Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

If there’s one thing I like better than homemade caramels, it’s homemade caramels dipped in chocolate.

And decked out with sprinkles. They make everything better.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

Last week when I made the Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars and used half of a can of sweetened condensed milk, the other half was just begging to be made into caramels.

So that’s what I did. In seven minutes in the microwave.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

They’re based on my January recipe for Seven Minute Microwave Caramels (no-bake, gluten-free) and yes, it really works. No candy thermometer, nothing fussy, tricky, or complicated.

The recipe is not only easy, it produces the best tasting caramels I’ve ever tried. Move over Godiva and even my beloved Sees. I prefer these.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

To make them, combine a half can of sweetened condensed milk with four other halves: half cup of melted butter, half cup of corn syrup, half cup of brown sugar, and half cup of granulated sugar. Microwave it all together for 7 minutes, stopping at the halfway point and stirring briefly.

I wrote in detail in the other post about what to do and not do, tricks and tips, and the following is what I believe bears highlighting.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

The bowl will get crazy hot. Make sure your bowl is truly heat-safe.

After stirring at 3:30 mark, take a damp paper towel and wipe around the sides of the bowl to remove any gritty sugar that’s clinging. Undissolved sugar granules that are clinging to the sides could result in your entire batch turning grainy. Grainy-ness spreads like wildfire and it will take over the pan like a bad science experiment.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

You must line your pan with foil. Use a non-stick foil like this one, and spray it extremely liberally with cooking spray so that you don’t have molten caramel stuck to either your pan, or your foil.

When slicing the caramels, do it on a piece of parchment on top your cutting board. Use a pizza wheel or an extremely sharp knife, sprayed with cooking spray. They stick to everything so take precautions to avoid it.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

When melting the chocolate for dipping, I highly recommend using baking chocolate or chocolate sold in bars, not chocolate chips. They’re more resistant to melting, and thicker and gloppier to work with. I used a medley of Trader’s Joe Pound Plus Bars: Milk (32%), Dark (54%), and Darker (72%).

Normally I don’t gravitate to eating or baking with milk chocolate, but with the caramels, the milkiness is very complimentary to their creaminess. Don’t automatically dismiss milk chocolate, thinking darker is better. Milk chocolate really shines here.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

I highly recommend a tablespoon or two of shortening stirred in after the chocolate has melted. This helps the chocolate behave more like Candi-Quik, staying smoother longer. It makes any chocolate dipping project so much easier. I keep a small can of it in my pantry for this purpose only.

When dipping, quick baths in the chocolate are preferred to long, luxurious soaks. Balance the caramel on the tines of a fork, lower it, just cover it with chocolate, and get it out. Too long in the warm chocolate not only begins to melt the caramel, but it adds more chocolate than necessary, and you’ll have to melt more chocolate sooner rather than later, and it’s a pain to stop and start.

 Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

Place the dipped caramels on a parchment-lined tray or plate, and before the chocolate sets (you have many minutes if using shortening so not a rush), sprinkle them with your favorite jimmies, sprinkles, slivered almonds, coarse sea salt, graham cracker crumbs, dried cranberries, bacon bits or whatever your heart desires. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

There will be chocolate “duck feet” as I call them on the bases of the caramels where it pooled on the parchment. Either nibble it off, break it off with your fingers, or if you want to make them look professional, trim it with a knife.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

The caramels are smooth, creamy, buttery, with prominent notes of vanilla.

They’re soft, chewy, rich and simply my favorite caramels ever.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels - Never fear candy-making again with this no-candy-thermometer recipe made in the micro. Rich, buttery, soft & chewy. The best & easiest caramels ever! Perfect for Valentine's Day!

I’m convinced they’re the best possible use of my microwave and 7 minutes of time.

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels - Never fear candy-making again with this no-candy-thermometer, goofproof recipe! The best and easiest caramels ever! Great for holidays and gifts!

Print Print Recipe

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

The recipe seems too good to be true because the caramels are made in the microwave in seven minutes, and no candy thermometer is needed. The recipe works and produces the best-tasting caramels I've ever had. They're rich, buttery, creamy, sweet, and softly flavored with vanilla. They're the perfect balance of soft-yet-firm and just melt in your mouth. I'll put them up against fancy candy shop caramels. You'll never need another candy shop caramel or recipe for homemade caramels after trying these. And they're so easy.

