How to Make Caramel

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Caramel – a golden-brown sauce or candy that often goes with desserts! Seemingly complex, this delicacy baffles many beginner chefs, but not to worry!

With the help of this article, you will learn the tips and tricks to make the best possible caramel, as well as what desserts go best with it.

how to make caramel

How to Make Caramel Sauce

One of the best parts about caramel is the fact that it’s so simple. It is almost entirely sugar, with a few more ingredients to stabilize it.

On that subject, you will need a few things in order to get started.

Starting with the sauce, you will need:


  • A medium saucepan.
  • A plastic baking spatula.
  • A few mason jars for storage.


  • 2 cups of granulated sugar.
  • 1 cup of heavy cream.
  • 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cubed.

Cooking Instructions

Once you have these together, it is time to begin creating the sauce. Start by pouring all the sugar into the saucepan, placing it all on medium heat.

Keep the sugar moving, stirring constantly with the spatula as it begins melting into a liquid state. As soon as this starts happening, add the butter piece by piece into the liquid, stirring to make sure that it blends completely.

Turn down the heat and slowly add the cream so that it does not curdle. Once it has all been incorporated, let it cool before distributing it to the jars.

Now you have your own caramel sauce to do with whatever you please!

Making Soft Caramels

Now that you know how to create caramel sauce, the next step up is candy. This will require many more ingredients and is substantially more difficult to create, but the payoff is extraordinary.

how to make caramel

These candies are best suited for cooking in pastries and the like, but are also amazing for snacking on.


In order to make these candies, you will need:

  • 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar.
  • 1 cup of heavy cream.
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  • ¼ cup corn syrup.
  • ¼ cup water.
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.


  • 1 8×8 baking dish.
  • Parchment paper.
  • 1 2-quart saucepan.
  • 1 4-quart saucepan.
  • 1 candy thermometer.
  • 1 spatula.
  • 1 whisk.
  • Wax paper.


  1. Once you have these together, it is time to start the prep work. Line your baking dish with parchment paper so that some is hanging over the edges. This will help for easy removal later down the road. You will also want to spray the sides of the pan with non-stick spray.
  2. You will then want to warm the cream, butter, and salt in the smaller saucepan until the butter is completely incorporated. Then remove the pan from the heat while keeping it near.
  3. In the larger saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water, stirring until the sugar is completely wet and starting to form a thick paste. Insert the thermometer and stop stirring the mixture.
  4. Put the sugar mixture on medium-high heat, remembering to not stir any further. Keep careful watch over it until it reaches between 250 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Next, you will want to kill the heat, and slowly whisk in the cream and butter mixture before returning the mixture to 250 degrees. Once it has reached that temperature, remove from the heat and quickly mix in the vanilla.
  6. Immediately pour the still-molten caramels into the baking pan and let cool overnight.
  7. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

How to Make Caramel the “Hard” Way

Now that you have mastered the soft caramel, it is time for the more difficult task. Hard caramels.

These require much more vigilance but will result in a candy that is amazing to give out as a gift or enjoy on your own.

how to make caramel from scratch


This recipe requires fewer ingredients but will require much more technique and vigilance to prevent overcooking or undercooking.

You will need:

  • ½ cup of water.
  • 2 cups of sugar.
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk.
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup.
  • 1 and a half sticks of unsalted butter, softened.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.


  • 1 9 x 13 in. baking pan.
  • 1 4-quart saucepan.
  • 1 candy thermometer.
  • 1 spatula.
  • 1 bowl of ice water on standby to stop the cooking process quickly.


  1. Set the stove to medium heat and pour in the two cups of sugar, the butter, the can of condensed milk, the corn syrup, and the water, heating the entire mixture until it reaches a rolling boil.
  2. Stir constantly as the sugar begins melting and changing color from white to the deep golden brown of caramel. Place the candy thermometer in the mixture and start monitoring the temperature, ideally stopping at 245 degrees.
  3. Once it has reached the temperature, it is important to test the consistency of the candy. Take a spoonful of the molten caramel and shock it in the ice bath, forcing the cooking process to stop. Then, gently apply pressure to the mixture. It should be solid and sturdy, while still being soft. If it is hard, it has been overcooked.
  4.  If it is the consistency you want, take it off the heat, add the salt, and stir to spread it throughout before leaving it to cool until it reaches room temperature.
  5. Put the mixture into the baking pan, making sure it’s spread evenly.
  6. Cut the caramel into pieces and serve!

With these instructions, you will be able to make caramels in your own home at any point you want, from syrup to candy!

Don’t be afraid to get creative, there are a number of ingredients you can add to caramel to give it different flavors and textures.

Here’s a video showing how to make chewy salted caramel.

There you have it! Get cooking, and enjoy.

Have you tried making your own caramel or caramel sauce?


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