Let’s just get this right out of the way, shall we?

Yes, I fully acknowledge the “irony” of my first post-sugar-free-post-dairy-free recipe being one that contains copious amounts of sugar and dairy.

What can I say? I’m back.

Okay – sea salt caramels…….

sea salt caramels

This should have been one of my first “d.i.y.” posts – I ADORE caramels, and my obsession with sweet and salty has been well documented on these pages. Like here. And here. Oh, right – and here.

Okay, okay – here too.

But I have avoided candy-making up till now, thinking it too complicated, too easy to mess up, best left to the experts. Like these guys.

But I have long dreamed of making the perfect caramel – one to call my own – and I decided it was time to go for it.

And guess what? Caramels are one of the easiest things I’ve ever made.

sea salt caramels

sea salt caramels

After I threw out the first two batches, that is.

If you search on-line for caramel recipes you will find a wide range of instructions – from the temperature the caramel should reach (anywhere from 240 to 248 degrees), to how to cool it prior to cutting (in the fridge, on the counter, a mix of both).

After two rock-hard trays of very pretty – but completely inedible – caramels, I figured it out. Which means that you can make a perfect batch the very first time.

And I have to say, these are one of the most delicious treats I’ve ever made. For real.

sea salt caramels

Sea Salt Caramels
adapted from Martha Stewart and The New York Times

4 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. (400 g.) sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup

1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)*

Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with a parchment sling; lightly spray the sling and pan with a non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam). In a large saucepan combine all of the ingredients except the vanilla and salt, and place on medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.

Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer reads 240 degrees. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour caramel into your prepared pan – after 10 minutes, sprinkle with sea salt.

After about an hour, begin checking the caramel. As soon as you can easily remove it from the pan (using the sling to assist), transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1 1/4” x 3/4” pieces. I “scored” the caramel with a greased chef’s knife and then cut the individual pieces with my kitchen shears.

Wrap each piece in waxed paper, parchment paper, cellophane or plastic wrap (I used 3” squares of waxed paper).

Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks (HA!).

*Note: you can omit the sea salt (although, really??) – if you do, add 1/8 t. table salt at the beginning of the recipe – it’s just a pinch but it definitely rounds out the flavor of the caramels.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver


  1. Jennifer Cullen on March 8, 2013 at 8:33 am

    This might be my weekend DIY with Julia. Yum! And you make the finished product look so pretty!

    • sherisilver on March 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Aww, thanks Jen – super easy!

  2. Korinthia Klein on March 8, 2013 at 11:49 am


    • sherisilver on March 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      And so easy! TOO easy in fact….. 🙂

  3. Christa the BabbyMama on March 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Oh man, we did that for Xmas two years ago and they were SO good.

    • sherisilver on March 10, 2013 at 9:02 am

      I know! I’m imagining you haven’t had them in a while… 🙁

  4. Sarah Jones on March 29, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Hi, this sounds great but I was just wondering if I could omit the corn syrup and add more sugar instead? Corn syrup is a no no for me and my tummy. 🙁
    I’m also in the UK . Could I use maple syrup?

    • sherisilver on March 29, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Hey Sarah – you want to make a sugar “syrup” – here’s how: combine 1 c. of sugar with 1/4 c. of water in a saucepan and heat over a low flame till sugar is dissolved. Cool and use. Since you’ll have more than you need for this recipe, cover the rest and store at room temp for up to 2 months. Good luck! 🙂

  5. Amy on July 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Hello Sheri, under ingredients when you say ‘T’ do you mean teaspoons or tablespoons? Thanks

  6. NiQue Williams on December 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Hiya Sheri!

    I just stumbled across your recipe (looking for goodies to send to my brother in Ohio for Xmas) and I had a qwik question???
    Many websites say that you can sub honey for corn syrup, is that “doable” in this recipe???

    Thanx and Much LuVV to You and Yours this Holiday Season!!!
    (Excellent recipe too, BTW 🙂 :-))


    • sherisilver on December 19, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Hi there! Thanks so much for your awesome comments (here and elsewhere! :))! I have no idea how honey would do in place of corn syrup in this recipe. That said, if you try it – and it works – would you let me know so I can edit the recipe to mention! Have a great holiday!

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