Caramelization or caramelisation [See spelling differences.] is the oxidation of sugar, a process used extensively in cooking for the resulting nutty flavor and brown color.

Like the Maillard reaction, caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning. However, unlike the Maillard reaction, caramelization is pyrolysis, as opposed to reaction with amino acids.

As the process occurs, chemicals are released, producing the characteristic caramel flavor. If a sucrose solution is left in a sand bath over night, the sucrose (once the water has evaporated) will caramelize.

When caramelization involves sucrose, it adds one water molecule to sucrose to split it apart to form fructose and glucose, increasing the mass of the sugar (caramel).


Caramelization is a complex, poorly understood process that produces hundreds of chemicals. Here is an overview:
# equilibration of anomeric and ring forms
# sucrose inversion to fructose and glucose
# condensation
# intramolecular bonding
# isomerization of aldoses to ketoses
# dehydration reactions
# fragmentation reactions
# unsaturated polymer formation.

Caramelization temperatures


External links

* [ Sugar in food management]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • caramelization — (Amer.) n. process of producing a caramel (also caramelisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • caramelization — noun a) The process that converts sugars into caramel; the process of caramelizing. Slowly cooking the onions will cause caramelization which will bring out the sweetness and give them a brown color. b) The browning of sugars by heat …   Wiktionary

  • caramelization — karamelizacija statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Kaitinamo (>200 °C) cukraus kitimo procesas. atitikmenys: angl. caramelization rus. карамелизация …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • caramelization — See caramelize. * * * …   Universalium

  • caramelization — car·a·mel·iza·tion …   English syllables

  • caramelization — ˌkarəmələ̇ˈzāshən, er , ˌmel , məˌlīˈz ; ÷ˌkärmələ̇ˈzāshən, ÷ˌkȧm , əˌlīˈz noun ( s) : the process of caramelizing …   Useful english dictionary

  • caramelize — caramelization, n. /kar euh meuh luyz , kahr meuh /, v.t., v.i., caramelized, caramelizing. to convert or be converted into caramel. Also, esp. Brit., caramelise. [1720 30; CARAMEL + IZE] * * * …   Universalium

  • caramelizations — caramelization (Amer.) n. process of producing a caramel (also caramelisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Caramel — (pronounced /ˈkærəmɛl/ or /ˈkɑrməl/) refers to a range of confections that are beige to dark brown in color, derived from the caramelization of one or several types of sugars, often occurring in the traditional cooking method of a sweet. Caramel… …   Wikipedia

  • Honey — For other uses, see Honey (disambiguation). Jars of honey and honeycomb …   Wikipedia

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