Skip to content
Butterscotch Caramel Blondies

Making caramel is easy! You’re simply melting sugar and cooking it until it darkens to just the right color. And that’s it. simple, right? Yes, it is, although some have told me they are afraid to make caramel so I thought I’d offer some tips, advice, photos, and encouragement, to make your own caramel. For additional information, you may also wish to read Ten Tips for Making Caramel.

Dry versus Wet Caramel

First up, there are two different ways to make caramel. A wet caramel is where the sugar is melted with water then cooked until it caramelizes. And a dry caramel, where the sugar is cooked by itself until it liquefies, then caramelizes. A dry caramel works because sugar is mostly water and heating it will liquefy it. (People often want to reduce sugar in cake and cookie recipes, but it’s important to know that sugar makes things moist. Sugar also inhibits freezing, which makes ice cream scoopable.)

For our purposes here, I’ll be talking about making a dry caramel, which is less-temperamental than a wet caramel, but some of the same rules apply, including knowing when it’s done. The most important thing to monitor when making caramel is to cook it to just the right color and flavor. Undercooked caramel just tastes syrupy and burnt caramel tastes burned. So you want to get it to just the right point between the two.

People have asked me about using a thermometer. I once used a probe thermometer and blew out the device. So I think it’s better just to learn to rely on your nose and your eyes. After you’ve made caramel a few times, you’ll get the hang of it and know when the color and flavor is just right.

Because you’re dealing with very hot sugar, that’s sticky, here are a few safety precautions to take:

– Be careful about getting your hands anywhere near molten sugar. You may feel more comfortable wearing oven mitts and a long sleeve shirt. Caramel is hot and can splatter, especially when adding other ingredients to it.

– Use a sturdy large pot or pan if adding liquid ingredients to the finished caramel, which can bubble up and overflow. Use a pan bigger than you think.

– Keep a deep bowl of icy water nearby to plunge your hand into if a bit of caramelized sugar lands on it.

– Resist the urge to taste the hot caramel. While the caramel may not be hissing or making any noise, it’s very hot and I’ve seen people dip their finger in to give it a taste. Don’t taste the caramel until it’s cooled down.

– Know when it’s done. Caramel is done when the color is a rich, reddish-brown, similar to the color of an old copper penny. Perfect caramel should be cooked just past the point where it starts to smoke. Some recipes advise cooking caramel until it starts to smoke—but that’s too soon. It will just be a few seconds after, but those extra moments give the caramel a slight edge that makes it less-sweet, and more flavorful. The picture at the top of the post of me pouring caramel is exactly the right color.

To get it right, I take a sniff once it begins to turn amber-colored and darkens. I keep a very close eye (and nose) on it and just after it smokes, but before it burns, that’s when it’s done. (To stop the caramel, do what the recipe advises. Generally, you either add liquid to it, or butter, or place the bottom of the pan in a basin of ice water.) If you screw it up, sugar is cheap so consider the loss an educational expense, and after you make caramel once or twice, you should get the hang of it.

Making The Perfect Caramel

1. Start with an even layer of sugar in a heavy-duty pan, such as a deep skillet or wide saucepan.

  • Heat the sugar over moderate heat, keeping an eye on it. The main trick at this point is that sometimes it'll start burning in a spot beneath the surface, especially if the sugar is pretty deep. But in general, it should start to liquefy at the edge first with perhaps a few blips near the middle.

2. Cook the sugar over medium-high heat. Keep an eye on it and when you see it start to liquify tilt the pan to keep the sugar cooking evenly. You can also stir it if it threatens to burn in any particular spot, as it’s starting to do above. Once the caramel starts browning, very gently stir the sugar so it doesn’t burn in any places.


At this stage, it can quickly turn dark, so pay attention!


3. Your caramel may begin to get lumpy and grainy, but don’t worry. Just lower the heat and keep stirring. Any stubborn chunks should melt as you continue. If not, they can be strained out later and should be such a small quantity that they won’t likely affect the outcome of the recipe.

