Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

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Seven Minute Microwave Caramels are rich, buttery, creamy, sweet, and softly flavored with vanilla and incredibly easy to make!.

Some recipes sound absolutely too good to be true and this is one of them. But it works.

And they’re the best caramels I’ve ever had. And I’m not just saying because they’re made in the microwave in seven minutes without a candy thermometer.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

I love caramels and my mom used to make them when I was growing up but there was nothing quick and easy about them. I remember pots of boiling hot liquid, molten sugar, candy thermometers, and just thinking about the absolute precision required stresses me out. I don’t like making things where a few degrees can turn a pound of butter and sugar into a hard worthless rock. I like to have fun in the kitchen and not worrying about soft ball and hard crack stages is why this easy microwave recipe is perfect.

Theoretically I knew it was possible to make caramels in the microwave and did some digging and saw this recipe, but there wasn’t enough butter in it. I fixed that problem by doubling the butter. I recently doubled the butter in these, too. I guess Butter does make everything better, especially in caramels, which are nothing more than sugar, cream, and butter.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

Once you begin this is a fast-moving recipe and with any candy-making, in the microwave or traditional stovetop methods, the resulting liquid gets incredibly hot and using caution and common sense is necessary. Have the small children go play in their room so you can concentrate fully, put your phone down and stop texting, and have all your supplies lined up and ready to go, including oven mitts. And clear a space out in advance in your refrigerator to place the screaming hot pan to cool.

Also, this is not a time to shave calories. Don’t use lite anything here. Use real butter not margarine, real corn syrup and not honey or agave or lite corn syrup. Don’t use fat-free or lite sweetened condensed milk. The recipe is designed for full-fat ingredients and making substitutions will adversely effect results. Eat fewer caramels or do more cardio, but don’t use substitutes.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

Begin by lining an 8-by-8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, spraying with cooking spray, and setting the pan aside. It’s mandatory to line your pan and don’t even think about not doing it. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about ninety seconds. I use unsalted butter but for saltier caramels, salted butter is fine. Make sure the bowl you select is large, probably the largest size that still fits in your microwave, because over the next seven minutes, there will be lots of bubbling and you’ll need the depth. Also, make sure it’s truly microwave-safe. I’ve used bowls in the past for other microwave projects that were a little iffy and they melted. The bowl will get extremely hot so make sure it’s up to the task.

To the melted butter, add one-half cup of each of the following: white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, light corn syrup (light in color, not lite in calories), sweetened condensed milk, and stir until smooth. The recipe uses about half of one standard-sized 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and rather than wasting 89 cents worth of sweet milk, use the remainder to make either No-Bake Vanilla Cake Batter Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (in the microwave), both of which use partial cans. I hate to waste and if I can make more candy or chocolaty treats in the process of making caramels with spare sweet milk, life is good.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

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.

Using a hot pad, remove the bowl from the microwave, scrape down the sides, and stir. You may wonder why I say to scrape down the sides because it won’t appear that much of anything is on the sides. Well, this is key. 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 gross mess over time.

I hate to use this analogy but it’s like a wart or a rash that starts out small and in a tiny place but if you don’t treat it, it will spread and pretty soon it takes over. The solution to heading off potential graininess and crystallization is to make sure each and every sugar granule that’s on the side of the bowl is cooked. So scrape down the bowl well with a spatula, making sure no chunks of sugar are clinging on the sides. My Chocolate Saltine Toffee is one of the most popular recipes on my site and the overwhelming majority of people make it with great success, but when there’s an issue, it’s usually one of crystallization, which can happen in any candy-making endeavor unless you’re careful.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

Return the bowl to the microwave and heat it on high power for another three minutes and thirty seconds (3 and 1/2 minutes). While cooking, the mixture will foam, bubble vigorously, and become very active. I recommend standing in front of the microwave and watching it the whole time, just on the very unlikely chance you had to power off the microwave immediately.

