This is the best caramel dip. It is made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, and the dip is the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples.

This caramel dip recipe is something you need in your life. It is actually the very first recipe that I published on a blog way back in 2009. I didn’t even have a picture of the end product, but wanted to share the goodness. And goodness it is! This is the perfect homemade caramel for dipping. It’s thick and smooth, while still being scoopable.  I’ve made this recipe every fall since I first discovered it. I hope you try it and love it like I do.

I think of this caramel as party food and take it to fall parties over and over again.It makes about 3 cups of caramel dip, so there’s plenty for a crowd. It’s really simple to make – you are just cooking a few simple ingredients on the stove. I serve it with apples and pretzels for dipping. There’s something magical about fresh caramel and homegrown apples this time of year.

I sure hope you make this recipe!

 The best caramel dip that is made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk that is the perfect texture for dipping pretzels and apples into. 

Tips and Tricks for Making the BEST Caramel Dip

  • The goal for this dip is to be well, dippable, so you’ll want to bring the sugar mixture to a nice bubble but not a full boil. If you boil it too long or hard, you’ll end up with a thicker caramel that is great for dipping whole apples, but less great for dipping little apple slices and pretzels.
  • I often get asked about switching out the corn syrup in this recipe and I haven’t played with that much, so I don’t recommend doing it. I only use corn syrup in this recipe, my white cloud frosting recipe, and in caramel corn. That being said, it is a different product than high fructose corn syrup. Here’s an article from Serious Eats about it.
  • Don’t wander away from this recipe while it is cooking. You need to do a lot of stirring, or the bottom of the dip will scorch and burn – not the dream.
  • If you do see that the bottom is starting to scorch (you’ll see little flecks of really dark sugar when you stir), remove the pan from the heat right away. If the caramel hasn’t finished cooking, you can return it to the heat while being careful to only stir the top of the caramel and avoiding scraping up the burnt sugar on the bottom of the pan. If the scorch isn’t too bad, you won’t be able to taste it, but you still might have little flecks of dark sugar in your caramel. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than feeling like you ruined the whole batch.

 The best caramel dip that is made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk that is the perfect texture for dipping pretzels and apples into. 

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The Best Caramel Dip


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Desserts

Description

This is the best caramel dip. It is made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, and the dip is the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring to combine.
  3. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a light bubbly boil.
  4. Remove from heat right away and add the vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature with apple slices and pretzels, or drizzle over ice cream.

Notes

  • The goal for this dip is to be well, dippable, so you’ll want to bring the sugar mixture to a nice bubble but not a full boil. If you boil it too long or hard, you’ll end up with a thicker caramel that is great for dipping whole apples, but less great for dipping little apple slices and pretzels.
  • I often get asked about switching out the corn syrup in this recipe and I haven’t played with that much, so I don’t recommend doing it. I only use corn syrup in this recipe, my white cloud frosting recipe, and in caramel corn. That being said, it is a different product than high fructose corn syrup. Here’s an article from Serious Eats about it.
  • Don’t wander away from this recipe while it is cooking. You need to do a lot of stirring, or the bottom of the dip will scorch and burn – not the dream.
  • If you do see that the bottom is starting to scorch (you’ll see little flecks of really dark sugar when you stir), remove the pan from the heat right away. If the caramel hasn’t finished cooking, you can return it to the heat while being careful to only stir the top of the caramel and avoiding scraping up the burnt sugar on the bottom of the pan. If the scorch isn’t too bad, you won’t be able to taste it, but you still might have little flecks of dark sugar in your caramel. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than feeling like you ruined the whole batch.
The Best Caramel Dip

I hope you’ll make this caramel dip for your next party because it’s always a crowd favorite (and it only takes you about 20 minutes to put together, you can’t beat that!). I even put it in little mason jars one year and gave it out for Christmas gifts to neighbors. Everyone loves caramel and this one is the best!

This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been republished with updated text, recipe instructions, nutritional information, and more in October 2017.

Caramel Dip
38 Recipes for Busy Moms
95 Responses
  1. Michael

    My heart BROKE for you when I heard about your poor chickens! I’m SO SO sorry!

    In happier news, this caramel dip is EXACTLY what I’ve needed. I can’t WAIT to try it! Love the photos!

  2. emily

    My heart BROKE for you when I heard about your poor chickens! I’m SO SO sorry!

    In happier news, this caramel dip is EXACTLY what I’ve needed. I can’t WAIT to try it! Love the photos!

