“Liquid Gold” a.k.a. Dairy Free Caramel Sauce (Paleo, vegan & refined sugar free)

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Caramel… sweet sweet caramel…. It’s something many of us haven’t been able to indulge in –  in a very long time. And I’m not talking about healthier caramel made from almond butter or dates (not that there’s anything wrong with those), but I’m talking about real sinfully rich caramel.

So sinful that it melts in your mouth and can turn any good dessert into an incredible one.

This will forever change the history of your vanilla ice cream.

And your sliced apples.

And your brownies.

Not to mention your coffee (you can thank me later). 😉 

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To those of you with small children in your home, please use caution when making this. I use the back burner on my stove and tell my girls to stay out of the kitchen (just to be safe)!

All my love,

PS – There is no shame in sneaking spoonfuls out of the fridge when no one is looking. In fact, I highly encourage it!

“Liquid Gold” a.k.a. Dairy Free Caramel Sauce (Paleo, vegan & refined sugar free)
  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup palm sugar (I use either Big Tree Farms or Madhava)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  1. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, palm sugar, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. Whisk in the coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt.
  3. Allow the Caramel Sauce to cool for 20 minutes. A thin film will naturally form over the top of the sauce; this is perfectly normal. Simply give the sauce a good whisk before pouring it into a glass airtight container (I use a canning jar). The sauce will continue to thicken (although not much) while it cools.
  4. Store in the refrigerator. Can be served warm or cold. Use within 5-7 days.
Recipe Notes from Megan
This caramel sauce is just that – a sauce. It is fairly runny and won’t get really thick like a dairy-filled caramel will. I’ve tried simmering it for longer periods of time (40 minutes) just to test it. It does get slightly thicker, but I actually prefer the ease of a 15 minute simmer time. If you would like to simmer it longer for a thicker consistency, I suggest reducing the amount of palm sugar used to 3/4 cup.

I highly, highly recommend using palm sugar in this recipe. Palm sugar has a wonderful caramel-like flavor, so it really adds to the richness of the sauce. I tried making this recipe once using sucant and didn’t care for it. Trust me, use palm sugar!

When you first bring the coconut milk, palm sugar and maple syrup to a boil, don’t leave it unattended on the stove. It can (and will) boil over if you aren’t careful. Keep an eye on it.

This post is linked to Gluten Free Wednesday,  Wellness Weekend, Fight Back Friday, Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday and Make Your Own Monday.

This “Liquid Gold” a.k.a. Dairy Free Caramel Sauce (Paleo, vegan & refined sugar free) post contains affiliate links. Allergy Free Alaska, LLC receives a small commission from the sales made through these links. However, we only promote affiliate products we use or support wholeheartedly. The commissions received through your purchases help maintain this site. Thank you for your support!


  1. Vicky says

    Hi Megan

    This IS sinful BUT in a wonderful way! Your photos are fantastic, it looks so creamy and delicious!

    And, what a great idea to just mention the dangers of cooking this near the front of the stove!

    Vicky xo

    • Megan says

      Hi Vicky,
      Thank you so much! I’m such a sucker when it comes to caramel. Lol… 😉

    • Gina McMurray says

      Thank You for sharing this recipe! I am a nursing mom and had to do a TED with my little dude. I found that he’s sensitive to dairy and gluten. It was so hard to give up sweets. This definitely satisfies my cravings. Given the upcoming holidays its nice to know I have a sweet treat to share with friends. I actually never baked or made anything sweet that I didn’t have to toss out. I don’t want to miss out on pecan pie this year. Is there a similar recipe used to make pecan pie filling? I bought glute free crust so I just need a filling recipe.
      I’ll be adding this caramel sauce to my Bob’s Red Mill brownies.
      Again, Thank You so much!

  2. Shirley @ gfe & AGFD says

    Oh, Megan, this is divine! I’m out of coconut sugar and have been relying on dates, honey, and bananas to sweeten, but I’m off to order some right now. This recipe is a MUST make for sure! :-)


      • Linda says

        I have such a sweet tooth and this looks so delicious. I will drizzle over apples or over almond cake . .Thanks, can’ wait to try . .great new website

  3. jamiemid says

    Wow, this looks fabulous, and I think I actually have everything I need to make this. What are the odds of that happening?! I am going to make this and try not to eat it all before Sunday night.

