How to Caramelize Sugar in the Microwave: Easy & Quick

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
Caramelize sugar in the microwave

Whoa, have you ever heard of caramelized sugar? It’s like a magician in the kitchen because it can do so many tricks! You can use it to give your desserts an extra boost, add flavor to your savory dishes, or make some tasty homemade candy. And guess what? You don’t even need a stovetop to make it!

Yup, you can actually caramelize sugar in the microwave. It’s super quick and easy, so you don’t have to wait around for ages. But hold up, before you go off trying this, there are some safety tips you should know about.

Don’t worry though, I’ll cover those in this article, along with an alternative method for caramelizing sugar. Exciting, right? Let’s dive in and get this show on the road!

How Long Does It Take to Caramelize Sugar in The Microwave?

Caramelizing sugar in the microwave is much faster than making it on the stovetop. 1 cup of sugar will take about 6 to 7 minutes to caramelize in the microwave. However, this can vary depending on the power of your microwave but for most microwaves, it should be no more than 7 minutes.

If you’re not sure how long to caramelize your sugar, start with 5 minutes and check it every 1 minute after that. You’ll know the sugar is caramelized when the color is honey-like. Once you reach this point, immediately remove it from the microwave to prevent burning.

How to Caramelize Sugar in the Microwave: Step-by-Step Guidelines

Now that you know how long it takes to caramelize sugar in the microwave, let’s talk about the actual steps involved.

  1. Take a clear, microwave-safe container and add 1 cup of granulated sugar.
  2. Add water to the container and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Put the container in the microwave and set it to high power.
  4. Cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the mixture is a honey-golden color.
  5. Remove the container from the microwave and use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture.
  6. Use the caramelized sugar immediately as it will harden quickly.

Tips for Caramelizing Sugar in the Microwave

When caramelizing sugar in the microwave, there are a few safety tips you should follow:

Use a clear or light-coloured microwave-safe container to monitor the color of the sugar

To achieve perfect caramelization, it’s important to keep a close eye on the color of the sugar as it cooks. A clear or light-colored microwave-safe container is ideal for monitoring the sugar’s color.

Adjust the cooking time depending on the power of your microwave

Microwaves can vary in power, so the time it takes to caramelize sugar will also vary. If this is the first time caramelizing sugar in your microwave, start with 5 minutes and check the color every 1 minute after that. After a few tries, you’ll be able to get a good idea of the time needed for your particular microwave.

Remove the sugar from the microwave as soon as it reaches a honey-golden colour

Remember that caramel continues to cook and darken even after it’s been removed from the microwave, so it’s important to remove it as soon as it reaches a honey-golden color. Don’t let the color get too dark as the taste will become bitter and burnt.

Use an oven mitt or towel to protect your hands when removing the container from the microwave

The sugar will be hot, so it’s important to use an oven mitt or towel to protect your hands when removing the container from the microwave.

Use the caramel right away as it will harden quickly as it cools

Once the caramel has been removed from the microwave, you need to work with it quickly. The sugar will harden as it cools, so you need to use the caramel right away or it will be difficult to work with.

Wet vs Dry Method: What’s the Best Way to Make Caramel?

When making caramel, there are two main methods: wet and dry. The wet method is the more common one, and it involves simmering sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved. The dry method, on the other hand, involves cooking sugar without added liquid. Which is the better method?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for in your caramel. If you want a smooth, glossy caramel, the wet method is the way to go. If you’re looking for a more rustic caramel with a bit of crunch, the dry method is better.

Another thing that differentiates the two is the amount of time it takes to make them. The dry method is typically faster than the wet method, but the wet method typically yields more consistent results.

The microwave method gives you the best of both worlds. It’s fast, and it yields a foolproof caramel since we use liquid to dissolve the sugar before cooking. The downside is that you won’t be able to cook in the same volume as the stovetop method, so you may need to make a few batches if you’re looking for larger quantities.

How to Store Caramelized Sugar

If you have any leftover caramelized sugar, you can store it for future use. You can either store the sugar in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

At room temperature, the sugar will last for 5 days. In the refrigerator, it will last for up to 2 to 3 weeks. For longer storage, you can also freeze the sugar for up to 3 months.

To use frozen caramelized sugar, let it thaw at room temperature before using. Once it has thawed, you can revive it by microwaving it following the same steps I outlined above.

What Can You Make With Caramelized Sugar?

One of the easiest things to make with caramelized sugar is candy. There are a lot of different recipes out there, but most of them follow the same basic steps. Basically, you melt the sugar in a saucepan over low heat, then add whatever ingredients you want to flavor it. Once it’s all melted together, you pour it into a mold and let it cool.

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, you can also use caramelized sugar to make desserts like crepes and tarts.

For crepes, you need to make a caramel sauce by melting the sugar and adding some butter and cream. Then, you cook the crepes in a lightly oiled pan and top them with the sauce and your choice of fruits or nuts.

Tart crusts are a little more complicated, but they’re definitely worth the effort. You start by melting the sugar in a saucepan until it’s a deep amber color. Then, you add some butter and flour to create a roux, which will thicken your tart filling. Finally, you add eggs and vanilla extract to the mixture and bake it in a tart pan.


Caramelized sugar is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes and the microwave method is a great way to make it quickly and easily. Whether you’re making candy, crepes, tarts, or something else entirely, caramelized sugar will add a sweet flavor and beautiful color to your creations. With a little practice, you can become a master of making caramelized sugar!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!