Microwave Caramel Recipe (Gluten-Free Corn-Free) – Nuts Optional

When you don’t want to worry about sugar crystals forming on the sides of a saucepan or having to use a candy thermometer,  use your microwave! Whether you make this microwave caramel recipe corn-free or not, it is absolutely delicious! It’s so good, that one tin never made it to my neighbor’s house! (head down in embarrassment) Oh well! It’s a good excuse to make another batch!

This recipe is available to everyone.

Microwave Caramel Recipe

When you don't want to worry about sugar crystals forming on the sides of a saucepan or having to use a candy thermometer,  use your microwave!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 75 caramels (approx.)


  • 1 cup 1/2 pound or 2 sticks unsalted butter cut into 16 slices
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup gluten free brown rice syrup (Lundberg) (or light corn syrup*)
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • 1-1//2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Walnut halves or other nuts (optional)


  1. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the butter pieces, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, condensed milk, and salt. Microwave for 1 minute on high and stir.
  3. Microwave another 2 minutes on high and stir.
  4. Microwave 4 minutes and stir.
  5. Microwave another 4 minutes and stir.
  6. Microwave yet another 4 minutes and stir.
  7. Fill a glass half full of ice. Add water and set aside.
  8. Microwave 2 minutes and stir. Using a spoon, remove about 1/2 teaspoon of caramel from the hot bowl and add it to the ice water. Allow the piece of caramel to chill in the water for 20 - 30 seconds. When you squeeze it together does it form the consistency of the caramel you desire? If you're not sure, taste a piece. If it is too soft, microwave it for another 1 - 2 minutes. (Realize that the longer you it for, the hotter it becomes. The hotter it becomes, the stiffer the caramel. If you only microwave it for 1 minute, it will not become very hot. However, if you microwave the caramel for 2 minutes when it is already very hot, it may burn, especially at this late stage of the cooking. So, be very careful. Stay close to the microwave and stop it if you think it's smelling anywhere near burning or is extremely fragrant.)
  9. Test the caramel again, continue microwaving it short intervals until it reaches your desired consistency.
    Microwave Caramel Being Tested In Ice Water
  10. Once it is perfect for you, stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The baking soda will cause the caramel to bubble, but it will settle down some as you stir. Those bubbles will create a little softer caramel. If you prefer stiffer caramel, omit the baking soda.
  11. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan; press in the walnut halves, if using. Refrigerate until firm and set. 

  12. Slice into squares or as desired. Wrap individual pieces in wax paper or place in small, individual baking papers.

    Microwave Caramels With Walnuts Sliced


*If you using corn syrup, the caramel will most like take a shorter time to cook.

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