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
4.85 from 102 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Microwave Caramels

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!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 36 caramels
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  • 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


  • 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.


    This was cooked in a 1000W microwave at 6 minutes and produced a soft yet chewy caramel.
    Nutrition calculated without salt or chocolate garnish.
    4.85 from 102 votes

    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.

    Course Candy, Dessert
    Cuisine American

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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 wasn’t sure about my microwave, so I used my candy thermometer “to be safe”. Bad idea. I should’ve trusted the 6 minutes! The thermometer didn’t hit “soft candy” stage, so I went 40 more seconds and ruined it. :( I’ll try again and stick with the 6 minutes. Would’ve been perfect!

    2. This recipe always turns out for me. I’ve tried stovetop ones and they never work. But these ones do.

      The other night I decided to make some only we did something different. I only had eagle brand dulce de leche sweetened condensed milk so I used that. Then we put it over popcorn and made popcorn balls. They are so good. They turned out perfect! Honest to goodness the perfect popcorn balls. I don’t even know how much popcorn exactly but it was 1/3 cup of kernal in our air popper popped.5 stars

    3. These caramels are so simple and delicious! There isn’t one thing i would change! I have made them over a dozen times, and they always come out great. Nice treat to give away.5 stars

    4. I absolutely love your recipes! Thank you so much for sharing your passion.
      Could this mixture be used, hot out of the microwave, to make caramel apples? That would make my oldest DIL so very happy (and me, too, for the ease of preparation!).

    5. Hi Holly
      I don’t own a microwave as it isn’t healthy to cook in …boo to me; however could I bake in a toaster oven and if so what setting and temperature?
      Thankyou5 stars

        1. I usually double this recipe so I can use the whole can of sweetened condensed milk and I cook it in the microwave for 12 minutes, stirring every two minutes and they turn out great!!

    6. Absolutely amazing! I remember as a child helping my grandma make caramels and the process was very lengthy and a bit scary when we got to the pressure cooker stage of it but so worth it in the end. I never thought I would come upon a microwave recipe that would rival grandmas but here we are! Thank You Holly Grandma would be impressed, I know I am. Jeff
      P.S I am trying your caramel corn tonight. Jeff5 stars

    7. I followed the directions exactly and while the flavor was great and the texture smooth, the caramel cooled and was like hard candy, not the soft caramels I was expecting.3 stars

      1. Hi Hickory, if your microwave wattage is too high it can affect the cooking time and cause them to become harder than expected. We heat the caramel mixture for 6-7 minutes in a 1000W microwave, stirring every 90 seconds. Hope that helps!

    8. I didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk, but made my own with sugar and evaporated milk, that I cooked according to an online recipe.
      After making and cooling that, I followed the caramel recipe as written. NEVER in my 75 years on this earth, have I had such wonderful, soft, buttery and chewy caramels. I will never buy caramels again!!!!
      This is a fabulously easy and addictive recipe THANK YOU!

    9. Hi, I normally use werthers soft caramel, add a little cream and melt it down to pour into a hole in brownies after they are done baking.

      How would I adjust the recipe to get pourable caramel that still oozes when you bite in?

      I cannot find caramels in any store near me right now.5 stars

      1. Hi Virginia, sorry, we don’t have a stovetop version of this recipe. But if you try it on the stovetop we would love to hear how it turns out!

    10. I’m making Easter suckers and want to put caramel in Center. Can I use the caramel candy you unwrap and what do I add to make it work?

      1. Hi Karen, I’m not sure if they’d work as I’m not sure what type of suckers you mean.

    11. Substituted Honey for Karo, since I had it on hand. Used 950 Watt microwave & cooked about an additional minute to get Temp showing about 240øF & poured in lined buttered pan! Awesome taste, silky smooth texture that melts in your mouth. Gonna be some really good toasted pecan Turtles…