Yield: about 36

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 27 minutes


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted (I use unsalted, use salted for saltier caramels)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup (light in color, not lite)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
chocolate for dipping - I used about 4 ounces each of Milk (32%), Dark (54%), and Darker (72%)
1 to 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, optional but recommended
sprinkles (or jimmies, non-pareils, slivered almonds, coarse sea salt, graham cracker crumbs, etc.), optional for sprinkling


  1. This is a fast-moving recipe once it begins. Have everything in place including a large oven mitt because the bowl becomes extremely hot. Make sure your bowl is truly microwave-safe because it will get very hot. Clear out a space in your refrigerator in advance for placing the hot pan to cool. Do not use lite or reduced fat ingredients; use real butter, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Send small children out of the kitchen while making these and fully concentrate on the recipe because the mixture is incredibly hot.
  2. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with non-stick aluminum foil, and spray very generously with cooking spray; set aside. (For these, I used a 9-inch pan; for the previous recipe I used an 8-inch).
  3. In a very large microwave-safe bowl (nearly the largest your microwave can accommodate because the depth is necessary for the bubbling-up), melt the butter, about 90 seconds. To the melted butter, add the sugars, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and stir until smooth. Place bowl in the microwave and heat on high power for 3 minutes and 30 seconds (3 and 1/2 minutes).
  4. Using a hot pad, remove bowl from the microwave, scrape down the sides incredibly well, and stir. Very important - it won’t appear that much of anything is on the sides but if there is sugar or sugar granules that are not dissolved and fully incorporated into the bubbling mixture and they remain uncooked, they can cause graininess or crystallization in the finished caramels. Uncooked sugar crystals have regrowth that spreads and can take over a whole pan, rendering it a grainy and inedible. After scraping down the sides of the bowl very well, wipe around the sides using a damp paper towel, making sure no sugar granules are clung to the sides.
  5. Return bowl to microwave and heat on high power for 3 minutes and 30 seconds (3 and 1/2 minutes). During this time, the mixture will foam, bubble vigorously, and become very active. I recommend standing in front of the microwave and watching it the whole time so you could power off the microwave immediately if necessary. Using a hot pad, remove the bowl from the microwave.
  6. Very carefully add the vanilla extract, standing at arm's length. The mixture will likely still be boiling when you add it, it will bubble up even more. Use extreme caution and stir to incorporate the vanilla as the mixture continues to bubble quite rapidly.
  7. Pour the bubbling mixture into the prepared pan, cover pan with aluminum foil, and place it in the refrigerator to firm up for at least four hours, or overnight, before slicing caramels.
  8. Lift the caramels out using the foil overhang and flip them over, upside-down-cake style, onto a piece of parchment on top of the cutting board. Spray knife or pizza wheel with cooking spray before slicing, repeating as necessary. I made 6 rows of 6, for 36 caramels.
  9. Melt chocolate in a small microwaves-safe bowl, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons shortening for every 4 to 6 ounces of chocolate. This helps keep the chocolate smoother and less prone to becoming gloppy or firming up too fast. I like to work in batches of 4 to 6 ounces of melted chocolate at a time.
  10. Balance 1 caramel on the tines of a fork, slowly lower it into the chocolate, and dip to coat. Don't let it linger in the hot chocolate or it could melt the caramel, and more chocolate than necessary is used. Use another fork to help lift it out of the chocolate and slide it off the fork and onto a parchment-lined large plate. Add sprinkles before chocolate sets up. Repeat process with all remaining caramels, reheating or adding more chocolate and shortening as necessary.
  11. Place caramels in the refrigerator to firm up for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Caramels will keep airtight in the refrigerator for many months. I prefer to store them in the fridge rather than at room temperature. Note that because microwaves, ingredients, and climates vary, there could be variances in cook times; for my microwave 7 minutes is perfect.