Seven minutes total cooking time is perfect for me (two rounds of 3 and 1/2 minutes), but if your caramels turn out a bit too hard, reduce cooking time by 30 seconds; and if your caramels are too soft, increase cooking time by 30 seconds or so. Microwaves and ingredients vary and although seven minutes is perfect for me, some minor tweaks may be necessary.

Using a hot pad, remove the bowl from the microwave, set it on the counter, and very, very, very carefully add the vanilla extract with while standing as far back from the bowl as possible with an outstretched arm. The mixture will still be boiling when you add it, and after doing so, it will bubble up even more. Stir to incorporate the vanilla and the mixture will continue to bubble like a science project. Pour the bubbling mixture into the prepared pan, cover it with another sheet of aluminum foil, and place it in the refrigerator to firm up for at least four hours, or overnight, before slicing caramels.

I made this batch at night and after 16 hours in the refrigerators, this is what it looked like. The color gradient is from the light reflecting wickedly against the aluminum foil, the aluminum pan, and the shiny caramels. In person, it’s all a uniform shade of caramel.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

Lift the caramels out using the foil overhang and I flip them over, upside-down-cake style, onto a piece of parchment that’s waiting on a cutting board. You could just slice them in the pan but I don’t want knife marks scratching my pan.

I slice them into 64 one-inch squares, but any shape you desire from logs to triangles is fine. If you have a bench scraper for bread or pasty-making, that’s handy to use for slicing. If your knife is sticking to them, spray it with cooking spray and repeat as necessary to prevent sticking.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

Depending on if you’re eating them or giving them away, wrapping them individually in parchment paper is a nice touch. I don’t bother with individual wrapping for something I know we’ll devour soon anyway. I place them side-by-side without touching on top of large pieces of parchment paper inside a large plastic airtight container. They keep at room temperature for many weeks, and in the refrigerator or freezer for months. I store them in the refrigerator because I like them slightly chilled and they never get rock hard like storebought caramels do; they’re firm yet malleable.

Feel free to sprinkle them with coarse sea salt, dip them in chocolate, sandwich a layer of peanut butter or marshmallow fluff in between two of them and dip the whole stack in chocolate, or just eat them as is and savor the luxuriousness.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

They really are too good to be true. They’re the best caramels I’ve ever had and I’ll put them up against Godiva, See’s Candy, or fancy candy-shop caramels. Yes, I really would and I am super picky. I guarantee no one will ever suspect you made them in the microwave and even if you’ve never made candy or caramels, this recipe is the easiest you’ll ever find. I love it when the simplest recipes produce the best results.

They’re creamy, buttery, sweet, and the vanilla adds a special touch and depth of flavor that makes them irresistible. They’re the perfect balance of firm-yet-soft, and after I’ve sank my teeth in, they just melt in my mouth.

What are you doing for the next seven minutes?

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

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5 from 2 votes

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

By Averie Sunshine
This recipe seems too good to be true because the caramels are made in the microwave in seven minutes, and no candy thermometer is required. But I assure you 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 my mouth. They're everything I could ask for in a caramel and will put them up against fancy candy-shop caramels. I will never need another candy-shop caramel, or another recipe for homemade caramels, after this easy and fast recipe that produces amazing results.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 64
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Ingredients  

  • ½ cup butter, 1 stick, melted (I use unsalted, use salted for saltier caramels)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • coarse sea salted and/or melted chocolate for dipping, optional

