Simple Salted Caramels Recipe with Video

These salted caramels are soft, chewy and perfectly melt away in your mouth.

Our salted caramels recipe is easy-to-follow and has step-by-step photographs to make this extra easy. We’ve also shared lessons we’ve learned from making our own caramels at home.

Making Our Salted Caramels Recipe – Lessons We’ve Learned From Our Own Mistakes

One thing we love about cooking is that no matter the recipe or technique, with practice and a little sense, it can become easy. When we first began to make caramels, we admit, things did not always work out. In fact, some time ago, we published a salted caramel recipe on this very blog. It worked for us, but not for others. So, we went back to the drawing boards and did our best to learn more. That’s how we can confidently share the following lessons as well as this new (and improved) salted caramels recipe.
Simple Salted Caramels Recipe

Be Ready.

Before you begin making salted caramels make sure you you’ve read through the recipe a couple times and have all equipment ready and ingredients measured out. Candy making can go by quickly and if you’re not ready, things can go from good to bad fast.

Crystallization is Bad.

When making caramels, it is important to do everything you can to prevent crystallization, which can make your caramels grainy and ruin the texture.

Making Our Salted Caramels RecipeFor our recipe, when you’re adding the sugar to the pan, add it slowly and with control. It’s best not to allow the sugar to splash up the sides of the pan as this can cause crystallization. With that said, even when we make our caramels, we will sometimes see a few rogue sugar crystals on the sides of our pan.

For this reason, we include a little fail-safe in our recipe. Once you have brought the water, corn syrup and sugar to a boil, we ask that you cover the pan and leave it be for one minute. This traps steam and moisture in the pan and helps melt any sugar crystals that may have found their way up the sides of the pan.

Try not to stir sugar as it cooks. In our recipe, we ask that you stir to moisten sugar before bringing it to a boil. This is fine, but after that, there is no need to stir until you begin to add the butter and cream – even then, though, we only ask that you use the bottom of the candy thermometer to stir, not a spoon.

Use Heavy Cream.

In our recipe, we call for “heavy cream” or “heavy whipping cream.” If you check the back nutrition panel of cream cartons, you will notice that the percentage of butterfat can vary. For our caramels recipe we need cream that contains at least 36% butterfat. So, use either “heavy cream” or “heavy whipping cream” since they contain 36% or more. Do not use “whipping cream,” since that is only made up of 30%.

The Thermometer.

Don’t try this without a candy thermometer. The temperatures matter.

For our recipe, there are two temperatures to look out for:

Candy ThermometerFirst, we ask that you cook sugar, corn syrup and water until it reaches 320 degrees F (160 degrees C). According to the stages of candy making, this is past what is called the “hard-crack stage,” which means there is virtually no water left in the sugar syrup and if you were to drop a little of the molten sugar into cold water, it would become brittle and most likely crack when bent. The “hard crack stage” is when the sugar syrup is between 300 and 310 degrees F (149 and 154 degrees C). Since we are passing this stage, the sugar syrup will start to “caramelize” and you will actually notice that the syrup will begin to take on an amber color. It is important not to pass 320 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Second, after reaching 320 degrees F (160 degrees C), we ask that you add a butter and cream mixture to the sugar syrup. Then, you will cook that until 240 degrees F (115 degrees C). At this temperature the once the caramels have cooled completely, they will be soft and chewy. If you wanted a slightly harder caramel, you could bring the temperature closer to 245 degrees F (118 degrees C).

Salted Caramels Recipe Step

One more note about temperature and candy thermometers. Most candy thermometers will show an “immersion” line. From our experience, the majority of candy recipes will never be large enough of a batch to actually reach the immersion line. With that said, we have found success as long as the tip of the thermometer is fully immersed. Also, most candy thermometers have a guard to prevent the thermometer from touching the bottom of the pan, if yours does not have this guard, make sure the tip of the thermometer never touches the bottom of the pan as this will affect how accurate the thermometer reading will be.

Stick to the Recipe.

