Will Caramel Sauce Thicken As It Cools?

Caramel sauces can become runny. Several factors can cause a caramel sauce to be thinner than it ought to be.

  • 1. A cooking time that is too brief: It’s crucial to adhere to the cooking time specified in the recipe for a particular kind of caramel sauce. For instance, the caramel used in a flan recipe differs greatly from the caramel used in a hot fudge ice cream sundae. To make sure a homemade caramel sauce reaches the proper level, use a candy thermometer to monitor the sauce’s temperature. The recipe may also specify a certain colour, such as an amber hue, to indicate the stage of cooking the caramel is at.
  • 2. Not allowing the caramel to cool for long enough to reach the proper thickness. Caramel sauce thickens dramatically as it cools. Place the sauce back on the stovetop and reheat it on low heat for a few more minutes if it is still too thin after entirely cooling. Then take it off the stove once more to let it cool and thicken. Continue doing this until your sauce has the proper consistency.
  • 3. Too much water: To avoid sugar crystals from forming, a caramel sauce recipe may instruct you to brush the pan’s sides with cold water. If you add too much water, the result can be a thin caramel sauce since the water will end up in the caramel itself. To let the extra water to evaporate during cooking, try extending the cooking time.

When does caramel sauce start to thicken?

In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water. Clean the pan’s sides before allowing the sugar to simmer without stirring until it turns a beautiful amber hue (if using a candy thermometer, this happens somewhere between 325F to 350F). The caramel could become bitter if the sugar turns too black.

Pour warmed heavy cream into the sugar after taking it off the heat and letting it cool for a full minute. Whisk quickly to incorporate cream (caramel will bubble up violently so be extremely careful!). If the caramel thickens, bring it back to a simmer and whisk until the sugar melts once more and the caramel is smooth (this could take upwards of 5-7 minutes). Add salt and mix.

If the caramel is too thin, boil the caramel on medium heat for 5-10 minutes to thicken it (the caramel will not continue to brown) (the caramel will not continue to darken). Remember that when the caramel cools, it will dramatically thicken. Similar to how you would thin too much caramel, add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream and whisk.

Keep chilled in an airtight container for storage. Put in the microwave for 30 seconds to fully reheat.

How does caramel change when it cools?

What do butterscotch, toffee, and cream brie have in common? Caramel, as most people refer to caramelised sugar. This delectable ingredient, which is the secret to the flavour of many traditional desserts, can be challenging to prepare, and for some cooks, the procedure seems confused and challenging. Here, we’ll explain the science of caramelising sugar so you can confidently make caramel confections at home, from how it’s done to what can go wrong when preparing it.

Describe caramel. Sugar that has been heated till it becomes brown is caramel. When heated, sucrose, or granulated sugar, melts and darkens, creating various scents and flavours that taste less sweet and more toasted. Granulated sugar has no fragrance and a single flavor—sweet. The sugars glucose and fructose that make up sucrose separate out when heated. These molecules eventually decompose into other molecules that interact to form hundreds of new compounds, including esters with a fruity aroma, phenols with a bitter taste, and others with buttery, sour, nutty, and malty flavours. Caramelized sugar has these scrumptious smells and scents.

Around 320°F, when crystalline sugar melts into clear liquid sugar, the caramelization process starts. The colour turns to light straw or soft caramel brown at 340–350F. When caramel is heated to this point, it may be spooned out in thin strands and when cooled, it hardens and takes on the consistency of glass. This allows you to build spun-caramel cages for desserts like croquembouche. The caramel hue changes to medium brown at 355–360F, and when it cools, it is still hard but not quite as brittle as glass. The caramel turns a very dark brown when heated to 365–380°F and cools to a softer, stickier consistency. Cream, butter, and vanilla are frequently added to the translucent caramel at this temperature to prevent browning and produce opaque-looking caramel sauces and caramel candies. The caramel immediately continues to deepen at the upper end of this temperature range until it reaches about 410F. When it happens, the substance is known as black caramel or baker’s caramel, a less sweet and more bitter browning chemical used to colour anything from gravy to pumpernickel bread to soft drinks like cola.