  4. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says

    Wonderful – I’ve been wanting to make something like this. Now…for a caramel candy :).

    • Megan says

      Thank you Adrienne! And I agree… caramel candy has been on my mind too. I’d still like to experiment with this recipe, but my candy thermometer broke. Time for a new one! 😉

  5. Ruth Bradford says

    Hi Megan, I am a newcomer to your blog as well as gluten-free baking. I would like to try some of your recipes; however, I am unable to print just a selection (meaning the recipe only). I can print 20 pages, 69 pages but not just the one or two for the recipe. Am I not permitted to print these recipes (copywrite infringement, etc) or is it something I am not doing to get them printed? I really enjoy reading your detailed information about breadmaking and would definitely like to be able to try it myself. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Heather T. says

      Try copying the selection you want, and pasting it into Notepad or Word, and just printing that part…

    • Megan says

      Hi Ruth,
      :) I’m so glad you found me – welcome to Allergy Free Alaska! I understand your frustration when trying to print my recipes and such. I have yet to find a print recipe add-on (they are called plugins) for my website that can handle the detail I like to include. I will keep looking. Sorry for the inconvenience!

      • Ruth Bradford says

        Thanks Megan….hope you get what you are looking for soon. I think I will try Heather T’s option. Thanks.

      • Ruth Bradford says

        Thanks Megan…i hope you will be able to find something soon. However, may I caution you to make sure we can print only the recipe and perhaps one picture. There would be too many pages to put into a book if all your pics and info were included. I love to READ all that info but would only want a one-page printout. For now I will use Heather T’s suggestion. Thanks a lot.

    • says

      Ruth, I keep my email open in another window, use the copy command to copy to my email, and then I email it to myself. I have another email address that I email to, however you can email from your email to the SAME email address and it will com back to you.

    • Jacqui Kruzewski says

      I’m viewing this on my iPad, but I’m sure it can’t be much different on a PC……… Hit the “print” icon on the top right of the recipe (next to the blue “save” icon) and a print friendly version should generate which contains just the recipe. Then click print. Usually I have to view this in Safari to get it to work, but in this case it worked straight from Facebook.

  6. Nancy@http://glutenfreetravels.blogspot.com/ says

    This sounds incredible! Will definitely be making this. Love the palm sugar also, has such a wonderful depth of flavor. Thanks.

    • Megan says

      Hi Mary, no, I don’t have the nutritional info on this. You might be able to plug the recipe ingredients into a health site like My Fitness Pal and it should be able to break it down for you. :)

      • Mary says

        Thank you Megan! I will do that. I am trying to keep carbs down but really would like to try it in my morning coffee :-)

  7. Michelle @ My Gluten-free Kitchen says

    I found your blog today via Shirley from gfe. This sauce looks amazing! I make a dairy & sugar-filled version but would love to try this one! Thanks so much for sharing. Your photos are so good!!

  8. amber says

    Hi Meg,

    I am sooo excited about this recipe. It looks just divine! Oh my. I have to say, I’m a big fan of caramel and so I’m very much looking forward to making your version. I can see this on top of coconut vanilla ice cream! Swoon!!

    I’m featuring this awesome recipe tonight on AFW. Thanks for sharing with us and being such a supportive part of our AFW community.

    Hugs to you,

  9. Heidi says

    This sounded so delicious I had to make it right away. :) It tastes DELICIOUS, however, I couldn’t get the same rich caramel color as in your photos. I only had organic cane sugar on had, and used about 3/4 cup, could that be the cause?

    Also – I was wondering why you add coconut oil at the end? (Just curious what it adds to the sauce – does it help keep it loose and saucey?) Thanks for the great recipe, Heidi

    • Megan says

      Hi Heidi,
      I only recommend using palm sugar in this recipe (it’s noted in the recipe notes). I tried using sucant one time and didn’t like it as much as the palm sugar. Palm sugar just has a wonderful depth of flavor (and natural caramel color). It really makes this recipe special!

