Homemade Caramel

It is my birthday today! And I made myself a treat. These caramels are seriously the best I have EVER had in my whole life. It is my mom’s recipe that she had been using for the past 40 years. Talk about tried and true!

homemade caramel

I remember as a child I would sit at the table while my mom cut up the caramels. My job was to cut the wax paper into squares. My mom would pass me a caramel every once in awhile. She always made them this time of year and especially at Christmas. They not only remind me of my childhood, but they are to die for YUMMY!

Here is her recipe:

2 cubes of Butter (1 cup) I like to use salted

2 cups of Sugar

1 1/2 cups Light Corn Syrup

2  14oz cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Before you get started get a bowl of ice water ready and set next to the stove.

In a large heavy bottom saucepan melt the butter. Add the sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Stir constantly on medium high heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Turn down heat to medium. Continue to stir constantly to avoid scorching. If it does start to scorch, turn the heat down a little. Stir until it starts to get a little darker. Check to see if it is done by spooning a little of the caramel into a bowl of ice water.  Continue to check the caramel until it is the consistency you want. When it is right, remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour into a greased pan. I use a cookie sheet. Let completely cool before cutting and eating. It takes a few hours for it to completely cool and set up. The longer you wait the better. I usually make it at night so I don’t get interrupted by kids while stirring and then it is ready and firm by morning.

The other thing I like about this recipe is you can use it to make caramel popcorn as well. Just cook it for less time so it is softer. It is soooo good!


Pin it for later!


homemade caramels

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  1. says

    Happy Birthday!

    The caramels sound yummy and I would love to make them but I have no idea how much a cube of butter is, can you give me the quantity in weight please? And what size are your cans of condensed milk?

    Hoping I can find corn syrup…I am in Australia:)

    xx Karen

    • Stacy says

      I am so sorry I didn’t consider you sweet international friends! Thanks for pointing it out. I have changed it in the post. I obviously am not used to posting recipes :P

    • Pam the Goatherd says

      Make sure you use SWEETENED condensed milk, not the evaporated milk that doesn’t have sugar in it!
      If you can’t find corn syrup you can make a substitute by making a simple syrup using 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. If you use 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water that should give you plenty of syrup for the caramel recipe with a little bit left over. To make simple syrup put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring to avoid burning the bottom. When all the sugar is dissolved your syrup is done. You can store the syrup in a jar indefinitely.

  2. says

    Happy Birthday! My grandmother used to make caramels like this, but she passed away before I could learn her recipe and how she made them. I will have to give this recipe a try :) Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    Happy Birthday Stacy! Your caramels look absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to give them a try!

  4. says

    Happy Birthday. I pinned the caramel recipe – definitely a must within the next few months. They look delicious. I’ve got two girls who’ll love to cut up the squares of wax paper for me :) Hope you have a wonderful Birthday!

    • Pam the Goatherd says

      The cold water makes the candy firm up instantly. When you drop a bit of the caramel stuff into the ice water if it dissolves you know it isn’t done yet. When it holds it’s shape as a glob when you drop it into the ice water you know it’s done and time to pour into the greased pan.

  5. says

    I absolutely love caramel, it’s one of my favorite candies. I remember I use to buy them and hide them when I was small; never wanted to share ;) Thanks for this yummy recipe. Hope you have a fantastic B’day!

  6. Lydia says

    Hi Stacy! Happy birthday! Looks delicious. Do you let them cool in the refrigerator or on the counter? Or does it matter?

  7. says

    Hi Stacey:

    Happy birthday to you. Looks delicious. Shall definitely make it.

    I also wanted you to know that I started a blog and posted my third post today. If you would like to check it out it is at truthgraceandlife.blogspot.com

    Blessings to you,


  8. says

    Happy birthday!!! Do you think I could add sea salt to the top after it’s poured into the cookie sheet?
    Have you made the condensed milk caramel dip?

  9. says

    Happy Birthday, Stacy! Of course, even though your Mom has been making those caramels for 40 years, you’ve only been around for the last 20! Right? Have a great day!

  10. says

    My husband has been begging for a good caramel to go on popcorn. Since we are having a Halloween party at our house for a bunch to tweens it will be the perfect time to try out your recipe.

  11. Nanalie Knotts says

    Allow me to testify, that these carmels ARE to DIE FOR!!! Thank you Stacy for sharing them with me. I gave each family member ONE and took the rest to my secret hiding place! I will nibble on them when the house is quiet and I am ALONE!

  12. Pam the Goatherd says

    Happy Birthday a day late, Stacy!
    I make caramel sauce from my goat’s milk. Takes about six hours to simmer down a couple gallons of milk into a couple quarts of caramel dipping sauce for apples or for pouring over ice cream. The stuff around the edges gets thick enough to be candy. That’s my treat for standing over the stove stirring and steaming for all that time!

  13. says

    Caramel is lock-step in time with chocolate for one of my favorite treats. This recipe looks fantastic. I’ll be trying it out with my budding young chef this weekend. My girl is 13 and loves to bake; this will be fun! Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Kimberly says

    These sound amazing! i was thinking they would be great with my Christmas baking plates that I make for friends. How far ahead can you make them? What’s the best way to store them?
    Thanks for the recipe!!

  15. says

    I’m late to the party, but I wanted to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope it was a great day!

    These look delicious! I may just have to try them.

  16. says

    Happy birthday! Thanks for the recipe! I had a co-worker who use to make the best carmels at Xmas, but I never got the recipe. Now I can make my own and eat them when ever I want! I plan on making these after I get back from a wedding in early December. Until then I am on the diet, but Dec. 4 watch out – it will be carmel making time!

  17. Tim says

    I started making caramels for Christmas 2 years ago and plan on making them for every Christmas. I do however sprinkle a small amount of course sea salt on them before wrapping them in wax paper. Sweet and salty! Yum!

  18. a soon to be favorite aunt says

    My youngest nephew has been wanting my Mom’s caramels and since she has recently passed away and for the longest time didn’t have the strength to make them.

    So I know what he’s getting in his box from me.