let’s make sea salt caramels


Growing up, we could always count on my grandpa to make two things for our family christmas: rich, chocolaty fudge and creamy, chewy caramels. Both were delicious and have become seasonal favorites in my family now. Yesterday I made both of these treats. Edie has an easy and oh so yummy fudge recipe {right here} and these sea salt caramels are my go-to recipe. I’ve shared it once before, but thought I’d show you step by step in photos because sometimes that takes the fear out of cooking.


These little caramels are irresistible, they make great gifts and can be refrigerated for up to three weeks {although there’s no way they would last that long in my household}.

Here’s what you need:


1 3/4 cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
Oil or cooking spray


medium heavy bottomed pan
wooden spoon {I like this flat wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan}
candy thermometer

STEP ONE // prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lining it in parchment paper and lightly oiling


STEP TWO // In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring sugar, evaporated milk, and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat.



STEP THREE // Add corn syrup and continue cooking until mixture reaches 230°


Stir continually and watch that thermometer {or two}. It takes several minutes and it’s important to get it to the exact temperature.


STEP FOUR // Add butter and vanilla; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until caramel reaches 240°


The caramel starts to look more caramelly and thickens and it feels like it takes forever to get to the right temp. Just keep stirring and pull it off the heat right away when it hits 240°


STEP FIVE // Remove from heat, stir in salt


STEP SIX // Carefully pour into a lightly oiled 9″³ x 13″³ baking dish and sprinkle with additional sea salt


Let cool for an hour or so.

STEP SIX //  Remove from baking dish and cut the caramel into 1 inch pieces


STEP SEVEN // To serve candy-store style, wrap individual pieces in parchment paper


and secure the ends with a simple twist.



Servings: Makes about 125 one-inch pieces

Sea Salt Caramels
created by the ladies of Liddabit Sweets courtesy of O magazine.

1 3/4 cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
Oil or cooking spray


Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring sugar, evaporated milk, and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Add corn syrup and continue cooking until mixture reaches 230°.
Add butter and vanilla; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until caramel reaches 240°. Remove from heat, stir in salt, and carefully pour into a lightly oiled 9″³ x 13″³ baking dish (parchment paper in the bottom of the pan is helpful).
Let cool at least 1 hour. Invert onto a cutting board covered with waxed or parchment paper and cut into 1-inch pieces with a sharp, lightly oiled knife. Caramels can be wrapped in waxed or parchment paper or cellophane. (To serve candy-store style, wrap individual pieces in parchment paper and secure the ends with a simple twist.) Store airtight at cool room temperature (around 65°) or in the refrigerator; will keep up to 3 weeks.


32 Responses to let’s make sea salt caramels

  1. tamie December 19, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Anyone know if I can use kosher salt instead of the sea salt? My sea salt is fine not course.

    • emily December 21, 2017 at 12:53 am #

      I use kosher salt and it works great. Flaked sea salt is really pretty, too.

  2. Lin December 17, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

    These looked so delicious. I made the first bath last night. It was very light in color and it was still like soup this morning. Down the disposal.

    This afternoon, I tried again. I let it cook much longer (242 degrees) and put it in the fridge after sitting out for 2 hours. 4 hours later and it’s still not firm enough to cut.

    It must be me, but I’m so disappointed that I have to toss 2 batches (insert sad face).

    • emily December 21, 2017 at 12:54 am #

      Oh no! This is why I don’t like the thermometer very much – because i just find that I can’t trust it. So instead, I take it off when the bottom starts to brown into little flecks when you stir.

      • Melissa Hungria December 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

        I should have stopped then! I just made it this afternoon and mine was a bust! It’s going to be hard rock candy when it’s cooled. I just kept thinking, “Emily’s pictures didn’t look this dark”, but because I had read 240 degrees, I was just waiting for it to get there. I did get a very cool candy thermometer at Target with easy to read lines – far bigger than the two you had pictured here. My daughter said, “not everyone makes something perfect their very first time.” Ha! I’ll try again tomorrow!

  3. Janet January 17, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    I made these sea salt Carmel’s today – they were AWESOME! I followed and appreciated the pictorial step by step. I thought the temperature would never reach 230 but it finally did as I stirred it constantly, and also until it reached 240 degrees. After pouring it into the 9 X 12 pan lined with parchment I left it alone for about 1 1/2 hours. It cut just like the picture! Wrapping the individual pieces was probably the most difficult part … It took a fairly large piece of parchment paper for each Carmel to twist the ends. I will definitely be making these again!!!

