Homemade Soft Vanilla Bean Caramel Candy (Caramels)

A step-by-step guide on how to make homemade caramel candy bars flavored with vanilla bean. This soft vanilla caramel candy recipe is the best and the only one you will ever need.

Belula December 08, 2020
Candy caramel arranged in aleatory manner

This homemade vanilla bean caramel candy recipe is one I created a few years ago when I was selling small Christmas boxes filled with homemade treats and sweets. My clients loved the caramels so much, I thought I would share the recipe here so you can make these soft caramel candy bars at home. These vanilla caramels make for a perfect gift, either to complement all those cookies during Christmas time, for a birthday celebration! 😊 If you have never made them before, you are in for a surprise! They are rather easy to make! I hope you love them, they are truly the best!

Utensils & Ingredient Notes

  • Vanilla bean: This gives these caramels an extra special flavor. You can leave it out completely if you wish as they will still taste great.
  • Candy thermometer: Precision is the key when it comes to making caramels. You need to be certain that you know the exact heat reading so that the caramels sets correctly.
  • A Square 20 x 20 cm pan lined with parchment paper. Or a square cake ring, placed on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and covered with baking spray.

What is caramel candy?

Caramel candy is made with sugar, glucose and cream and needs to be cooked to a temperature of 117 C°/118 °C.

It can be also known as toffee candy. Many people will just refer to it as "caramels" or "toffee" as well.

Wrapped caramel candies on a small plate
One bitten caramel on top of 2 other caramels

How to make caramel candy

First and foremost, the sugar needs to be cooked in 2 stages at 2 different temperatures:

  • Start by cooking the sugar, water, and the glucose syrup to 150/160 °C (300 /320 F).
  • Secondly, after you have added the cream, the butter, and the vanilla bean to the recipe, the caramel needs to be cooked to 117° C.
A pan with sugar, glucose, and water
A pan with cream, butter, and vanilla bean
Caramel in a pan
One hand pouring cream and butter over a pan with caramel
Caramel candy in a pan
Lined square pan on a baking tray
One hand pouring the caramel candy over the lined mould
Caramel candy after it has set still inside the pan

Recipe notes

  • Once you have lined the pan, place it somewhere safe. Put it somewhere it can stay overnight without being moved.
  • Use a large pot to cook your caramels, as sugar tends to make big bubbles. If you use a pan that is too small, it risks overflowing.
  • While cooking the sugar, brush the sides of the pan from time to time with ice-cold water to prevent sugar from crystallizing.
  • If it is raining (or you live somewhere with high humidity in the air), cook it to 118°C/ 244 F.
  • The size you cut the caramels is up to you. I like them on the smaller side of the things, but you can choose whichever size you like best. You can even have a mixture!
  • I recommend letting the vanilla caramels properly set overnight before cutting them. Your job will be easier, and they are less likely to stick to your knife.
  • If you notice caramels are sticking to the knife, grease your knife with a little baking spray or melted butter.

Expert Notes

The temperature you cook your sugar syrup will define the color of the caramel candy bars:

  • Lower temperature of syrup = lighter initial caramel = lighter (and softer) caramel candies
  • Higher temperature of syrup = Darker initial caramel = darker (and harder) caramel candies
Sliced caramel candy on a piece of parchment paper
Sliced caramel candy on a piece of parchment paper and other candy bars wrapped
Wrapped caramel candies in parchment paper

If the caramels turn out too soft:

  • There is too much cream in the recipe.
  • They were cooked to a lower temperature than this caramel candy recipe calls for which is 117 C°/243 F.
Sliced vanilla bean caramels and some of them wrapped
Closeup of 3 stacked caramel candies

Storage Tips

Caramels can be kept, wrapped in wax paper or parchment paper for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

Wrapped caramel candies on a small plate with others around it
One caramel candy on a opened piece of parchment paper
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 45 minutes

Servings: 50 caramels
Nutrition: 70 cal
Cuisine: French


  • Water 50 g
  • Glucose Syrup 200 g
  • Granulated Sugar 255 g
  • Vanilla Beans (scraped) 2
  • Whipping Cream (heavy) 330 g
  • Unsalted Butter 130 g


  • 1. Prep the materials: Line a 20 cm x 20 cm square pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat the parchment paper with baking spray. Place the pan somewhere safe, where it can stay overnight without being moved.
  • 2. Prepare the caramel: Prepare the caramel: In a pot bring the whipping cream, the scraped vanilla beans, and half the butter to a boil. Set aside and keep warm. In a large pot mix the sugar, the glucose syrup, and the water. Cook over medium-high heat to 160 C° (320 F) without stirring. Brush the sides of the pan with ice-cold water to prevent sugar from crystallizing. Sugar should be a soft brownish color. Remove from the stove and whisk in the warm cream/butter mixture over the sugar. It will grow in volume at the beginning and then it will settle down. Stop whisking after all the liquid has been added. Return the pot to the stove and cook the caramel to 117 C°/ 242 F over medium/ medium-high heat without stirring. If it is raining (or you live somewhere with high humidity in the air), make it 118°C/ 244 F. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 65 g of cold butter cut into small cubes.
  • 3. Set the caramel: Pour the caramels into the pan in one move. Tap the pan slightly against the counter. Let the caramels sit at room temperature overnight. Do not move the pan until they have completely set.
  • 4. Cut the caramel candy bars: Transfer the caramels onto a cutting board and cut them into candies (4 cm x 0.5/1 cm) using a sharp knife. Cut the wax paper or parchment paper into rectangles slightly larger than your caramel candies. Wrap each caramel with wax paper or parchment paper and twist the ends. They keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
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Phani December 10, 2020

Is glucose syrup readily available at grocery stores? I’ve never heard of it before. Thank you.

Belén Gowland
Belula December 11, 2020

Hello Phani!
I guess it will depend where you live. If in the US its also known as corn syrup.
Hope this helps!
Thank you :)

Amira January 04, 2022

Can I use real vanilla paste instead the pod ?
If yes.. how many spoons/ grams should I use?

Belén Gowland
Belula January 18, 2022

HI Amira,
Yes you can. You should use about 2 or 3 grams.
Hope this helps!

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