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Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe

In today’s post I’m going to share my soft and chewy, home-made Caramel Candy recipe. These caramel chews are incredibly buttery, rich in caramel flavor and have a soft and chewy texture.

Chewy Caramel Candy - extreme close up of bitten caramel

Chewy Caramel Candy - candy all lined up with sea salt on top.

I’m not even into candy making, but the beauty of this delightfully easy-to-make recipe is that it can be used in so many ways! As standalone treats they made a really great edible gift but they can also be used in other desserts like tarts, cookies and brownies.

Chewy Caramel Candy - close up of bitten caramel, wide image

I absolutely love caramel, one of my favorite ways to eat it is in these Caramel Crunch Brownies which are so popular on the site! But I can’t say no to these classic Caramel Crunch Brownies which are so moist and melt in your mouth.

This is why you’ll love my Caramel Chew Recipe!

I tested this recipe 9 different times before I got to the final recipe. I had 3 separate goals:

  • Soft and chewy – something that was pleasant to eat and didn’t want to pull your teeth out.
  • Tastes great – caramel is notorious for being sweet, but I wanted something that tasted really good and not overly sweet. I did this by using salt and vanilla.
  • Keeps it’s shape! – This one was important because I wanted a caramel I could use in other bakes like cookies, brownies and tarts.
  • BONUS – golden in color. I achieved this by switching from brown sugar to using white sugar only.

It took me 9 recipe tests, but I achieved all three things! And guess what? It was because of I switched one ingredient. Let’s chat about that next!

Texture: Cream vs Sweetened Condensed Milk

Two of the most common ways to make caramel are using heavy cream or sweetened condensed milk. They’re added to the recipe to make the caramel soft and chewy. I found that by switching these ingredients, you get different results.

Chewy Caramel Candy - heavy cream vs condensed milk

Using Heavy Cream

I found using heavy cream results in your caramel being creamy and smooth, but in my testing, I found it led to quite a few problems. The biggest two being that it made your caramel soft, even in mild weather, and that’s because it’s high in water content. There’s not much you can do to control that. I also tried using the caramel in a brownie recipe and it melted completely into the brownies. Made them ultra-moist, but you couldn’t really see the caramel.

Using Sweetened Condensed Milk

This ingredient has already been heated until most of the water content has evaporated resulting in caramel chews that are soft and chewy, holds it’s shape and tastes great, Yes, it makes your caramel a little sweeter but I’ve offsetted that with salt which makes the caramel flavor pop!

This recipe uses just 6 simple ingredients!

I was able to find the perfect balance of ingredients during my testing to make sure this was the very best caramel chew recipe I could offer.

Chewy Caramel Candy - ingredients image

  • Salted butter – I used salted butter in my recipe to help cut through the sweetness of the caramel. You can use unsalted butter if you like. Both work in this recipe.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – is a milk and sugar syrup that has been cooked down until it’s thickened and most of the water in the milk has evaporated. It helps makes the chews creamy but also creates a caramel chew that can hold it’s shape while still having a soft and chewy texture.
  • Golden syrup – this is a thick and sweet syrup like substance which gives the chews a deep, rich flavor and chewy texture. If you can’t get golden syrup, you can use glucose syrup or corn syrup. Using those will result in a lighter caramel.
  • Sugar – I used granulated white sugar for this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract – you want to use a good quality vanilla extract. My Pure Vanilla Extract recipe is a great option, but anything similar will work.
  • Seal salt flakes – this is totally optional but adds a great little sprinkle of flair on your finished caramel chew bars.

As always, ingredient measurements can be found in the recipe card below!

How To Make Caramel Chews With Step-By-Step Photos

Chewy Caramel Candy - steps 01

  1. Add the butter, sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk to a pot. Heat on medium heat.

Chewy Caramel Candy - steps 02

  1. Continue stirring while the mixture begins to melt.
  2. The mixture will begin to bubble and darken in color.
  3. Use a candy thermometer to begin testing the mixtures temperature.
  4. Continue doing this until it reaches 120C / 240F. More on that below. As soon as it’s ready take it off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir in.

Chewy Caramel Candy - steps 03

  1. Line a 20cm or 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper, leaving some overhang.
  2. Pour the mixture in all in one go and don’t pour from a height or you risk it hardening like toffee. Allow to set at room temperature for a couple hours. Overnight is best.

Chewy Caramel Candy - steps 04

  1. Once set, use a large, sharp knife (the sharper the better) to cut your caramel into 4 x 8 strips. You’ll get 32 caramel chews all up. Sprinkle with some sea salt flakes.

Chewy Caramel Candy - front on shot of sliced up caramel chews.

How To Make Sure Your Caramel Is Set Properly.

Chewy Caramel Candy -using a themometer.

Making sure your caramel reaches the correct temperature as you cook it, is the only way to make sure it sets properly. Not too soft and not too stiff. Nice and chewy.

I used a candy thermometer to help me do this. The one I used was a Lava tools Javelin PRO. But anything that is labelled a candy thermometer will work.

When measuring the temperature of your caramel, make sure your thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pot where the heat is directly hitting it otherwise it will read a lot hotter than the caramel mixture is and you risk it not setting. Instead place it in the center and just above the bottom of the pot. The caramel will be done when it reaches a temperature of 120C / 240F.