Don’t double or triple caramel recipes. Timing is essential when making caramel and doubling a recipe can affect cooking time, something that could affect your end results.

The Weather.

We know this seems a little odd, but weather can affect the your success when making candy. Cooking sugar to a certain temperature is all about achieving a specific ratio of sugar to moisture. So, if you can, make caramel on a cool dry day. If the air is humid, the caramel can actually reabsorb some moisture, which might negatively affect the texture and softness of your caramel.

Salted Caramesl Recipe

The Cleanup.

Salted Caramels RecipeCleaning the pot and candy thermometer after making caramels can be a little sticky. From our experience, we’ve found that if you add water to the pan then bring it to a boil, the caramel stuck to the sides of the pan will melt away.

You can also add the candy thermometer to the boiling water to remove sticky caramel from the bottom of it, too.

Simple Salted Caramels RecipeDid you like our Simple Salted Caramels Recipe? If so, we’re sure you’ll love these:

4.6 from 50 reviews
Simple Salted Caramels Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These salted caramels are soft, chewy and perfectly melt away in your mouth.

Before starting to make our salted caramels recipe it is best to be sure you have all equipment ready and ingredients measured out. This caramels recipe has been inspired and adapted from Jacques Pépin's book, "Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook."
Created By:
Yield: 35-40
You Will Need
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (36-40% butterfat content)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) light corn syrup
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon course or flaked sea salt
  1. Lightly oil a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan then measure and cut a piece of parchment paper that will fit inside the pan and come up the sides by at least 1 inch. Next, lightly oil the parchment paper and place into the pan. Set the pan aside.Salted Caramels Recipe Step 1
  2. Cut butter into 8 pieces then combine with heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until hot and butter has melted. Set aside, we will use this later.Salted Caramels Recipe Step 2
  3. In a small saucepan combine the water and corn syrup. Then, add the sugar, but try your best not to splatter the sugar up the sides of the pan. Now, use a spoon to gently stir the sugar into the water and corn syrup, just moistening the sugar.
  4. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has come to a boil. Then, cover with a lid for 1 minute. This adds steam/moisture to the pan, so any sugar that may have stuck to the sides of the pan melts and falls back into the boiling sugar.
  5. Remove lid then attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Then, cook sugar for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar reaches a temperature of 320 degrees F (160 degrees C). At this temperature, the sugar will take on a light amber color around the edges of the pan.Salted Caramels Recipe Step 3
  6. The moment the sugar reaches 320 degrees F (160 degrees C), carefully pour about a sixth of the butter and cream mixture then stir, using the base of the candy thermometer to incorporate it. Repeat with the remaining cream and butter (adding a sixth of it at a time then stirring). The sugar will bubble violently as you add the butter and cream - so do this carefully and slowly to prevent the mixture from bubbling over the sides of the saucepan.
  7. By adding the cream and butter, the temperature will drop. Now, continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the caramel reaches a temperature of 240 degrees F (115 degrees C). This will create a soft caramel, if you want slightly harder caramels, bring the temperature closer to 245 degrees F (118 degrees C).Salted Caramels Recipe Step 4
  8. The moment the caramel reaches your desired temperature, pour into the prepared loaf pan. Cool 20 to 30 minutes then scatter the salt over the caramel. Then, let the caramel cool 3 1/2 hours.
  9. Unmold the caramel. If the caramel is too soft to work with, place into the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes to firm up. Then, use a large sharp knife to cut into your desired shape. We like to cut into 1-inch by 1/2-inch rectangles.Salted Caramels Recipe Step 5
  10. Wrap caramels in plastic wrap or waxed paper and enjoy immediately, or you can refrigerate or freeze for enjoying later.
Notes and Tips
Special Equipment: Small (1 quart) saucepan with lid (the heavier, the better) and a candy thermometer (we use a Taylor Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer)

Don't forget to watch our salted caramel recipe video.

