Classic Cream Caramels

Classic Caramel Recipe

This caramel candy is as close to pure caramel flavor as you can get. It’s slightly firm with a smooth texture. To get the full caramel experience, I suggest placing a piece in your mouth and letting it melt some before chewing.–Carole Bloom

LC Caramel Coaching Note

This is, quite literally, the easiest caramel recipe we’ve ever encountered—and it becomes even easier with a little caramel coaching. Several of our recipe testers swooned to this recipe, and, in waxing poetic about their experience in the comments below, they shared some hard-won candy-making know-how that comes only with time and experience. Take advantage of it.

Special Equipment: Pastry brush; candy or deep-fry thermometer; clear waxed paper (optional)

Classic Caramel Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 64 caramels


  • Nonstick baking spray, for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or fine-grained sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil


  • 1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting the foil extend over the edges. Spray the foil with nonstick baking spray.
  • 2. In a 3-quart deep-sided saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula, until the mixture comes to a boil, 5 to 10 minutes. Brush around the inside of the pan at the point where the sugar syrup meets the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush. Do this twice during the cooking process to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
  • 3. Place a candy or deep-fry thermometer in the saucepan, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook the mixture, without stirring, until it registers 305°F (152°C), 12 to 15 minutes. (When checking the temperature with your candy thermometer, make sure you hold it straight up and down and that the bottom of the thermometer is in the mixture, not sitting on the bottom of the pan.)
  • 4. Meanwhile, in a 1- or 2-quart saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.
  • 5. Stir the butter into the sugar mixture, keeping the mixture at a boil. Slowly and carefully add the cream to the caramel mixture, stirring constantly. The mixture may bubble up and steam, so keep your face and arms a safe distance or wear an oven mitt. Cook the caramel mixture until it registers 250°F (121°C) on the thermometer, about 10 minutes.
  • 6. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours to set.
  • 7. Coat a cutting board and the blade of a large chef’s knife with the oil. Lift the caramel from the pan by holding the aluminum foil. Carefully peel the foil away from the caramel and place it on the cutting board. Cut the caramel into 8 (1-inch) strips and then cut each strip into 8 pieces. Serve the candies at room temperature. (I like to wrap each piece individually in clear waxed paper.)
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