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Microwave Caramel Sauce

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Ever since I learned how to make homemade caramel sauce as an alternative to buying the store-bought stuff, I’ve never looked back. Homemade caramel sauce tastes so much better, calls for simple everyday ingredients, and is the perfect treat to go with some ice cream or a warm brownie. And I always feel like a giddy kid in science class each time I get to watch that white sugar melt before my eyes and magically transform into the deep amber, gooey, thick sweetness that is the caramel to come. It really is amazing!

But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that there is another option to stovetop homemade caramel sauce: MICROWAVE caramel sauce! Believe it or not, it’s even easier and quicker. You don’t have to stand watch over the stove because the microwave literally does 90% of the work. But you still get to pour in the cream and watch it bubble bubble toil and trouble as it is stirred into the hot sugar. So fun, and so easy. And you can have a delicious, thick, gooey, and perfectly sweet batch of homemade caramel sauce cooked and ready to go in 10 minutes.

So grab some sliced apples, or ice cream, or brownies, or just a spoon, and get to caramelizing!

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Microwave Caramel Sauce

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  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


A super-delicious recipe for homemade caramel sauce…made even simpler in the microwave!


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated (*see note below*)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, softened


  1. Whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and lemon juice in a microwave-safe measuring cup or glass bowl until combined. Microwave on high for 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture ever so slightly begins to turn a light golden color. Watch carefully—if you wait even a few seconds too long, it will turn too dark, and will thus overcook and turn slightly bitter.
  2. Carefully remove the measuring cup from the microwave and place it on a dry surface. Let it rest untouched for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture turns a deep amber color.
  3. Then add in about a tablespoon of the heated cream, and immediately whisk to combine. The caramel will bubble furiously, but whisking will keep it from overflowing. Continue adding the cream slowly in small increments until it is all whisked in. Then add in the vanilla and butter and whisk to combine. Serve immediately warm, or let it sit and come to room temperature to thicken slightly.
  4. Store in a jar or sealed container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  5. *Heat your cream either in the microwave or a (separate) small saucepan until warm but not boiling.

Microwave Caramel Sauce |

Microwave Caramel Sauce |

Microwave Caramel Sauce |

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59 comments on “Microwave Caramel Sauce”

  1. Mmm I love caramel..would this particular one work well drizzled in lattes? Thanks!

    • By all means! I make this for our coffee bar at church. So much better, and not to mention more economical than the store bought gourmet syrup.

  2. This is so “naughty”…I can’t wait to try i!

  3. This are moments when I regret that I don’t have microwave.

  4. Brilliant! I love putting the microwave to use when it makes stuff like this.

  5. Love how easy this is! Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Hi Ali! I did not know caramel sauce was possible in the microwave! you blow my mind. This is amazing. I could drink this stuff. I adore caramel so much, especially over chocolate ice cream. :)

  7. This is so easy, it’s almost criminal. Not to mention dangerous- if I make this and have it on hand, I’ll eat it straight from the jar. Spoon optional :)

  8. Now if I only had a microwave. I love it!

  9. Wow, I’m definitely saving this recipe for the next time I need caramel sauce – so quick and easy! (Which might be tonight…knowing how to quickly make a batch will certainly make me “need” caramel sauce more often).

  10. Uh-oh. This could be dangerous. To my ice cream supply levels.

  11. I’m curious about whether or not this would work for caramel popcorn; as in, drizzle this on the popcorn and then bake as you would with the standard stovetop caramel method. Once we get to the weekend, I’ll give it a go. =)

  12. Love this, Ali! I made actual caramels in the microwave last week. It sort of changed my life. I have been nibbling on them way too often!

    This sauce is gorgeous looking! And so smooth, easy and the way to go!

  13. I’m trying to decide if I want a microwave in our new kitchen – this is an excellent argument for having one!

  14. In the microwave?!? That’s either genius or just mean. Now I’m going to HAVE to make it. ;-)

  15. Oh my goodness – this is too easy to make, which means I’ll be making this all the time!

  16. Oh I’m so excited to try this! I love homemade caramel but don’t always want to stand over the stove-Love this microwave version!

  17. Super!!! thanks

    Just small question, here in Belgium we don’t have corn syrup, any suggestions for a replacement?