4. Uh…help! Ok, what happened below was it got stirred too much and the sugar lumped up before it had a chance to melt and liquefy. But all is not lost…


Continue cooking over very low heat, stirring gently.


It will come right back to being smooth. Any stubborn bits can be strained out.

  • At this point, if you’re using the caramel to line a mold, such as for a flan or crème caramel, immediately pour the caramel into the molds or ramekins.
  • For making spun sugar, you should dunk the bottom of the pan in ice water to stop the cooking so it doesn’t continue to cook past the point of doneness. It’ll keep cooking once you take it off the heat, unless you ‘stop’ it somehow, or by adding something to it.
  • If you’re stopping the caramel with something, such as cream or butter, add it right when the caramel reaches the desired color and depth-of-flavor. Warm cream will incorporate more smoothly into the hot caramel than cold cream.
  • You can cheat and use straight caramel (with no cream or butter added) to top a solid custard to turn it into a crème brûlée by pouring a small amount over the custard, turning it to create a thin layer, and letting it cool at room temperature. Don’t refrigerate them or you’ll risk them becoming soggy.
  • Make an easy praline by adding an equal amount of toasted nuts (equal to the sugar by weight or volume) during the last moment. Stir them in quickly with a bit of salt, then pour the mixture on a lightly greased baking sheet. Once cool, crush and fold into ice cream, scatter over desserts, or enjoy as candy.

    Related Recipes

    Salted Butter Caramels

    Chocolate-Covered Salted Peanut Butter Cups

    Chocolate-Caramel Tartlets



    • Olivia

    This post is extremely easy to follow. Thank you for making carmelizing understandable. :)

    • jennifer

    i’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but you are awesome! i’ve been reading your site for a couple of days now, going further and further into the archives. i’m thoroughly enjoying every minute of it!! this post was incredibly helpful!!

    • Marni

    that caramel ice cream photo is staring back at me! i am slowly working my way through your ice cream book. i may have to make ice cream tonight. thanks a lot! :-P

    • michelle

    this pictorial is just what i needed – i almost always get gun-shy and take my caramel off the heat way too early, or end up with something so burnt tasting that the complexity of the bittersweet sugar is lost.

    also, the picture of the caramel ice cream is making me want to haul out the ice cream maker despite the current temperature of 29 degrees.

    • Suzanne

    Oh my gosh, I’m totally with Marni and Michelle–I’ve been dreaming about that caramel ice cream! I have The Perfect Scoop but missed the 60-degree “heat wave” we had here in upstate New York in the beginning of January, and I just haven’t been quite brave enough to try that ice cream. I got an ice-cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid for Christmas (and The Perfect Scoop) and will, with the help of your blog, David, try making caramel ice cream soon! Thank you for your careful instructions and wonderful pictures. Being able to see what the caramelizing process looks like is essential for me.

    • Connie

    Are you telling us that your next book will be on Caramel ?? yum

    • victoria

    i hope you always have a blog to share your great writing and pictures!

    • teal


    Thanks for all the great posts! I really look forward to reading you blogs and always get excited when your RSS feed updates. =)

    Tonight some friends and I were discussing the possibility of making caramel with things other than sugar. I haven’t quite figured this one out yet – is it possible to make caramel with date sugar? What about with honey? Or agave? I imagine that it might be possible to make something similar to straight up sugar-caramel, but not identical. Have you experimented with non-(table)-sugar caramels?

    In reading through a few of my cookbooks it seems that caramel (in the sugary sense) happens when sucrose is being broken down – is it possible to make caramel when that sucrose is mixed with all sorts of other types of sugars (like fructose)? Are there some compounds that inhibit the formation of caramel (i.e. if there are other non-sugar complex carbohydrates present will that cause a problem?)

    Have any of the rest of you thought about or experimented with making caramel with different sugar alternatives?

    • ruhlman

    thanks for the post david and the enormously informative pix.

    would have loved to learn how you use various enrichers and how thin you like a sauce. if i recall you use slightly more cream than sugar in your caramel sauce in the book. spirits and extracts can flavor caramel, but would you ever use juices? but you’d have had to have written 30 pages.

    coincidentally, bittman’s recipe column today has what he calls a French walnut tart–which is caramel sauce poured into a shell with walnuts

    • David

    Hi Michael: Each sauce recipe I have is different, and I don’t have a standard formula. I have used fruit juices in my books, but you have to be careful with citrus juice since, as you know, it can get bitter if overheated.

