Apple Cider Caramels

Homemade caramels might seem like a laborious task (it’s not) but the resulting Apple Cider Caramels are not to be believed.  Each morsel is chewy and bursting with apple cider flavor.  And you can’t forget the salt.  With the addition of cinnamon and flaky sea salt, the flavor is crazy good!

I will admit that wrapping the caramels is a bit time intensive, but sit down with a chill playlist and relax.  Give yourself about an hour and you’ll be done.

These are caramels worthy of gifting…the host of an upcoming gathering will love a bag of these!

To make Apple Cider Caramels, begin by boiling apple cider until it reduced to about 1/8th of its original volume.  This can take a while (30-40 minutes) but the resulting reduction is rich and flavorful and slightly thickened.

Stir butter, sugars and heavy cream into the reduced apple cider and return the pot to the heat.  Boil until a candy thermometer reaches soft ball stage of 252°F.  It’s okay if you don’t have a candy thermometer;  you can test its readiness by dropping a small bit into very cold water.  It should become firm and chewy and be able to roll into a small ball. If your caramel has reached that point, you are ready to add cinnamon and flaky sea salt.  Pour it into a parchment-lined baking pan to set up.  This can take a few hours. 

Once the caramel is firm, use the parchment paper to lift the slab of caramel out of the pan and place it on a cutting board.  Use a well-oiled knife (very important…I oil it between every cut) and cut 1 inch squares.  Wrap each one in a 4″ square of waxed paper.  You can buy pre-cut wrappers.  I like these ones.

The caramels can be kept at room temperature or in the fridge, but they won’t last long!  Promise!

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Lastly, if you make Apple Cider Caramels, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

Apple Cider Caramels

Makes: 64 pieces

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 4 cups (945 ml) apple cider
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, or less of a finer one
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Neutral oil for the knife


Boil the apple cider in a 3- to- 4- quart saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to a dark, thick syrup, between 1/3 and 1/2 cup in volume. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes on my stove. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, get your other ingredients in order, because you won’t have time to spare once the candy is cooking. Line the bottom and sides of an 8- inch straight- sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment. Set it aside. Stir the cinnamon and flaky salt together in a small dish.

Once you are finished reducing the apple cider, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, sugars, and heavy cream. Return the pot to medium- high heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side, and let it boil until the thermometer reads 252 degrees, only about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it. (Don’t have a candy or deep- fry thermometer? Have a bowl of very cold water ready, and cook the caramel until a tiny spoonful dropped into the water becomes firm, chewy, and able to be plied into a ball.)

Immediately remove caramel from heat, add the cinnamon- salt mixture, and give the caramel several stirs to distribute it evenly. Pour caramel into the prepared pan. Let it sit until cool and firm—about 2 hours, though it goes faster in the fridge. Once caramel is firm, use your parchment paper sling to transfer the block to a cutting board. Use a well- oiled knife, oiling it after each cut (trust me!), to cut the caramel into 1-by-1-inch squares. Wrap each one in a 4-inch square of waxed paper, twisting the sides to close. Caramels will be somewhat on the soft side at room temperature, and chewy/firm from the fridge.

Do ahead: Caramels keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for two weeks, but really, good luck with that.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen


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