Homemade caramel candy is a treat for any occasion and this easy caramel recipe is perfect for all your caramel cravings! Made with evaporated milk, without heavy whipping cream, and without corn syrup, you are going to love this caramel candy!
We love homemade candy around here, but until recently we haven't been able to enjoy homemade caramels due to the fact that we can't have processed dairy and all caramel recipes call for dairy of some kind.
I had tried dairy alternatives to make caramel in the past, but it just never turned out the way I wanted it to. So I thought I would have to forfeit caramel forever.
But after recently learning how to make my own evaporated milk I knew the very first recipe I wanted to try! Homemade caramel!
And much to my delight it worked perfectly in my favorite corn syrup free caramel recipe!
Easy Homemade Caramel Candy
This caramel is a little softer than the caramel candy you find in the store at Halloween, but more firm that a caramel dip. It's perfect for caramel filled chocolate bars or just as a buttery treat straight from the wrapper!
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk, (we use homemade)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract, (we use homemade)
Candy thermometer, (I use this super cheap one and it's amazing)
Homemade Caramel Candy Directions:
Place sugar, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, and butter into a medium to large heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Be sure to use a medium to large pan as the mixture will expand as it cooks. Additionally, the heavy bottom will ensure an even heating and will help avoid overcooking the sugar.
Place candy thermometer on side of pan, careful not to let it touch the bottom of the pan.
I use this super cheap candy thermometer and it's perfect!
Add remaining evaporated milk and vanilla. Continue to boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
Boil until mix reaches 240°F. This happens very quickly, within 5-10 minutes, so keep a close eye on the thermometer and stir constantly!
Remove from heat and immediately pour into buttered dish. Allow to cool overnight or for at least 4 hours before cutting.
Finish caramels according to the storing options outlined in the next section.
This caramel makes a great candy filling for homemade chocolate bars too!
Notes About Storing Your Homemade Caramel Candy
If you're anything like me, you're going to want to keep these delicious caramels around all the time! But there are a few tricks for success that I wanted to share with you.
Wrap these in wax paper, not parchment paper. They are soft so they will stick less to the wax paper than to parchment paper. Cut about a 4 inch square piece of paper and wrap!
These store on the counter for about 3 days before starting to crystallize. Normally corn syrup interrupts the crystallization process, but since this recipe only calls for sugar you do have to be aware of the issue.
Store in the fridge for up to a week to reduce crystallizing.
If you have too many caramels to eat in one week, store the rest in the freezer. Pull them out the night before and let them defrost!
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Homemade Buttery Caramel Candy
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk, (we use homemade)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Candy thermometer
- Place sugar, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, and butter into a medium to large heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Place candy thermometer on side of pan, careful not to let it touch the bottom of the pan.
- Add remaining evaporated milk and vanilla. Continue to boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
- Boil until mix reaches 240°F. Remove from heat and immediately pour into buttered dish.
- Allow to cool overnight or for at least 4 hours before cutting.
- Wrap in wax paper pieces or keep covered in dish at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I made these last Christmas. They didn’t turn out quite like I wanted them to turn out. They were very good, but I was looking for a recipe of butter caramels that looked clearer. I discovered clear butter and clear vanilla extract. A friend of a friend of mine gave me a chocolate caramel pecan turtle once that was to die for which is why I wanted this caramel to be clearer but with the awesome buttery flavor.
With that said. I will be making this recipe again and again since it is really good.
YES YES YES. yes. This recipe is amazing. I’ve never made caramel before, but I made it with homemade evaporated milk…amazing. they almost remind me of the Eastern European Korowka, or “cow,” fudge. Incredible.
Aww yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!!
Sandra L Foster Bolen says
Hi, Can your caramel recipe be microwaved and if so, how?
Thanks so much, Sandra Bolen
Hi Sandra! I don’t own a microwave, so I wouldn’t be able to direct you on that. However, the recipe is formulated for stove top cooking, which is what I would recommend if at all possible <3
Hello, just wondering, how big should the buttered pan that you poor the hot caramel into be?
Hi Jenna! This depends on how thick you want them. I believe I did mine in an 8×8 pan for the thickness shown. Thanks for asking!
Thank you! I made them and they’re cooling right now. Awesome recipe!
Yum!! So glad you got to try them! Let me know what you think when they are cool!