    I did see Mark Bittman’s recipe for Caramel Walnut Tart that was in the NYTimes, and I watched the video. Will all respect, it didn’t look very caramelized to me. The mixture was pretty light when he added the butter and cream, and then he just put it in the refrigerator.

    I’d take it darker myself, but I like my caramel very rich and deeply-colored.

    (He also said “If they had pecans in France I’m sure they would use them”. We do have pecans here; noix de pecan.)

    • EB

    Caramel scared me. It did. It is my favorite candy but the thought of making it freaked me out… no longer my friend…. no longer.

    • Alexa

    I just want to thank you so much for your blog, which I read avidly. I made my first batch of ice-ream with your vanilla recipe. I do not own an ice-cream machine, but it was the weekend and I was at home cooking anyway, so I set a timer and stirred. I added 200 ml of elderflower cordial to your recipe and made elderflower ice cream. It was heaven and I would never have tried it if it weren’t for you! Can caramel ice cream be far behind? I think not!

    • linda

    Great info, I’ll use it when I dare make some.

    • Ben W.

    “sugar is mostly water” ??

    Ben: Don’t know the exact proportion of water, so modified wording in post. -d

    • Steve G

    I think sugar is hydrophilic, which means it loves water and will pull humidity out of the air to keep things moist. That causes problems with caramels, which if they aren’t wrapped in a waterproof paper or plastic will absorb water and get softer over time.

    David, thanks for reminding us that however daunting caramel may be, unlike twitchy recipes that may go wrong at the end, with caramel if you burn the sugar, starting over is easy. You’ll have only lost some cheap sugar, not raw cream, single-source chocolate, or the custard you made with your last vanilla bean.

    • barbara

    Great picture explanation David.

    • Judy in SATX

    Thanks for the tips David! I’ve never tried a dry caramel before, but it doesn’t look to much harder than the wet method. You had said in the previous comments that you’d talk about using additions like corn syrup to a wet caramel – is there another caramel-making post coming?

    Anyway, I’ve always made my caramel sauce with cream. How is the sauce with butter different? What kind of butter:sugar ratio do you use?

    I’m loving all the caramel posts!

    • keith

    Thanks for all the info on Caramel. It’s one of those things I’ve always been scared of. I used to work at Pix Patisserie in Portland. Lots of time when we made dry carmels we used a conbination of sugar and glucose. Do you know how glucose changes the end product?

    • Christy

    I made caramel for the first time last night – the espresso caramels from 101Cookbooks. Really incredibly good. They’re a little soft, but honestly who cares? And I’ve decided that I’m going to cook the caramel a little less done and keep it as a syrup to add to Italian Meringue Buttercream and then I’ll have the most amazing caramel coffee icing known!

    I’ll be interested to try your method with sugar (the one from yesterday used honey)!

    • barbara

    Chocolate, port and an afternoon with Olivier…I’m sooooo jealous.

    • Anamika

    Hi David
    Visting your blog for the first time and i must say, i can a learn a lot from your posts. Thanks for sharing your culinary sklills.

    • Susan

    Okay, so I just had a wondering here…

    I have always been taught that you do not want to change the temperature of a metal too quickly. For example, if I have a hot pan that I need to cool to use for something else, I was taught to run it under hot water, gradually adding cooler water, then turning the hot down until eventually the water is running cold, and the pan was cooled slowly.

    Something about the metal not being able to take the rapid changes in temperature and having a tendency to warp or bend…

    So, I was wondering about that when you said to put the pan in ice water to stop the cooking when the caramel is at the perfect state…would that not potentially damage the pan???

    By the way, I do enjoy your writing…always very entertaining!

    • David

    Hi Susan: You’ll notice I mentioned to use a heavy-duty piece of cookware. I use my All-Clad pan for this, and never have any problems.

