The process of caramelization consists of heating sugar slowly to around 170 °C (340 °F). As the sugar heats, the molecules break down and re-form into compounds with a characteristic color and flavor.

A variety of candies, desserts, and confections are made with caramel: brittles, nougats, pralines, crème brûlée, crème caramel, and caramel apples. Ice creams sometimes are flavored with or contain swirls of caramel