The Best Caramel Dip

4.74 from 41 votes

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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.

apples and pretzels dipped in homemade caramel dip.
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I have a few favorite fall recipes that I always make for fun fall parties and events: apple cider, my favorite apple cheese board, and this Caramel Dip.

This caramel dip recipe is something you need in your life. It’s 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 I wanted to share the goodness. And goodness it is! I’ve made this recipe every fall since I first discovered it. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do!

apples and pretzels on a blue and white tray with homemade caramel dip.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This is the perfect homemade caramel for dipping. It’s thick and smooth while still being scoopable.
  • I think of this caramel as party food and repeatedly take it to fall parties. It makes about 3 cups of caramel dip, so there’s plenty for a crowd.
  • It’s really simple to make, too—just cook a few simple ingredients on the stove.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Butter – I use salted but if using unsalted butter, add a tiny bit of salt
  • Brown sugar – either light or dark will work
  • Corn syrup
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Vanilla extract

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

apples and pretzels dipped in homemade caramel dip.

How to Make the Best Caramel Dip

  1. Melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring to combine.
  3. Stir constantly until it comes to a light, bubbly boil.
  4. Remove from heat right away and add the vanilla.

Recipe FAQs

How do you get the perfect caramel consistency?

The goal for this dip is to be 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 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?

If you see that the bottom is starting to scorch (you’ll see little flecks of really dark sugar when you stir), remove the pan immediately. If the caramel hasn’t finished cooking, you can return it to the heat, being careful to stir only the top of the caramel and avoiding scraping up the burnt sugar on the bottom of the pan.

apples and pretzels laid around a bowl of homemade caramel dip.

Expert Tips

  • 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.
  • If the caramel does start to burn, remove the pan from the heat. 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.
  • I serve it with apples and pretzels for dipping, and it’s also fabulous on churro waffles and an easy apple cake.
apples and pretzels dipped in homemade caramel dip.

More Fun Fall Recipes & Projects to Consider

apples and pretzels dipped in homemade caramel dip
4.74 from 41 votes

The Best Caramel Dip

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.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 (Make 3 cups)

Ingredients 

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

  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring to combine.
  • Stir constantly until mixture comes to a light bubbly boil, with just a few bubbles popping through the surface of the caramel (see notes for more details).
  • Remove from heat right away and add the vanilla. Stir to combine.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with apple slices and pretzels, or drizzle over ice cream.

Video

Notes

  • The goal for this dip is to be 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 not for dipping little apple slices and pretzels.
  • The corn syrup is a necessary ingredient so please don’t try any substitutes! (See my note above for more details, as well as this article from Serious Eats.)
  • Don’t wander away from this recipe while it is cooking. A lot of stirring needs to be done so the bottom of the dip doesn’t scorch and burn.
  • 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 carefully stirring 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 24 servings, Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 81mg, Sugar: 31g, Vitamin A: 162IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 0.1mg
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Recipe Rating




171 Comments

  1. judy says:

    Thank you the caramel dip

  2. Sandy Butler says:

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

    1. Melissa says:

      So glad you liked it, it’s an all-time favorite in this house!

  3. Jewelz Allen says:

    this was amazing! should it be shelf stored or refrigerated?

  4. Kristin says:

    5 stars
    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 says:

      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!

  5. Anna says:

    5 stars
    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!

    1. Lucy says:

      Any tips for serving this in a crockpot? What size crockpot would work best? Can it be made directly in the crockpot or should I make on stove first and transfer over to the crockpot? Also will it need to be stirred frequently once served or will be it ok to set out for an hour or two on warm? Hoping to serve at a school function.

    2. Melissa says:

      One batch? More than one batch? It makes about 4 cups. Cook it first on the stove and just put it in the slow cooker on warm, I’d do a smaller one so that it’s not just on the bottom of a bigger slow cooker and stir before serving, the less time in the slow cooker the better…

  6. Amy says:

    5 stars
    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!!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Yay! Food gifts are the best, thank you for leaving a great review!

  7. Leanna says:

    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 says:

      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!

  8. Wendy says:

    I cant wait to try
    How long does it last after made

    1. Melissa says:

      Sugar is a great preservative. It’ll last a good long while (weeks) in the fridge and a couple of days at room temperature.

  9. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    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!!!!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Best review ever! Thank you for taking the time to write that, that means so much to me. We love it too!

  10. Sam Maestas says:

    5 stars
    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.