    But any thick, solid pot or pan shouldn’t warp.

    (Thanks for your compliment too!)

    • Duncan | Syrup&Tang

    This is marvellous David! Oh, and I SOOOO think books should have 6 pages on making caramel. Absolutely.

    • Lyra

    On my list of things to do tonight: make caramel…and Ive been drooling over your caramel ice cream recipe for ages, I really need to bite the bullet and make some.

    • Susan

    Okay, that makes sense that a heavier pan would not be as much of a problem. Thank you for the clarification.
    I did look at your link for the pan and…well…Good Lord, I should hope it wouldn’t warp at 200 bucks a pop!!! It does look like a really wonderful pan though, so I guess I will have to start saving my nickels…lol
    I do have some nice stuff, but still have to work on getting a few of the better quality items…unfortunately for me, cooking is only a hobby and bills have to come first…
    But yeah, I will definitely be trying this sometime soon.
    Have a wonderful day.

    • David

    Hi Susan: Yes, that pan is pricey. But that’s what I use, and love it. And I didn’t want to recommend something that I hadn’t personally used.

    KitchenAid offers a line of inexpensive cookware that seems similar, like this 4.75qt pan for just only $49 (or the whole set for $159)

    You can sometimes find deals in discount stores, although a cheap pan is not necessarily a good deal if it burn things : )

    • Ranji

    Hi i am visiting ur site for the first time and i am really happy to have come across this post.I have had bad experiences making a good caramel but now seeing this post i am sure i can make it better.Thanks for sharing ur culinary skills with us.I will be visiting ur site often now and add u to my blogroll.have a nice day!!!

    • Jack G

    Thanks for these tips and photos…most helpful! I’ve been struggling with the “wet” method in a dark, non-stick saucepan…not good. I have one really good piece of cookware, a Demeyere 9.5″ frying pan, which proved invaluable for this process. With such a heavy pan and great heat distribution, I can avoid stirring too much and just let the pan do the work. In fact, since it retains so much heat, I have to start pouring a bit before it’s done as it will burn while I’m putting the caramel in the ramekins. I’ll never go wet again!

    • Michele

    Thanks so much for writing this as a method. I’ve been looking all afternoon for a decent spun sugar recipe, and they all have the most insane proportions. How much spun sugar does a girl need?! By absorbing the “science” behind it I can make it any amount I need. Yay.

    • Katherine

    Wonderful article on caramel – I’ve never seen it so dark! Probably because mine has a hefty dose of cream, honey, and of course, butter.

    Teal – I’m currently experimenting with using cane sugar, honey, and agave nectar (trying to get rid of corn syrup). Email me if you want an update. As regards to not using white sugar at all, I believe it’s fairly unique in the way that it caramelizes: thoughts?

    • maisa

    i love your picture tutorial. i’ve made decent caramel to coat tops of cream puffs, my problem is it cools down so rapidly, that towards the last puffs, the coating is too thick, how do i warm the caramel up again to make the candy coat thinner without running the risk of burning the caramel?

    • Adrianne


    I made a wet caramel tonight which was a complete disaster. I was trying to make caramel covered apples. The caramel was a hard mess and was no where near the beautiful color you show in your pix.

    Can you explain what I did wrong, and can you provide a caramel recipe to be used to dip apples for caramel apples?


    • Nathaniel


    Thank you for the pseudo-recipes. I’ll be sure to take some of this information and use it soon.

    I’m a little bothered by the comment regarding sugar being water,however. I do agree that the atoms could be reorganized into water, but I think the reason that the surgar melts is because it reaches the point at which it drops from a solid state to a liquid state…just like many other solids.

    • monica

    just a quick note to chime in with the many who have thanked you for this ridiculously helpful tutorial. i am preparing to make my first batch of homemade caramels, and this has given me the much needed boost of confidence. i also believe this will help me to avoid the usual burnt finger(s) thanks to your warning/suggestions. thanks for your thorough and detailed information with us–i’m bookmarking this!