Related Recipes

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels (no-bake, gluten-free) – The original recipe with more step-by-step shots and more how-to details

Browned Butter Caramel and Butterscotch Bars – Nutty and aromatic browned butter is paired with dark brown sugar, sweet butterscotch chips, and creamy caramel to create dense, rich, fast and easy bars

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation) – Caramels, chocolate and oats are combined in these gooey, sticky, sweet, and texture-rich bars

Dark Rum Caramel Sauce (gluten-free) – The caramel sauce can be made with or without rum, although I recommend it. A step-by-step guide for easy at-home caramel sauce to be used on everything from ice cream to apples

Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Caramels – Three ingredients and you’ll never believe what they are. Creamy, rich, easy, and fast. Some I filled with peanut butter in the middle f0r peanut butter-caramel sandwiches


Caramel Apple Bars (gluten-free with vegan adaptation) – Apples, oats, brown sugar, peanut butter and plenty of caramel sauce are combined for a fast and easy bar that’s full of texture and richness

Marshmallow Caramel Oreo Cookie S’Mores Bars – An Oreo cookie-crumb and buttery crust is topped with marshmallows, caramels, and chocolate chips for an easy and fast dessert reminiscent of s’mores

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies – Salty and sweet, crunch and gooey, soft and chewy and one of my favorite bars I’ve made recently

Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch (no-bake) – One of my favorite childhood treats, recreated. They include plenty of gooey caramel, tons of texture, and the flavor is spot-on

Butterfinger Bars (No Bake, Vegan & GF options) – Make in the microwave in minutes. They’re a dead-ringer for the original and made with 3 ingredients

Do you like caramels? Do you make your own caramel sauce or caramels? Or homemade candy?

 Share links to your favorite recipes.


172 Responses to “Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels”

  1. Ellen — April 18, 2013 at 12:48 am (#

    I adore caramel! I swear, you and I must have almost identical taste buds…

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 1:09 am (#

      I know another friend and I definitely do! We are twins on almost everything flavor-related!

  2. lisatberry — April 18, 2013 at 3:14 am (#

    those look so good, I’d love some with sea salt love that sweet salty thing

  3. Marie @ Little Kitchie — April 18, 2013 at 3:52 am (#

    Your 7-minute caramels are one of my favorite recipes from you because they seem so impressive, but you can throw them together so quickly! GOT to try these – you really did find a way to make that already great recipe better!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 5:13 am (#

      Marie you’ll just love these, so much. And so glad you’ve been making the 7 minute caramels regularly it sounds like!

  4. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — April 18, 2013 at 4:12 am (#

    So impressive! Yet so quick. Sprinkles do make everything better, too. :)

  5. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — April 18, 2013 at 4:31 am (#

    Oh how I love caramel! So cute with the sprinkles!!!

  6. Jen @ Savory Simple — April 18, 2013 at 4:58 am (#

    Homemade caramels are the absolute best! I’m so intrigued by your microwave method.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 5:12 am (#

      Best.ever. No candy thermometer and nothing to mess up. Seriously so easy!

  7. Monica — April 18, 2013 at 5:01 am (#

    That is amazing! They look so good and I can’t get over the 7-minutes in the microwave part. wow!

  8. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat — April 18, 2013 at 5:30 am (#

    These are beautiful looking treats! They look like they take hours to prepare…you’d never know they only take 7 minutes!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 5:43 am (#

      Well the making of the caramels is 7 minutes. The chocolate work takes a little longer :)

  9. Laura Dembowski — April 18, 2013 at 5:32 am (#

    These look as good as all the candy I stare at in the Godiva case! But the real question is how many different kinds of sprinkles do you have? They look so fun and happy!

  10. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — April 18, 2013 at 5:38 am (#

    Quick, beautiful and delicious! Perfect imo.

  11. Rachel Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 5:50 am (#

    Oooh–I have to try these! So fun!

  12. Erika @Southern Souffle — April 18, 2013 at 6:05 am (#

    Girl!! 7 minutes.. for homemade caramels.. that sounds dangerous. So trying this.

  13. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion — April 18, 2013 at 6:16 am (#

    7 Min!!! WHAAAT. I have 7 min to spare… I will use them for good and make these

  14. Erin | The Law Students Wife — April 18, 2013 at 6:16 am (#

    WOAH-move over Sees? This are totally real-deal then. And 7 minutes today vs. waiting for my grandma to order the unnecessarily large box of Sees caramels at Christmas? Easiest decision of the week :-)

  15. Eva @ Eva Bakes — April 18, 2013 at 6:20 am (#

    This is a highly dangerous recipe to have in my house. We will eat the entire batch, get a toothache and veg on the couch for the rest of the weekend. Chocolate covered caramels (homemade) are simply the best!

