Soft, Chewy Homemade Caramels

Chewy homemade caramels are a delicious candy you can make in your own kitchen. This soft caramel recipe is decadent and delightful. Perfect for making around the holidays or any time you want a sweet treat!

homemade caramel candies indiviually wrapped in wax paper and shown in a white bowl

My boys and I all have a huge soft spot for sweets.

One of our favorites? Soft, chewy caramels.

Do you know the kind I mean?

Not the hard suckers like Werther’s, but the ones that sort of stretch apart as you bite into them.

While they can be hard to find in the store, they aren’t hard to make. 

And the results? 

Perfection.

Indulgent, silky pieces of stretchy, chewy caramel you will adore.

chewy homemade caramels shown on a wooden table

Ingredients

To make this candy recipe you’ll need:

  • Sugar– Go with granulated sugar and not brown sugar. Brown sugar will give it more of a butterscotch flavor.
  • Karo syrup
  • Salt– Fine salt instead of coarse salt will work best in this.
  • Butter– Go for salted butter and cut it into equal sized cubes.
  • Heavy cream– Do not substitute any other kind of dairy. Lower fat cream or milk will not work in this.
  • Vanilla extract

chewy homemade caramel candy shown in a piece of wax paper for a wrapper

How to Make

To make this homemade candy, start by liberally buttering a 9×13″ baking dish.

Then set the dish aside.

Now attach a candy thermometer to the side of a large pot.
 
Set the prepared pot over medium heat.
 
Once you have the prepared pot over medium heat, combine the sugar, syrup, and salt in the pot.
 
Stir the mixture until the syrup dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble.
 
in process image collage for making chewy homemade caramels
 
Without letting the mixture stop bubbling, slowly whisk in the cream until it’s completely incorporated.
Don’t stop stirring.
 
After the cream has been incorporated, stir in the butter.
 
Keep stirring and keep the mixture at a boil for 15-20 minutes.
 
When the temperature reaches 245° stir in the vanilla, and then carefully pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
 
in process images showing the hardened caramel after being poured in a pan, and being cut into pieces in the pan
 
Now set the dish aside, and allow the molten caramel to cool completely so it hardens.
 
Once it hardens, cut it into rectangular or square pieces with a butter knife.
 
Enjoy the caramels immediately or wrap them in wax paper, and they will stay good (and soft) for 2-3 weeks.
 
homemade caramel candies indiviually wrapped in wax paper and shown in a white bowl

Do I have to use a candy thermometer to make caramel?

Yes, you do have to use a candy thermometer.

Guessing won’t work.

Here’s why:

When you cook sugar, different things happen at different temperatures and the temperature ranges are very narrow so it’s best to be precise here.

  • At 230-234 degrees, the cooked sugar makes a thin thread. This temperature is the best for making simple syrups. .
  • From 234-241, the sugar will form a sticky ball. This stage is known as the soft ball stage and you can use this to make fudge or fondant. 
  • From 242-248, the sugar will be firm but flexible and perfect for making caramel. This is the stage we want for this recipe. It’s known as the firm ball stage. At this stage, the cooked sugar becomes firm and flexible. This is the ideal stage for making caramels and nougats. The temperature range for this stage is 242–248 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the sugar is between 250 and 266 degrees, it forms a hard ball that holds its shape. This works best for marshmallows, gummies or rock candy.
  • At 270-289 degrees, the sugar reaches the soft crack stage. This works for taffies and butterscotches.
  • From 295-309 degrees, the sugar will be at the hard crack stage. It will form brittle threads for glazing, peanut brittle or spun sugar.

a hand holding up a chewy homemade caramel

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve these as part of a sweets tray loaded with cookies, fudge and homemade candies at the holidays.

They also make a lovely homemade gift if you package them with some festive ribbon.

Tips and tricks

  • DO NOT substitute anything for the heavy cream.
  • Brown sugar will give this more of a butterscotch flavor.
  • If your thermometer is almost at the proper temperature, and you want to be sure the caramel’s ready add a spoonful to a glass of ice water. If it forms a firm ball, it’s ready. But if not- keep boiling and stirring until it does.
  • For a more uniform presentation, cut it into 12 vertical rows. After cutting into vertical rows, cut 4 rows across. This will yield nice even rectangular pieces of caramel.
  • If you don’t want to precut wax paper (can also use parchment paper), you can find some in the candy making section of your local craft store.

chewy homemade caramels shown unwrapped on a dark wooden background

Other Homemade Candy You’ll Love

These soft, chewy homemade caramels are so yummy and delicious, I know you’ll love them.

Make them and give them as gifts or enjoy them for your self!

Looking for other homemade candy recipes?

Try these:

If you’ve tried this HOMEMADE CARAMEL or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

 
chewy homemade caramels shown unwrapped on a dark wooden background

Soft, Chewy Homemade Caramels

Chewy homemade caramels are a delicious candy you can make in your own kitchen. This soft caramel recipe is decadent and delightful. Perfect for making around the holidays or any time you want a sweet treat!
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Course: Candy, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 36
Calories: 165kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups light Karo syrup
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter cubed
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream do not substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Liberally butter a 9x13" baking dish. Set aside.
  • In a large pot with a candy thermometer attached to the side, set over medium heat, combine the sugar, syrup, and salt. Stir the mixture until the syrup's dissolved & begun to bubble.
  • Without letting the mixture stop bubbling, slowly whisk in the cream until it's completely incorporated. Don't stop stirring.
  • Stir in the butter, and keep stirring. The mixture must remain at a boil, stirring constantly, for roughly 15-20 minutes.
  • When the temperature reaches 245° stir in the vanilla, then carefully pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
  • Set the dish aside, and allow to cool completely so the caramel hardens.
  • Once hardened, use a butter knife to cut it into rectangular or square pieces.
  • Wrap the pieces in wax paper, and they will stay good (and soft) for 2-3 weeks.

Notes

  • DO NOT substitute anything for the heavy cream.
  • Brown sugar will give this more of a butterscotch flavor.
  • If your thermometer is almost at the proper temperature, and you want to be sure the caramel's ready add a spoonful to a glass of ice water. If it forms a firm ball, it's ready. But if not- keep boiling and stirring until it does.
  • For a more uniform presentation, cut it into 12 vertical rows. After cutting into vertical rows, cut 4 rows across. This will yield nice even rectangular pieces of caramel.
  • If you don't want to precut wax paper (can also use parchment paper), you can find some in the candy making section of your local craft store

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 10mg | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 272IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

 

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