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Easy Microwave Caramel

Give your microwave some love, it’s earned it!

Smooth, rich caramel is a hallmark recipe for holiday treats. From individual candies to smothering apples, this Easy Microwave Caramel recipe will have you churning out the sweet treats all through the season with just a push of a button!!! Gone is the labor intensive constant stirring over a hot stove to achieve a bowl of the sweet, buttery, gooey masterpiece that is caramel. Now it’s as easy as dumping all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, stir two or three times, and the glory of modern technology takes care of the rest.

Easy Microwave Caramel fresh from the oven. (Microwave oven that is!)

I have wanted to share this recipe for quite a while, ever since a roommate in college made a batch of Easy Microwave Caramel and we roomies were shocked and delighted at how addictively delicious this caramel is. She microwaved up a batch, and after cooling, wrapped little rectangles of caramel in parchment paper. When you make caramel at home, you suddenly realize all the wonderful sinfully sweet treats you can create! Sprinkle some coarse sea salt over it for Salted Caramel candies, or create your own homemade candy bars, like Snickers. My personal fav is to coat bite sized portions in milk chocolate and wrap them up cute for gift baskets.

Easy Microwave Caramel Recipe

There are truly about a million different caramel recipes out there, but the basic caramel recipe revolves around cooking butter and sugar together to get the desired consistency, whether you want crunchy toffee or melt in your mouth gooeyness. Some recipes add a dairy component and some don’t. Some will use only brown sugar and some only white, while still others will use a combination of the two. To add additional depth of flavor, some will add in vanilla or even molasses (which is a byproduct of the sugar refining process anyway).

All the ingredients for Easy Microwave Caramel in a bowl.

This recipe keeps things fairly simple by combining Golden brown sugar with unsalted butter, Karo (Corn) Syrup, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Brown sugar is made with molasses, so you get a multiplicity of sweet flavors in this recipe, all combined with the rich mellow taste of butter. (That’s why cookie dough is so dang good, it’s the sugar/butter mixture that our tongue’s just crave.) This recipe is formulated for Golden brown sugar and a 1100 Watt Microwave. Using Light or dark brown sugar is not recommended.

An apple dripping caramel back into a bowl filled with easy microwave caramel.

Just stir all the ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cook for about 7 minutes. The bowl may be hot so use mitts or a towel to handle the bowl! Stir once more and cook for another 6 or 7 minutes uncovered. Give a final stir through all the bubbling caramel goodness and it’s ready for candy molds, apple dipping, or whatever your creative mind will imagine! So here’s to happy holiday treat making, yay yay!

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Easy Microwave Caramel

5 from 1 review


  • 2 and 1/2 cups Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. (For a 1100 watt microwave.)
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter on half power. Add in all other ingredients and stir to combine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave at full power for 8 minutes.
  3. Remove the bowl and slowly remove the plastic wrap, being careful not to get burned by steam. Stir and place bowl, uncovered, back in the microwave. Cook the caramel for another 7 minutes and remove. Whisk in vanilla extract. For candy making: pour into a 9X13 pan that is lined with foil and greased/sprayed. Let cool and cut. For apples: Immediately twirl apples in hot caramel and let excess drip off into the bowl. Place on parchment paper to cool.


If you’re making caramel apples, you need to quickly cover your apples before the caramel cools. It won’t stick to the apples if it gets too cool.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes


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  1. I just came across your recipe and I cannot find golden brown sugar anywhere around me. Could I use light brown sugar? I know you said you don’t recommend it but I really want to try your recipe and I cannot get my hands on the other. If I use light brown sugar would I need to mix a combination of light brown sugar and white cane sugar?

    1. Hi Jenn!
      It probably would turn out alright if you could add a touch of molasses along with the light brown sugar. I would try one tablespoon of molasses since brown sugar is simply a mixture of white sugar and molasses anyway :0)
      Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

    1. Hi Asad! Sure, you can use any microwave for this recipe. You may need to slightly increase the cooking times to get the right consistency, but it should work just fine.

  2. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will use the oven which I use for baking and roasting. Are there any restrictions like oven voltage, power and size?

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