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Caramelized Figs

Caramelizing figs brings out their natural sugars and leaves you with a deeply sweet little fruit to snack on or to use as an ice cream topping. Just be careful because these caramelized figs can be made in minutes and are addictive!

Overhead view of a yellow bowl filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with caramelized figs along with some of their juices with the recipe title at the top of the photo

Will you shame me if I tell you that I just spent my entire summer watching Big Brother? If you consider yourself too intellectually advanced for trashy television like Big Brother (I’m jealous of you), then you probably have no idea what the show is about. But you know, even as someone who just watched an entire season of it, I couldn’t quite tell you what it’s about.

All I know is that it’s a major time commitment as it’s on three times a week all summer long. Three! At this point, I don’t even feel like I’m intelligent enough to do the math to tell you how many episodes that means I watched this summer. Or maybe I just really don’t want to know. I suppose I need to give myself credit for the fact that I didn’t watch Big Brother After Dark (the late night live feed you can tune into) or pay to subscribe to the 24/7 live feed so I could watch the house all day every day. If I had the live feed, my life would be a very dark place and it’s highly likely this blog would have ceased production way back in June. Also, my monthly book reviews? Those would be long gone.

In all fairness, I watch bad TV because I’m usually trying to get work done in the evenings and I can half work and half watch bad TV and still understand what’s going on. Sadly, I don’t watch a lot of intellectual television because I’m not good at sitting on my couch and fully immersing myself into a show. I literally need to be doing something else at all times. Which usually means I’m working on my laptop… But it also occasionally means I’m sitting with a big bowl of ice cream and eating my feelings. Everyone knows ice cream is more healing if it has sprinkles on top, but did you know that caramelized figs have an even stronger effect?

This recipe for caramelized figs was originally posted to We are not Martha back in 2010 and I thought it was high time for an update. Plus, I just really wanted to caramelize figs so I could top my ice cream with them. The recipe has been adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cooking Schoolย (affiliate link) cookbook and is quick and easy, leaving you with a seriously delicious treat. If you haven’t tried caramelizing figs yet, make sure you do before fig season is over!

And seriously, how pretty are these? It took me so long to find figs this season and I want them to stick around forever.

Overhead view of several fresh figs sliced in half

Because figs are delicious. But figs covered in sugar are exponentially more delicious. And let’s not even talk about what caramelizing them does to their deliciousness levels.

Overhead view of a bowl of granulated sugar with halved fresh figs in it

Actually, let’s. All you need to do is cover the figs in sugar and place them cut side down in a pan. Plus, mix in a little balsamic vinegar, butter, and lemon juice.

Collage showing process for making caramelized figs, including halved sugar covered fresh figs in a saucepan and figs in saucepan caramelizing in their juices

And you’re ready to dig in. You can enjoy the caramelized figs warm or you can cool them to room temperature before digging in. I’m a fan of adding them as an accompaniment to cheese platters. When I’m not snacking on them right out of the bowl, obviously.

Overhead close-up view of caramelized figs in a white bowl

Or, you know, using them as an ice cream topping (I like to drizzle a little of the sauce from the pan over the top, too!). I pretty much never eat vanilla ice cream, but if it’s topped with figs, I’m totally game.

Bird's eye view of a yellow bowl filled with vanilla ice cream, caramelized fogs and their juices, with a spoon in the background

This is heaven. Give me a bowl of fig-topped ice cream, a really bad reality show, and my laptop any day of the week. My needs are pretty simple.

Overhead view of a yellow bowl filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with caramelized figs along with some of their juices

I really hope you’re not judging me for my Big Brother fandom, but if you’re still here after all my Bachelor rambling over the years, I’m assuming my TV preferences don’t offend you much. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re in this boat with me?

If that’s the case, can we please have a fig caramelizing, Big Brother watching (they’re doing a celebrity Big Brother next and omg this could get so dangerous for me) party? I think I need more friends like you.

Have you ever made caramelized figs before? Next up, I want to caramelize pears!

If you’re looking for more fig recipes, check out my Dark Chocolate-Dipped Figs with Gorgonzola and my Sweet Fig Cocktail. I also love these Fig and Quinoa Overnight Oats from The Cook and Him!

5 from 3 votes
Caramelized Figs -- When you're not eating these caramelized figs out of the bowl, they make the perfect ice cream topping! | wearenotmartha.com
Caramelized Figs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Caramelizing figs brings out their natural sugars and leaves you with a deeply sweet little fruit to snack on or to use as an ice cream topping. Just be careful because these caramelized figs can be made in minutes and are addictive!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fig Recipes, Fresh Fig Recipes, Fresh Figs
Author: We are not Martha
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 pint figs (about a dozen, halved lengthwise)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (can also use ruby or tawny port wine, or marsala wine)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  1. In a large shallow bowl, stir together sugar and salt. Press the cut side of each fig into the sugar mixture to coat.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add sugar-covered figs, cut side down, and cook until sugar and juices caramelize, about 3-4 minutes. As figs caramelize, turn them over.
  3. Remove skillet from the heat and add balsamic vinegar. Return to heat and cook to reduce the vinegar a bit, roughly 30 seconds, making sure to scrape up any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Remove from heat again and add butter and lemon juice, gently swirling to combine.
  5. Serve figs immediately or wait until they cool to room temperature. Add to your cheese plate or top ice cream with the caramelized figs.
Recipe Notes


