December 23rd, 2012

Ten Minute Microwave Caramels

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Believe me, I was very skeptical about making caramels in the microwave.  So skeptical that I tested this recipe for Ten Minute Microwave Caramels several times before posting it here. 

Ten Minute Microwave Caramels

Let me tell you, the fact that it actually works, and you can make delicious chewy caramel in under 10 minutes, is very dangerous for a caramel lover like me. 

Just a few tips: first, it should be noted that this recipe is for making caramels in an 1100 watt microwave oven, but chances are, that’s what you’ve got.  To prevent grainy caramels, take care to scrape the sides of the bowl well during the stirring process.

Every microwave is a little different, so you may have to increase or decrease the cooking time by 15 seconds or so to get the caramels just the way you’d like them. 

The original recipe called for 2 cooking times of 3 1/2 minutes each, but I found that my caramels were too hard after cooking that long. Three minutes 10 seconds each time gave me the perfect chewy consistency. 


Ten Minute Microwave Caramels

If you prefer a very soft caramel, you may want to decrease the cooking time to 3 minutes for each cooking period. But even if your first batch comes out a bit hard or a bit soft, the result will still be delicious!

Update: Since moving to a new home with a new microwave, I now do 2 cooking times of 3 minutes 5 seconds each.

If you’d like to add chopped nuts, stir those in along with the vanilla.  You can also add a sprinkling of sea salt once you’ve poured the caramel mixture into the pan. 

For a really decadent treat, try dipping the finished caramels in chocolate.

The best thing of all though, is that you can have caramels in a matter of minutes, without spending 30 minutes stirring over a hot stove-top with one eye always on a candy thermometer!

Be sure to save this Ten Minute Microwave Caramels recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.


Ten Minute Microwave Caramels

Ten Minute Microwave Caramels

Preparation 4 min Cook Time 6 min Total Time 10 mins
Yields 2-3 dozen     adjust servings

Delicious, chewy caramels made in 10 minutes or less in your microwave oven!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Butter an 8-inch square pan, or for thicker caramels, a 9x5 inch loaf pan. If you like, you can then line the buttered pan with foil and butter the foil.
  2. Melt butter in a large microwaveable bowl (microwave for about 1 minute).
  3. Stir in the corn syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Continue stirring until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 5 to 15 seconds. ( I recommend starting with the shorter time of 3 minutes 5 seconds, since I'd rather have my caramels too soft than too hard). Remove from microwave and stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Return to microwave and cook on high for another 3 minutes and 5 to 15 seconds. Stir in the vanilla. Pour immediately into the buttered dish.
  6. Allow to sit for several hours until cooled and set. Cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper.

Recipe Notes

Equipment you'll need to make this recipe:

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If you love this recipe, you might also like:

Mini Salted Caramel Cups

Mini Salted Caramel Cups

Chocolate Caramel Toffee Cake


Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from That’s Some Good Cookin’.



  1. Amazing, aren’t they!

  2. Jus tmade these!! SO SO SO much better than my failed recipe from last week… Thank you:)

  3. I am glad to see your recipe has vanilla. I followed another similar recipe and although the caramels tasted ok, there was something missing. I told myself if I made them again I would add vanilla. I will print your recipe. Looks delicious.

  4. Got to try these. I need to make so treat boxes for my daughter. I think these would go well in the box. Thanks.

  5. I just made these! Now we’re waiting for them to cool! My children and I are excited to see how they turn out!

  6. Can’t wait to try them! Yummy.

  7. Made these this week and they are amazing. Try sprinkling a little kosher salt on the top of them once you pour them in the pan. Delish!

  8. I love microwave candy recipes , it takes the guess out of hard ball, soft ball stage of the process . There is one thing I wish they would add to the recipe, what the wattage is of the microwave they are useing . Microwaves come in different watt power, ranging from 900- 1200 watts . This can make the difference between success and failure in a candy recipe. The power is found sometimes on the back of the microwave or the inside of the door .
    Happy candy making this Holiday Season.
    Thank You,

  9. Can I use whipping cream instead of sweetened condensed milk? thank you.
    I just found your site. will try some other recipes.

    • I honestly don’t know if that would work or not. Caramel recipes can be pretty finicky, so I would probably stick with the recipe as is. If you do try it and get good results, I’d love to know. Thanks!

  10. After I tried a recipe with the pot on the stove and the candy therometer and a fail (too hard and burned on the bottom) I thought I’d try this easy way. WOW! So much easier and taste great! I used parchment paper in my 8×8 pan and should have buttered the paper cause it stuck something awful! I may just butter the glass 8×8 next time. Followed the recipe for time and cold water to check hardness but maybe could have cooked just a little more? But they are holding their shape in the wax paper wraping. I lightly buttered the cutting board before I put it on to cut but 24 hours later they are not sticking to the wax paper wrap. I cut the carmels in half and doubled them before I cut them into pieces because they were quite thin. Made 24 large two bite pieces. I think my microwave is 1000 watt.

  11. Thanks so much Rosemary! It does take a few tries with your own microwave to get the timing just right. So glad you liked the caramels! 🙂

  12. Sweet_Queen says:

    This is the best recipe I’ve ever seen and it makes delicious caramels!! I’m 14 and if I can follow directions like these and make them taste perfect… You can too!!! They even said I needed to open my own caramel bakery. Thanks for this recipe!!

  13. What is corn syrup? Is this golden syrup or a maple syrup?

  14. Hi Danelle,

    How did you get your caramels to look so beautiful? They look a bit rounded on the top.

    Thank you for the recipe.

    Caroline 🙂

    • I inverted them when I took them out of the pan. So the “top” is actually the bottom of the pan, if that makes sense? Besides that I didn’t do anything special. Since the were slightly soft, they just sort of took that shape when I cut them.

  15. What is white sugar? ISO granulated or powdered?
    Thank you

  16. Thinking of using your caramel recipe between 2 layers of rice krispy treats, wondering if it would harden to much or stay soft. Any Ideas?


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