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Basic Caramel

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 2/3 cup.

The caramel will harden quickly upon cooling.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice


  • Fill a cup measure halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it; this will be used for washing down the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization. In a heavy-duty 2-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it.)


Rate or Review


  • annglin | 04/15/2017

    Please include the cup water in the ingredients. Makes a pretty mess if you don't. Other than that it's fine.

  • Shanna_Aquaritopia | 11/09/2009

    This was a great recipe for basic caramel. Results are as expected. The only thing is that the reader should know that the sugar takes a L-O-N-G time to cook before it starts browning.

  • kits | 12/25/2008

    I would like to see the 1/4 cup of water in the list of ingredients. Other than that easy to follow. It wasn't quite enough to cover the pears in the carmel pear upsidedown cake, but we have yet to release the cake from the pan.

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