Instructions 

  • This is a fast-moving recipe once it begins. Have everything in place including a large oven mitt because the bowl will be very hot. Also clear out a space in your refrigerator in advance for placing the hot pan to cool. Make sure your bowl is truly microwave-safe because it will get very hot. 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.
  • Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a very large microwave-safe bowl (nearly the largest your microwave can accommodate because you will need the room and depth for the bubbling-up), melt the butter, about 90 seconds on high power. To the melted butter add the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, 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).
  • 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 gross mess over time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl very well making sure no sugar is clung to the sides.
  • 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, set it on the counter, and very, very carefully add the vanilla extract, standing at arm's length. The mixture will still be boiling and when you add it, it will bubble up even more. Use extreme caution and stir to incorporate the vanilla. The mixture will continue to bubble quite rapidly.
  • Pour the bubbling mixture into the prepared pan, cover it with another sheet of aluminum foil, and place it in the refrigerator to firm up for at least four hours, or overnight, before slicing caramels. Lift the caramels out using the foil overhang and flip them over, upside-down-cake style, onto a piece of parchment that’s waiting on a cutting board. You could slice them in the pan but I don’t want knife marks scratching. I slice them into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife or pasty-making bench scraper works well. Spray knife or scraper with cooking spray if it's sticking to the caramels and repeat as necessary until finished slicing.
  • Store caramels by wrapping them individually in parchment paper or by placing them side-by-side without touching on top of large pieces of parchment paper inside a large plastic airtight container. I store them in the refrigerator, but they keep at room temperature for many weeks, and will keep in the refrigerator or freezer for months. Optionally, sprinkle them with coarse sea salt, dip them in chocolate, sandwich a layer of peanut butter or marshmallow fluff in between two of them and dip the stack in chocolate.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 34kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 15mg, Sugar: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels

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Do you like caramels? Have you ever tried making your own?

I love them for all the buttery, creamy, sweet, and rich glory and this is going to be my go to recipe forever. I feel that strongly about it.

If you have favorite tried and true recipes, feel free to link them.

Thanks for the Valentine’s Day Treats Giveaway entries

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. I’ve made these with no problems and I have a 1300w microwave combi. As she says adjust the time for a more powerful microwave.

    I did the first cook at 3min and the second at 2.40min after scraping and stirring.

    Even with those times it came out slightly dark. CAUTION – Vigorous is the word, it bubbles like crazy. Fortunately I have some industrial heat and acid resistant gloves that come halfway up the arm.

    1. TIP.
      To rescue a batch if it is too dark return to microwave and soften DO NOT BOIL once molten pour some condensed milk in and try setting it again.
      This is a bit tricky I lost two batches before getting it right. Well not lost as they were edible (tasty as well) if a bit chewy.

  2. I had a total failure with this recipe. I followed the directions to the letter and ended up with dark brown cement. The spoon, I used to stir in the vanilla, is stuck to the bottom of the bowl and I fear I will break the bowl trying to get it out. Not sure what happened because I make caramels on the stovetop quite often and have never had such a mess….

    1. I’m sorry that this recipe didn’t work for you. Just soak the bowl in soapy water for a long time to get the spoon out. It sounds like your microwave runs very hot and that this reached a very high internal temperature long before the 7 minutes had passed. Thanks for trying the recipe and all microwaves vary, and I’m sorry this didn’t work for you in your microwave.

      1. I am wondering if I halve the recipe, will cooking time need to be modified? Or should it still work fine at 7 minutes?

        Thanks!

      2. I’ve never tried it so I am not sure. Maybe slightly less, but I haven’t tried it personally this way.

  3. I love caramels! I stumbled across this recipe and had to give it a try. I made them exactly as written and these caramels are every bit as good as the ones at Harry London’s. These recipe is on my Christmas make to give away list.

    Thank you!!

    1. That’s wonderful that you loved them, they turned out perfectly, and they’ll be on your Xmas gift-giving list – love that!

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE These!!!!!
    Made twice already.
    Works like a charm in mine micro for 7 min.
    The only problem I have …
    These caramels are SUPER addictive.
    :)
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. I made these last night and followed recipie to a “t” by no means am I an amateur. So I’m confused that they came out dark, not near the blond color if yours, and are hard as a rock. What did I do ?

    1. Dark & hard would seem to indicate they were overcooked. You can’t always follow a recipe ‘to a T’ when you’re talking about microwaves; all of them vary. So yours must run hotter than mine. Simply cook for less time next time – easy fix!

