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Browned onions are a Maillard reaction; therefore it should not strictly be listed as a caramelisation process. We should make a note of the misnomer but not claim it to be an example thereof. (talk) 15:38, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, I was having the same thought. "Caramelize" seems to be a fancy culinary word for "brown," despite being chemically inaccurate. Given that this article is about the chemical term, the image of onions is fairly ridiculous. TiC (talk) 06:52, 6 December 2011 (UTC)


So the production of caramel ironically isn't based on caramelization? --Abdull 13:09, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Nope, it's based on the Maillard reaction. But "sweet gooey Maillard sauce" just doesn't sound as appetising... 13:37, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Isn't this carcinogenic?[edit]

Isn't this carcinogenic? --Amit 18:26, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

I think it is. See for example [1]. --Coppertwig 22:02, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Udo Erasmus? A glance at his site suggests he's at least a little out of the mainstream. The American Cancer Society doesn't seem to think caramelization is a problem:
All cooking involves exposing organic compounds to heat, and so all cooking produces trace carcinogens. At the extreme, some food extremists contend that a diet that isn't all raw food is suicidal -- see
Erasmus isn't quite so far out, but he seems to lean in that general direction. Lightly browning onions or garlic is probably not a dangerous practice, but any severely burned food will have more carcinogens. If browned sugar is carcinogenic, then avoid soy sauce and dark beer, both of which owe their coloring to caramel.Bustter (talk) 16:10, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Please explain this statement[edit]

"Vegetables, peanuts, chocolate, maple syrup, and coffee are all other results of caramelization."


Caramelized onions and garlic should be described. Badagnani (talk) 06:05, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Why the mystery?[edit]

Apparently, what happens when you heat sugar in a pan is a deep, dark mystery. I found a page at "The Exploratorium" which said that even PhD's don't understand it. The review at seems to suggest that the Maillard reaction goes far beyond sugars to include reactions between fats and proteins -- but even they don't mention the basics. I just can't fathom why no enterprising science or medical student (not to mention a well-endowed, prestigious university) hasn't taken it upon himself to heat up some sugar and analyze the molecules he finds in the stuff he winds up with. Unfree (talk) 21:56, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

bogus 'how to'[edit]

the "how to" link tells you how to make hot caramel syrup and dip fruit in it. I don't think that's quite what the article is about. There are plenty of pages out there describing how to caramelize various foodstuffs. 15:35, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Onions DO NOT caramelize[edit]

According to Harold McGee (On Food and Cooking) and Robert Wolke (What Einstein Told His Cook), what goes on when you "caramelize" onions is not in fact caramelization, or sugar browning, but the Maillard reaction. They say that the idea that onions caramelize is completely false. How has this not been addressed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

If I am correct, caramelization is the chemical breakdown of sugars using heat. Onions, which by definition must contain a large amount of natural sugars, are caramelized; potatoes, being starchy, do not. Meat, which contains other chemicals besides sugar, doesn't caramelize either, I don't think (I can't say I have ever heard of "caramelized pork" or "caramelized chicken", or a human being being "caramelized" in a fire). --The_Iconoclast (talk) 23:48, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

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caramelised sugar daughter products[edit]

"When caramelization involves the disaccharide sucrose, it is broken down into the monosaccharides fructose and glucose."

This page says that sucrose breaks down at 160°C and into glucose and fructose, however glucose breaks down also at 160°C and fructose at 110°C, so the above statement is incorrect - what is actually in sucrose caramel is still a wikipedian mystery.

I did find this statement on the chemical composition of caramel: “Caramel is composed from several thousand compounds formed by a small number of unselective and chemoselective reactions. Caramelization products include oligomers with up to six carbohydrate units formed through unselective glycosidic bond formation, dehydration products of oligomers losing up to a maximum of eight water molecules, hydration products of sugar oligomers, disproportionation products, and colored aromatic products.” — Preceding unsigned comment added by Charlieb000 (talkcontribs) 21:52, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

it would seem fructose/glucose is obtained from sucrose using Hydrolysis, not caramelisation. (see fructose).Charlieb000 (talk) 22:10, 5 September 2018 (UTC)