    • emily January 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed them!

  4. Susan December 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Use a 14 ounce can of evaporated milk. I cooked it until it reached 245 degrees so it would set better. Great recipe – thank you for sharing!

  5. Sara December 24, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I was wondering the same thing about the size of the evaporated milk. I’ve never made candy before, so it may just be me, but I used a large can and I’m thinking maybe it should have been the small one!

  6. Beth December 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Delicious taste, thank you so much for sharing! Mine came out like hard candies. I used a candy thermometer but it took about 30 minutes to get to 230 degrees. Sounds like I likely over cooked them, yes? How long did it take for you to reach 230 then 240 degrees on average? Thanks again and happy holidays to you and your beautiful family!

  7. Melissa December 23, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Outstanding flavor! Thanks so much for sharing… one question… mine did not set up good enough to cut apart,and I had to keep putting them in the fridge to harden to be able to cut.. any ideas what I may need to do different next time?

    • emily December 23, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      You may need to cook it just a tiny bit longer. I refrigerate mine for about an hour or so before cutting.

      • Melissa December 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

        THANKS SO MUCH! I will definitely try that next year, as I plan to make them again, they were still awesome :)

  8. Sue December 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    I am SO excited to try this recipe. Thank you SO much for sharing. Happy Holidays!! xo

  9. Lindsi December 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    So… I am horrible in the kitchen.. like my husband wants to put a camera in there horrible in the kitchen. I actually tried these with my son the other day and followed it to a T… didn’t set up :( but whats new! haha!

    • emily December 22, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

      bummer … I’ve messed up a few times too. Give it another try!

  10. Joanna December 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Thanks, Emily!
    Made 2 batches of caramel tonight- 2 different recipes, and this one is by far, superior. I think it’ll be my new go-to caramel.
    Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

  11. Lizabeth December 22, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Which size evaporated milk? Big or small?

    • Bethany December 22, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      I was wondering the same thing about what size can of evaporated milk.

    • Jill T. December 27, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      I used a “regular” 12 oz. size can.

  12. Caroline December 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    What size can of evaporated milk did y’all use? Thanks!

  13. Nicole December 21, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    We have an old family recipe that is similar. People ask when they are coming each year they are so popular, and we have had to make double and triple batches. Nothing beats the soft, gooeyness of homemade caramels!

  14. emily December 20, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Ok, I read right before heading out to the store so I tried them and WOW. Delicious!! Thanks! These will be in my repetoire now and baked OFTEN!

  15. Danielle December 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    I just tried my hand at these and they didn’t cut quite as easily as yours! I’ve been cutting a row at a time and throwing them in the freezer to harden back up. They’re delicious, though! I’m thinking is that they didn’t quite get to 230 on the first round. I’ll get there…

  16. Kelly December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    These look fantastic. We are going to try these tonight. Thanks!

  17. Christa @ BrownSugarToast December 20, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    o yum. I am a little scared to try caramel again because the last time I did, I burnt it. :P maybe I need to get a new candy thermometer! :) thanks for the step by step photos – I definitely want to try this!!

  18. Shannon [Our Home Notebook] December 20, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    They look so yummy! Can’t wait to have a good excuse to make them :)

  19. Susan December 20, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    What is the trick to getting the wax paper cut in perfect squares for wrapping?

  20. lissa December 20, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I’m using this snow day to get all of the ingredients I need to make these caramels! I’m so excited~ Never tried it before!

  21. Brandyn | Southern Distinctions December 20, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    I have always avoided caramels because I thought they were difficult. Thanks for the step by step. I will definitely be trying out this recipe in the new year!

  22. Jill T. December 20, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    These are FABULOUS! I made them (this exact recipe — thank you Emily!) for the first time last year and they were a huge hit! They have such a wonderful high end yet homemade taste you will never want to buy anything from a store again. My family adored them and the simple recipe took away my fears of candy making. They’ve become a welcome addition to our holiday baking!

  23. Susan December 20, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    Yum! I need to know your secret for getting the wax paper cut out in perfect little squares for wrapping the caramels???? I love, love, love your blog!!!! thanks so much!

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