  6. Hi! I was wondering exactly what kind of bowl you use in the microwave. I started to buy a glass Pyrex bowl at the market, and stopped because it had some crazy warning about not putting microwave popcorn packages in the bowl due to heat and so on. I’m at a loss for what to use.
    ???
    Thank you,
    Sue

      1. Love those bowls! I have melamine bowls and use them for everything. Only problem is they get super hot in the microwave. The Amazon listing you provided clearly states “not suitable for microwave use”.

        I was hoping to find some microwave safe bowls, since i know my melamine ones shouldn’t be used in there (this is the only recipe I use them for in the microwave).

  7. Have you used these in place of store-bought caramels in baked goods? I want to make these for some caramel apple crumble bars, but wanted to see if you had tried something of the sort first. I was hoping for a soft caramel. (The candies are melted with a bit of heavy cream and poured over the apple layer.)

    1. I haven’t actually subbed these for storebought caramels but if all you’re looking for is a melty, runny, caramel sauce, I think that if you cooked for 5 to 6 mins rather than the full 7, and just poured that over your items in the pan, that it would make just fine caramel sauce. LMK how it goes!

      1. I think the caramel is supposed to firm up a little but to keep bats together. (Recipe is from Annie’s Eats) I will play with it. I did, however, just make this at 5-6 minutes for my bf’s ice cream. HE IS SO HAPPY! Thanks!!!

      2. Glad that 5-6 mins worked great for ice cream sauce and your bf is happy! If you figure out what you’re doing with the bars and use this recipe, LMK how it worked!

      3. Yikes, more questions. Would a splash (2 tsps. maybe?) of bourbon work? Also, doubling recipe, has anyone tried it? There is a similar recipe on Food.com that people have doubled successfully, but I like and trust yours (double the butter!)

      4. You could sub bourbon for vanilla and no I haven’t tried doubling it. Why don’t you just give 1 batch a go and then after you have the hang of the recipe, you can start customizing and tweaking it :)

  8. I am a diabetic but sometimes you got to have a small bite of something. These will just fir that bill to satisfy that wicked sweet tooth of mine Ty for the recipe.

  9. I am a diabetic but having a wicked sweet tooth you got to have a little sweetness in your day These will fill the bill. Ty so much for the recipe

  10. These look fantastic!! Can’t wait to try them! One question that I haven’t seen anyone ask yet is other flavors. I have a couple of tiny bottles of various oils that I was wondering if I could use to make up different flavor combos. Would you recommend trying those, or sticking with extracts? I stumbled on your site a few days ago & am loving everything I see. Thanks, Averie!

    1. I have only ever used vanilla extract and have never tried any other extract or oils. I am not sure how oils would work. I think with other extracts, you’d be safe – just not sure about oils. LMK if you try and thanks for finding me and reading my site!

  11. Hi :)
    I really like this recipe but I am not from America so I don’t know how much a cup in this case is.
    I already looked it up online but I don’t know which source to trust.
    So could you maybe tell me the measurements in grams?
    It would be absolutely lovely if you could write me a message on tumblr because I don’t know if I’ll get a notification or anything if you answer this and I don’t know if I would see it on here but I really want to try this recipe! :)
    Thank you in advance :)

  12. The caramels are incredible!! amazing pictures and very detailed instructions. Going to make them soon. Will keep you in the loop Averie

  13. I accidentally stumbled upon your site today as I was desperate to find a new recipe to cook for dinner today before my husband & kiddos get home & I’m so VERY happy I did! All I can say is WOW! What a variety of amazing treats on here! & who knew it was possible to make microwaveable PB fudge & it actually turn out so great!? I’m looking forward to browsing around here much more & try all these incredible delights! Thank u so much!

    1. Thanks for finding me, Mindy, and for the nice compliments! Please report back with comments and you make & try the recipes. Can’t wait to hear what you think! :)

  14. Made these last night and they turned out beautifully! I had no issues with sticking (and I really didn’t spray all that much) and the consistency was perfect!! I sprinkled mine with coarse sea salt about 5 minutes after pouring them into the pan. OUTSTANDING!!! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Thanks for coming back to LMK that you made them, Carrie, and that you had no issues with them sticking and that they turned out beautifully and you’re so happy! I am glad to hear that!

