Easy Microwave Caramels

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Simple and easy caramels made in the microwave with just one bowl and no candy thermometer!  Sprinkle them with salt, dip or drizzle them with chocolate or wrap them in waxed paper to give as gifts!
caramels made in the microwave with salt on top some wrapped in paper

I’ve been making these for as long as I can remember!

These are delicious chewy little caramels that are very simple to make and no candy thermometer is required!!  They can be used in any recipe that requires you to purchase and unwrap little caramels and are just perfect enjoyed on their own.

The smaller the dish you use, the thicker the caramels will be, I like to make them in an 8×8 pan.  A larger dish will just mean a thinner caramel.

caramels made in the microwave sprinkled with salt on top

You can cut them into squares or into longer sticks. If you’re giving them as a gift, it’s nice to cut them into sticks and wrap each one in a small piece of waxed paper or pretty candy wrappers.

Once they are cut into squares, they are still quite pliable so we store them in the fridge until about an hour before serving!  They are perfect dipped or drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with a little sea salt (or skip the chocolate for a salted caramel).

caramels made in the microwave with chocolate drizzled overtop


6 minute caramels laid out on parchment paper
4.65 from 37 votes
Review Recipe

Microwave Caramels

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 36 caramels
Author Holly N.
Simple and easy caramels made in the microwave with just one bowl and no candy thermometer! Sprinkle them with salt, dip or drizzle them with chocolate or wrap them in waxed paper to give as gifts!


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk

Optional Toppings

  • Salt
  • Chocolate

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  • Mix all ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl (the mixture will bubble up so make sure there is lots of room in the bowl).
  • Microwave on high for 6-7 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds.
  • Pour into a small buttered dish and allow to cool completely. Cut into small squares.
  • If desired, drizzle with chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Note: This mixture gets VERY hot. Ensure there are no children underfoot when you make this.

    Recipe Notes

    This was cooked in a 1000W microwave at 6 minutes and produced a soft yet chewy caramel.
    Nutrition calculated without salt or chocolate garnish.

    Nutrition Information

    Calories: 60, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 25mg, Potassium: 19mg, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 50IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 16mg

    (Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

    Keyword microwave caramels
    Course Candy, Dessert
    Cuisine American

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    Recipe Adapted from Food.com
    caramels made in the microwave with salt on top with a title
    caramels made in the microwave with salt on top and chocolate with a title
    About the author


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    Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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    Recipe Rating


    1. I have been wanting to try this for so long. Followed recipe. Kept boiling up in microwave and I kept taking it out and stirring it. Poured out to cool, drizzled with melted dark chocolate and sea salt. Stuck it in freezer! My family went crazy. Such a great and easy treat.

    2. Um… my Caramels almost set on fire they were burnt and it took me almost 30 mins to wash the dish because everything was stuck!1 star

      1. Oh dear, I am not sure what happened Madhav. We made this recipe in a 1000W microwave. Is your microwave a higher wattage? If so, that could cause them to overcook and burn.

    3. I wanted to use this as filling for my turtle pie, rather than have to buy and unwrap 1 million little caramel squares. I hate creating so much extra garbage. I made this the first time and didn’t have any corn syrup, so I just used extra brown sugar and that turned out more like a flaky harder filling which definitely still worked out for the pie. Then I followed the recipe exactly the second time and it turned out amazing! (also for pie filling) Thank you so much. I know nothing about making candy so this is a perfect recipe for me!5 stars

    4. I made these caramel this evening. Do I cool them in the fridge first and then cut them after chilling into squares or do I cut them first while they are still pliable, and then wrap them? I want to give them as gifts so I doubled doubled the the recipe !

      1. Hi Mel, you will want to let them cool completely before slicing them into squares (See step 3). Hope you enjoyed them!

      2. Did you change the time on the microwave by doubling the recipe? I want to double mine but not sure if I should change everything else for time length(7 minutes at 1000 watt microwave).5 stars

        1. I have not doubled this recipe. It will likely change the cook time as the mixture will take a longer time to come to a boil in the microwave as there will be more of it.

          As I have not tried it, I can’t say how long or if it would work. I might suggest making two separate batches.

    5. So good! I microwaved mine for 7 minutes to make them a little more firm. My family and I thought they were perfect!

      -note make sure you are using a microwave safe GLASS dish. Mic safe plastic will still melt due to the high temperature of the sugar and butter!5 stars

      1. Hmmm, that’s not fun Kathy. If your caramels are too soft, you can reheat the mixture. Once it starts to bubble, let it cook for about 40 seconds or so and then cool again. That should help thicken it. Or other readers have popped theirs in the freezer with success.

      2. I cooked mine for 7 minutes instead of 6 since people were saying they were too soft. They turned out perfect! Nice soft chewy texture not gritty and perfect to cut!5 stars

    6. What I’m reading in the comments are the issues I’ve had making caramels in a microwave by time—things like humidity level, moisture content of ingredients, and microwave power level can all affect the time necessary to cook to the right consistency. I’ve found the best thing to do is to use an instant read candy thermometer to start checking at stirring stops beginning at about the 5 minute mark. Then you can stop when you hit the soft ball stage (236-240 deg), rather than at 6 or 7 minutes, just guessing if it’s done.

      1. This is exactly what I was looking for! I doubled the recipe to do some candy apples but I wasn’t too sure how long to cook them for. Thankfully I have a Digital thermometer so I can check rather than guess. Thank you!5 stars

    7. So easy to make and sooooo delicious! How long do you think the will last if stored in an airtight contained? I’d like to get a jump on making them for Christmas gifts.

    8. Happy Holidays, Holly!

      Darn, I knew I should have paid more attention in math…… I have the opposite problem with microwave wattage; I have a small one; 750 watts (my kitchen in only 60 sq/ft). Anyway, would I be correct in figuring I need to zap mine for 8 to 9 minutes; stirring every 90 secs?

    9. Holly! I just finished making these! They are so easy and delicious! I have a 1200 watt microwave so after reading previous comments I reduced my power to 80% and cooked for 6 mins stirring every 90secs. I didn’t have a 8×8 pan so I used a loaf pan. I refrigerated mine for an hour prior to cutting!
      They are perfect! Not too sweet and oh so delicious!

      Thank you!
      ~kim5 stars

    10. I just wanted to say I made this recipe and I didn’t have karo syrup so I used regular pancake syrup. It altered the flavor but they worked perfectly! They taste just like werthers caramels! For anyone wanting a different flavor it’s an idea. I have made them with karo as well and they’re amazing both ways!5 stars

    11. These were great, but so soft! They didn’t want to hold their shape. So, I ended up freezing them, then coating them with chocolate. That was great! Chewy caramel encased in chocolate. Yum.4 stars

    12. ’ve been making homemade caramels for years and this is SOOOO much easier. And just as yummy. I did 8 minutes on high. I watched the color and the boiling level to match what I’ve done in the past over the stove. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla since ive been adding that in my traditional recipe. They turned out perfect!5 stars

    13. I’ve been making homemade caramels for years and this is SOOOO much easier. And just as yummy. I did 8 minutes on high. I watched the color and the boiling level to match what I’ve done in the past over the stove. They turned out perfect!

    14. I made in batch that turned out great. Second batch I added VANILLA EXTRACT. BIG MISTAKE!
      It won’t set up. It’s like…idk what… Thick goo.
      I put it in the fridge & it got too hard. I thought a third batch mixed with the second batch would firm up the two.
      Ugh… & Sigh… It still isn’t firming up. I put the mixture in the fridge & am waiting to see what happens.
      I’m sure the vanilla extract messed it up. The citric acid or the sodium benzoate was the culprit.5 stars