    • Jennifer Goodman

    I just made caramel from agave syrup. It came out tasting really good! I wanted to make caramel but had no table sugar in my home so I mixed agave syrup a little water in to a sauce pan. Whisked for 5-10 minutes until I got that great caramel smell from the pan. Let sit for 5 -10 minutes and Whow!! Great Caramel. This is the first time I have made caramel and decided to bake some apples so I can pour on my caramel sauce. Very Easy recipe. Does not stick to pan. I could try other sugar alternatives but this one came out so good I think I’ll stick to agave.

    • kyle mclaren

    It was helpful, but no site has yet to tell me how to make it harder, like the cubes you can buy at the store.

    • Viki

    Hi David,

    I have been trying to make caramel several times to make flan caramel but I have always failed. Then I stumbled upon your tips yesterday and decided to try again. And I did it! I’ve successfully made the perfect caramel on my first attempt after reading the tips. Smooth and glossy without any clumps.
    Thank you so much! Yours is the one that’s most helpful for me.

    • Elizabeth

    Thank you for this valuable information! I have made horribly burnt caramel twice, and mediocre, and now I suspect undercooked, caramel once.

    • Mohamed

    Hello David,

    I followed your method and when it reached deep brown color, I added a table spoon of salted butter and stirred until homogenized. the problem is that after a while it became rock-solid :(

    How can I make it stay a liquid after cooling it?

    • David

    Hi Mohamed: It sounds like you didn’t have butter in it to make it smooth. You could add more butter, or more liquid, like cream, to smooth it out–depending on what you’re making with the caramel or the recipe.

    • Caroline

    Just wondering if you are the David Lebowitz who used to write a newspaper column and have a radio program in Phoenix.

    Could it be……..???????

    • Emma

    Thank you so much for this – totally invaluable, especially the photos. I had never made caramel before and it came out wonderfully (well, with a few little shreds of solid caramel, but they were delicious…)

    I hope you don’t mind, but I linked to this and your other caramel post in my post about making caramel for the cakes I was making.

    • pchu

    Chef David

    I usually like to do Dry Caramel Method when making it for flan. Lately I’ve been experiencing some problems with the caramel sauce. There are some darker films in the caramel sauce that cause the flan sauce to appear not perfectly “clear” and not attractive. It looks like as if some residues string like all over the caramel sauce. Have you ever had such problem and please advise if you have any suggestions. Please send your suggestions to my email. Many thanks! /pchu

    • Candace

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! My caramels never work and your dry method worked perfectly. I can’t believe how easy it was. Thanks again!

    • Helena Spurr

    Hi, I have justed tried your caramel method to line the ramekins for creme caramel and once i tipped them out ( once the creme was cooked) half of the caramel stayed glued to the bottom of the ramekin rock solid. What am I doing wrong??? I never stirred the caramel, only tilted it ocasionally. Thank you

    • David

    Helena: That’s inevitable and you can rewarm the ramekins and try to scrape it out, but there’s usually enough (depending on the recipe you’re using.) In my books and recipes, I normally make a water-based caramel so it’s more liquidy when upturned.

    • Blanca

    How can i make the caramel less gooey or stick less to your teeth when eating it?

    • Robin

    Excellent article, thanks so much for posting.

    • shirley hansen

    I have a recipe given to me by my sister-in-law for Caramel, chocolate, nut ice cream. I call it Turtle ice cream. We use pecans, real fine milk chocolate. Getting the caramel right is the hardest part of this one. But if you can get it right it is to die for.

      • Janet Anderson

      Please share it Shirley!

    • Tamarah Johnson

    This was perfect! So easy to understand and remember.I bookmarked this link.I agree with everything you wrote.I usually use brown sugar for the caramel but will switch now that I read about the impurities.

    • tinea

    well my caramel is kind of diffrent. it doesnt look like that in the picture ; it has what it looks like floating milk . and i dont know what to do . it was a kit i brought from the store . i dont know how to fix it . CAN YOU HELP .?

    • Sara

    Hi David-
    Thanks for the info. It was very helpful. I made wet caramel last night for caramel apples and I thought it turned out perfectly. But this morning the caramel was rock solid and had changed into a cloudy color. Was this a cooking issue or should it have been stored a certain way? How do you keep it gooey?