      The added coconut oil gives the caramel sauce an added richness and smoothness. You don’t have to add it, but I personally think it makes the recipe better. :)

  10. Gabriela says

    Hi Megan! You’ve made me so happy with this recipe! I’m sensitive to sugar so I wonder if I could use the English Toffee liquid stevia and xylitol to replace the coconut sugar and maple syrup… hmm that would probably throw off the proportions? Well I might just indulge anyway! Pinning :)

  11. Chefjen says

    Eating it by the spoonful right now! I cooled some in the freezer and it is very different tastin from the room temp syrup. The freezer one is much lighter and thicker ( thickness was why I I’d the experiment) I prefer the room temp one. It’s so good!

    • Megan says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Jen! And thanks for letting me know about the freezer experiment!
      😉 Megan

  12. Jana says

    Just wondering…can you make this in larger batches and waterbath process it for storage for longer than a week?

    • Megan says

      Hi Jana,
      I’m not sure what a “waterbath process” is? If I were wanting to keep this for more than a week I would try freezing it.

  13. Chester says

    I added a tablespoon of corn starch just before taking it off the burner (and stirred it in well) and mine thickened up very nicely (not thick enough to be chewy, but thick enough to make it stick to my spoon). It was divine! Thank you!

  14. Bob says

    This “Liquid Gold” IS THE MOST AWESOME CARAMEL SAUCE EVER!!! EXACTLY for what I was looking as someone who is recently allergic to dairy and cane sugar… I made this last night…using 1T. cornstarch at the beginning of the recipe before heating to aid in the thickening process and using 2 good splashes of pure vanilla extract (’cause I’m addicted :) and it worked beautifully…other than that, I used your exact recipe… BRILLIANT!! Maybe my taste buds were off last night, but while it was still warm, it didn’t taste like caramel to me… Tasting it (many times) today after it chilled in the fridge overnight, my eyes rolled to the back of my head with pleasure. YUM! YUM!! I could DRINK this stuff!!!!!! Using it to make turtle “ice cream” tomorrow :) Megan, Thank you SO MUCH for this amazing recipe!!!

    • Megan says

      Hi Bob,
      😉 You are are so, SO welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Eat some of that turtle ice cream for me!

  15. JD says

    Hi, I’m in Australia & trying to convert this for local measurements (I’m making it to go with spelt flour sticky date cake, since one of the other guests at the afternoon tea is avoiding dairy & wheat). I just need to know please, is the coconut milk measured by weight or volume (i.e. fluid ounces)?
    Also, I’m thinking of substituting golden syrup for the maple syrup, since the latter is very expensive here. (I think this should work well, since golden syrup has a kind of caramel-y taste anyway.)


    • Megan says

      Hi JD,
      The coconut milk is measured by fluid ounces. And I’m not sure about the golden syrup – I’ve never had it before. Your cake sounds wonderful!
      :) Megan

      • JD says

        Thanks Megan! And thanks for the recipe. :) It will be my first time using my new round cake pans & cake carrier – I’ve never brought a cake to anyone’s house before – I expect to be loved by all after that. :)

  16. Kayla says

    I accidentally used Pure Cane Sugar instead of Palm Sugar in the recipe….is there anything I can do to fix the taste so that I don’t have to waste what I made? I know it defeats the purpose of the “Paleo friendly” caramel sauce but I just hate to waste it.

    • Megan says

      Hi Kayla,
      Oh no! Hmm… palm sugar has such a different flavor than cane sugar… it would be hard to doctor it to make it “taste better.” Perhaps some maple extract? But I’ve never used it myself, so it’s really hard to say. I’m sorry!

      • Kayla says

        Thank you for replying so quickly! I may just have to throw it out. It doesn’t taste horrible, just a little weird and more like a simple syrup. I was going to use this recipe in my iced coffee as a healthy alternative to the sugar free caramel sauce I currently use….so I would be breaking my diet to just use my cane sugar version anyways. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  17. Dafni says

    Just made this- SO DELICIOUS!! I make my own brown sugar with organic cane sugar and molasses and that’s all I had, so I subbed the palm sugar. It is caramely, and creamy and delicious! Thanks so much!

  18. Nancy says

    Question/Suggestion. Have you tried leaving the maple syrup out to see if it will thicken that way? I make a chocolate fudge/frosting with coconut milk and choc chips that get pretty thick. Just wondering if the extra liquid keeps it from thickening more. It looks wonderul!

  19. says

    Hi Meagan. This looks so good. Would it be thick enough to coat and stick to apple, a la caramel apples, perhaps with the addition of corn starch as one commenter suggested?