How is caramel produced? Caramel can be made using either a dry or a wet process. In the dry method, sugar is simply heated in a dry pan until it melts and turns brown. Due to hot places in the pan or the heat source, the sugar has a tendency to brown more quickly and unevenly than it should. To ensure that the sugar is heated and browned uniformly, it is best to use a skillet with a large surface area.

In order to make caramel using the wet method, you must add a little water to the pan of sugar. The sugar is distributed and dissolved by the water to encourage uniform browning. The wet process also extends the total amount of time that the sugar is cooked, allowing for the development of more complex flavours because the water boils out as the sugar caramelises. It’s also simpler to make a light or medium caramel rather than a dark one because the sugar browns more slowly.

How can making caramel possibly go wrong? The caramel becomes granular. The sugar tends to recrystallize more readily with the wet approach than it does with the dry method, which is its main disadvantage. Boiling sugar with water can cause sugar syrup to splatter against the pot’s wall, where it swiftly evaporates and reforms back into sugar crystals. Even one of these crystals can start a chain reaction that will cause the clear syrup to become opaque and gritty. If this occurs, turn off the heat, mix in a few tablespoons of water, put it back on, and wait until the crystals dissolve before proceeding. However, as it’s preferable to avoid recrystallization altogether, here are a few strategies to do so:

  • In order to dissolve any sugar crystals on the pan’s walls, wash the sides with a moist pastry brush midway through the caramelization process.
  • If you oil the pan’s sides before you begin, sugar won’t stick in the first place.
  • If you notice any sugar grains on the side of the pot, give it a minute of lid protection so that any crystals that may have formed can be broken up by the steam.
  • The sugar and water in the pan need a third ingredient. A pure solution is where crystallisation is most likely to happen. A small amount of corn syrup, which is mostly glucose, can be added to reduce the likelihood that a stray seed crystal will start a chain reaction. By dissolving some of the sucrose into its fructose and glucose components, a few drops of acid (lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar) achieve the same result.
  • Wait to stir the syrup until it begins to colour, which shows that most of the water has already boiled off. Before then, it might still include undissolved sugar crystals, which when moved can precipitate the chain reaction of crystallisation throughout the caramel. However, it’s better to wait until you see some amber streaks in the caramel before stirring, and even then, only when you see that some areas are becoming excessively dark. Some recipes advocate swirling rather than stirring.

It burns the caramel. More than 80% of the water in sugar syrup has evaporated by the time it reaches the point of browning. After then, the boiling point increases so quickly that it is simple for it to exceed the target temperature range and ignite. Here are a few suggestions to prevent this:

  • To regulate the temperature, have a bowl of cold water at the ready. When the caramel reaches the proper shade, quickly chill it by submerging the pan’s bottom.
  • Pick the appropriate pot. You’re better off using stainless steel or cookware with a stainless liner made of copper rather than dark-colored pots like cast iron or anodized aluminium that can hide the colour of the caramel as it darkens. (Don’t use copper that has been lined with tin; tin melts at caramelising temperatures.) In order to notice the colour of the caramelising sugar if you must use a dark pot, you can collect it on a stainless steel or other glossy spoon. Additionally, a deep skillet or large saucepan is preferable to a tall, narrow pot because the latter restricts the surface area and prevents evaporation, which slows down the process.

Lastly, a word of caution A hot caramel is a liquid that is about to solidify. It will ferociously burn your flesh if it should come into contact with it. It is hazardous because of three things: First of all, compared to gases or solids, liquids carry heat significantly more effectively. Second, compared to boiling water, boiling caramel is much hotter. Third, unlike water, caramel adheres to your skin rather than rapidly flowing off. In light of this, stir caramel in a very careful manner to prevent splashing. When you add liquids to it, you should take a step back because it will bubble ferociously. Finally, resist the urge to taste the caramel until it has cooled, even though it is delicious.