Caramelized Figs -- Caramelizing figs brings out their natural sugars and leaves you with a deeply sweet little fruit to snack on or to use as an ice cream topping. Just be careful because these caramelized figs can be made in minutes and are addictive! | wearenotmartha.com #figs #freshfigs #caramelizedfigs #desserts

30 Responses to "Caramelized Figs"

  1. Joanne says:

    I never even REALIZED that you could caramelize figs. Damn, you just blew my mind.

  2. Michelle says:

    In one word – yum!

  3. Erica says:

    ow! I was just thinking when I saw this post title that they would be awesome with some vanilla ice cream! Great minds think alike, right?

  4. Shannon says:

    oh man, i’m seriously drooling over here. they’d be an awesome topper for greek yogurt too! or oatmeal ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Daisy says:

    those look so pretty.

  6. Monique says:

    FIGS! Oh how i love thee! These look amazing!

    Def want to try these. I spotted some GORGEOUS Figs at the farmers market. Me Thinks I be getting somg figs today! lol

  7. MichellePC says:

    Oooh, these look amazing. I recently made a grilled cheese sandwich with goat milk brie and roasted figs, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since!

  8. Emily @ The Happy Home says:

    oooh. caramelized figs always seem so incredibly high-class to me. fancy shmancy! and would be sooo good on a bit of ice cream, for sure! maybe with a shortbread cookie, too!

  9. cailen says:

    mmm…these look sooo good. i always gravitate towards anything with figs when i’m out to dinner : )

    (ps. i’m working on a post that will be up later today on my blog that’ll have a no-knead bread recipe. it’s VERY simple and the bread is amazing!)

    have a great weekend!

  10. blackbookkitchendiaries says:

    this really bring me back 10 yrs ago when i was in London.. i ate this at a cute little cafe.. i am so happy to see this post. they are lovely. thank you for sharing:)

  11. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says:

    I’ve never actually had a fresh fig (hehe) but I love caramelized anything! This is such a simple recipe and I bet it would be a hit at dinner parties.

  12. Jen @ Lita's World says:

    WOW! Seriously, those need to be made and put in my belly too!!

  13. Gina says:

    Oh my goodness. I discovered figs just this year and am totally obsessed. I have to try this!

  14. Susan says:

    I think these could be addictive! What a delicious idea.

  15. Sharlene says:

    I just bought some figs and haven’t ever used them before. I’m trying to decide on what to do with them and this is definitely at the top of my list right now. Looks delicious!

  16. Aza says:

    I just made your recipe using figs from a tree in the yard of a house we recently moved into, and the dish is very delicious eaten directly from the pan. So fine!
    Thank you.

  17. Shirley says:

    This recipe was great! I had a bunch of figs that were going to go bad…not after I found this recipe!! We are it with the rotisserie chicken! This recipe is now going to replace the cranberry sauce at thanksgiving too! 5 stars!

  18. rumgirl says:

    I added red onions and topped on grilled wheat dough and goat cheese for an easy and delicious pizza!

  19. Veronika says:

    Thanks for sharing! Caramelized figs; figs over salad greens with a little raspberry dressing; figs with ice cream and whipped cream. Now I’m hungry.

  20. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    Caramelized figs?! I’m so amazed! I love the looks of this and I bet this is delicious on just about anything. So perfect for fall, too. I’ve got to try this!

  21. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says:

    I feel lucky I never got into Big Brother because I guarantee I’d need that live feed subscription. I certainly don’t object to trashy television–Little Women LA is my current favorite. But let’s just keep that between us? These figs need to happen soon in my life. YUM!

  22. Lexi @ Sempre Dolce says:

    Look at that caramelized goodness! And I can only imagine paired with cheese… *happy sigh*

  23. Amanda says:

    I can’t get enough of figs, and these look amazing!!

  24. Chrisy says:

    Always been a fan of figs, but haven’t had them carmelized before. Can’t wait to make them this way! ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. Brenda Lakanen says:

    I found this recipe last Summer and was instantly in love! Now I have a fresh batch of figs and can’t wait to make them again. Simple and delicious!

  26. Sues says:

    @Brenda- Yay! Thank you!! It’s one of my all-time faves ๐Ÿ™‚ So happy figs are in season!

  27. Marie says:

    Delicious! Do you know how long they will last in the refridgeator?

  28. Sues says:

    @Marie- They should last about 5 days in the fridge!

  29. Calianne botsaris says:

    Wow! This is a serious game changer and I will be using it as my new secret ingredient to impress guests!! I just made them to top a goat cheese, espresso balsamic, arugula pizza and theyโ€™re AMAZING! Thank you for sharing!!

  30. Sues says:

    @Calianne- I’m so glad you liked them!! That pizza sounds incredible!

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