  16. Paula — April 18, 2013 at 6:23 am (#

    Making homemade candy is so much fun, and as always, yours look beautiful! Such clean cuts and festive toppings! Your raw caramel recipe has been a favorite of mine since seeing it on here a couple of years ago. I’m a See’s candy lover too, but can only find them when I travel.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 6:41 am (#

      Sees are everywhere in CA but I know they are hard to find when I leave the state!

  17. Katy @ Katy's Kitchen — April 18, 2013 at 6:32 am (#

    I bookmarked your other recipe, and was waiting to try it until I thought of a cookie I wanted to add it to. Oh, you added chocolate? The wait is over :)

  18. Tieghan — April 18, 2013 at 6:44 am (#

    Holy wow! These look perfect! Perfect! Your chocolate is perfectly dipped!! Loving how simple these are!

  19. Kate@Diethood — April 18, 2013 at 7:27 am (#

    You’re kidding! WOW! I’ll see you in 7 minutes! :-)

  20. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — April 18, 2013 at 8:07 am (#

    Okay, I know I said it before, but if I leave now, I can be at your place by dinnertime.. soooo… can I please have like, fifty of these caramels? I still can’t believe you can get those gorgeous, gooey caramels in 7 minutes AND from made in the microwave. If that isn’t a superfood, I don’t know what is :)

    Plus, I can’t resist anything smothered in chocolate and sprinkles. You truly know the way to my heart.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 8:33 am (#

      When I first started making these, I totally had my doubts, too. But the recipe has always worked like a champ!

  21. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — April 18, 2013 at 8:09 am (#

    Do these count as breakfast? ;) Absolutely drooling! Nothing better than caramels, unless they’ve been dipped in chocolate!

  22. J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats — April 18, 2013 at 9:14 am (#

    Microwaves are so under used for pastry/baking applications! I used to always have hard time making caramel and custards but I found recipes for both that use microwaves instead of stove top cooking and they worked so well!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm (#

      One of the things I found interesting in Christina Tosi’s cookbook (Momofuku Milkbar) is that she talked about how she does tons in the microwave. Such a high-brow chef…and she browns her butter in the microwave!

  23. Amanda — April 18, 2013 at 9:21 am (#

    I’ve been a caramel junkie lately and this recipe is great. Thanks so much! :)

  24. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — April 18, 2013 at 9:29 am (#

    These look so fun! I find homemade candy (especially dipped in chocolate) soooo much better than any box of chocolates! Can’t wait to try your microwave caramels recipe! Pinning!

  25. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen — April 18, 2013 at 9:40 am (#

    It still blows my mind that this works! Chocolate and sprinkles are a fabulous addition!

  26. Heather (Where's the Beach) — April 18, 2013 at 10:00 am (#

    I’ve always loved caramel. And I love how simple, yet pretty these are. Always so many awesome ideas for gifts! I’m waiting for you to open up a bakery/candy shop!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm (#

      Don’t hold your breath. That’s one thing I am smart enough not to embark on! lol So much work! Although I do have enough leftovers and baking experiments, I could use a venue to donate them :)

  27. Megan @ megbakes — April 18, 2013 at 10:23 am (#

    These are so beautiful! I don’t know if I have the patience to make them, but I’d love to try.

  28. Amy | Club Narwhal — April 18, 2013 at 11:45 am (#

    I think you may have just changed my life for the better. Microwave caramel? You evil, evil, beautiful genius!

    Thanks for the shortening tip–I think that might improve my overall chocolate-dipping skills. Whenever I try, the stuff usually comes out looking like a crazed cat got a hold of them…not pretty :)

  29. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — April 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm (#

    These are gorgeous! I need to try your microwave caramels. I love caramel but the stove kind freaks me out. And you’re right – sprinkles DO make it better!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm (#

      And I’ve made it both ways and I prefer this way for all reasons – easier, faster, better results, less mess, less to worry about with candy thermometers, etc.

  30. Megan @ For the Love of Cookies — April 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm (#

    These sound too good to be true! I’ve made candies before but never caramels – but just stick it in the microwave for 7 minutes? I think I can do that! And, everything is better covered in chocolate ;)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm (#

      Those PB Dreams of yours look pretty amazing, speaking of covered in chocolate!

  31. Karen @ The Food Charlatan — April 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm (#

    Duuuuuude. These look so good. 7 minutes??? awesome.

  32. Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) — April 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm (#

    I love love LOVE caramels – never made my own before though. These look great, especially covered in the chocolate and sprinkles.