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227 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Judy March 27, 2016, 6:28 pm

    I’m just now in the cooling phase of the caramel. I’ve substituted Nutriwhip for the cream and vegan margarine for the butter to make these vegan for my sister, as well as using 1/2 Lyle’s Golden Syrup for the corn syrup.

    I just wanted to make one comment about pan size: It *has* to be a smaller saucepan. I made my first batch of sugar syrup in my larger medium saucepan that I typically use for small batches of fugdge, and the syrup burned at just under 300F.

  • Jessica March 21, 2016, 11:51 pm

    5 stars! I found this recipe after trying another that led to disaster. Amazing! I’ve made it half a dozen times as is, but this last time I substituted strong black coffee for the water, half heavy cream and half irish cream liqueur, and I topped with smoked scotch whiskey sea salt. Dreamy.

  • LW March 12, 2016, 5:36 pm

    Great recipe! My first time making any type of caramel. I added 1/2 C toasted walnut pieces and they were even better. Then I made a second batch and added dark chocolate. The video is the best part of this recipe! Thanks so much!

  • liz December 30, 2015, 12:32 am

    These are AMAZING!!! I have made this recipe for three years now! This year as my boys and I were passing out the caramels, everyone said, “oh I’m so excited, these are my favorite gift of the season.” Thanks for taking the time to post!!!!

  • Heather December 22, 2015, 7:55 pm

    This recipe was really easy to follow. The caramels came out nice n’ soft. The only issue is that they taste like toffee! It’s weird having soft toffee but I like the taste. I just wish they tasted like caramel!

  • Lisa philbrick December 15, 2015, 10:08 am

    I’ve been making caramels for years, and this recipe is terrific! They exactly what you are looking for in a caramel- soft, salty and caramelly! Temperature is EVERYTHING if you want a good outcome. Great recipe, I’ll be adding it to my holiday repertoire! Thank you! Lisa

  • Kris December 11, 2015, 3:54 pm

    I love this caramel! My problem is…the Wax Paper always seems to stick, so I end up cutting it off and losing half my caramel. Any suggestions?

    • Dawn December 23, 2015, 5:36 pm

      Use Parchment paper not wax paper. There is a difference. And I would still lightly spray with a BAKING spray (one with flour in it). That should help the sticking!

  • Lynnette December 10, 2015, 5:56 pm

    I am a huge fan of whiskey caramels, but haven’t found a great caramel recipe until this one. I don’t want to add too much liquid though for fear of ruining the caramel. Has anyone tried making this with whiskey or honey whiskey? Wondering if I should just replace the 3 tablespoons of water with whiskey, or some of the cream?
    Any ideas?

  • MissMarie December 6, 2015, 10:07 am

    I tried to make caramels for the first time yesterday and used David Lebovitz’s recipe. While it made caramel, they were hard as bricks and shattered when dropped.

    I found you next, and success!!!

    I doubled your recipe and added a smidge extra cream and a teaspoon of vanilla; they came out absolutely perfect!

    Thank you so much for the thorough directions and easy recipe.

  • Sunny Dudding November 23, 2015, 12:31 am

    Ours turned out great. Two questions… can you double the recipe? Do you have any suggestions about what kind of salt?

    • Joanne December 22, 2015, 1:18 pm

      Hi there, We don’t recommend making a double batch since it can be tricky to find a pan the correct size and timing will be different. I’d just make the recipe twice. For the salt: Maldon sea salt or another flaky sea salt is nice. Or, try a pink or smoked salt.

  • Holly September 29, 2015, 7:46 pm

    These look so good and easy enough to make. I was wondering how well something like this would ship through the mail, though? Is it something that would need to have a priority put on it or should I not even try at all?

    • Joanne October 16, 2015, 12:49 pm

      I bet they would ship well. They don’t like heat — so if you’re shipping somewhere warm, I’d be worried about that.

  • Kimberly S September 24, 2015, 8:37 pm

    It came out beautiful…perfect and I live in VA with lots of humidity. I had to lessen the heat to get the temp to go down but it was such an easy thing to cook. I doubled the batch and it came out perfect though I admit I cooled it in the fridge so I could cut it sooner to send off with a family member but wow what a perfect recipe.

