The Best Caramel Dip

5 from 18 reviews
This is the best caramel dip recipe ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it’s the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples.
THIS recipe is the one that your friends and family are going to be begging for! When you take it to a get-together you’ll be the star of the show. And the best part – it only took you a few minutes to put together. This is the first recipe I publish online because SO many people asked me for it. You are going to love it too.

This is the best caramel dip ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it's the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples. #homemadecaramel #carameldip #easycaramelrecipe #bestcaramel #thebestcaramel #bestcaramelrecipe #caramelapples #dippingcaramel

The Best Caramel Dip

This caramel dip recipe is something you need in your life. It is actually the very first recipe that I published as a blogger 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 scoop-able. 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, too — 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.

This is the best caramel dip ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it's the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples. #homemadecaramel #carameldip #easycaramelrecipe #bestcaramel #thebestcaramel #bestcaramelrecipe #caramelapples #dippingcaramel

How do you get the perfect caramel consistency?

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.

Can you use something other than corn syrup?

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 The Kitchn about it.

What should I do if I notice my caramel is burning?

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.

This is the best caramel dip ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it's the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples. #homemadecaramel #carameldip #easycaramelrecipe #bestcaramel #thebestcaramel #bestcaramelrecipe #caramelapples #dippingcaramel

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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 min
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x

Description

This is the best caramel dip recipe ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it’s the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples.

Scale

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, dip-able, 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, but 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.
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: caramel dip, how to make caramel dip, easy caramel recipe, homemade caramel apples, homemade caramel, how to make caramel, best caramel recipe

Want To Save This Recipe?

This is the best caramel dip ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it's the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples. #homemadecaramel #carameldip #easycaramelrecipe #bestcaramel #thebestcaramel #bestcaramelrecipe #caramelapples #dippingcaramel

This is the best caramel dip recipe ever. Made on the stove with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, it's the perfect consistency for dipping pretzels and apples. #carameldip #caramelrecipe #homemadecaramel #caramel #caramelsauce

Other easy desserts you might like:

This post was originally published in October 2009, was republished with updated text, recipe instructions, and nutritional information in October 2017, and was updated and rephotographed again in September 2019.

This is truly the BEST caramel dip, and it’s perfect 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!).

Caramel Dip

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105 Responses
  1. I plan on making this recipe for Christmas gifting this year but I bought the light corn syrup made with vanilla would that be okay to use and then maybe just leave out the vanilla extract or still add vanilla extract and then how long does this caramel keep in a jar?

    1. Melissa

      I bet the corn syrup with vanilla will have enough flavor that you can omit the vanilla extract, that sounds delicious, I’ve never seen it before. And it’ll be best within 3 days but it’ll last about a week in the jars.

    1. Melissa

      As a general rule you don’t can anything with dairy products in it, so no I don’t home can this and I don’t know of a way to do it. Sorry!

  2. Rayna

    This sounds exactly like what my husband needs for his apple dipping addiction. Thanks so much for the recipe! The store bought caramel is getting expensive. How do you store this and how long would it be good for?

    1. Melissa

      He’ll love it! I store it in the fridge and it’ll last 2 or so weeks, just warm it a bit before serving as it gets very stiff in the cold.

    1. Melissa

      It should be just fine. It does tent to get just a bit grainy with time, but if you are warming it up a bit again, it’ll smooth it back out. If you are serving it at room temperature I’d make it only 2 days in advance!

  3. Jessica

    This is by far the easiest and most delicious 😋 caramel recipe ive ever tried. I used sweetened condensed coconut milk and it worked beautifully. I boiled it a little longer so it was thicker to top a cheesecake. was a hit with the while family!

    1. Melissa

      Whattttt?! I didn’t even know they made sweetened condensed coconut milk! Do they sell it or did you make it. That’s so cool, thank you for sharing that.

  4. Mary Ann

    I was looking for a caramel recipe that didn’t use caramel candies. Yours looks perfect! I tried it, and mine turned out light colored, grainy, and tasting very much brown sugary. Did I not cook it long enough? I did use light brown sugar, as I don’t keep dark brown on hand. It barely was bubbly, because I was afraid of burning it. Any thoughts on what I did wrong? Thanks!

    1. Mary Ann

      Well regardless of the brown sugary taste/graininess we ate it all up on our apples! I think it has a great consistency, so I will be trying again! Maybe just decreasing the sugar a tad, and making sure it is all mixed into the butter really well before adding other ingredients. Thanks for posting!

  5. LuJean Schneider

    This really is the best carmel apple dip I have tasted.
    I substituted Agave Syrup for the corn syrup and it worked great!

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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.