    • David

    Sara: Because it’s just melted sugar, plain caramel will revert to it’s hard, crunchy stage, once cooled. So you’ll need to add something to it, generally butter or cream, usually some sort of fat, to keep it a bit gooey once cooled. Most candy apple recipes call for crunchy caramel, but I’m sure a quick search on the internet will yield a recipe for a softer one.

    • TRACY

    Hi –

    I stumbled upon this post when I was attempting to make caramel apples. I used the recipe and my caramel tasted amazing….however, it didn’t really get firm enough to stick well to the apples. Am thinking i didn’t cook it quite long enough. I have another question regarding your caramel. As a child, my mother used to make us caramel covered popcorn as a treat. The caramel became hard and crunchy once it cooled on the popcorn, and was delicious. I’ve tried to make it since she passed away, and I’m always left with a grainy, sticky, not particularly appetizing covering on my popcorn. Any thoughts on preparing the caramel to cover (and harden) on popcorn? Would your recipe above work do you think?

    Many thanks!


    • David

    Tracy: This should be very crisp when cool, as there is no water in it. (Check Sara’s comment, just above.)

    There is a caramel corn recipe on the site, which you might want to give a try. It comes out nice and crisp when I’ve made it.

    • Jennifer Sellers

    Thanks for this! I have made caramel a few times, with varying results. I thought that part of the problem might be the non-stick pan, do you think so? I was able to make dry caramel in a ceramic pan, but wet has generally crystallized. How do you make wet caramel work?

    • Daphne

    Needed to make 4 Tarte Tatin’s tonight for my son’s French class. I have made this recipe tons of times. 1st batch of “caramel” sauce – 3 tbsp water and 1/2 cup sugar – perfect. 2nd, 3rd, 4th – did exact same way and they clumped up and lost all moisture. What happened? Did I stir too much? Have on too high heat? I am so frustrated as I didn’t do anything different that I know of. Why would this happen? The sugar got rock hard and never caramelized.

    • David

    Daphne: If making a water-based (“wet” caramel), you should avoid stirring as that encourages the sugar crystals to re-join and lump together.

    Jennifer: Ditto above. Plus I never use non-stick pans. Even though they say the finish is fine to cook to a certain temperature, I’m skeptical so I always use a heavy-duty skillet or saucepan.

    • Renee

    Hi David-

    What about using organic evaporated cane juice? Does it contain too many impurities that cause crystallization?

    • debra levitt

    I have a huge crop of passion fruit and want to add the fruit to caramels and truffles. I’m not sure how to add the juice. i cooked the juice down for quite a long time and got a thicker puree. I know that water is the enemy of chocolate, but how can the puree be added to cream for truffles and at what point would i add the puree to make caramels as in caramel candy, not sauces. Is there a process that I have not done to make the passion fruit more solid? What proportions would I add the puree to the cream for truffles or the sugar/butter/cream for caramels?
    Thanks for your help.

    I made your French pear tart for Thanksgiving and it won “best taste at the table”.

    • David

    Renee: Having not tried it, I can’t say for sure. But if it’s evaporated already, it’s likely already cooked down, I assume? But you could probably cook it some more if you’d like. Let me know how it works out if you do.

    debra: You can add liquid, although the result with be a runny caramel sauce, not hard and crackly. That can be added to a ganache or perhaps a caramel, but because there’s so much variation in recipes and proportions, it’s not possible to give exact amounts without devising a specific recipe for that. Perhaps you can find a recipe in ai book on candymaking or confectionary. I’ve listed some favorites in baking books for professionals. Or if you live near a bookshop that specializes in such books, you leaf through them to see if there’s a recipe.

    Glad you liked the pear tart, too!

    • yanicca

    I love your recipe Mr. Lebovitz! I’m only 12 and this really works, thanks a lot! : ) You made it so simple and you are funny! LOLz! : )

    • rollie baldwin

    I’m working on making a caramel peach/apricot upside down cake…I think I have it now, thanks. Rollie the baker

    • anon

    Sugar is not partially water. It is simply C6H12O6, while water is H20. No offense intended, but sugar contains no water; it is a simply Hydrocarbon.

