Carmel or Caramel: What’s the Correct Spelling?

Although the words “Carmel” and “caramel” have almost identical pronunciations, these words have different meanings. Carmel, a proper noun, refers to a place, whereas the term “caramel” is the sticky and sweet burnt sugar syrup or hard candy. 

Learn how and when to use “Carmel” or “caramel” in this article. 

What Is Carmel?

Carmel (pronounced “KARR-mel” or “KARR-mul”) is a place. It can be Mount Carmel, California’s popular beach town, Carmel-by-the Sea. Since this word is a proper noun, it can also be a person’s name. 


  • The mayor of Carmel was once Clint Eastwood.
  • There are lush vineyards on Mount Carmel today.
  • The prophet Elijah kicked the pagan gods off Mount Carmel and returned the Hebrews to worship the true God.
  • On Mount Carmel is an establishment of monks that have been there since ancient times.
  • The ruins of an ancient town called Carmel still exist today in what was Judah in ancient times.
  • This southern Judah town called Carmel was the home of one of King David’s wives, Abigail.
  • Did you know you need a permit in California’s Carmel to wear high heels?

When to Use the Word Carmel? 

Being a proper noun, you should use the word “Carmel” when referring to a place, like the coastal mountain range in Northern Israel or the beach town in California. You should also use the word if you have a friend or relative named “Carmel.”

What Is Caramel?

Caramel (kar-e-mel or kar-mel) is a sweet and delicious syrup typically made from caramelized sugar. Some chefs add butter, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk to enhance the taste or turn the syrup into a chewy candy. 

The word’s meaning, however, encompasses sweets. It can also refer to a color. 


  • I love eating ice cream with ricotta and salty-sweet caramel.
  • My mother once asked me to make her a birthday cake and frost it with caramel.
  • I can’t face the day without double the caramel in my coffee.
  • Many people don’t even know what parsnips are, but I love mine drizzled with caramel.
  • Underground vegetables like carrots and other vegetables such as cabbages taste wonderful if topped with caramel sauce.
  • I’ll take any dessert with marshmallows and caramel in it.
  • Bacon is 100% more delicious if brushed with caramel syrup. 
  • Try making your next funnel cake with caramel sugar – it’s amazing.

When to Use the Word Caramel

You should use the word “caramel” when referring to a food item. You can also use “caramel” when referring to a golden-brown color. 

What's the Difference Between Carmel and Caramel?

photo showing the spelling of carmel and caramel or both correct.

The “Carmel” and “caramel” difference is simple. Carmel is a place, whereas caramel is a syrup or candy made from caramelized sugar. Moreover, the word “Carmel” is a proper noun. On the other hand, “caramel” is a noun. 

This means that “Carmel” is always capitalized, even when it appears in the middle or at the end of the sentence. “Caramel” will be in small caps unless it appears at the start of the sentence. 

Trick to Remembering Which One to Use

Some tips for remembering which word to use are:

  • “Carmel” only has two syllables. 
  • “Caramel” has three syllables.
  • There are two “a” in the word “caramel.” 
  • Remember that there is only one “a ” as a city or mountain.”
  • “Carmel” is capitalized all the time.


Choosing between “caramel” or “Carmel” can be challenging, especially when these words have almost identical pronunciations. Remember that “Carmel” is a name of a place or a person, whereas “caramel” is the lip-smacking sweet syrup or candy. You can also use the word “caramel” to refer to a color. 

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