  • Joanna August 20, 2015, 10:11 am

    Will this recipe be good to dip rice krispy treats that are on a stick and then dip in chocolate?

    • Joanne October 16, 2015, 1:03 pm

      Hi Joanne, We’ve never tried it, but it might work — you’ll need to work fast, though.

  • DShort August 10, 2015, 1:51 am

    Hello! Looks like a lot of success with this recipe. I have a great caramel sauce that I make but I went looking for a firmer recipe for candies and came across this. All looks great except for the corn syrup. I do organic and non-GMO cooking/baking so I wonder if there is a way to leave out the corn syrup or a better substitute that is non-GMO?? Thank you.

    • Joanne August 10, 2015, 11:36 am

      Hi Liv, You should be able to use honey as well as Golden or rice syrup. We have not tried it yet, though. It is on our to-do list to experiment with our own recipe as well. Good Luck!

    • LW March 12, 2016, 5:39 pm

      You can buy non-GMO corn syrup at a health food store.

  • Juliet July 25, 2015, 9:01 pm


    So I am definitely caramel cursed. I have tried so many recipes. Yours looked the best, and had the least amount of ingredients, so for my 10th time trying I tried this recipe. Somehow I have a problem already when I am just waiting for it to get to the 360 point. I calibrated my thermometer like the link suggested, etc, but when my mix reaches 360 it is WAY darker than yours, and starts smelling of burnt sugar… so the first one I threw out. The second time it did the same thing but I followed through the rest of the recipe and each step of mine just looked WAYYYYY darker than yours. Your caramel is a light brown color, mine is pretty much dark brown… Do you know where I could be going wrong? I tried changing sizes of saucepan etc… Because its already failing in the early steps, should I get a new thermometer anyway? Sorry for the long post, you can just email me back if you dont want to post it… Thanks!

    • Joanne August 10, 2015, 1:45 pm

      It is possible your thermometer is to blame. Using a heavy-bottomed pan so the mixture heats evenly is best, too. Hope that helps a little!

    • Pat September 13, 2015, 10:01 pm

      Hi Juliet! The recipe calls for 320 not 360 so that might be your issue. Hope you nail the recipe Best luck Pat

  • Tina June 14, 2015, 11:37 pm


    I’m am new to making candy and have tried this recipe twice. The first time it was too soft and barely set, but the flavor wasn’t there. I realized from reading the other posts that my candy thermometer was off, so I fixed that. The second batch has the wonderful flavors, but I think I boiled it too long. My burner runs hot, so it only took 7 minutes to reach the first 320. I also cooled off my thermometer in between and after adding the cream mix, it took barely 5 minutes to reach the 240. I was afraid that the color wasn’t right so I let it boil another two minutes. The directions say 5-10 minutes for the 2nd half, so did I mess it up by not following the directions and is it possible to have a soft caramel in just 5 minutes on the second part? I know this sounds dumb (you can agree) but before I try it again, should I pour it into the pan even if it only took 4 minutes to reach 240? Love your blog! Thanks!

    • Joanne August 10, 2015, 11:52 am

      Hi Tina, the temperatures are what is most important when making caramels, not the timing. Once the mixture reaches the temperatures stated in the recipe you should be good.

  • Alan Anderson April 23, 2015, 3:52 pm

    How do YOU get the temp up to 320° I had to put my stove up to high to get there it said earlier to have it at med to boil did you have to turn up the heat as well?

    • Joanne April 24, 2015, 8:51 am

      Hi Alan, we have never found we needed to increase the temperature to reach 320F.

      • Laura June 6, 2015, 7:19 pm

        I also had difficulty getting to 320 on medium and medium-high heat. Do you use an electric stove?

        • Joanne August 10, 2015, 11:51 am

          Hi Laura, Our stove is electric.

