Caramel Sticks
Prep time
Total time
Translucent amber sticks made of sweet caramel, like hardened glass, are used as a dessert garnish, adding color, crunch, and sweetness. They also make delicious swizzle sticks in coffee and hot chocolate. Caramel sticks are easy to make, and are fun to make in different shapes such as squiggles and zigzags. The caramel can also be poured out onto the baking sheet and broken into shards to use as a garnish.

Caramel sticks should normally be used as soon as made. However they can be placed in an airtight container and stored for up to 24 hours. Do not refrigerate as they easily attract moisture and become sticky.
Recipe type: Dessert | Candy | Caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1. Line a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Place the pan on a wire rack to protect your countertop from the hot caramel. Set aside.
  1. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
  2. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 320 degrees F, a light caramel stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches 300 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 320 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 320 degrees to prevent it from going over 320 degrees. F.
  3. Let the hot caramel sit and cool to 300 degrees F, about 5 minutes. The caramel should be thick like molasses.Making Caramel Sticks
  4. Carefully scoop out the caramel using a teaspoon and pour the caramel off the spoon across the baking sheet, forming thin lines of caramel the length of the baking sheet. The caramel will start to harden immediately. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Repeat with the remaining caramel. When ready to use, the sticks can be left long or broken into smaller lengths. To break them either tap them with a knife or cut with clean kitchen shears.
  5. If the caramel becomes too cool and hardened before you finish making all the sticks, place the pan over low heat to reheat it.
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Medium Heavy-Bottomed Pan, Candy Thermometer Method: Stovetop Pan: One Large Baking Pan Pan Prep: Non Stick Baking Mat Storage: Airtight Container, Cool Place

Help: Sugar and Caramel Stages

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