In the refrigerator, does caramel thicken?

Combine sugar and water in a nonreactive 3 quart pan (I used a stainless steel pan). Heat the water and sugar in a covered pot over low heat until all of the sugar has dissolved. On low heat, this can take 3-6 minutes. Whether you’re unsure whether the sugar has entirely dissolved, gently swirl the liquid with a spatula. Look to see if any sugar crystals are adhering to the spatula.


The mixture will appear hazy once the sugar has dissolved. It’s typical. The temperature should be raised to medium. Keep still! The combination will gradually become clear, as you’ll see. Make sure not to stir the sugar mixture once it has reached a simmer.

You’ll see some sugar stains on the pan’s sides at this point. Getting rid of these sugar spots is crucial. Because any sugar residue can crystallise. The main cause of caramel sauce becoming grainy after a few days.

Brushing the pan’s sides with a pastry brush soaked in water is a standard technique for removing sugar that has stuck to the pan’s surfaces.


Covering the pot of simmering sugar syrup with a lid for two to three minutes helps to prevent sugar crystals from forming on the pan’s sides. And let the steam and condensation to thoroughly clean the pan’s sides.

Normally, I steam the caramel sauce twice throughout the entire cooking period. Just make sure to monitor the process of sugar caramelization. Lift the top to check that the sugar is not caramelising more quickly than is normal.


Don’t let sugar syrup simmering on the stove unattended; keep an eye on it closely. not even for a short while. It’s crucial to stay by the sugar syrup once you see that its colour is beginning to change. It only takes a few seconds for it to caramelise, turning it into an amber, honey gold, or honey brown tint. Keep it from burning.


Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the heat when the caramel has reached an amber colour. Add approximately half of the cream to stop the frying right away. a good stir. Because the mixture will foam greatly, a tall pan should be used. Add the rest of the cream and mix. then incorporate butter after. It will be a thin mixture. Caramel sauce thickens as it cools.


Yes, caramel sauce can be flavoured. Allow caramel sauce to cool somewhat before adding flavourings. I enjoy including Vanilla Bean Paste.

However, you can also experiment with different tastes. Use intense flavourings such as maple, coffee, and sea salt. Little goes a long way. Don’t add too much since it will dominate caramel flavour.


Allow the caramel sauce to cool to room temperature fully. After that, pour it into a plastic jar or container and seal it with a lid and plastic wrap. For a month or more, keep in the refrigerator.


  • On low heat, dissolve all the sugar.
  • Once the sugar and water combination begins to simmer, do not stir it.
  • Make sure the pan’s sides are spotless and free of any sugar residue. Wash the pan’s sides with a pastry brush dipped in water.
  • or employ the condensation/steam technique. When making the caramel sauce, I use the steam technique twice.


Marshmallows and candies both include corn syrup. Yet why? An excellent crystallisation is corn syrup.

You have made it quite plain to me that you do not want to use corn syrup. Try using inverted sugar syrup if you’re still having trouble making homemade caramel that is silky smooth and doesn’t contain corn syrup. It’s quite simple to make and keeps for at least six months in the refrigerator. Additionally, it can be used for the corn syrup in this recipe. Invert Sugar functions as a crystallisation inhibitor, preventing or delaying the crystallisation process, much like corn syrup does.

  • Grain Syrup Despite being freely available, I know that many people attempt to avoid using it in their own recipes.
  • Sugar Syrup inverted
  • This homemade caramel sauce uses a terrific substitute for corn syrup (if usinguse 3 tbsp in this recipe)
  • Acid: lemon juice, citric acid, and cream of tartar
  • These may aid in the fight against crystallisation. Just use a little bit. Since too much of it might alter the flavour of caramel. Use only a pinch.


To flavour caramel, you can use concentrated flavourings (I’d suggest Lorann Oils flavouring; use only a few drops). However, don’t use flavours too heavily. I adore undertones of coffee and sea salt. I also tried maple, and it was wonderful. However, you should only apply a few drops because it might be overpowering.