20 Best Homemade Caramel Recipes

Ooey-gooey treats from your own kitchen

Earl Grey Caramels

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Rich, soft, sticky, sweet, and a little nostalgic, caramel is one of those culinary magic tricks worth learning to do at home. While caramel can be intimidating even if you've made it 1,000 times, it really comes down to a few key techniques, which we explain in our visual guide to caramel-making. Once you've learned about these, it's pretty easy to create a basic, "clear" caramel with just some white sugar, salt, and water. Then add cream, and other ingredients, and suddenly you open a door to a whole, delicious world of sweet caramel candies, ooey-gooey baked goods, decadent sauces, and sweet-and-salty snacks.

So whether you love old-fashioned caramel chews and chocolate-covered bonbons, want to make your own caramel sauce for drizzling over ice cream and French toast, or are on the hunt for rich desserts you can serve after dinner parties and holiday meals, we've got you covered with our collection of the best caramel recipes.

  • 01 of 20

    Soft and Chewy Caramel Candy

    Soft and Chewy Caramel Candy

    Elizabeth LaBau

    Soft, buttery caramels cooked on the stove-top are a true homemade treat. These caramels are satisfyingly chewy, melt-in-your-mouth soft, and deliciously sweet. You can make them in about an hour, but for the best texture, allow them to sit at room temperature overnight.

  • 02 of 20

    Earl Grey Caramels

    Earl Grey Caramels

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    Earl Grey tea infuses these smooth, chewy, creamy caramels with a wonderfully smoky, complex flavor. While the recipe may sound unusual, these candies are near-impossible to put down. They are an elegant after-dinner treat that will delight invited guests, and are an always-welcome holiday gift.


  • 03 of 20

    Sea Salt Caramels

    Sea Salt Caramels

    Elizabeth LaBau

    The combination of smooth, sweet caramel and crunchy salt crystals in these candies is absolutely irresistible. They are delicious on their own, or dipped in bittersweet chocolate, and sprinkled over with fleur de sel.

  • 04 of 20

    Peanut Caramels

    Peanut Caramels

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    A sweet, chewy caramel that is packed with salty, crunchy peanuts. These peanut caramels are great on their own, but when they are dipped in chocolate, they are positively decadent and resemble miniature candy bars.

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  • 05 of 20

    Passion Fruit Caramels

    Passion Fruit Caramels

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

    Tropical-style passion fruit caramels taste even better than they sound. Passion fruit puree (find it in your grocer's freezer section) adds a refreshing sour note to these rich and chewy caramel candies that are fabulous either plain or dipped in chocolate.

  • 06 of 20

    Bacon Caramel Popcorn

     Bacon Caramel Popcorn

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Chunks of crispy, salty, savory bacon are mixed with caramel corn and toasted pecans, and then everything is baked together to create the most addictive bacon caramel popcorn. It's the ultimate movie-watching snack, and even can be bagged in cellophane for a fun Father's Day gift or holiday gift.

  • 07 of 20

    Coffee Caramels

    Coffee Caramels

    Masahiro Makino / Getty Images

    Coffee caramels have a smooth, smoky coffee taste and a chewy, buttery texture. These are wonderful by themselves or with a milk chocolate coating, and make an ideal after-dinner treat.

  • 08 of 20

    Dulce de Leche Candies

    Dulce de Leche Candy

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    Rich, creamy dulce de leche is sandwiched between toasted pecans, and then dunked in chocolate, to create utterly addicting candy bites. For this unusual recipe, a can of sweetened condensed milk (including the actual, sealed can) is left to boil for hours in a pot of water, until it turns into caramel. It's an easy, one-ingredient trick, but requires a long cooking time, so make sure you plan ahead.

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  • 09 of 20

    Homemade Caramel Syrup

    Homemade Caramel Syrup

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Our must-know caramel syrup is a cinch to prepare in about 20 minutes, with just four ingredients. It adds a rich sweetness to anything it's added to, including your morning cappuccino. Drizzle it over ice cream or brownies, or use it to gussy up breakfast pancakes and French toast.

