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4.5 from 2 votes

Pecan Caramel

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert, Fall Desserts, Holiday Recipes
Author: Terri


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 16 oz box of light brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Dash of salt optional
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans


  • In a heavy bottom pan, melt butter over low heat.
  • Once butter is melted, add brown sugar and salt, and stir thoroughly.
  • Next, add the light corn syrup and continue to stir.
  • Slowly add in the condensed milk while stirring.
  • Cook over low heat and continue stirring constantly.
  • Once caramel starts to boil, continue cooking until the caramel reaches 230° and then start to test for "soft ball stage." This takes approximately 16-18 minutes to get to this point, all the while stirring constantly.
  • If you are unsure what "soft ball stage" means, get a small bowl of cold water and once the temperature reaches 230° drop a little caramel into the cold water and see if it feels soft, but somewhat firm between your fingers. This might need to be done a few times to get to the right temperature for the caramel. If it is too soft and doesn't form somewhat of a ball, continue cooking a little bit longer, stirring constantly. Keep testing for the firmness with the "soft ball stage" method. Once the caramel reaches the desired texture and temperature, remove from heat. Make sure the caramel's temperature does not reach beyond 240° because then your caramel will be too hard.
  • Once removed from heat, add vanilla and stir.
  • Pour caramel into a generously buttered 9x13 glass baking dish.
  • Add pecans to the top of the caramel. Lightly press down the pecans a little bit to set them into the caramel, and then let cool.
  • Once caramel has cooled, remove from baking dish and place caramel on a piece of wax paper. I use a long spatula that has been buttered so the caramel will not stick to it.
  • Cut into bite size pieces.
  • You can wrap the caramel individually in wax paper and twist up the ends, or place caramel in a container with wax paper between the layers.