  15. I made these caramels last week and they turned out perfectly, so delicious and decadent. I’ll definitely be adding these to my dessert trays come Christmas. The only issue I had was the caramels sticking to the foil. I thought I had sprayed it pretty well but I guess not.

    1. You have to SPRAY the heck out of it. I also use Reynold’s non-stick foil. It’s about $1 more per roll but it’s worth every cent. Things don’t stick to it; not even these! And wayyyy easier to work with/fold/bend than parchment.

      Glad you tried them and yes, I agree, they are going on my holiday trays, too!

  16. Well, I’m on my third batch of these. First one turned out super dark and rock like. The sliver I was able to chip off tasted amazing though. Rookie mistake, used a plastic bowl so I’m sure that’s where I went wrong. Noob. Second batch cooked in a glass bowl this time. Wasn’t nearly as dark, but still rock like. Third batch just came out of the fridge. I shortened the cook time by 30 seconds. They are light in color, but still hard. I’m hoping letting them sit at room temp for a bit will allow them soften up so I can slice them. If not, I’ll try again and knock off another 30 seconds. I’m determined!

    1. I feel fortunate that I nailed mine on the first try with how long to cook them so didnt have to go thru the troubleshooting and each time i make them, I know just how long to cook them.

      Sounds like your micro runs HOT! I would knock off another 30 to 60 secs and see where that gets you. Considering they’re so hard, I think 1 min would be okay to shave off based on what you just wrote. Gosh I love your determination and please report back and LMK what you find!

      “I’m hoping letting them sit at room temp for a bit will allow them soften up <--- in my experience, they only get harder/more firm as time passes...

  17. I have been looking for easy caramel recipes since, uhh…. FOREVER and they all require the fancy equipment and time etc. This is perfect! I’ll make them as soon as I can!

  18. Just made these, and they are setting in the fridge. The recipe was so easy to follow with your great directions!! Thanks for posting a great recipe, and I can’t wait to cut these up and wrap them for valentine’s day tomorrow!
    (shh,.. I ate the caramel off the spatula already ;) , and it tastes fantastic!!)

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and coming back to LMK you had great results. That’s awesome – and lucky people who get them as VDay treats :)

      1. 4 hours later, and I was so excited to take them out of the pan! :) The only issue I had was that it stuck to the foil, but it came off eventually. I’ll just use a more generous spray of oil next time. They taste amazing, and I will be filing this recipe away for future use! Love how they look, individually wrapped, going to make awesome gifts! Thanks again!! (I’m a new follower, so glad I found your blog!)

      2. Thanks for coming back to LMK how things panned out, Holly! Yes you have to REALLY spray your pan well. I either use Pam for Baking (which is a floured cooking spray) or use regular Pam and apply a ridiculously thick layer…like, it’s pooling and not the prettiest to look at, but hey, better than sticking. So glad you love the taste…I agree! They are my fave caramel ever! LMK what people say that you give them to :)

  19. have you ever heard of caramelitas? they are a caramel base covered with another type of caramel…you used to be able to buy them at the restaurant with the rockers on the front porch…they were behind the cash out counter…do you know of these?

  20. Hi!
    I really like the thought of having caramells in such a short time!!!
    But i know that the temperature of the microwaves can be verry diffrent.
    Do you know howmuch Watt yours is?
    Thanx!
    Greetings from the Netherlands ;-)

    1. As I wrote in the body of the post, “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….”

  21. I’ll be trying these soon – just had a question before I start making them. After you pour the hot caramel into the foil lined pan and cover with foil – does the other foil need to touch the top of the caramel or is it just to cover it while it’s in the fridge? Do I let the caramel cool first, then cover, then fridge? or pour, cover, fridge ? Thanks

    1. You’re simply covering your main baking pan with foil so it doesn’t pick up any fridge aromas, you know, those leftovers that are lingering. Just cover it in the way you’d cover any baking pan. I mean you can put it in uncovered but I always feel strange about putting uncovered pans in my fridge. Like I’ll knock a glass of water onto them or something! And you can cover and refrigerate it all immediately. It will be screaming hot & that’s fine. Please report back after you’ve tried them!!