          • Kimberly S September 24, 2015, 8:40 pm

            Mine is electric and came out perfect! I had to turn it down to get it to reach the lower temperature later on. It was so easy! The temperatures are the most important thing because that is where you get the candy at the hard crack stage then letting it cook to the soft crack stage. I don’t know why but it turned out very professional like.

  • Danny April 12, 2015, 11:45 am

    i added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips when it was ready and it pretty much turned into a tootsie roll! i also cooked it a few degrees hotter (before adding the chocolate)

  • Gary Miles April 7, 2015, 10:21 pm

    Hey Everyone,
    I make specialty cookies. I want to create a salted caramel glaze for the underside of my cookies. My challenge, to make the glaze soft enough, but too soft as to run during shipping. I tried last week and although the caramel glaze was tasty, it was hard and difficult to chew… no good.
    I want a soft, delicious caramel glaze, not a hard caramel glaze. Any suggestions?

  • Louise March 10, 2015, 9:56 am

    Can I substitute the corn syrup for golden syrup?

    • Joanne March 10, 2015, 4:08 pm

      Hi Louise, While we have not tried golden syrup ourselves, other commenters have had success with it in our recipe.

  • Melisa February 13, 2015, 6:52 pm

    Does the recipe call for brown sugar or white sugar? Thanks.

    • Adam March 2, 2015, 2:16 pm

      White sugar.

  • Erin February 13, 2015, 3:59 pm

    I made these yesterday for my husband for valentine’s day, and they are DIVINE!! (I had to quality-test a few myself 🙂 One question – will these go bad or do they have a pretty long shelf life? Thanks!

    • Adam March 2, 2015, 2:16 pm

      They last a while when kept in the fridge — I think we have had them for over 2 weeks in ours before.

  • Sharon Boren February 9, 2015, 8:14 am

    Hi…this is a rather technical question. I appreciate how you answer and your expertise. I have been making caramel corn for years using a recipe similar to this. All your facts about temperature and chrystalization are applicable to what I do.
    My question relates to a funky taste the caramel takes on during cooking. It seems similar to rancid butter. It is very annoying and we throw out batches that have acquired the taste (many people can’t taste it but we know when it’s there)We have tried so many variables to troubleshoot the cause. But it is so unpredictable, one batch good and the next bad, and the next good. We are beside ourselves looking for consistency and wondered if you have ever experienced something similar. We have suspected ingredients, transfer, cleaning pot methods, and so many other potential causes. Now I’m just trying to find someone who may have an answer due to their experience. Can you help?

    • Joanne March 5, 2015, 10:38 am

      Hi Sharon, I’ve never really come across this, so I’m not sure I’ll be too much help!

    • Ashleigh July 4, 2015, 2:08 pm

      This could be over cooking sugar. If your caramel gets too dark it will turn bitter and gross. There is a fine line when cooking caramel, just here it’s under done |hereisgood| and here it is bad and needs to be thrown away, now what I mean? Caramel is very temperamental.

      • Kimberly Webster December 4, 2015, 5:34 am

        I would agree about the over-cooked sugar. As the caramel approaches 240F I pay particular attention to the aroma. Regardless of the temp. on my thermometer, if the aroma moves from fragrant to bitter, I know the batch is ruined, even if my thermometer doesn’t agree. This tends to happen more when the burner is a bit too hot and less so if I keep the temp just a bit lower and exhibit more patience. 🙂

  • Heather February 8, 2015, 3:16 pm

    Can these be made with golden corn syrup?

    • Joanne March 5, 2015, 10:10 am

      Hi Heather, we actually have not tried this, but have read other caramel recipes where it works nicely. If you try it, we’d love to hear how it turns out.

  • Lee Torrence January 9, 2015, 9:09 pm

    I made these once and they were delicious. I made them today and they came out too soft. Is there any way to save the ingredients and cook it up to 240 again for 5-10 minutes with the hopes it will come out? Thanks so much for such an informative recipe!

  • Kathy December 28, 2014, 6:04 am

    I’ve doubled and tripled this recipe and have not had any problems. I’m not an expert but what works well for me it the “ice-water” or color tests. When the mixture turns a deep amber it’s done.

