Spherical microlenses are fabricated in a modified melting technology. Resist cylinders are patterned by photolithography and subsequently dissolved in a controlled solvent atmosphere. This technique enables the fabrication of spherical resist microlenses of selectable rim angles in the range from 1 to 30 deg. Photoresist microlenses with a focal length of 20 mm, a diameter of 1 mm and a good sphericity are realized. The photoresist lenses are transferred into the silicon substrate through reactive ion etching. Within the inner 80% of the lens diameter, the deviation of the silicon lenses from a sphere amounts to less than λ/20 at λ=1.55 μm. The resist and silicon lenses are characterized by mechanical and interferometric methods. This technology is compared with the well established melting technique. © 1997 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.