The Secret to Soft, Chewy Caramels

Caramel might feel like more of a Christmas treat, but we are certainly not against indulging in it earlier in the year.

Becky Low shares the recipe for sweet cream caramel to make with the family.

Cream Caramels


  • Butter
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk (about ½ can)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, optional


Butter heat resistant small candy molds, or line a 9×13 pan with foil then lightly butter the foil; set aside.

Stir together cream and sweetened condensed milk in saucepan over low heat; bring to simmer while candy syrup cooks.

Combine sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan; stir to dissolve while sugar mixture comes to a boil. Place candy thermometer in pan and cook until mixture reaches “thread” stage (about 232 degrees).*

Slowly stir about ⅓-cup hot cream into sugar syrup (note, candy will foam up, but candy should not stop boiling). Continue process of adding cream until all has been added to the sugar syrup. This process may take as long as 45 minutes, with 5 minutes between cream additions, in order to keep temperature of candy close to 232 degrees.

Reduce stove heat to maintain temperature of candy at 232 degrees and cook, stirring as needed, until caramel is golden brown and reaches desired consistency. This process may take between 20-40 minutes. Test consistency of caramel after about 15-20 minutes of cooking by dropping a small amount of candy in ice water. Caramel should not make the water cloudy and you should be able to pick the sample out of the cold water with your fingers. Taste sample, the consistency of the caramel drop should be firm enough to hold it’s shape when cold, yet soft and chewy to the mouth.

Remove pan from the heat, stir in vanilla and optional nuts. Spoon caramel into molds or spread in prepared pan. If using pan, when caramel is cold, lift caramel from the pan and peel back foil, cut into pieces and wrap if desired. Store in cool place to keep firm.


This recipe is Brett Utley’s favorite family cream caramels. Brett’s mother, Connie Bean, began making the caramels, when her kids were young, for Valentine’s Day. It’s now more than a holiday recipe – it is a family tradition. His siblings fondly remember their mother. They now get together as a family to make the caramels. It is a good tradition, and a truly delightful caramel – a must have for your recipe file.

* Thread stage is determined when sugar syrup forms a thread when dripped from a spoon (about 232 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Becky Low represents The Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada a partner of Dairy West. For delicious dairy recipes and nutrition information go to: