car·​a·​mel·​ize | \ ˈkär-mə-ˌlīz How to pronounce caramelize (audio) ; ˈker-ə-mə-, ˈka-rə-mə-\
caramelized; caramelizing

Definition of caramelize

1 transitive to subject (sugar or the sugar content of a food) to caramelization : to change into caramel (see caramel sense 1) by heating at high temperature … flan bathed in caramelized sugar and topped with whipped cream …— Penelope Casas At a restaurant, some unlucky prep cook gets to peel, slice, and caramelize bags of onions in the morning.— Stephanie Alleyne
2 intransitive : to change to caramel Fructose begins to rapidly caramelize at around 200 degrees …— Matthew Card : to undergo caramelization These sweet potatoes caramelize slightly in the oven, which gives them a sweet crunch as their flesh remains creamy.— Lesley Porcelli

Examples of caramelize in a Sentence

The onions will take five minutes to caramelize. Caramelize two cups of sugar. Continue stirring until the sugar caramelizes.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This gives the final product more texture, with a nicely caramelized outside and a super-tender interior. Katie Workman, The Seattle Times, "Which to buy? A slow cooker or Instant Pot?," 29 Mar. 2019 Their flavor becomes concentrated and their natural sugars caramelize, transforming them into richly satisfying sides. Good Housekeeping, "Vegetable Roasting Guide," 16 Feb. 2010 Set 100g caramelized banana jam in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared tart shell, then lay 300g sliced ripe bananas evenly over banana jam. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "How to make the best banana cream pie ever," 4 Dec. 2018 Their organic turkey is drizzled with cornbread dressing, and served with haricots verts, fried onions and caramelized onion gravy. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Where to Dine Out for a Traditional-ish Thanksgiving Meal in New York City," 14 Nov. 2018 Roast until cabbage is tender, shallots are caramelized, and grapes are beginning to break down and release some juices, 15 to 18 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Red Grapes and Cabbage," 7 Jan. 2019 Stir in vanilla and cook until lightly caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes more. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Parsnip-Potato Latkes with Quick Sautéed Apples," 27 Nov. 2018 Simmer for 30 minutes, until onions caramelize, stirring occasionally. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "Celebrate Fourth of July with these Louisville chef throwback recipes," 2 July 2018 Bake the focaccia for about 20 minutes, rotate the pan back to front for even cooking, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or even longer, until the bread is golden brown and the onions and tomatoes are nicely caramelized. Devon S. Fredericks, House Beautiful, "The Easiest Focaccia You'll Ever Make," 3 July 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caramelize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caramelize

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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The first known use of caramelize was in 1837

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English Language Learners Definition of caramelize

: to cook (something, such as a fruit or vegetable) slowly until it becomes brown and sweet
: to change (sugar) into caramel by cooking it

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