How To Caramelize Sugar

How To Caramelize Sugar

We all use sugar daily, whether we make salty or sweet food. I’m sure we all know that there are millions of ways in which you can use sugar, but, today we’ll focus on different methods to caramelize the sugar.

What Exactly Is Sugar?

Sucrose is found mainly in plants, but sugar cane and sugar beets are their richest source. Sucrose is nothing but a snowy granulated sugar commonly used in day-to-day baking.

The combination of glucose and fructose plays a significant role in the making of sugar granules. The chemical bond of these sugar types is so strong that it makes a cubical sugar granule.

sweet white sugar
Photo by Pixabay

What Is Sugar Caramelization?

The caramelization of sugar means heating and melting sugar granules, either with water or alone. Caramelization does not only mean the melting of sugar; it also leads to a change of sugar from solid to liquid and even its color. Sugar, while melting, changes its color from snowy white to a caramelized brown texture.

Now let’s see how to melt sugar!

What Happens When You Caramelize Sugar?

Sugar syrup develops when you heat the water and sugar together at a high temperature. As water evaporates at a higher temperature, only leaving melted sugar behind.

Continuous heating of sugar at high temperatures leads to the decomposition of sugar. Not only it leads to decay, but it also changes the color of sugar. So the end product you get after heating is darker in color than the actual color of sugar. Heating also changes the taste as it makes the syrup nutty, so they use it in various desserts.

Ways To Caramelize Sugar

There are two ways to melt(caramelize) the sugar, which is as follows:

  • Dry caramelization
  • Wet caramelization
caramelizing sugar
Photo by Pixabay

How To Melt Sugar: The Dry Method

This method is much quicker and does not need any ingredients except sugar. Below is the process using which you can caramelize the sugar the dry way!


  • Granulated White Sugar


  • Heat the sugar in a saucepan, add sugar as per your desired quantity.
  • As the heating proceeds, the sugar will start losing water, and it will caramelize.
  • The sugar color will also change from snowy white to brown. Do not forget to stir the sugar well to get caramelized evenly.
  • Heating the sugar will create lumps and unevenness. Stirring at a lower heat will help in caramelizing the sugar and make it even.
  • Color change also plays an important factor in knowing the process state. For example, the dark amber color depicts that the sugar is caramelized correctly.
  • Put the saucepan in ice water as soon as the sugar is caramelized.
  • Voila! Your caramelized sugar is now ready!

How To Melt Sugar: The Wet Method

This method is used by those who do not follow this process professionally or are not often engaged in melting sugar. This process is simple though it takes a lot of time to caramelize the sugar.


  • Granulated white sugar – 2 cups.
  • We suggest using half a cup of water. Though the quantity is not fixed, you can increase the water quantity as per the desired thickness you want.
  • Sugar thermometer
  • Lemon juice – Quarter teaspoon


  • Stir water and sugar in a saucepan at medium flame heat. Later heat till boiling point.
  • The water and sugar will dissolve at 160 degrees Celsius. The syrup mixture color will get clear at this point.
  • It is time to add the lemon juice to the syrup but add a few drops of water before adding the lemon juice. Adding lemon juice will restrict the sugar from recrystallization and keep on stirring the mixture.
  • Stop stirring after the mixture reaches the boiling point. Instead, allow the syrup to churn for eight to ten minutes over a medium temperature. Simmering time also depends on how you want the mixture to turn out thick or thin. Do not stir it, as this will cause the water to evaporate more quickly. Moreover, the blending mixture of the air will affect the process’s timeline and the browning of the sugar.
  • As the mixture’s color turns dark brown, it means that the caramel syrup is ready. Also, please do not leave the mixture in the saucepan as it can lead to excessive heating, which will change the syrup’s color and taste.
  • To lower the temperature of the saucepan, put the saucepan in the water (preferably ice water), same as in the wet method, for about 10 seconds. Then, of course, you have to wait for ten more seconds.

Read more: How To Make Caramel With Condensed Milk

caramelizing sugar with pan
Photo by Pexels

Safety Precautions If You Caramelize Sugar

Tips For Being Safe While Caramelizing Sugar: The heated sugar can stick to your skin and cause issues while pealing it off the skin.

Keep a close eye on the situation and stay mentally alert: This process of melting sugar requires continuous attention. Keeping sugar at a high temperature for melting and looking at various other tasks can cause overcooking of sugar, which will affect the caramelized sugar’s color and taste and might lead to a mishap. 

Use a long-handled spoon or spatula: We would like to suggest you not to use spatulas or spoons with short handles as sometimes, while adding water to the sugar at a high temperature, there can be a sudden increase of bubbles, thus causing an excessive rise of steam which can, in turn, cause some severe hand burns.

Use a larger pan than you believe you will need: You should never use a small pan when working with hot and bubbling sugar. Using a large pan will prevent any mishappening or accidental spillage of sugar on your hand or anywhere near you.

A bowl of ice water should be kept handy: If you accidentally get sugar on your hand, swiftly plunge it in the icy water.

Jillian Noon

Hi, I am Jillian Noon, the owner of this beautiful cooking blog. I create this blog to share my passion for cooking and other kitchen & food tips. I hope you will enjoy it!

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