Perfect Microwave Caramel is the softest, creamiest, and easiest caramels you will ever make! No constant stirring, no candy thermometer, no-fuss recipe. And they are soft, chewy, buttery, and they absolutely melt in your mouth!
This recipe can be made in about 15 minutes!
When I was a little girl I always wanted to try making homemade caramel candy on the stovetop. Do you know the kind where you boil ingredients until they hit a certain temperature on a candy thermometer? My mom wouldn’t ever let me try it. She said it was too much work.
Well, I’ve lived on my own for quite a while now and I still haven’t tried it because I found this MICROWAVE caramel recipe and it’s so EASY and turns out perfectly every single time…no candy thermometer needed!
What? Caramel from condensed milk in the microwave! It sounds too good to be true, but I promise it works! I think it’s actually better than the old-fashioned recipes! I love caramel, but not when it’s so hard I have to chew it forever. This is soft and perfect!
Why This Recipe Works:
- Quick and Easy! I’m in love with microwave recipes! This is a perfect recipe to let the kids help with! They are going to need a little supervision because the bowl gets really hot!
- Simple ingredients! You probably already have everything on hand already.
- No special equipment! If you’ve got a microwave, bowl, spatula, whisk, and pan you’re set!
- Fool-proof! This no fuss recipe always turns out perfect!
- Butter: Unsalted is recommended because it won’t splatter in the microwave. However, I always buy salted and use it for this recipe too. It will still work great. I cover my bowl with wax paper to contain the splatters.
- Brown Sugar
- Light Corn Syrup
- Sweetened Condensed Milk -this is not the same as evaporated milk. It’s thicker and sweeter.
HOW TO MAKE CARAMELS FROM CONDENSED MILK:
STEP 1: Melt butter in the microwave. Cover the bowl with wax paper to keep it from splattering.
STEP 2: Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk to the melted butter. Stir. Microwave on full power for 4 minutes. Using hot pads, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. I like using a wooden spoon or spatula. Be sure to scrape the edges and the bottom of the bowl.
STEP 3: Cook the caramel mixture in the microwave (this is the 2nd cooking time) on full power for 4 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and stir again.
STEP 4: Cook the caramel (this is the 3rd cooking time) on full power for 4 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir.
STEP 5: Add vanilla and stir again. NOTE: If you think your microwave is cooking too hot, too quickly, shorten the cooking time by a minute and move to step 7.
STEP 6: Check for doneness by dropping a spoonful of caramel sauce into a cup of ice water.
STEP 7: After a few seconds, roll the caramel in a ball. It should be soft and pliable. OR, you can use a candy thermometer to check for doneness. The candy should be between 238-242 degrees. If the caramel isn’t quite firm enough return to the microwave and cook in 1-minute intervals until it’s done.
STEP 8: Pour caramel into a parchment-lined or buttered baking dish. For thinner caramels pour into a 9″ x 12″ pan. For thicker caramel pour into a 9″ x 9″ pan. Let sit at room temperature to cool for several hours, or in the fridge for 2 hours. Cut into pieces and wrap in candy wrappers.
This really is an easy recipe and really quite foolproof! But there are a few things that will make it easier and perfect every single time.
- The pan – Butter the pan before starting. Once the caramel has finished cooking it will start to set up quickly. You can also line the dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Microwave This recipe is made using an 1100 wattage microwave. Wattages vary and that means cook times vary too. You might need to adjust the cooking time depending on your microwave. Older microwaves tend to cook slower and lower than newer models. If you think the caramel is getting to done, back of the cooking time by a minute or two, test for doneness. If it’s not quite done cook at 1 minute intervals until it’s done.
- How do I know if my caramel is done? You want to cook it to the soft-ball stage. How do I know when the caramel is at the softball stage? Do a softball test by dropping a small ball of caramel into a glass of water. Check to see how soft the caramel. is. The caramel should hold together in a ball and be pretty soft. Determine if the caramel is the consistency you would like. If caramel is a little too soft still microwave for another 1-2 minutes. I microwaved mine for 1 more minute and it still produced a very soft caramel.
Wrap caramels in individual wrappers then store them in an airtight bag or container to keep them from moisture. They can be stored at room temperature, preferably in a cool, dark, dry place. Although they don’t need to be stored in the fridge, you can store them there.
It will last 2-3 weeks. Be sure to follow the storage tips above.
Yes! Add extracts and flavorings after cooking. Chopped nuts or dried fruits may be added after cooking. You can also drizzle with chocolate or dip in chocolate. Coarse sea salt is also delicious sprinkled on top before the caramel cools.
Other Microwave Candy Recipes:
It doesn’t get any easier than making candy in the microwave! These recipes are quick and easy!
- Microwave Peanut Brittle – light and airy
- S’mores Energy Bites – healthy
- Microwave Fudge – add cinnamon bears for fun!
- Caramel Bugles – insanely addicting
- Graham Cracker Toffee Bark – easiest chocolate bark
- Peanut Butter Popcorn – with white chocolate
- Other Easy Candy Recipes
I love it when you make my recipes and give me feedback! If you have a minute please comment below and leave a star ranking! Also, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook!
Perfect Microwave Caramels
- 1 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- dash sea salt
- Line a pan with parchment paper and spray paper with baking spray. If you want taller caramels use a 9 x 9 pan. If you want short caramels use a 9 x 13 pan. If you want medium sized caramels use an in between sized pan. That’s what I did.
- Use a large microwave safe bowl for this recipe. Make sure your bowl is pretty big or the caramel will boil over.
- Melt butter in bowl.
- Add brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to butter. Stir to combine.
- Microwave on full power 4 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir.
- Microwave another 4 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir.
- Microwave another 4 minutes. Remover from the microwave and stir.
- Do a soft ball test by dropping a small ball of caramel into a glass of water. Check to see how soft the caramel. is. The caramel should hold together in a ball and be pretty soft. Determine if caramel is the consistency you would like. If caramel is a little to soft still microwave for another 1-2 minutes. I microwaved mine for 1 more minute and it still produced a very soft caramel.
- Once you’ve reached desired consistency remove caramel from microwave and stir. Add vanilla. Add a dash of seas salt if desired.
- Pour caramel mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
- Let caramel sit until completely cooled.
- Remove from pan and cut into squares. Wrap in small squares of wax paper or store in an air tight container.
- Store in refrigerator.
tried this recipe?
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Can you use margarine instead of butter
Amy Engberson says
Since I live on a dairy farm and we milk cows for a living we don’t buy margarine! I did that once and my husband wasn’t thrilled! Ha! I’ve never tried making this recipe with margarine. I imagine it would turn out fine, but the flavor wouldn’t be as good. There’s nothing quite like real butter!
Deb G says
I’ve never made caramel before. These were insanely quick, easy and delicious! And no big mess to clean up. I didn’t quite get the hardness that I “thought” I wanted and that was actually a really good thing. I did try adding a couple extra minutes. I found them much easier to handle, cut and wrap when I put them in the fridge for a bit. I’ll be making more of these! Thank you so much for the recipe.
Amy Engberson says
Oh my goodness! I love how easy this recipe is to make! Yes, these caramels are very soft, which I happen to love! Refrigerating them to firm them up a little is a great idea! Merry Christmas!
These are my go to caramels for coworkers Christmas gifts. They love them and would be disappointed if I didn’t make them each year
Amy Engberson says
I love that! It’s best when you find the perfect gift and can keep using the same idea year after year!