These caramels are a Christmas tradition every year in my house, and we often give them to neighbors as a gift. In my mom’s recipe box, this was labeled “Never Fail Caramels” because unlike regular finicky caramels, these ones aren’t difficult to make. Plus, the recipe is VERY simple–just the same amount of every ingredient.

I wouldn’t say these caramels NEVER have any issues, because you do have to stir pretty well or you’ll end up with brown specks in your caramel. That’s pretty common for any dairy-based food, though, that it tends to brown on the bottom of the pan. But it always tastes delicious and doesn’t separate or turn grainy like traditional caramels often do with the slightest change in humidity. If you do find brown spots in your caramel, you can easily pour it through a sieve as you pour onto the cookie sheet. Just be careful of your hands because the caramel is boiling hot.

*Tip: Use the ice water method to test for your desired texture. One time we poured the caramel out too early even though we thought it had reached the correct temperature, and it was far too soft after we let it sit overnight. So we put the caramel back in the pan with a tiny bit of water, then brought it back up to the right temperature. And we had a bowl of ice water on hand. Then we’d drop a tiny ball of caramel into it, and once it had cooled for a few seconds to room temperature, we’d take a bite to see if it was firm enough without getting crunchy. We’ve also done this when the caramel turned out too hard–reheated it with a little water to the correct temperature and then tested it with ice water. It did come out softer the second time. Haha, we call the redo caramels “Repentance Caramels”–a good reminder that you’re never too far gone to come back and be great.

And luckily this one is naturally gluten free.


  • Servings: one large cookie sheet
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

“Never fail” and easier than regular caramels.


2 c. or equal of all ingredients:

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • White Corn Syrup
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Sugar


Butter a cookie sheet and place on a large pot holder. Place all ingredients in a heavy pan, then turn the heat to medium-low and stir constantly or it may leave chunks or specks. Cook to between soft and firm ball stage (242° at sea level, 232° at high altitude). Stir very well near the end, scraping the bottom of the pan because it tends to brown. (Tip: Use ice water method to test for desired texture, dropping a small ball of hot caramel into a bowl of ice water, then taking out and testing texture with your fingers and your mouth.) Once you’ve reached the desired texture, pour onto buttered cookie sheet and leave on level surface undisturbed for 12-14 hours. Cut into small squares and wrap in waxed paper.




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