    Now you need to make white chocolate caramels :D

  33. Kiran @ — April 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm (#

    ohmygosh — microwave caramels?!? I need it in my life. Love Sees :D

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm (#

      I love them too but at a dollar a piece/bite, more or less, I needed to start making them on my own :)

  34. Sue/the view from great island — April 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm (#

    You’ve outdone yourself, girl. One look and these pushed and shoved their way to the head of the line, right at the top of my ‘must steal from other people’s blogs’ list.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm (#

      LOL and I hope you try them! I think you’ll love them – and soooo easy, Sue!

  35. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — April 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm (#

    amazing, AND a 7 minute recipe?! too good to be true!!!

  36. tracy {pale yellow} — April 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm (#

    Sprinkles are always the right choice! These look amazing!

  37. Trish - Mom On Timeout — April 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm (#

    Oh good grief! These look fantabulous! Loving all the adorable sprinkles on top too – now how could I possibly resist making these? Pinning for the weekend!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm (#

      I know now that you love your sweetened cond milk – me too! Thanks for the pin & lmk if you try them!

  38. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — April 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm (#

    Of course you added sprinkles! Total perfection :)

  39. vanillasugarblog — April 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm (#

    now this is my kind of treat!
    you should do tutorials on these (and some of your other goodies)
    we would love to see that!

  40. Heather @ French Press — April 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm (#

    these look better than anything i have seen at the candy stores! and 7 minute caramels…how did I not see this before.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm (#

      I didn’t love the photos in the other post. I took them in January. Winter lighting. Glad you saw them now!

  41. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — April 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm (#

    Um HELLO, are you kidding me? These caramels sounds to good to be true but if anybody was to create such brilliance, it would be you Averie. I think Frans Chocolates has a fierce competitor on their hands.

  42. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — April 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm (#

    Oh my word! Just 7 minutes? In the nuker? Who needs a range cooktop to make caramels now? So easy and perfect for summertime, too, when the crave hits. Love the idea of dipping your easy 7 minute caramels in chocolate, Averie. They look especially pretty with the sprinkles! Pinning! xo

  43. Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry — April 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm (#

    You had me at caramels and 7 minutes…this is totally a treat I can make during naptime!

  44. Monica — April 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm (#

    These should be illegal! It looks so delicious!!!

  45. Ari @ Ari's Menu — April 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm (#

    Okay, now can they go inside a cookie? Or brownie? Or cupcake?? These perfect little gems needs to be the center of something awesome I think. ;)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 19, 2013 at 12:08 am (#

      They’re so good I didn’t even want to ‘clutter’ them with anything else! But clutter is okay sometimes :)

  46. Nat D. — April 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm (#

    I saw these on pinterest this evening and then I was searching for flourless peanut butter cookies online and ended up here again. I think it’s fate. ;) I’m your new follower. Your pictures are drool worthy.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 19, 2013 at 12:07 am (#

      Thanks for clicking over from Pinterest and saying hi and the sweet compliments! Glad that you found me and will be reading! :)

  47. Lori — April 19, 2013 at 12:08 am (#

    Speaking of the nuker, can you please tell me the wattage of your microwave? I really can’t believe no one has asked this! Thanks. Lori

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 19, 2013 at 12:19 am (#

      I actually discussed this in more detail in the original/non-chocolate dipped version

      “…Place the bowl in an 1100-watt microwave and heat on high power for three minutes and thirty seconds (3 and 1/2 minutes). Likely your microwave is 1100 watts, most are these days; if it’s not, you may need to tinker with the cooking times by 15 or 30 seconds in either direction if your microwave is lower or higher wattage….”

    • Lori — April 19, 2013 at 2:51 am (#

      Thanks, mine is 1200 so will have to tone it down a bit!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 19, 2013 at 4:11 am (#

      LMK how things go for you!

  48. Danielle — April 19, 2013 at 1:31 am (#

    7 minutes to sweet heaven. Now we are talking!

  49. Averie,

    These look delicious.

    I must continue to thank you for posting great recipes that don’t require an oven. I am moving in September to a place with an oven, and I’m not even sure I will need it when I do! However, I think I will finally make some cookies from scratch!


  50. Alyssa — April 19, 2013 at 4:03 am (#

    Amazingly easy recipe :-) Must try! Thanks!

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