  22. These look delightful, and I’m excited to try them. I am curious about the wetness that seems visible beneath the main caramel in your pictures. Is that from the cooking spray? Does it make the caramels greasy at all? (Not that think I’ll care, because they sound so delicious!)

    1. In order for them not to stick to the wood, I had to spray them. It was that, or stick. And I didn’t want them to stick to the wood! But if you keep them on parchment you don’t need to spray them and it’s a non-issue. I almost mentioned it in the post what was going on but figured why draw attn to something that no one will likely notice. But you did.

  23. “Eat fewer caramels or do more cardio, but don’t use substitutes.” <–My new mantra!

    This recipe sounds too good to be true! I love homemade caramels, especially when they contain loads of butter, but I'm usually too lazy to go through the cooking (and pot washing) process. I love the idea of using a microwave to make something sweet! Right now my microwave is just a storage unit for cookie and brownie bins. (Out of sight, out of mind. Right?) ;)

    1. A few people have commented they’ve enjoyed the mantra. I mean the truth is just the truth sometimes!

  24. I just made these and I followed the directions to the T but they turned rock hard like toffee. And they turned dark when I added the vanilla. Theyre still delicious, mind you(ty for the recipe) but I was wondering if you have any idea what I could have done wrong..Thanks!

    1. Too hard/rock hard likely means you overcooked them. Your microwave may run hotter than mine. Reduce cooking time. Possibly your vanilla is just deeper in color than mine, too.

  25. These would make SUCH good gifts!!! I might have to try my hand at making them, as they don’t seem too, too difficult! (I’m a candy-making virgin, so I’m a little scared!)

  26. Can’t wait to try the caramels! I have everything in the pantry, but also have a 3-year-old granddaughter under foot right now. I will heed your advice and not make them until I can be sure to clear the kitchen of tiny tots! Pinned! Thank you!
    P.S. I’m now making challah bread , your recipe, regularly, but doing it start to finish in the bread maker and adding 1 c. craisins for a perfect sandwich loaf!

    1. Better to just do it when you have 100% of your mental energy on the recipe. I know how it is cooking with a small kiddo underfoot and this isn’t that kind of recipe you want to mess around with. Thanks for pinning!

      Oh I would love it if you left feedback on your new tweak with the challah on the post when you get done! Breadmaker and craisins and not making braids but a loaf (or two?) instead. LMK the details!
      http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2012/11/challah.html

  27. double butter…love that! put my yelling wrestling loud boys in their room for 7 minutes with no interference…ha ha that right now in my life won’t happen ha ha ha…so will pin and save for a mommy day alone :-)

    1. I know the feeling of needing some mommy time…ALONE. Some times you just need a minute (or seven) to collect your thoughts :)

  28. Microwave caramels? Sign me up. I’ve always wanted to explore candy making, especially caramels and even bought a candy thermometer, which has been in its package for a few years now. I love this line: “Eat fewer caramels or do more cardio, but don’t use substitutes.” Too funny and true.

  29. “Eat fewer caramels or do more cardio, but don’t use substitutes.” Haha, yes, so true with certain recipes! I can tell the fact that these are so quick to make, they’re going to be a Pinterest favorite! I need to put these on my list of blogger recipes to try, candy making typically intimidates me, but this sounds like something I could tackle!

    1. I was thinking they might become a Pinterest fave but it’s so hard b/c you just never know WHAT will blow up there. I’ve had some of the most really?? type posts get big and then the ones I swear will, never do. Regardless, I LOVE these caramels!

