This easy recipe for gluten-free caramel candy makes soft, chewy, and buttery caramel that is just like your grandma used to make.
I absolutely love homemade caramel, which is probably more obvious than I think since I do have several caramel recipes on the site, such as my brown sugar caramel sauce, caramel coffee syrup, and chocolate caramel candy. The thing is, most people love caramel, but most people don't love making caramel. I get it; it can seem complicated to make a result that might not be what you were expecting.
Don't worry, and I totally understand that, but I am here to tell you that it doesn't have to be hard or complicated, and you can make it in no time flat. Your friends and family will be amazed by the sweet treat that you've made completely homemade with these easy gluten-free caramels.
Is Caramel Gluten-free?
Caramel is typically gluten-free since the main ingredients for most caramel recipes are sugar, butter, and cream. This, however, does not mean all caramel candy is gluten-free, especially if the caramel is being used along with other ingredients in candy bars. This is why the Milky Way is not gluten-free.
Why Homemade Caramels Are the Best?
- Simple Ingredients - Only 5 ingredients, and none of them are CORN SYRUP!
- Easy to Make - Literally, you throw everything into one pot and let it cook!
- A soft, buttery, and chewy texture that will keep you going back for more!
- Add a bit of salt for an extra fancy flair!
- Perfect for the holidays and all year long!
This gluten-free salted caramel recipe uses only a few simple ingredients:
- Brown Sugar
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Salt (optional)
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - We are switching up the traditional way of making caramel candy, which usually contains cream. Instead of heavy whipping cream, we are using sweetened condensed milk. Yes, sweetened condensed milk is gluten-free.
- Honey - To make this gluten-free chewy caramel without corn syrup, we are using honey instead. If you can tolerate corn syrup, you can substitute that for 1:1.
How to Make Salted Caramel Without Corn Syrup?
Step 1. Grease and line a baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
Step 2. Combine all the ingredients, except the salt, in a pan.
Step 3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it reaches 220-230 degrees, depending on the consistency that you prefer.
Step 4. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and allow it to cool completely.
Step 5. (Optional) Sprinkle the top with some flaky sea salt before it completely cools.
Tips and Tricks
- Use a heavy-bottomed pan. - I actually prefer my enameled cast iron pan for making caramel because it heats really evenly. A heavy-bottomed pot will help the caramel ingredients cook at the same rate and reduce the possibility of scorching. My second favorite pan is stainless steel. I do NOT recommend using a non-stick pan to make caramel.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. - This is especially important for the butter. When all of the ingredients are at the same temperature, allow everything to melt and cook evenly. If the butter is cold, it will melt at a different rate than everything else, and it can cause the caramel to separate. Don't worry if this happens; just keep whisking it, and it will all come together.
- Use a Good Thermometer. - While I prefer a candy thermometer clipped to the pot, it's unnecessary. If you have a good food-grade thermometer, you are good. You just want to watch the temperature, so you pull the caramel to get the results you want.
- Cook it on Medium- Low. - You don't want your caramel to cook too fast. You want the caramel to come together and then come to temperature as one. If it cooks too fast, some ingredients might not cook right, and it could separate.
- Whisk Constantly. - This will be a little hard at first as everything comes together, but just keep whisking. This keeps the caramel moving and keeps it from getting hot spots and scorching, so it cooks evenly.
Soft or Hard Caramel
What is the best temperature for cooking caramel? This is going to vary depending on your preference for either soft or harder caramel candy. Both can be made with this gluten-free caramels recipe. I prefer my caramel super soft so it melts in my mouth. When it comes to the final texture of caramel, it comes down to the temperature you cook. This is why a good thermometer is important.
For soft caramel, pull it off the heat when it reaches 220-225 degrees. I pull mine, usually about 222 degrees. If you want a little bit firmer caramel, you can take it off the heat closer to 230 degrees.
When cutting caramel, do not push straight down with a knife. The caramel will stick to the knife this way. Instead, lightly brush a knife with some butter or oil and then cut back and forth like you are sawing. This will reduce sticking and allow the caramel to cut more easily.
These gluten-free caramels are literally a staple in our house all year long. They are great for making ahead of time since they can be wrapped into individual pieces and stored at room temperature for up to six months.
This caramel is best stored, cut into individual pieces, and then wrapped in some wax paper. It makes it easier to grab a piece when you want one. It also makes it easy to share.
These gluten-free caramel candies are good to enjoy in pieces by themselves, or you can make some homemade caramel truffles. Just shape the caramel once it's cooled and dip it into some chocolate. You can also pour the caramel into candy molds for fun festive treats. You can even use this caramel recipe to make the best caramel apples. Just dip your apples into the caramel before it's cooled, and then enjoy!
More Gluten-free Desserts You'll Love
Easy Gluten-free Caramel without Corn Syrup
- Lightly grease a baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and set it aside. I like to use an 8x8.
- Attach a candy thermometer to a heavy-bottomed stockpot If you don't have one you can use an instant-read thermometor to check temperature while it cooks. A candy thermometer just makes it easier.
- Combine all of the ingredients except the salt to the pan.1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Brown Sugar, 1 Cup Honey, 14 OZ Sweetened Condensed Milk, ½ Cup Butter
- Cook the mixture over medium heat until it reaches 225 degrees for soft caramels. If you want a little bit firmer caramel, then cook it to about 230 degrees Add the salt if desired at this point.
- Once the caramel has reached the desired temperature, pour it into the prepared pan and smooth it out.
- Sprinkle the sea salt to the top of the warm caramel.¼-½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
- Allow the mixture to cool completely and then cut it into desired sizes and wrap it into pieces of wax paper to store.