to find ways to still make his favorites. Just seeking advice from others with way more cooking experience than me.
  3. kimberly lipari says
    Can you use this recipe to make the caramel apples with? And can you melt it down again in the microwave after it has hardened to coat the apples?
    • Ive never tried it but I don't see why not. The recipe makes quite a bit of caramel so you could pour half and cut/wrap and dip apples with the other half!
  4. I love homemade caramel but haven't made it in years. I use a recipe similar to yours except I add vanilla. So good!! I'll have to try wrapping it in foil wrappers.
  5. Just double checking but if I test my candy thermometer and my water boils at 200 degrees instead of 212 do I subtract 12 from the 244 degrees
    • Diane Hoffmaster says
      Check this post for calibrating a candy thermometer!

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