Last day I was trying to caramelize sugar to make sugar cage. I start of by adding lots of sugar into small amount of water.After that started heating it. After few minutes it started to bubbling and suddenly it changed it colour to light brown and before I could do anything it turned into dark brown and burning smell came. Now the quetion is when do I stop heating it? I want it to taste sweet but it tasted bitter. Edit:Though I have accepted an answers I would like few more answer too.

3 Answers 3


It is perfectly normal for sugar to turn dark brown when making caramel. If it turns even darker, it is because it has been burning too hot. The final temperature should be around 234 F, so you want to get there gradually. As for the color, many recipes call for cream to make it smoother and tender, but only incorporate it after the crystals are fully dissolved and you're ready to take it off the burner.

I've seen a few youtube videos with just sugar and water for sugar cages...

  • Okay so I've to slow the flame down. Okay thanks. That would e slow though is there any faster process?
    – Neer
    Apr 11, 2013 at 6:08
  • 1
    you might be able to heat it up faster, but if you try to cool it down too quick, it will be brittle. However, making sugar cages is actually just that. Sugar threads cool down very quick because of surface exposed to the air.
    – dnozay
    Apr 11, 2013 at 6:25
  • This, and buy a cooking termometer!!!
    – nico
    Apr 13, 2013 at 13:01
  • @nico There are many types of cooking thermometers. What is indicated for this use is a candy thermometer which is safe to use and accurate at temperatures above of up to about 350 F / 175 C. Some even go up to 400 F but sugar is well burned by then.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 13, 2013 at 14:39
  • @SAJ14SAJ: sure, my point was just that temperature being critical, it is good to use a termometer rather than relying on colour.
    – nico
    Apr 13, 2013 at 16:44

Once you see the bubbling, it means the water has reached close to 100 C (assuming you're close to sea level) and once that water mostly evaporates the temperature will shoot up fast. Turn the heat lower when you see the bubbles and sail smooth from there. According to some recipes, stirring can cause crystallization. Once you've reached the desired color, dip the pan gently in cold water to stop the caramelization.

  • I read in an old cookbook about adding some lemon or lime juice to help. Haven't worked out the science, but trust her work.

  • Alton Brown Good Eats episode 'Puff the Magic Mallow' Season 11 Episode 12, he made marshmallow. However, he does talk about caramelizing sugar and temperatures (240 F per dnozay's answer). Actually, he does mention the acid as well, but it's to aid with the taste.

  • In addition to flavor, IIRC, the acid interferes with crystal formation. This is probably more important during the pre-caramelization stages. McGee does not indicate any affect of acid on the caramelization process itself.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 13, 2013 at 11:29

add glucose (corn syrup, karo) for less crystallization. and you said little water and lots of sugar?...that's why it burnt faster. I might edit my ans. when I get home to check my recipe for making the sugar cage.

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