      1. Oh it’s so true, with Pinterest you just never know. But I will pin these anyway. :)

  30. Averie! This recipe is crazy! I’ve made caramel countless times with my mom before – it’s usually around Christmas time. Growing up, we faced a few disaster/terrible batches. All that work – for a fail. But this is giving any caramel recipe I’ve tried a run for its money. And I’m glad you explained that there is no way to get around the butter (love that you doubled it!) sugar, etc in this recipe – use the real stuff. It’s caramel! Not a sugarfree candy. :) And wow, the best you’ve ever had. You aren’t one to use that phrase, so I know this must be one killer, stand-out, perfect recipe Averie. I love all these photos – they’re each showing a little army of caramels lol. I want a handful of these to bring to work to keep me occupied while I stare at graphs and charts all day.

    1. You know me with the phrase, if I use it, I mean it! And like I have banana bread, chocolate cake, and choc chip cookies crossed off my life bucket list of recipes I don’t need to search for, homemade caramels are crossed off too now. Not that one makes them every day but ya know. And I’m kicking myself I didnt figure this out til Jan. Where was I in December with these – but I’m ready for next year’s baking season :)

  31. I’ve been considering trying microwave caramels. Glad to hear they turned out so well! I thought they’d be a little darker in color. I also want to try traditional caramels – I received a nice big pot to make them in for Christmas. I’ll have to try both and tsste test. Ah, the tough life of a baking blogger ;)

    1. They’re a golden color, like the color of some storebought caramels that are a bit better quality – a translucent amber. Not like opaque butterscotch or darker (which some storeboughts are that are the cheaper ones…they have the color of almost cardboard) You’ll love these!

  32. Looks a lot easier than other recipes I’ve seen. And this way I could eat a caramel and know it is gluten-free!

    1. Easier than 99.99% of recipes Ive seen! And you’re right about being able to make them truly GF!

  33. Hoooooly moly. Seven minute caramels you’d stand up to See’s and Godiva? I believe you–just the fact that you can make caramels as gooey and perfect as these look in the microwave of all places, I’ll bet they beat Mama See’s any day!!

    1. You know Im picky Hayley and they are so.good. and I really would put them up against anything! Including Mama See’s :)

  34. Oh these look amazing Averie and I would definitely be topping them off with some coarse sea salt. I’m still amazed by how you pull these sweet concoctions together. I simply don’t have the creativity or the brain capacity to do that. I love that you don’t need to sweat over the stove and use a candy thermometer for these. You make baking easy Averie!

    BTW, I can’t wait for pinterest to get their act together. It’s been like over a month :) xoxo,Jackie

    1. I love creating in the kitchen! It’s the most fun thing – I also love the photography. I hate the EDITING and sitting down and staring at the screen. I procrastinate that by creating…more!

  35. What a fabulous recipe Averie! I love the idea of dipping in chocolate and maybe adding some pecans…like turtles. I can see myself making these for my mom, who is a caramel addict!

  36. These look great. I will definitely dip mine in chocolate and sea salt as you mentioned at the end. I am heading to a baby shower next weekend and I think these will make a great treat! Thanks

  37. 7 minutes? Nice! My stovetop caramel recipe takes almost an hour. They come out delicious, but 7 minutes is indeed a shorter time to work on something tasty! Must try soon.

  38. Oh my goodness – I just can’t get over how easy this is to make! This is definitely a must-try in my book. And then I’ll gain like 10 lb from eating them all. Oh well :)

  39. I love caramels but never make them as I hate messes more than I love caramel. I also dislike any recipe that makes me pull out a candy thermometer- too much work! These look easy and delicious. I wonder if I could make them vegan for the boy? Going to try!

    1. I had mentioned in the body of the post I wouldn’t personally try substitutions for all the reasons explained but if you can pull it off, please LMK!

  40. I’ve been on a caramel bender lately and these look just too simple and delicious to pass up. Love the idea of sprinkling sea salt over top!

  41. I love recipes that sound absolutely too good to be true! Especially when they are true, hahaha. Looks amazing as well.