  • 10 of 20

    Caramel Apple Cheesecake

    Caramel Apple Cheesecake

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    If you have fond memories of those nostalgic caramel apples from childhood, and you enjoy cheesecake, have we got a dessert for you. Your family and friends will swoon for this fluffy, cinnamon-specked cheesecake nestled in a graham cracker crust, topped with sweet, sautéed apples, and drizzled over with soft, gooey caramel and crunchy chopped pecans. Yum!

  • 11 of 20

    Orange Caramels

    Orange Caramels

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Smooth, sweet caramels get a double dose of orange flavor from orange juice concentrate and candied orange peel. The orange zest brings an added texture to these zingy candies that are sure to disappear quickly from your kitchen counter.

  • 12 of 20

    Salted Caramel Ice Cream

    Salted Caramel Ice Cream

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    Our salted caramel ice cream satisfies on every level. Rich and sweet caramel, crisp sea salt flakes, and a silky and cool ice cream. Use an ice cream maker for this incredible dessert that can be served on its own in bowls or cones, or alongside some of your favorite holiday desserts, such as apple cobbler or pumpkin pie.

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  • 13 of 20

    Turtle Candy With Pecans and Caramel

    Turtle Candy With Pecans and Caramel

    The Spruce Eats

    Turtle candies are a Christmas holiday favorite, and make an inspired edible gift idea when you're making the holiday rounds. They're also surprisingly easy to make at home with only three ingredients. Toasted pecans are smothered with caramel and chocolate to produce the whimsical turtle shapes.

  • 14 of 20

    Salted Caramel Cookies

    Salted Caramel Cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    Ridiculously yummy salted caramel cookies are soft, chewy, salty, gooey, crumbly, and sweet all at once. The easy-to-assemble dough can be made up to a month ahead and frozen in logs, for later slicing and baking, so you are always 10 minutes away from cookies.

  • 15 of 20

    Caramel-Wrapped Pretzel Rods

    Caramel-Wrapped Pretzel Rods

    Elizabeth LaBau

    Fans of the sweet-and-salty flavor combination will flip for these tasty treats. A thick spiral of chewy caramel is wrapped around a crunchy, salty pretzel, and then the whole thing is dipped in chocolate. Decorate them with chopped nuts, top with crushed candy cane bits for a wintry treat, or let the kids go wild with rainbow sprinkles.

  • 16 of 20

    Caramel Hearts

    Caramel Hearts

    The Spruce Eats / Elizabeth LaBau

    On Valentine's Day, treat someone you love to luscious, homemade heart-shaped caramels dipped in chocolate. You can use store-bought caramel candies for this recipe, or make your own on the stove-top. Leave them plain, or get creative and adorn your caramels with chopped nuts, sea salt, spun sugar designs, or even gold leaf!

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  • 17 of 20

    Caramel Brownies

    Caramel Brownies

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    Perfectly fudgey brownies with an extra layer of gooey caramel sweetness in the center, and a thick coating of caramel on top, are a sure way to win your next bake sale. You'll want to keep plenty of napkins on hand when you pass out these truly outstanding, home-baked treats. We love the richness and crunch of walnuts in and on top of these brownies, but you can skip the nuts if you prefer.

  • 18 of 20

    Gooey Caramel Bonbons

    Gooey Caramel Bonbons

    The Spruce Eats / Elizabeth LaBau

    Enjoy fancy bonbons like those expensive ones from chocolate shops at a fraction of the price. All you need are some bonbon molds and a few basic pantry items to make these gorgeous, gourmet, gooey caramel-filled chocolates in your own kitchen. They make a great hostess gift or homemade Valentine's Day treat.

  • 19 of 20

    Spiced Caramel Pear Jam

    Spiced Caramel Pear Jam

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Try topping toast, biscuits, and even ice cream with our fall-flavored spiced caramel pear jam. You add this simple and versatile spread as a fruit component on cheese plates or slather it on crostini topped with a few ricotta crumbles for a tasty dinner party appetizer.

  • 20 of 20

    Caramel Apple Pops

    Caramel Apple Pops

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

    Caramel apples are delicious, but a little unwieldy when you are driving or running errands. Try these tart apple-flavored lollipops draped in a rich and creamy caramel coating for a dose of that childhood favorite flavor in an easier-to-eat form.