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How Long Do Homemade Caramels Last? | Storage Guide

Caramels, particularly homemade caramels, are great desserts you can eat as candy or drizzle on baked items. They’re so fun to pop in your mouth and chew that you might have ended up making some of them yourself. But if you have, do you have any idea how long you can keep them?

Homemade caramels can retain their best quality for up to a year if stored properly in the freezer. If kept at room temperature, they may last for four weeks if wrapped tightly and hidden away from light. It’s essential to keep caramels away from moisture and light for extended storage. 

Homemade caramels can be hard to keep for long because of their sugar content, but if you keep reading this article, you’ll learn about different tips to keep your homemade desserts longer. We’ll discuss the best places for storing your homemade sweet treats, whether they really need to go in the fridge, and other common caramel-related questions. Keep reading to find out more! 

How Long Do Caramels Last?

Caramels can last for a pretty long time, even a year, depending on their content and storage. An important note in storing caramels is to keep them in a dry and cool place. Store-bought caramel candies last longer than homemade caramel candies because of the preservatives. 

Preserved caramels may be kept longer at room temperature for months. Homemade caramels can only be kept at room temperature for a few weeks or a month, at most. 

However, we don’t necessarily mean that it’s as good as spoiled when a homemade caramel candy hits the three-month mark. Most caramel candies can last longer than the recommended shelf period and may be eaten beyond that time if it’s not yet bad. 

However, these durations are suggested if you wish to preserve the best quality of your caramels. 

Why Do Caramels Last That Long?

A few months to a year may seem like such a long time for homemade candy, so how do caramels last that long? Generally, the colder the storage place, the longer caramels would be preserved. Hence, they can be kept longest in the freezer. 

Caramels last long because of the conditions they are stored in. They can last very long only when kept in dry and cold conditions. Moisture can affect the texture of the candy, while too much heat can melt it. Content, such as dairy and preservatives, may also lengthen or shorten its shelf life. 

Also, caramels should be wrapped tightly or stored in an airtight container to prevent air, especially humid air, from sneaking in. Even dry air is to be avoided since it could dry out the candy. 

If some of these conditions aren’t met, your caramels most likely won’t last for long. 

How Long Does Caramel Sauce Last at Room Temperature?

Homemade caramel candies on a black background

Caramel sauce is a popular treat paired with apples or drizzled on desserts. It’s made with melted sugar and heavy cream. Because of its dairy content, it can’t last long, even when kept in a freezer. Dairy makes things spoil easier, hence the shorter shelf life.

Caramel sauce can last for up to three days only at room temperature. It must be kept in an airtight, heat-resistant container. To lengthen its shelf life, keep it in the fridge or freezer. Use an airtight plastic bag to store the sauce in the freezer instead of glass to avoid broken glass. 

For long-term storage, it’s good to store it in the freezer so it can last for two to three months. If you want to use it from the freezer, you may have to thaw it or reheat it with a bit of water before using it. 

How Long Do Homemade Caramels Last in the Fridge?

So, how about caramels? Do they have a different shelf life from caramel sauce? Caramels last longer because they have less dairy content than caramel sauce. 

Inside a fridge, homemade caramels can be kept for up to nine months. They may be kept longer, but the quality may not be the same anymore. If you wish to store them longer, it’s best to freeze them instead. 

Do Caramels Go Bad?

Ideally, caramels don’t get spoiled easily when kept well. 

Caramels can go bad, especially when not stored properly. Candies can have mold growing in them or weird tastes and odors. When something feels off, especially the taste, it may be a sign that the caramel is spoiled and should be discarded. 

How Long Does It Take for Homemade Caramel To Go Bad?

There’s no specific timeframe for when homemade caramel can go bad. Some candies can spoil earlier than expected because of poor storage. Others can last longer when kept in the freezer. 

Homemade caramels can go bad between a few weeks until after a year. It depends on how and where they were stored. Poorly wrapped or kept candies can go bad weeks before their expected expiration date. 

Technically though, most caramel candies, even store-bought ones, don’t go rotten immediately on their expiration date. They can be eaten beyond that period if they don’t display signs of spoilage. 

What Does Bad Caramel Look Like?

Even though there might be tell-tale signs for a bad caramel – for example, black specks that stick to the candy – appearance isn’t the best way to discern if the caramel has become spoiled. 

To identify a bad caramel, it’s essential to check for appearance, smell, and taste. Often, the taste is the final factor to consider as badly-shaped caramel can still be edible. If anything feels off with its odor or taste, best to discard. 

Bad caramel may have black specks or other weird particles in it. Melted or misshapen caramels aren’t usually bad; they’re likely just affected by heat. If your store-bought caramel has some white powder on it, that’s normal. Companies use powder to keep the candy from sticking to its wrapper. 

