Sour Cream Caramels


W and I stopped at a coffee shop in Lethbridge this past weekend, where they had a jar of homemade caramels on the counter. And because a large extra shot latte is not a good idea for 11 year olds, I let him have a caramel, which he carried in his pocket all day, intermittently unwrapping one end to take a nibble. “I wish we knew how to make these,” he sighed as it got to the end. At which point I told him that making caramels was easy, boosting my favourite parent points considerably.

When we got home, he suggested making caramels to bring to dinner across the street – a brilliant idea considering there was barely enough time to preheat the oven. We started measuring the butter and sugar before realizing there was no cream – but there was sour cream, and that might be delicious? So we spooned it into the pot and proceeded with great anticipation, and were not disappointed. (Phew.)


These homemade caramels – they’re simple. Truly. You mix sugar, brown sugar, butter, sour cream and corn syrup (or Roger’s or Lyle’s Golden Syrup if you have it – they have far better flavour) in a pot and bring it to a boil, then wait. The only trick is knowing when to pull the pot off the stove, and it’s not a trick at all if you have a thermometer. If not, wait until the mixture looks more uniform and the bubbles slow down – about 15 minutes – and then drop a bit into a glass of really cold water. Feel it – if it’s the texture you want your caramels to be, you’re golden. I cooked these a tad longer than I intended, but all it meant was that they cut more cleanly, and are a slightly firmer chew. (And everyone thinks I meant for them to be that way.)


Once cut, you can leave them as-is, or wrap each in a small square of parchment – easy enough to do while you’re watching John Oliver – which makes them a perfectly suitable party/teacher/just because I think you’re awesome gift, and acts as one extra step to deter you from devouring the entire batch, one by one.

Sour Cream Caramels


September 26, 2016


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sour cream (not low fat or fat free)

1/2 cup corn syrup or Roger’s Golden Syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt


1In a small pot or large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the vanilla and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil.

2Continue cooking without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 244-250°F, or a small amount of the caramel dribbled into ice water can be squished into a soft ball. Stir in the vanilla and salt and pour into a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan. Chill until set, and cut into squares. Makes 3-4 dozen pieces.


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13 comments on “Sour Cream Caramels

  1. Jen Vasseur
    September 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Does it give the caramels a slightly tangy flavour? I love making caramels, black licorice are my best.

    • Julie
      September 27, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Not particularly – sorry, should have mentioned that! They’re just really great caramels, and perhaps more balanced – not as one-dimensional – due to the slight tang of the sour cream.

  2. Meaghan
    September 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Yum! These look so good. Sometimes I find an escaped container of sour cream at the back of the fridge. This would be an excellent way to use it up. Thanks!

  3. Sue D
    September 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I fully expect my life to better from now on, thanks Julie!

  4. Jen
    December 8, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Just saw a small box of homemade caramels at a tea shop in Calgary for $10 and thought- Julie has a recipe for those. My friends and family will thank you as this is what they will be now getting at Christmas. Thanks!

    • Julie
      December 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      So glad to hear it!!

  5. Sherri
    December 15, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I was just wondering if these caramels are soft and chewy or hard and you get suck on them? Either way is good, just needing to know what to expect.


    • Susi
      December 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      If you like them soft, just remove from the heat sooner. The longer they cook, the stiffer the caramel becomes.

  6. Fen Eatough
    December 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I just made these using lactose-free butter and lactose-free sour cream… and they turned out perfectly! I think I’ve got a new favorite recipe!

  7. Deb
    November 19, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Hello Julie, these look perfect for my nephews ( who’s-away at University) care package. How would you store them and would they be good for a couple of weeks? Thanks!

  8. Barbara Archibeque
    April 10, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I was given 2 large tubs of sour cream and found this recipe …I have made these 3x in a week! I’ve been gifting all my friends and family.(they insist I sell them! lol)
    Making my fourth batch after I end this comment. Thank you !

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