All it takes is a few minutes to melt caramels to a smooth consistency in the microwave. Caramels are made by gradually heating sugar with butter and cream to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit; this stage is known in candy making as the “firm ball stage.” Melting caramels in the microwave helps the novice candymaker avoid the sugar-scorching perils of direct heat. The microwave oven warms the butter fats from the inside—sugar crystals don’t harden and the caramel melts before it overheats.

Things You'll Need

Choose a microwave-safe bowl large enough to fit the caramels below the rim. Pyrex glass measuring cups are available in a few different sizes and are ideal for microwave-melting caramel. Spray the bowl with cooking spray.

Unwrap the individual caramel candies and put them in the bowl.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds.

Put on oven mitts, remove the bowl, and smash the warmed caramels down with a silicone spatula. Then, return it to the microwave for 30 seconds at 50 percent power. Lower the time to 15 seconds if your microwave doesn’t have a power adjustment setting.

Stir the caramels with the silicone spatula. If any lumps remain, microwave again for 30-second bursts at 50 percent power until fully melted.

Tip

Stir a dash of real vanilla extract or cayenne pepper into the melted caramel for another dimension of flavor.