  3. Driel

    Amen to katie! Henry is adorable! that is so sad about your chickens. It’s true about out becomes sacred when you sacrifice for things. Love you!

  4. Oh I remember that party! So fun… good shot of my hubby too:) H/H! I also remember sweet Henry too in that newborn shot. That was so fun to be in the hospital at the same time (except for the jaundice of course)!

  5. Aprille

    I just made the caramel dip and all I can say is it is out of this world good! Thanks for a wonderful recipe that I know I will be making for years to come!

    1. Melissa

      SOOO glad you liked it! I just adore that recipe and in fact, I’m whipping up a batch to take to a church party tonight 🙂 Definitely one to keep around because making that and chopping some apples and opening a bag of pretzels sure isn’t hard but everyone loves it! Thanks for the comment!

      1. auntbea921

        Thank you for the Caramel Recipe been looking for one I can`t wait to try it. your baby boy is adorable !!! So Sorry to hear about your Chickens. My Hubby loved that Perfect Pound Cake So Moist except mying didn`t come out yellow it was a grayish color where did I go wrong? I know of one thing I did wrong I forgot to add the vanilla extract so l added to the milk ? Thanks, auntbea921

    1. Melissa

      I have no idea! I don’t think it would have the same texture with something else because the corn syrup is what thickens so well when cooked… Can you order it online?!

  6. Patti

    I can’t wait to make this caramel dip! However, it may not all get gobbled up immediately. Do you think left overs could be stored in the refrigerator?

    1. Melissa

      Yes ma’am! It stores great but firms up a lot when cold so plan on letting it warm up a big before serving again. You are going to love it!

  7. Hi there!! Quick question – I need to make caramel dip for multiple people as a gift, and I was just wondering if the recipe doubles well, or if there’s a different multiple for a double batch. Also, if stored in sealed mason jars, how long can this stay out without refrigeration?

    Thanks!

    1. Melissa

      You can double the batch just fine but I wouldn’t try to triple it or anything… and I say you are good out of the fridge for at least a day. It has plenty of sugar in it and sugar is a great preservative 🙂 Making it for a gift is an awesome idea!

  8. I jumped out of a window when I was 9 months pregnant–the locks were switched on my bedroom door in our old 1924 house, while I was napping my husband locked the door so my other boys couldn’t come in and wake me up…and then they went on a walk. When I woke up I was locked in and didn’t have a phone or anything, so I just jumped out the window since I had no idea when they were going to be back or what time it was and I needed to get ready for church! Hahaha, sadly it didn’t put me into labor 🙂

    I made this caramel dip yesterday, it was super duper delicious! Although mine ended up with some brown burnt flecks…thanks to a baby falling off a chair and then a squabble between two older boys. Sheesh, you would think I could have at least 15 minutes to stir something! Mom duties. I have dipped every cracker and fruit in my pantry, all delicious. Thanks! I hope you had an awesome weekend!

    1. It makes about 4 cups. If you are serving it in a bowl with a spoon to dish it, I bet most people take about 2 tablespoons on their plate. Does that make sense? But when I give it as a gift I plan on giving a cup away in a cute jar.

  9. Cricket R.

    I just made this and it turned out grainy. Any idea what I did wrong? It still tastes good, but the grainy texture is a bit “off-putting”.

    1. Sometimes if you stir to vigorously or if your sugars are old it will do that. Honestly I’m not sure. I normally have about 1 batch out of ever 10 be grainy, even if I make it exactly the same… maybe the humidity in the air? I really don’t know…

  10. Kimberly

    Just made it, delicious! I’ve been looking for a dip for the kids. They’ll eat apples in their lunches especially if they have something to dip them in. We just ran out of Nutella?

  11. Rachel Gordner

    I love this recipe! I thought at first the sugar wouldn’t dissolve down but it’s the smoothest recipe I’ve tried! Perfectly thick for dipping. Thank you a million times over!

  12. bonnie christensen

    How much does this recipe yield. I plan on using sm jelly jars. Also how long does this stay good. Giving as christmas gifts with apples. Thank you

  13. Amy

    Can you freeze this dip? Or can you freeze sweetened condensed milk? I don’t need an entire batch of this (single girl here) but it sounds divine!

    1. Melissa

      You can freeze the sweetened condensed milk for up to three months! That would be your better option opposed to freezing the caramel! ENJOY!

  14. andrea

    This was exactly what I was looking for so my kids (one with braces and one missing two front teeth) could enjoy caramel apples this fall! This was easy and quick and tasted great, thanks! We may never go back to whole caramel apples.

