This recipe for microwave caramels is an impressive treat that’s ready in just minutes. Dip the caramels in chocolate and top them with a generous sprinkle of sea salt for a special holiday dessert.

There’s nothing better than a homemade gift for the holidays. I like to cook up some batches of sweet Christmas recipes like rum balls, chocolate covered pretzels, s’mores fudge and chocolate covered cherries to give to family and friends.

A basket of microwave caramels topped with sea salt.

I am so excited to share this recipe for sea salt microwave caramels with you today! In a matter of minutes I was able to whip up these beautiful and delicious treats that look like they came straight from the candy store. All you need is a handful of simple ingredients and you too can have perfect caramels without having to use a candy thermometer or other complicated equipment.

Microwave Caramels Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and coarse sea salt. If you’re planning to dip your caramels in chocolate, you will also need semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate candy melts.

How Do You Make Microwave Caramels?

Place the butter, sugars, corn syrup, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl that is microwave safe. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, then coat the parchment with cooking spray. Microwave the butter and sugar mixture, stirring every 2 minutes. Pour the caramel into the pan, and sprinkle sea salt on top. If you’re planning to dip the caramels in chocolate, wait to add the salt later. Let the caramel chill in the fridge until firm. Lift the caramels from the baking dish with the sides of the parchment. Cut the caramel into squares with a sharp knife. You can serve them as-is, or dip them in melted chocolate. If you choose to dip them in chocolate, add the salt on top while the chocolate is still wet.

Chocolate covered caramels topped with sea salt.

Tips For The Perfect Candy

  • Be sure to use a large bowl, as the caramel mixture will bubble vigorously in the microwave and you don’t want it to spill over.
  • You’ll need to stir the mixture every 2 minutes during the cooking process. It’s important to stir thoroughly so that the caramels will end up smooth and shiny.
  • The cook time for this recipe is 6-7 minutes. If you cook your caramels for 6 minutes, they’ll be on the softer side, perfect for wrapping in wax paper. The caramels pictured here were cooked for 7 minutes. They are on the firmer side.
  • I like to do half plain caramels, half dipped in chocolate so that there are options to please everyone.
  • You can use unsalted butter or salted butter. I’ve tested the recipe both ways and either works great!

Quick Tip

The sea salt should be sprinkled over the caramels right after they’re poured in the pan so that the salt will adhere to the tops.

Squares of cooked caramel on parchment.

Recipe FAQs

How long does it take for melted caramel to harden?

It takes about 30 minutes for melted caramel to harden in the refrigerator. I typically leave my microwave caramels in the fridge for at least 1 hour because they are easier to cut when very firm.

What is the difference between caramel and dulce de leche?

Dulce de leche is made by slow simmering sugar and milk until it caramelizes. It also has a soft, spreadable consistency. Caramel comes in many shapes and forms, but it is a result of boiling sugar and water with other ingredients such as butter, corn syrup, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk.

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Squares of caramel topped with coarse salt.

Flavor Variations

While this recipe is delicious as-is, you can easily customize some of the ingredients to suit your tastes.

  • Caramel: Feel free to stir some flavorings into the finished caramel mixture before you pour it into the pan. Some great options include crushed pecans, almond extract or some holiday spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Chocolate: No semisweet chocolate on hand? Use white chocolate or milk chocolate instead. You can also do a drizzle of chocolate rather than a full dip.
  • Toppings: Instead of sea salt, try topping your candies with crushed cocoa nibs, minced nuts, holiday sprinkles or finely shredded coconut.
Microwave caramels dipped in chocolate and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt.

These homemade microwave caramels make the perfect holiday gift, and they’re a fun and festive addition to any dessert table.

More Holiday Candy Recipes

Microwave Caramels Video

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

4.98 from 39 votes

Microwave Caramels with Sea Salt

AuthorSara Welch
This recipe for microwave caramels is an impressive treat that's ready in just minutes - top the caramels with a generous sprinkle of sea salt to really make them special!
This recipe for microwave caramels is an impressive treat that's ready in just minutes. Dip the caramels in chocolate and top them with a generous sprinkle of sea salt for a special holiday dessert.
Time
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time9 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 16 caramels

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • optional: 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or dark candy melts, melted
  • cooking spray

Instructions 

  • Place the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk and vanilla in a large microwave safe bowl.
  • Line an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and coat the pan with cooking spray.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring thoroughly every 2 minutes. A 6 minute cook time will produce a softer caramel; 7 minutes will produce a firmer caramel.
  • Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the coarse sea salt over the caramel. If you’re planning to coat the caramels in chocolate, do not add the salt until later after the caramels have been dipped.
  • Let the caramel cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until firm. Carefully remove the slab of caramel from the pan and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.
  • If desired, dip the caramels in melted chocolate. If you dip the caramels in chocolate, sprinkle the sea salt over the top before the chocolate has set. Let the chocolate set, then serve and enjoy.

Notes

  1. Be sure to use an oversized bowl, as the caramel mixture will bubble vigorously in the microwave and you don’t want it to spill over.
  2. You’ll need to stir the mixture every 2 minutes during the cooking process. It’s important to stir thoroughly so that the caramels will end up smooth and shiny.

Nutrition

Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 328mg | Sugar: 26g

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Comments

  1. my husband is a huge fan of caramels. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I love how quick and easy it is to make. Can’t wai t to make these for him. He’ll be delighted!

  2. 5 stars
    This microwave caramel looks really tasty. Perfect Christmas treat for kids. I am sure that my kids will love this caramel bars. I will try to make this recipe.

  3. I had no idea that caramels were so easy to put together! How soft and delicious they look! I am definitely going to be trying them soon.

  4. Oh my these caramels look so delicious and easy to make. I will have to get the ingredients I need to make this recipe on the weekend. I am sure they will be a big hit.

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is MIND blowing! Like for real that is all it takes to make homemade caramels ? And in the microwave too?! I love it!!! I am adding extra seasalt to mine. Thank you so much for this!!

  6. 5 stars
    These look so gorgeous I think I am going to make them as gifts for a few of my favorite people. I can’t believe how easy the recipe is. They look delicious.

  7. 5 stars
    I must have these in my life as soon as possible! They look so good, and if I can make them at home, I’m doing it! Om nom nom.

  8. 5 stars
    I love the idea of the coarse sea salt added to the caramels to enhance the flavor. putting them in the microwave is a win win, for reducing time. It would pair well with apple slices.

  9. Those look amazing! If I knew it was this easy to make caramel and all I needed was a microwave I would’ve made this year’s ago. I love caramel.