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Measuring – measuring ingredients out by weight and not cups is the best way to get consistent results every time! I wrote more about it here!
  • Type of pot to use – I would not recommend using a non-stick pot as the temperature the caramel reaches could ruin the non-stick coating. Use a stainless-steel pot.
  • Stirring your caramel – Use a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to slowly stir your caramel.
  • Getting to the right temperature – Use a candy thermometer to make sure your caramel reaches the right temperature which will help it set properly.
  • When testing the temperature of your caramel – make sure the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pot otherwise you won’t get an accurate reading. Instead, place it in the center of the pot without touching the bottom of the pot.
  • Bulldog clips – I used little bulldog clips to keep my baking paper in place which I find handy as it stops the paper from flying around or moving as you’re pouring the caramel in.
  • When pouring the caramel – Pour the mixture into the baking tin in one go and don’t pour it from too high a height as it can cause the caramel to harden like toffee as it sets.
  • Setting – Let your caramel set at room temperature. A couple hours or overnight is best.
  • Cutting – use a really sharp knife to slice your set caramel (I chilled mine in the fridge for a couple hours before slicing). No need to warm it.

Chewy Caramel Candy - sitting on top of a baking tray.

How To Get Clean cuts on your caramel chews

Chewy Caramel Candy - slicing up your caramel.

Caramel is notorious for being sticky. I tried a couple different ways of slicing my caramel chews and the cleanest cuts came from using a sharp knife on caramel that had been chilled in the fridge for a couple hours. Some people warm their knives under running water and dry it before slicing, I found that my caramel stuck to the knife doing this.

Some commonly Asked Questions You Might Have About Caramel Chews.

How to store your caramel chews

The best way to store your caramel is wrapped up in greaseproof paper, in the fridge. You can also store them in an airtight container, in the fridge. Just make sure they’re not touching or they’ll stick.

 Can I make this without a thermometer?

No – You must use a thermometer to make this caramel. Reaching the right temperature 120C / 240F will ensure it sets properly.

Why is my caramel too hard or too soft?

  • Too hard – You’ve likely cooked it to too high a temperature This can also happen if your measurements are off. Make sure you weigh your ingredients using kitchen scales.
  • Too soft – see above, but this can also happen due to humidity. If the room is too humid, then the caramel begins to break down and melt.

There are little brown bits in my caramel?

Totally normal. This is caused by the caramel cooking faster at the bottom of the pot than everywhere else in the pot. You’ll notice these brown bits as you’re stirring your caramel. They eventually get hidden by the caramel as it darkens and reaches the right temperature.

My caramel is taking ages to reach the right temperature.

This can happen and it normal. In my experience, the caramel usually reaches a temperature of 110C / 230F and then kind of stays there for a while. Keep stirring, keep testing the temperature as you see it darkening.

Can I replace the condensed milk with cream and add more sugar?

Not for this recipe. I’ve only tested it and designed it to work using condensed milk.

Why this recipe is in grams and not cups?

The short answer is accuracy! It is far easier, more accurate and you get more consistent results when you measure ingredients by weight, especially in dessert and bread baking! To learn more about using digital kitchen scales, check out this post!

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Chewy Caramel Candy - thumbnail image

Chewy Caramel Candy Recipe

These classic Caramel Chews have a deep caramel flavor and are a deliciously easy candy that you can gift or use for other caramel based recipes!

Serves 32

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Author: Nick Makrides
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Set: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Calories: 124kcal


Caramel Chews

  • 125 g salted butter cold
  • 395 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 200 g golden syrup see notes
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Flakey sea salt to finish


Caramel Chews

  • Please note: you will need a candy thermometer to make this recipe. Getting the precise temperature for your caramel is important to making sure it sets properly.
  • Spray an 8 x 8-inch / 20 x 20cm square baking tin with oil or brush with melted butter. Line the bottom and sides with baking paper leaving some overhang on the sides.
  • Making the caramel - To a large heavy bottomed saucepan add the butter, sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, caster sugar. Heat over medium low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden or silicon spoon. Use your candy thermometer to check the temperature of the candy. You want to do this by making sure it’s in the center of your pot and not touching the bottom.
  • Getting to the right temperature - Continue stirring until the mixture reaches a final temperature of 120C / 240F. You want to make sure you keep a close eye on your caramel mixture as it will heat up gradually and then very quickly when it reaches about 110C / 230F which means it can burn easily if you’re not standing over it, watching the temperature.
  • Cooling and setting - As soon as it reaches 120C / 240F, take it off the heat, add the vanilla extract and stir. It will bubble and steam. Then pour into the prepare tin. Allow to set for one hour at room temperature before sprinkling with sea salt flakes. Continue cooling until it reaches room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to set completely, about 3 hours.
  • Slicing up - once set, take out of the tin, lifting from the excess baking paper on the sides. Use a large knife to cut the caramels in 4 rows and then 8 rows, giving you a total of 32 chews. You can wrap these up in wax paper cut into 15cm / 6-inch squares. Twist on each end.


Golden syrup - golden syrup is a light treacle and a by-product of sugar refining. It has a deeply caramel/toffee like flavor. If you can’t find golden syrup, use glucose syrup or corn syrup in it’s place. In this recipe, the golden syrup helps stop the crystallization of the sugars.
Storage - caramels can be stored in an airtight container for months!
Nutrition - is an approximate and is based on per caramel chew. This recipe makes 32 chews.
A note on measurements - this recipe is offered in weight measurements. This is in an effort to offer the most accurate way to get the best results. Cup measurements simply aren’t accurate enough for a recipe that needs precision and cup sizes differ depending on where you are in the world. To learn more about how to measure ingredients using digital kitchen scales, click here!


Calories : 124kcal
Carbonhydrates: 21g
Protein: 1g
Fat: 4g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat : 1g
Trans Fat : 0.1g
Cholesterol: 13mg
Sodium: 41mg
Potassium : 47mg
Sugar : 21g
Vitamin A: 131IU
Vitamin C: 0.3mg
Calcium: 36mg
Iron: 0.03mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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