  15. Stephanie

    Made this for our Halloween party and it was perfect. I did get some brown flecks near the end of stirring but it wasn’t too bad so I just kept going and hoped for the best. Once it cooled you couldn’t see them or taste them. I cooled it down, refrigerated it and then reheated it for about 3 minutes at 50% power in the microwave. Perfection!!

    1. Melissa

      It’ll keep a good long while in the fridge though I did notice that it starts to get grainy as it ages. I’m not sure if that’s something you could heat back out of it (by warming it up slowly) or not. I’ll have to try!

  16. Jenny

    Just wondering if I cooked a little longer could this be made into chewy carmel candy? Also, I am thinking about making this and a hot fudge sauce for Christmas gifts do you have a hot fudge recipe too?

  17. Sam Maestas

    Such a great recipe! I store it in the fridge until I want some and spoon it out and warm it for 15 sec. In the microwave and it’s perfect.

  18. Amanda

    This caramel dipping sauce is amazing.

    I found this recipe (and your site) via google, and I’ll be honest — I tried two other recipes first. For some reason, I was afraid of the sweetened condensed milk because it’s not an ingredient I’m familiar with (the other recipes called for heavy cream). I was not thrilled with the first two recipes I tried — one was really thin, more of a brown sugar sauce, and the other turned to chewy candy instead of a sauce (because I had to caramelize white sugar, which is tricky without a thermometer).

    Your recipe, however, was PERFECT. It’s delicious, ooey-gooey but not too thick, and it’s perfect for dipping (scoopable, sticks to sliced apples). I poured it from the hot pan into clean glass jars, then needed to heat it for 20 seconds before serving the next day, and it was perfection.

    My brother just texted me: “I finished the ice cream and apples [you sent home with me], and found myself eating the rest of the leftover caramel from the jar with a spoon.” So, there you go.

    RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. Would highly recommend to friends. I’m considering making it as gifts for Christmas. Thank you!!!!!

  19. Leanna

    This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it! I am going to be making it for gifts, and I need to multiply the recipe by about 6x. I saw in a comment below that you said you wouldn’t triple it, and I was wondering why not? I am thinking of giving it a shot tripling the recipe so I don’t have to make it three times…. just twice… but wondering what I should look out for. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Melissa

      I found that that too much liquid in the pan (aka large batches) tend to get too hot on the bottom and burn before the rest of the pan gets to the proper temperature. If you have a big nice pan with a heavy bottom to help prevent scorching then I’d try the triple batch and if you have kind of a normal pan then I’d just do three batches to help avoid burning it. Burning a big batch is so disappointing!

  20. Amy

    This recipe is AMAZING! We made it at Halloween for dipping cut apples. It was seriously so delicious we couldn’t stop talking about it. So we made tons and gifted it to our neighbors for Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing this. It was so simple to make and a huge hit!!!

  21. Anna

    Just made It! So delicious! I got some brown flecks in mine as well, but that happened when I added the sweetened condensed milk. But to remove most of the flecks I poured it from the sauce pan through a sieve into my serving/storage dish. A few of the smaller ones made it through, but it removed most of them!
    Thank you for the recipe!

  22. Kristin

    Amazing!! I mean seriously so easy and so freaking good! I may or may not have just burned my tongue because I couldn’t wait for it to cool. I sprinkled a little coarse sea salt on the top and dipped some apples in it and my life is forever changed!!

    1. Melissa

      LOL yessss to the burned tongue, been right there with you sister. And I LOVE salt on it too. So glad you loved it as much as we do!

  23. Sandy Butler

    Absolutely delicious dip! We ate ours with apple slices and everyone raved about it! Thank you for sharing!!

  24. Elleni

    Looking to make this dip for our youth group of 100-wondering about how to adjust the recipe for a crock pot if that’s possible? And would quadrupling the recipe yield enough dip do you think?

    1. Melissa

      I think 4 batches would be perfect for that many kids! And yes, I think a slow cooker on warm (not even low) would work great! You’d be fine to make 2 double batches of it though I wouldn’t make all 4 at once.

  25. Tracey

    I am having an apple “bar” at a bridal shower in a couple of weeks and want to serve this caramel sauce as an option for dipping sliced apples. I was planning to keep it warm in a chafing dish during the shower. Do you think that will work to keep the sauce “dippable?” Thanks!

    1. Melissa

      The sauce will be dippable at room temp, but it is delicious warm. I think the chafing dish if a great idea if you want it warm, and I think it would be find to skip it too if you don’t want to go through the hassle. It would work great but not totally necessary either.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms
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