  42. Microwave caramels sound awesome! I wish I found out about these before the holidays so I could’ve included them in my holidays baking list, but I think it is perfect timing because now I can plan ahead for Valentines Day ;)

    1. I wish I had figured them out, too. There’s always V-Day and…next Xmas. Prepared in advance!

  43. I still have a batch of my grandma’s caramels in the fridge from Christmas, and now I’m tempted to make these to do a side-by-side taste test. :-) I just couldn’t possibly tell my grandma!

    1. I realized I should say these tie with my mom’s…hers are awesome too. But they are wayyyyy more work! If you do try the taste test, LMK!

  44. Oh my goodness — I had no idea this was possible! I’m a huge caramel lover. Totally going to try this!!

  45. Sea-salted caramels are my new weakness. I am dying to try making them by your GENIUS 7-minute microwave method! Thanks so much for sharing!

  46. I have a slight obsession with caramels and spend a small fortune stocking up on them every week… why have I never tried making them at home?! I love that this is such a quick recipe, and yours truly look like the came out perfect, Averie. Now, if only my microwave didn’t bust last week….

    All the more reason to head to Traget tonight and get a new one!

    1. That’s twisted irony that your microwave broke! And if you spend a small fortune stocking up, you just freed up some cash with these! LMK how it goes!

      1. It didn’t just break; it burst into flames! Nuts. Thank god my boyfriend knows how to take out a fire! We just bought a shiny new one though, and I’ll let you know when I make them – can’t wait!!!

  47. I can vouch for these (or very close to this recipe). I’ve made them the past few years and people LOVE them. They’re so good!

  48. Love caramel but have always shied away from candy making. I’m the one who can turn chocolate bark into a brownie trying to melt it ;-)

    1. You’re not the only one – the two most common emails I receive are: my cookies didn’t turn out …and…I can’t melt chocolate. Short bursts, 15-30 secs at a time, wait, stir, wait, stir.

  49. Wow, really? Huh… that’s awesome that you can make these in the microwave! My goal in life is to never own a candy thermometer. It feels just too hardcore for me so anyway that I can avoid it, and I’m game!

    1. I use my candy thermometer to test the water temp of bread yeast. I do not want to go to the work of making bread and all that time and energy only to realize my temp was off by 5 degrees too much and the yeast either didnt activate or died. I’ve done both. Lol

  50. Okay, first of all, these look so. dang. good. Second, I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before (if I haven’t, I’ve thought it a lot) – I just love love love how thorough and thoughtful you are with your tips and recipes. The first paragraph in the directions? SO many people are going to appreciate the heads-up about being prepared and having everything at the ready, and such a good idea to suggest keeping little ones out of the kitchen when making them.

    1. There are just some recipes you do NOT want to mess around with texting your friend, your child needs a snack, your hair is in your eye and you need a ponytail holder, your pan isn’t lined, you can’t find the foil…like….you need to always go into the kitchen with that stuff handled and done, but in this recipe especially, you HAVE to! I am glad you appreciate it. I mean it is common sense but does sometimes bear repeating!

  51. I’ve only made caramels a couple of times, and it involved a saucepan, candy thermometer and more than 7 minutes of my time! I like the 1/2 cup amounts of all the ingredients–makes it easy to remember. I have made peanut brittle in the microwave and it is so much faster than the stove top—and like your caramels, it is a fast moving process with a lethally hot sugar mixture. These look delicious and very buttery!

    1. And part of that is cooking spray that I had to spray on them so they wouldn’t stick to the wood for photography…but yes they are very buttery! And I liked the 1/2 cup principle, too. And every other recipe I’ve ever seen for caramels included a candy thermometer & way more than 7 mins. I have actually seen Peanut Brittle recipes for the microwave & want to try that next!

  52. wow! This is definitely a must-try. I love caramels but am always intimidated at the thought of making them… but these sound foolproof! Going to try to give this a go sometime this week!

      1. Thanks so much for making them and for taking the time to come back and comment with a photo! I really appreciate that and maybe it will inspire others who see it and have any doubts the recipe works :) Hope you’re enjoy all your caramels!