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 helps to create a nice stickiness to the outside of the meatloaf, which is briefly broiled at the end in order to caramelize the top a bit and crisp the edges of the bacon. Meredith Deeds Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Bacon-wrapped meatloaf brings sweet comfort," 4 Nov. 2020 Continue cooking and stirring until apples begin to soften and caramelize. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Go small and stay home: How to make Thanksgiving 2020 special," 3 Nov. 2020 The Fujis will caramelize beautifully without getting soggy for a bite that feels just a step removed from the tree. Paul Stephen,, "Fall apple crop stars in dishes with chicken, with potatoes in gratin, with sweet potato in soup, in Lidia Bastianich’s celery root salad and more," 28 Oct. 2020 For this goat curry, use the Instant Pot’s SAUTE setting to warm the spices and caramelize the onions before browning the meat, which may go faster than on the stove top. Washington Post, "Instant Pot recipes for risotto, braised chicken, black bean soup and spaghetti," 21 Oct. 2020 Add onions and peppers to pot and sauté over medium heat, allowing to soften and caramelize somewhat. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Chicken Cacciatore: a big pot, big love Sunday supper," 15 Oct. 2020 Uncover pot and continue cooking until onions are starting to caramelize but are not yet browning, about 25 minutes more. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "Outdoor Dining Now: Cozy Recipes for Chilly Nights," 9 Oct. 2020 Caramelized Onions and Fontina Flatbread took a minor investment of time in order to caramelize the onions. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Flatbreads let your creativity flow," 6 Oct. 2020 Cook until apples and pear begin to lightly caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Sautéed Apples, Pear & Cranberries," 5 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for caramelize

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The first known use of caramelize was in 1837

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Statistics for caramelize

Last Updated

10 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caramelize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for caramelize


How to pronounce caramelize (audio)

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

Comments on caramelize

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