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.


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

Love This Recipe?

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.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time9 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 16 caramels


  • 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


  • 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.


  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.


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

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can you substitute heavy whipping cream for sweetened condensed milk? If rather use whipping cream, if possible. Thank you.

  2. I have a powerful 1100watt microwave. Should I reduce the power setting to lets say 7 or 8 so that the caramels are not hard? I haven’t had much luck with microwave candy in years past because I think my microwave is more powerful than intended in the recipe. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Yes, I would either reduce the power setting or simply cook the caramels for less time. You could reduce to 7-8 power and cook for the full time, or leave it at full power and cook for 5-6 minutes instead of 6-7 minutes. Hope that helps!

      1. I reduced power to 70 percent and cooked for 6 minutes. Caramels turned out perfectly… wonderful consistency to use for turtles.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made these lots of times and they always turn out great. Now I want to make them to give as gifts for Christmas. I’m wondering if they’ll stay fresh if I make them to ship a few weeks ahead of time? I’ve never had to worry about how long they’ll keep because the never last long in my home!

    1. I would say if you dip them in chocolate it should be fine because the chocolate coating will keep the caramels from getting too sticky. If you’re looking to make the caramels without chocolate, maybe try storing them in the fridge in between sheets of parchment paper?

  4. I made these and did exactly like the recipe said. The problem I had was I guess my microwave is too high because when I left them at 7 minutes they were stone hard. Maybe I should try for 5 minutes instead of 7 minutes. Any thoughts?

    1. They shouldn’t be that hard, I would try 6 minutes next time! I’m sorry you had issues with the recipe, I will try re-testing and see what I come up with.

  5. 5 stars
    Line your pan with pecans and pour caramel on them and let cool. Then you can cut them into squares and dunk into chocolate. Instant turtles!!!

  6. I just made them. They aren’t set yet. I just had a misshap. I’m very short. Was trying to put them in the microwave and hit the bottom of the bowl on the microwave. I had caramel all over the stove top. It cleaned up with hot water. Started over and now waiting for it to set.

  7. 4 stars
    Mine came out a bit grainy, not sure where I went wrong except the doorbell rang right when I took them out at 7 minutes which delayed my stirring for about a minute?

      1. Not exactly? More like crunchy and brittle but soft and melty in the middle? The oil separated from it when i did the final stir and poured it into the pan, and it was worse when i only cooked it for 6 min (those are currently cooling, so we’ll see…)

  8. Somehow I managed to mess up such a simple recipe. I’ve successfully cooked caramels multiple times on the stove top, but I wanted to try these the easy way. Something separated and I ended up with chunky caramel sauce straight from the microwave then chunky caramels. 😜 Any idea what I may have done wrong??

    1. How long did you cook the caramels for? Only think I can think of is maybe it didn’t get stirred all the way and there were chunks of sugar left behind?

    1. Were they hard at room temperature or from the fridge? Mine are hard from the fridge but soften at room temperature.

  9. 5 stars
    Yeah, that pan in the video is very misleading. I used one that looked similar, and I came out with caramel thins. LOL.

    1. I apologize that the video is misleading, I didn’t personally make this video so I’m not sure what size that pan was in relation to the caramel mixture!

  10. 5 stars
    Just finished making these and they’re lovely. If you’re in the UK like me use golden syrup instead of corn syrup , it gives a lovely flavour. I would found it handy to be given the microwave strength but I did mine at 6 1/2 minutes in a 900watt and they’ve come out nicely.

  11. 5 stars
    I made these the other day. A big hit! So easy to make and the sea salt is fantastic. Hubby has requested more so he can share at work. 😁Thanks for a great new recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      I made them and they’re great!! I want to try dipping in chocolate, but I’ve been told not to melt the chips by themselves, so I’m waiting till I know what to do. I cooked the meal at 6 and a half minutes. Love these!!

  12. The recipe says to use a loaf pan but the video looks more like an 8x 10″ pan. Could you please clarify? Thanks

    1. I use a loaf pan because you’ll end up with thicker caramels that way. I will check with my video person to see what size pan they used for the video, but I recommend the loaf pan.

    1. I’d recommend making two separate batches in this case, I think the caramel would burn if you tried to double the cook time.

  13. This time of year has me so tempted. I love me some sweets but my blood sugar does not cooperate. Thanks for sharing. – yolonda

  14. Can I add pecans while these are cooking then drop them with a spoon in clusters and dip them in chocolate to make turtles.