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10-Minute Microwave Caramels

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Microwave Caramels

Make soft and chewy caramels in the microwave in just 10 minutes. This recipe skips all the labor and endless stirring that goes into traditional stove-top caramels, and delivers perfect, fool-proof results every time.

While these sweet and buttery caramels are nice enough to gift, they’re easy enough to make just because.

You don’t even have to own any special equipment. As long as you have access to a microwave and a bowl, you can make these caramels.

Homemade Caramels Made in the Microwave

How to Make Caramels in the Microwave

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) + more to grease pan
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract


Tips for Making Microwave Caramels

  • Use a large microwave-safe bowl. The caramel will bubble and expand as it cooks, so you need a large bowl to prevent overflow.
  • Microwaves come in different wattages, and cook at different rates, so just like a traditional stove-top caramel recipe, these instructions measure doneness by temperature, not time.
  • A candy thermometer is handy, but not required. I’ve included instructions for how to check the temperature of your caramel, without a thermometer.
  • Always exercise extreme caution, when dealing with hot sugar. Do not try to sample the caramel, while it’s hot, or involve young kids in this project.

What You Do:

Cake Pan Lined With a Silicone Baking Mat

Grease the inside of an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ cake pan with butter, or line it with parchment paper. I like to line my pan with a silicone baking mat. It’s quick, and it’s reusable.

Melt Butter

Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, until melted.

Combine Caramel Ingredients in Large Bowl

Add the corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Stir to combine.

Stir Caramel and Check Temperature

Microwave on high for 5 minutes; carefully remove bowl with pot holders.

Hot Caramel

Stir; then, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds.

Soft-Ball Stage

Continue microwaving and stirring, until the temperature reaches 234-240 degrees (soft ball stage). This takes 10 minutes in my 1000-watt microwave. It’ll be even faster, if you have a higher-wattage microwave.

Pour Caramel Into Pan

Stir in the vanilla extract; then, immediately pour the hot caramel into your prepared pan.

Remove Caramel From Pan

Allow the caramel to cool and harden for 1-2 hours. Then, turn your homemade caramel out on a work surface dusted with powdered sugar (this will prevent sticking).

Cut Microwave Caramels

Cut the caramels to your preferred shape and size.

How to Make Caramels in the Microwave

Then, wrap them in wax paper or parchment. They’ll keep for 2-3 weeks at room temperature.

How to Test for Soft Ball Stage Without a Thermometer

How to Test for Soft-Ball Stage Without a Thermometer

If you don’t have a candy thermometer to check the temperature of your caramel, you can still make this recipe.

Hot Caramel

When your caramel starts bubbling vigourously, like you see here, drop a bit of hot caramel in a glass of ice water. Allow it cool for a few seconds. Then, pick it up with your fingers. If the caramel feels soft and sticky, and you’re able to roll it into a ball with your fingers, it’s reached soft ball stage. If it hasn’t reached this point yet, just continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, until it does.

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Microwave Caramels

10-Minute Microwave Caramels

Here’s how to make the perfect soft and chewy caramels in the microwave, in 10 minutes or less.

  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: About 56 pieces 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) + more to grease pan
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Grease an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ pan liberally with butter, or line it with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a large microwave-safe bowl (1-2 minutes).

Add the corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and salt to the bowl. Stir to combine.

Microwave for 5 minutes on high.

Carefully remove from microwave with pot holders, and stir.

Microwave for another 30 seconds, and stir. Continue microwaving for 30 seconds and stirring, until the caramel reaches 234-240 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).

Stir in the vanilla extract. Then, immediately pour hot caramel into your prepared pan.

Let cool 1-2 hours. Then, cut, and wrap caramels in parchment or wax paper.

Your homemade caramels will keep 2-3 weeks at room temperature.

Notes

  • Be very careful, when working with hot sugar. This isn’t a good project to do with kids.
  • The caramel will bubble and expand as it cooks. Use a large bowl, so it doesn’t overflow, and make a mess, in the microwave.
  • If you don’t own a candy thermometer, wait for the caramel to start bubbling vigorously; then, check the temperature by dropping a small amount of caramel in a glass of ice water. Wait a few seconds for it to cool. Then, try to roll it into a ball. If it feels soft and sticky, and you’re able to shape it, it’s hit soft ball stage.
  • Microwaves come in a variety of wattages. The amount of time it takes to make your caramel will vary depending on the wattage of your particular microwave. In my 1000-watt microwave, this recipe takes 10 minutes.

Keywords: microwave caramels, how to make caramels in the microwave

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