How To Soften Caramel That Is Too Hard? – 3 Best Ways From Top Experts

What to do when you need a smooth sauce to drip on your cold apples or drizzle on the ice cream, but the caramel you have is too firm?
How to soften caramel that is too hard?

Here, let’s check out the following caramel tips to discover the suitable methods for creating soft, flavorful sauce from the hard caramel. 

How To Soften Caramel That Is Too Hard – 3 Easiest Methods

Is melting caramel as simple as melting peanut butter? Yes, of course.

However, it might take a little more time as the caramel is tougher than peanut butter.

Here, let us show you the three easiest ways to soften caramel that is too hard. 

Microwave The Caramel

how to soften caramel that is too hard using microwave

You’re in a hurry, and you need a quick method to melt the caramels right away? How to soften caramel in this situation?

Well, if you have the soft caramels, you microwave them to create a smooth brown sauce that can be used for hundreds of recipes. 

Here, let us show you how to microwave the caramel.

  • Step 1: Place the amount of soft caramel you prefer into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Step 2: Add milk to the bowl.

The standard milk/caramel ratio would be two tablespoons of milk for 14 ounces of caramel. You can adjust the amount of milk-based on the amount of caramel. 

You can also substitute heavy cream for the milk if you want a richer flavor. Or, if you prefer to keep the flavor mild, use water instead of milk. 

  • Step 3: Microwave and stir the caramel milk mixture. 

First, microwave the caramel milk mixture on high for around a minute. Then gently stir it using a rubber spatula.

Repeat this process 2-3 times until the caramel sauce reaches the desired consistency. 

  • Step 4: Let the caramel cool at room temperature before using it in your recipe. 

Melt Caramel On The Stove With Liquid

how to soften caramel that is too hard using Stove

Another method of making hard caramel soft is to melt it on the stove with your preferable liquid. Here are detailed instructions on how to make firm caramel smooth by heating it on the stove.

  • Step 1: Add the soft chewy caramels into a medium-sized saucepan. 
  • Step 2: Add the heavy cream to the saucepan.

Start with two tablespoons of heavy cream for 400gr of caramel, and if the mixture isn’t thin as you want, you can add more heavy cream later for a softer caramel

For those who enjoy the milder flavor, use skim milk or warm water instead of heavy cream. 

  • Step 3: Heat caramel mixture on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.

During the cooking process, stir the mixture occasionally to prevent the caramel from burning. 

  • Step 4: Add more heavy cream or milk to customize the consistency.

Based on the cooking purpose, you can add more milk or heavy cream for thinner caramel sauce.

For instance, if you are making soft caramel sauce to drizzle on ice cream, you should add two more tablespoons of the liquid. 

While adding the liquid, remember to stir the sauce frequently until all the ingredients combine perfectly.

  • Step 5: Allow the caramel sauce to cool for a few minutes before using it. 

Use A Slow Cooker (The Best Method For Melting Hard Caramel Candy)

how to soften caramel that is too hard using slow cooker

In case you have a caramel loaf or a bag of homemade hard caramel candy instead of soft caramel chunks, it would be best to melt hard caramel using a slow cooker. 

Here, let us show you how to make hard caramel candy soft and smooth.  

  • Step 1: Set a heat-safe bowl into a slow cooker.

You can pick any bowl you have as long as it fits inside the slow cooker. 

  • Step 2: Place the caramel and the milk inside the bowl. 

Add the caramel candies or some slices of the caramel loaf inside the bowl. Remember not to overfill the bowl. In fact, it would be best if you leave the caramel about 1 inch below the rim.

For the liquid, you can use milk, water, or heavy cream if you enjoy a creamier taste for 14 ounces (397 g of caramels, add two tablespoons of the liquid. 

  • Step 3:  Pour hot water into the slow cooker until it’s level with the caramels.
  • Step 4: Cook the caramels for 1-2 hours.

Place the lid on the slow cooker, then melt the caramels for 1-2 hours on medium heat

  • Step 5: Stir the caramels and cook a little bit longer if needed.

After 2 hours, open the slow cooker and gently stir the caramel mixture with a rubber spatula. 

If the mixture becomes such a smooth sauce brown sauce, then you’re all set. On the contrary, if you notice some lumps on the caramel sauce, add a little more liquid while making hard caramel continue to melt for another 15-30 minutes, then stir well.

  • Step 6: Let the caramel cooler before using.

In case you’re about to dip lots of apples with perfect caramel sauce, then keep the caramel in the slow cooker in a warm setting rather than storing them at room temperature. This is such a simple way on how to keep caramel soft for a long period. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

how to soften caramel that is too hard

Which Is The Best Sugar For Making Caramels?

Granulated white refined sugar is definitely the most suitable sugar for caramel. You can pick the granulated sugar made with either sugarcane or sugar beet as it melts quickly. 

Besides, as it rarely clumps while melting, you would have a super smooth brown caramel when using this sugar type. 

Do You Need To Use A Candy Thermometer While Cooking Caramel?  

We all know that caramel temperature is the key to create smooth caramel with the desired moisture, flavor, and color.

Suppose you don’t use the candy thermometer to check the stage where the caramel is in. In that case, you might end up cooking it at an improper temperature and finishing with too runny caramel or overcooked caramel

How To Cut Caramel?

How to cut caramel loaf into small slices for a shorter melting process? All you have to do is to follow these simple steps. 

  • Step 1: Chill your caramel in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Step 2: Cover your carving board with wax paper, then place the chilled caramel on it.
  • Step 3: Prepare the sharp and warm knife.

Run your sharp knife under hot water until the blade becomes warm. Then, use a clean towel to dry the knife.

After that, spray your knife with a little nonstick cooking spray to prevent the caramels from sticking to your knife.

  • Step 4: Score the top of your caramel before cutting it. 
  • Step 5: Cut your caramel into small squares.

Press the tip of your knife into the farthest caramel part from you and draw the knife to you evenly along the scored lines. 

How To Prevent The Caramel From Forming Unwanted Sugar Crystals?

How to keep melted caramel from hardening? – you might wonder.

Well, to avoid this situation, you can add a little bit of acid, such as lemon juice, to the sugar and stir well before you start the caramel-making process.

The recommended lemon juice sugar would be half a tablespoon of lemon juice of a cup of sugar. 


Here you know several simple ways on how to make hard caramel soft and smooth. Let’s pick the suitable method for your needs and start to make the flavorful caramel sauce for your preferable recipes.

If you have any questions about how to soften caramel that is too hard or want more tips for making caramel, don’t hesitate to leave your comment below.We’d love to listen to you more and support you on the cooking journey to create fantastic foods!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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