car·​a·​mel·​ize ˈkär-mə-ˌlīz How to pronounce caramelize (audio)
caramelized; caramelizing
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
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

Example Sentences

The onions will take five minutes to caramelize. Caramelize two cups of sugar. Continue stirring until the sugar caramelizes.
Recent Examples on the Web And, main course dishes include the restaurant’s signature Lobster Risotto, the renowned Chicken Pie, Spring Lamb that comes with cabbage, caramelized onion, and anchovy, and, vegetarian offerings like the Vegetable Tagine and Marinated Aubergine. Allyson Portee, Forbes, 2 May 2023 The sugar snaps and onions were caramelized and slightly charred. Melissa Clark, New York Times, 12 Apr. 2023 Official tasting notes mention ripe fruit and caramelized almond on the nose, followed by creamy vanilla toffee, citrus, and green apple on the palate, with an oaky finish. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2023 Dulce de leche Some Argentinians would argue that licking dulce de leche (caramelized milk and sugar sauce) from a spoon is a meal in itself. Sorrel Moseley-williams, CNN, 5 Mar. 2023 Once onions are caramelized, add wine and sherry to the pot and allow mixture to come to boil. Sara Bonisteel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Apr. 2023 Roast for about 30 minutes, until the lamb is evenly browned, the oranges have caramelized and an instant read thermometer in the middle of the thickest part of the lamb registers 125 degrees. Christian Reynoso, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Apr. 2023 Remove lid and let onions caramelize until golden brown over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Sara Bonisteel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Apr. 2023 Their 2018 vintage is aged in François Freres French oak for 14 months and has aromas of ripe cherry, caramelized orange peel, and cinnamon. Mike Desimone And Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 13 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caramelize.' 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

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of caramelize was in 1837

Dictionary Entries Near caramelize

Cite this Entry

“Caramelize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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