The Best Homemade Caramels

I’m so excited to share my MOST favorite candy recipe, for The Best Homemade Caramels…ever. They were a family secret…until now!

the best homemade caramels |

 I love making {and eating} homemade candy through the holidays, but these caramels are hands down my favorite.    If you’ve never made candy before, maybe because you’re a little afraid of a candy thermometer, don’t be!  You can totally do it, and it’s most definitely worth it!!!

the best homemade caramels |

These caramels are rich and chewy, and totally addicting.  Seriously.  Right now they are doing their best from inside the cupboard to get me to come and eat some more, but I’m resisting temptation.  We’ll see how long I can resist.  ☺Wrapped up in twisted wax paper, they are a perfect addition to a holiday plate of goodies, placed inside a mason jar or takeout box for delivery, or in a bowl for guests in your home or at a party.  Looking for a delicious hostess gift?  These would most definitely fit the bill!

A few tips when making caramels:

1.  Check your candy thermometer for accuracy!  Boil a pot of water, and place your thermometer in the water. It should read 212 degrees Farenheit.  If it doesn’t, you’ll need to make the adjustment when cooking your candy, and either add or subtract the degrees that it’s off.

2.  Have a cup of cold water ready—I use this method in addition to the thermometer, and sometimes I rely on it even more.  Just drizzle a little bit of the cooking candy in the cold water, then check the consistency to see if it’s what you like!

3.  You’ll need to be stirring constantly, so the caramels don’t burn. If it does, you’ll end up with scorched candy and little brown flakes throughout. They you’ll have to throw the whole thing out and be mad, and have to start all over again.  NOT like I’m speaking from personal experience or anything, lol.

4.  Prepare ahead of time…set out buttered dish, vanilla, and chopped nuts before you start cooking your candy.  Why? See #3.  :)

5.  Use real butter.  Trust me.

6. The recipe calls for unsalted butter, and then salt to be added into the recipe.  If you have to use salted butter, then omit the additional salt. I always use unsalted butter for baking/cooking, so I can control the salt, but sometimes that’s all you have!

the best homemade caramels |

Homemade Caramels

5 from 2 votes
Kierste Wade | Old Salt Farm
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes



  • Combine all ingredients except vanilla and nuts in a large saucepan.
  • Cook over low to medium heat, while stirring constantly, until the caramel has reached a warm golden brown color and has reached the 244º F on a candy thermometer. I start checking the candy using the cold water method (drizzle a little bit of candy into a cup of very cold water, and check the consistency) at about 230 degrees. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can make it using this method alone. Just look for the candy to be soft and chewy, to hold it's shape, but not runny or too hard.
  • Remove from the heat, add vanilla extract, and beat until creamy with a wooden spoon. Stir in nuts, if you decided to add them.
  • Pour into a buttered 9x13 glass baking dish. Let sit until the caramel has cooled enough to be handled.
  • Flip the caramel out onto the counter or plastic cutting board. I like to use kitchen scissors to cut it into pieces about 1 inch wide by 2 inches long. Roll the candy up into a piece of wax paper that's wide enough to twist shut on both sides.
  • Eat. ☺
Course :Candy
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  1. Walnuts inside?!? DE-LISH!!! I’ve never tried making these, but I think I just might. Pinned!

  2. My grandma always made home made caramels for the holidays. You can’t beat them. I made them once and they are labor intensive but worth it!

    1. My grandma made them too. :) I’m also so happy I took the time to make them, because they’re SO good!! Thanks for stopping by!!! xoxo

    1. 5 stars
      I have tried different recipes over the years some that are good others not so good then I came across this recipe now it’s all I use family and friends love it and I get asked to make over the holidays

  3. Caramel is my FAVORITE. I’ll take it hands down over anything else. Yum! Can’t wait to make it.

  4. Two questions: how many carmels does this recipe make and how long will they stay fresh? Thanks! They look delish!

    1. It makes about 30 pieces, and they stay fresh about a week or so! They ARE delish! :)

  5. This are THE BEST caramel i ever made or tried!!! I made them twice in one week!! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  6. I just want a copy of your caramel recipe. I have 4 granddaughters who just love to make things with me in the kitchen.We tried homemade taffy, but it didn’t work out so well.I think they would love to do this recipe. My oldest two will soon be going off to college. my youngest two are 8 and 10 yrs. old.So you know they just love to help out in the kitchen.

    1. Did you try my recipe? You’ll have to let me know what you think–and your two youngest too!!! xoxo

  7. 5 stars
    The cold water method is called soft-ball stage or hard-ball stage. Soft ball stage is when it forms a soft ball when it hits the cold water, but won’t hold it’s shape. Hard ball is when it forms a hard ball that holds it shape when you push on it. I found a chart on that explains it.

    1. Yes–the longer you cook it, the harder it will be. Some tips: Calibrate your candy thermometer–if it’s off by even a few degrees, it might be hotter than you think it is. I also use the cold water method several times through the process–place a spoonful in a cup of really cold water, and you can see how hard the candy is at that point. It also keeps cooking even after you take it off the stove, so the quicker you can get it in the pan, the better.

  8. Right after I pour them out to harden, I use some course sea salt and sprinkle it over the carmel. They are beyond fantastic! Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!

  9. This sounds like recipe for fudge. That’s what we used to have at Christmas. I’ve tried to make it but it never worked out (many times) with fudge you don’t stir. Just let it roll. Wish I could make some, but, I’ll try this probably tastes the same. Oh Boy ! (the store bought
    fudge is soft. I don’t like it.)

  10. Any ideas if I decreased the sugar some if the consistency or texture of the caramels would be affected? Trying to cut back on the sugar. Thanks!

      1. I think it would be worth a try! I’m not sure what it would do to the consistency, but often times there is a little wiggle room with sugar. If you try it, please let me know–I’d love to know how it turns out!

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