    • Jason

    please disregard my last – there is a wealth of good info on here already about caramel I was just being lazy.

    • Stormin

    Thanks for the recipe, I tweaked it a little and it worked out great.

    • julia

    What would you guess went wrong if I had a smooth, clear amber caramelized sugar (made with the wet method), but it turned grainy with the addition of cream/butter?


    • David

    Hi Julia: Once you add a liquid to caramel, in most cases, it can lump up and become grainy. This can be mitigated a bit by heating the cream first, or making sure the butter is at room temperature.

    To smooth it out, depending on the recipe, in most cases you can bring the caramel back to a near boil, stirring it until smooth. If you’re using a specific recipe from someone else, you might want to contact them if you’re having further problems. Good luck!

    • michelle

    This was simple and perfect! I added some heavy cream to turn into caramel sauce for a pear cake. Thank you! You are a genius for simplifying the most basic things.

    • alkanphel

    Great recipe! I’ve never tried to make caramel before. Just a question not related to food, when you take those photos, do you use a tripod?

    • David

    Glad you like the photos! I sometimes use a tripod. But for this, since the process is so quick, I hand-held my camera. You can check out my post on food photography, where I explain a bit more about how I take my shots.

    • rose

    I love you!! Goodbye to my kids commenting on how my upside down cake does not look like the one in the picture!!

    • Laura Pazzaglia

    Thank you so much for this excellent tutorial… especially showing us what can go wrong, and how to fix it! I have linked to it, and recommend it to anyone making carmel for the first time, from my pressure cooker recipe for Creme Caramel – try not to cringe, please!!!

    • Suzanne

    Thank you for this great website and beautiful photography you can tell it is is a labor of love.
    I have early memories of watching my aunt Simone make huge batches of pralines each summer when she would visit from France. We would eat them sparingly to make them last through the winter. I love anything caramel but admit making it is a little intimidating. Your photos are very helpful. You are right white sugar is much cheaper than cream….

    Any advice on converting egg based ice creams to Philadelphia style? Can you just omit the eggs or do you have to maintain a certain milk to cream ratio? If you have already answered this can someone point me in the right direction?

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Suzanne: Yes, I’ve answered that questions in the comments of my post: Tips on How to Make Ice Cream: Questions & Answers. You’ll likely need to use the search feature of your browser to find it amongst the responses. thanks~

    • lacey castillo

    OMG!! I tried this kind of caremal and it was like i died and gone to heaven

    • Kaitlin


    About to make caramel for the first time in my life. I have no idea what it will turn out like and I really don’t want it to burn. Your tips have helped a lot and now I think I’m ready. Be back in how ever long it takes to make caramel.

    • Kaitlin

    Yeah, kinda burnt the first batch because I was writing a comment and it burnt while I was down here. The seconds batch looked great, but when I tasted it, it was burnt. What did I do wrong???

    • Abi

    My caramel seems to go straight to dark brown and burnt tasting as soon as it melts without going through a golden colour. I have tried various temperatures on my gas hob – is the minimum still too high? I would think it was too hot but your recipie says medium heat and the minimum gas is supposed to be low.

    • Ollie

    Hey, I’m making caramel for school to go in a chocolate bar. Any tips? :) If you could get to me soon that would be great!


    • Natalie

    Thank you very much, David! This was terribly helpful in making Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate covered caramel crack(ers!).

    • Natalie

    (Adapted from your own matzoh crunch, of course.)

    • elena

    what if the caramel bitters? what can i do to fix it?


    Hello Chef Lebovitz,
    Excellent article on making caramel. I am however attempting to make a crouquembouche for a wedding and do not want to assemble too soon, on site. So can I make the caramel, let it cool, then reheat to a liquid state then assemble and spin the sugar? I have made caramel before with mixed results but you learn from those mistakes!


Get David's newsletter sent right to your Inbox!


Sign up for my newsletter and get my FREE guidebook to the best bakeries and pastry shops in Paris...