    I’ve commented in the past and I’m still more than pleased with this recipe.

    Again, thank you.

  • Marjie McCauley December 25, 2014, 11:42 pm

    I have tried so many different caramel recipes and when preparing to make Christmas candy. I ran on to your video
    and saw that you used heavy cream. So I copied the recipe and have made it three times this year because it’s such a big hit. Sooooo good! Thank you from My family!

  • Arianna December 19, 2014, 6:32 am

    This is a great recipe! I’m a European so I couldn’t find corn syrup anywhere!or any kind of sugar syrup! But I found out that it works pretty well with honey! It’s not the same, of course, but it still worked out great! First the caramel tasted a little to buttery and sweet (probably because of the honey) but once I coated with chocolate it tasted great! Congratulations on such a successful recipe;)

    (PS: anyone using honey might want to heat it a few degrees more at the end because i heated it to 119 and I got a very soft caramel. I’m not sure whether it’ll help to do it though, maybe it’s just the consistency of the honey that causes it.)

    All in all I give this 5 stars and recommend anyone who loves baking and making candy to try this recipe, it may seem hard, but all it needs is a little preparation;) (haha I felt like I was making muggle potions!)

    • Ashleigh July 4, 2015, 2:11 pm

      You can make delicious caramel without corn syrup or any syrup. I made some in pastry school, didn’t write down the recipe, and now I have to scour the internet to find something similar. The best thing I’ve found is a foodnetwork recipe. I haven’t tried it, but it looks promising. foodnetwork . com / recipes /butter -caramels- recipe. html (some forums won’t let you comment links, so just remove the spaces and you’ll be right at the recipe I’m about to try)

  • Rob December 12, 2014, 11:09 am

    Made this last night and purposely went hot on the second stage to 250 because I like my caramels on the hard side.. Just a warning, don’t push it to 250.. Once they cool they are hard enough to almost shatter.. They still taste great, but are more like a rothschild hard candy with a TINY bit of chew to it.. I’ll do it again at 240 today.. I’m trying to find the ideal hardness for some holiday treats.. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Mark Beales September 4, 2014, 8:41 am


    I tried this recipe for salted caramels last week and it was FANTASTIC!

    I have very little experience with making confectionary. I’ve made some ganache filled chocolates, some toffee, and 2 batches of white chocolate fudge (the first of which ended up in the bin), so I was prepared for a learning curve. No need to worry though, as this recipe was perfect.

    I was making these as a gift for my fathers birthday, and really only had one shot at it. Well, let’s just say I didn’t need to go out and buy a backup gift. I actually took it one step further and coated half of them in chocolate. Even better!

    All in all, a 5 star recipe. Thank you.


  • Gloria July 17, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Hey InspiredTaste! My hubby is always bringing me home heavy cream and asking for these! I’ve simplified the whole parchment paper mess with grease down to using a wilton silicone candy mold. if you chill/freeze after adding salt they pop right out!

  • James July 10, 2014, 1:41 pm

    I used this recipe with 35% cream salted butter and dark brown corn syrup, because that’s all I had at the time and it still worked perfectly. Thanks for this recipe, and the steps you took explaining is great. The detail and science is bang on and helped me to explain to my cooks why temperatures are so important when making candies. I also used a digital laser thermometer instead of the traditional candy thermometer and had no issues what so ever. So again thanks for the work you put into this.


  • Jameson Escobar July 2, 2014, 10:45 am

    It was amazing. Me and my family enjoy making it every week. It’s sooooo goooood!

  • Ashley June 25, 2014, 8:03 pm

    Thank you for the detailed instructions. I have been making this recipe for 2 years straight and it has never let me down.

  • Kim Wines June 25, 2014, 6:21 pm

    I made these this afternoon and they are perfect!!!! I added the scrapings of one real vanilla bean to my cream and butter mixture. So yummy! They turned out just as described – thanks for the recipe!


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