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5 from 5 votes
caramels cooked and cut
Soft Caramels Recipe (regular, cinnamon and licorice recipe)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Step by step instructions for a no-fail, best homemade caramels of your life! Soft, chewy you wont be able to stop eating caramels. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade caramels, soft caramels
Calories: 4632 kcal
Author: Desarae
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Wax or Parchment Paper 6x6 inches for 1 inch squares
  • 1 14 oz can Sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup White Karo Syrup
for Cinnamon Caramels
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon oil (for Cinnamon Caramel)
  • 3/4 tsp red food coloring make sure it has no taste
for Black Licorice Caramels
  • 3/4 tsp black food coloring (for Licorice Caramel)
  • 4 tsp anise extract
  1.  Combine all ingredients in heavy pan.

  2. Cook on medium heat and stir constantly. (CONSTANTLY) until it reaches 244 degrees

  3. Take off stove and if desired add the oil and food coloring 

  4. For Licorice Caramel: 1 tsp anise oil or licorice oil and black food coloring

  5. For Cinnamon Caramel: cinnamon oil and red food coloring (but make sure it has no taste) 

  6. Pour into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper. Cool completely before cutting 

  1. Make sure you stir caramels with either a wooden spoon or a spatula that can stand hit temps (silicone). 

  2. Try not to splash on the sides when you are stirring. DON'T SCRAPE the sides back into the caramel. Scrape only the bottom of the pan. If you bring the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan back into your candy it will 'sugar' and become crunchy and hardened in areas instead of smooth when it is all done. 

  3. Put your candy thermometer into the candy after it has boiled for a bit and started to change colors don't drag it around because scraping the metal to metal together can also sugar your candy. Once you put the thermometer in you have to keep it in until it is done, don't take it out and put it back in unless you clean it.

  4. As an added measure double check your caramels by using the ice water method. Drop a bit of caramel in ice water, dump water out and test the texture of your caramel. If it doesn't form a soft ball the caramel needs to cook longer. If it is firm remove immediately from heat. If it is rock hard it is overcooked for the soft caramel method.

  5. Keep the heat on a medium heat and if you start seeing little brown specks in your candy take it off the heat immediately and turn it down. That is the candy scorching. Otherwise cook until the candy has reached desired temperature or texture.

Recipe Notes

Caramels wrapped in wrappers and stored in an air tight container or zip-lock bag can stay fresh up to about 3 weeks. You just want to keep them protected from humidity and moisture. Store in pantry or even in your refrigerator!

Nutrition Facts
Soft Caramels Recipe (regular, cinnamon and licorice recipe)
Amount Per Serving (3 caramels)
Calories 4632 Calories from Fat 1665
% Daily Value*
Fat 185g285%
Saturated Fat 116g725%
Cholesterol 488mg163%
Sodium 3106mg135%
Potassium 54mg2%
Carbohydrates 795g265%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 792g880%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 5675IU114%
Calcium 147mg15%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.