  18. Just made a batch! It hasn’t even cooled and I’ve had quite a few spoonfuls. I’m addicted. :) Thanks for sharing!


  20. I just tried this, it was sooo easy and tasted better than the last stove top recipe I tried. Thanks fo sharing!

  21. Ok, so I am so going to try this but, one question… When is says “heated cream” what exactly does that mean? Heat it up in microwave or bring to a boil in sauce pan…????

    • Sorry for the confusion. Heat the cream in the microwave or in a separate saucepan until it is warm but not boiling. I’ll mention this in the recipe.

  22. I made this recipe but the cream curdled, was it because I only used table cream?

    • I tried this & after 3 min in my 1100 watt micro it was dark & smoking, do I lower the power or only cook 1&1/2 min? I was so looking forward to this as I am making homemade custard ice cream & wanted to swirl it in. Will this sauce harden the minute it hits the ice cream & how do I prevent this? Please give me some advice. Barbara in Pasadena, MD

    • Hi Barbara,

      Some microwave temperatures differ considerably. And sadly, if it was smoking, it won’t be good to use on ice cream. I would cook the sauce on low power, and keep a really close eye on the color. The second it turns amber, pull it out. Good luck!


  23. Just wanted to share that I decided to make a half batch and stupidly halved the MAX cooking time, rather than the minimum. So I cooked it for 4 minutes….. and didn’t watch it… and ended up with a black, smoking mess. Whoops. So just a reminder that if you want to try a half recipe, start with 2 minutes cooking and of course watch carefully!

  24. WOW, this is a great idea…top Pinterest post for me this week! Im still getting over the fact that some other posters don’t have microwaves!!! Building a brand new kitchen and not putting one in just seems so odd to me lol!! Microwave is like having an oven to me.

  25. Ohhhh, this recipe is a godsend! I’ve hated trying and failing to make a successful batch of caramel. So easy and so heavenly! Thank you for posting and sharing this.

  26. Your final amber shade pictured is pretty dark, Ali. When I have done caramel sauce stove-top, if it gets that dark, it has a slightly bitter, burnt sugar flavor that renders it edible but not wonderful. I want to try your microwave version but I will be prepared for trial and error as microwaves cook so differently from each other that the timing will be unpredictable the first time or two.

  27. I was very excited to find this recipe. Result? The most perfectly colored caramel sauce I’ve ever made, hands down. Alas, everything’s a trade-off. There’s no caramel flavor. Tastes like sugar. I’ll be sticking with the stove top.

  28. I been trying to make a stove top recipe and always turn into Carmel chunks! Just made your version it’s perfect! I added some sea salt!

  29. Um, what is this witchcraft? How have I not seen this before now?? For the girl who perpetually screws up stovetop caramel…you’ve saved my butt, Ali! <3

  30. I just tried making this caramel sauce and all was going well until I removed the pyrex glass bowl to my stove top I set it down and in about 60 seconds the bowl literally blew up. I guess I will try the stove top method……

  31. OMG lost for words over your carmel recipe! !!

  32. Just made my first batch and I’m thrilled! I tried two batches of caramel (stovetop version) and both tasted burnt, even though I followed the receipt to the letter! So glad I checked to see if there was a microwave version. Much easier! Thanks

    • That’s awesome, Jill! Thank you, and we’re glad it turned out well! : )

  33. Thanks so much for this recipe. I consider this the real deal caramel sauce!  I haven’t had the best luck until I tried your recipe. My caramel sauce turned out so good.  I can’t wait for Christmas this year. I think this would make the perfect little gift.  

  34. Just made this… and it’s wonderful.  Like someone else said, I love that we can do this in the microwave – welcome to the 21st century!   You were right, the difference  between “hmmm not golden” and “holy cow, that’s definitely golden” was about ten seconds.    I used it to make a layer in Twix cookie bars.. so I’m hoping it sets up nicely – even if it’s still gooey and caramely, I don’t think anyone’s feelings will be hurt.    Thank you… do you have a butterscotch microwave sauce?   I’m gonna look around :)  

    • Thanks Marie, we’re happy to hear that! We don’t have a butterscotch microwave sauce, sorry!

  35. Now, could we make this low carbs! :)

  36. Hi,
    Can I make this without corn syrup?