Next, note its odor. If it gives off a funky or weird smell, it may no longer be suitable for consumption. Strong, foul odors can affect how we taste food. 

Lastly, give it a taste. Your caramel can look and smell fine but will taste bad. When it does, throw it away. 

How To Store Caramels

Now that we have established that good storage is needed to keep caramels from going bad, just how do you store them? 

Caramels need to be appropriately wrapped using paper or plastic and kept in a dry, cool place. There’s no need to place caramels in the fridge. However, if stored in the refrigerator or freezer, keep them in an airtight, plastic container to prevent moisture. 

Where Do You Store Homemade Caramels?

Selecting a good place to store your caramels is essential. Too much moisture can make them gooey, so you must avoid humid areas. Too much air can make them dry, so you must find a dry place largely unaffected by air or breezes. 

Homemade caramels can be stored in the pantry as long as it’s dry, cool, and away from heat. Heat can melt the caramel, while air and moisture can affect its quality. It may also be kept in a fridge or freezer. 

When storing caramels, keeping them in an airtight container is also vital. It helps keep air away and prevents exposure to other elements and possible pests. 

What Can I Wrap Homemade Caramels In?

Candy wrappers keep caramels fresh for a long time. They prevent exposure to the different particles and factors that could spoil it.

Homemade caramels can be wrapped using wax or parchment paper, especially when stored inside a freezer. Plastic wrap or cling wrap may also be used when keeping at room temperature. You can also use lined cupcake papers. 

Using wax paper can be tricky, though, as the caramel may stick to it. We shall discuss why it sticks in the next section.

Why Did My Caramel Stick to the Wax Paper?

Homemade salted caramel candies on wax paper

Although wax paper is recommended when the caramel is stored in the freezer, it’s ideally used for too hot food items because the wax can melt in contact with high heat.

Caramel would stick to the wax paper if it were poured in too hot. It’s recommended to pour hot caramel onto a pan lined with parchment paper. Even better, the paper should have a coat of baking spray to prevent sticking.

It’s suggested to start wrapping caramel at room temperature to prevent sticking problems. Thus, if you plan to use wax paper, it may be best to cool it down for a bit (but not too much) before wrapping it. 

How To Remove Caramel Stuck To Wax Paper?

All’s not lost when you find your caramel stuck to the wax paper. There are a few tricks to solve this problem.

To remove caramel from wax paper, gently heat along the side where the caramel has stuck to the paper, just so that it’ll melt for a bit. Once it has detached, pull off the wax paper. You can also pour hot (not boiling) water on the paper side. A hot towel also works. 

Heat melts caramel, and you can use this to your advantage when trying to get your caramel off the paper. 

Can Homemade Caramels Be Frozen?

The cooler the temperature, the longer caramels can be kept.

Homemade caramels can be frozen in a freezer for up to a year. They should be placed in another container when doing so. The container prevents exposure to moisture and air while being in the freezer.

Caramels can last longer than a year when frozen, but the quality may change. They may also not last long in the freezer if not stored properly. 

Do I Need To Refrigerate Homemade Caramels?

Since you can place caramels in the freezer or fridge, does that mean you really should put them there?

You don’t have to hide homemade caramels in the refrigerator. Caramels can be kept at room temperature as long as you store them correctly. You only need to put them in the fridge if you plan to keep them for a few months, at least.

Keeping caramels in the fridge may also be a hassle. You’ll have to thaw or bring them back to room temperature before consumption if you take them out. 

If placed in the freezer, thawing may take longer. When using frozen caramel, it’s suggested that you put it in the fridge first to thaw before taking it out at room temperature.

Best Way To Store Caramels

With so much being said about storing caramels in this article, just what’s the best way to keep them? 

The best way to store caramels is to wrap them in parchment paper. Then, place them in an airtight container before storing them in a cool, dry area. A kitchen pantry is an excellent place to store caramels at room temperature for a few weeks. 

Unless you’re determined to store them long-term, there’s no need for a fridge or freezer when storing caramel candies. Freezing them would just entail more steps in thawing, which would be a hassle if you plan to eat caramel candies every few days (or even every day). 

However, if you’re storing caramel sauce, it may be best to keep it in a fridge or freezer to avoid spoilage. If you choose to keep the sauce in the freezer, use a plastic container instead of glass. Glass can break in freezing temperatures; hence plastic is suggested. 

Final Thoughts

Caramels are sweet delights we want to keep as long as we can. If you only plan to keep them for a few weeks to a month, it’s alright to store them at room temperature, wrapped in parchment paper, and placed in an airtight container.

However, if you plan to keep them longer than that, it may be best to keep them in a fridge or freezer. You’ll have to thaw or reheat them to retain the quality. Also, most caramels are safe to consume even beyond their expiration dates, as long as they don’t look, smell, or taste bad.

For more, check out What Candy Lasts the Longest? | The Shelf Life of Sweets.