car·​a·​mel·​i·​za·​tion ˌkär-mə-lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce caramelization (audio)
: the process of heating sugar (such as granulated white sugar or the sugar contained in a food) at high temperature so that water is removed and the sugar is broken down (as into glucose and fructose) and then reformed into complex polymers producing a sweet, nutty, or buttery flavor and golden-brown to dark brown color : the nonenzymatic process of changing sugar or the sugar content of a food into caramel (see caramel sense 1)
An intense caramelization of the carrots concentrates their flavor and brings up their sweetness until they're almost like candy-but the roasted garlic and thyme keep the dish on the savory side.April Bloomfield

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web High heat brings caramelization in the form of browning, sometimes even charring. Meredith Deeds Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 24 Feb. 2021 Dutch ovens look like stockpots but have wider bases and slightly shorter but thicker walls that allow for better browning and caramelization of ingredients and retain heat well, as well as doubling as serving pieces that keep food warm on the table. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, 22 Dec. 2020 With just-ripe bananas, the starch helps hold the cookies together, and the caramelization will bring out their natural sweetness. Washington Post, 2 Dec. 2020 Our senses have two chemical processes to thank for browned, better tasting food: the Maillard reaction and caramelization. Aaron Hutcherson, Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2023 The caramelization process may take 45 to 60 minutes. Sara Bonisteel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Apr. 2023 Too much can lead to caramelization as opposed to a Maillard reaction due to the relative lack of proteins and amino groups. Ashton Yoon, Discover Magazine, 10 Oct. 2017 Add the butter; this will stop the caramelization. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 22 May 2020 Here too, the caramelization brings out more flavor. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caramelization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1845, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caramelization was in 1845

Dictionary Entries Near caramelization

Cite this Entry

“Caramelization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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