    • Megan says

      Hi Cookie’s Mom,
      As the recipe is written, it would not be thick enough to coat and stick to apples. With the addition of corn starch – I honestly don’t know. If you were to try that route, I’d recommend using a candy thermometer and simmering it until it reaches the “hard ball” stage (250-266 degrees F). If you do try it, would you please come back and let us know the results? :)
      Good luck!

  20. Marisha says

    This sounds incredible. I am going to make this recipe to make caramel filled chocolates for my husband for Valentines day! Has anyone tried to do this yet? Thank you again for so many wonderful recipes. :)

  21. christina says

    Does anyone know if you can do this without coconut? I have issues with coconut…. I mostly use hazelnut milk if I need a milk alternative, bit I’m thinking that would fail horribly.

    • Megan says

      Hi Christina,
      There isn’t a replacement for the coconut milk in this recipe. However, since this recipe won’t work for you, maybe this dairy free caramel sauce will that’s made from sweet potatoes. You can view the recipe by clicking HERE.
      Hope that one works for you!

  22. Michelle says

    Oh yah! Cant wait to try this recipe, we are a allergy free NY family :) I am going to attempt a chocolate poke cake using the chocolate sauce recipe above and then marshmallow topping with crumbled graham crackers for kick of to summer picnic ! Thanks for the recipe!

  23. Eileen says

    One question and one tip: My sons are allergic not only to dairy, but also to coconut and to soy protein (as well as eggs and all nuts). Would rice milk work? I’ve been looking for a dairy-free caramel for ages, and was so excited to see this post. I am hoping to make it work.

    Here’s my suggestion: one of my sons son also has dysphagia, a swallowing disorder. He uses a thickening agent for thin liquids called “Thick It Powder.” It is hypoallergenic and available at drug stores, like Walgreens. It is odorless and tasteless and can be added to hot and cold liquids. I bet you can add this to your caramel to thicken it enough t be used for cake fillings, etc., when you need a thicker product. I have successfully used Thick It powder to thicken homemade gravy and Jello-brand puddings made with rice milk, and they turn out great.

    • Megan says

      Hi Eileen,
      If you were using only rice milk, no, it wouldn’t work as a sub; however, with the thickening powder you describe it might. I think you’d have to experiment with it and try it out. Good luck! 😉

  24. Ashley says

    The coconut milk I use is practically all cream. Should I mix it up our just use the cream? I think it might make it a little thicker and richer.

    • Megan says

      I would mix it up, but that’s just my preference. You could try all coconut cream, but just make sure the amount you use is equal to a full can of coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cup).

  25. Shannon says

    Thank you!!!!! This is so super easy and super yummy!! Mix a little with the cream off of my raw milk into my coffee….ohhhh so good!!!

  26. Brianne says

    does it have to be canned coconut milk or can I use some from a carton? I’m excited to try this recipe, thank you for sharing!

    • Megan says

      Hi Brianne, It has to be canned coconut milk, because the consistency of the canned variety is thicker than the coconut milk beverage in the carton.

  27. erin says

    I made this yesterday – I added about 1/2 cup cashew cream (raw cashews + water in the vitamix) and reduced it for 30 mins longer. Thick creamy deliciousness, with that same beautiful caramel taste!

    • Megan says

      Hi Felicia, hmm… no, I can’t say that my oil separates from the rest of the mix; however, just a quick mix before serving should do the trick! If the oil is solidified, just warm the caramel sauce up until the oil is melted and then stir.

  28. Nikki says

    This sounds wonderful, however my kids are extremely allergic to coconut. Have you tried it with any other dairy substitute?? Like rice milk?

    • Megan says

      Hi Nikki,
      No, I have not tried another dairy substitute. I think rice milk would be way too thin. Maybe a thicker DF milk? Like cashew milk? You would need to use less of it since it would still be thinner than the canned coconut milk.

  29. Sandi B says

    I have a question for you — I just stumbled across your site today — why do you not just make caramel sauce with the regular ingredients, sugar and water to which you then add some butter and whatever milk product you use? I googled the palm sugar and it has the same calories/carbohydrate as regular sugar cane sugar. The elements found in palm sugar are trace and therefore I would think not all that beneficial. I did see where the palm sugar does not have the same glycemic index and does not spike one’s blood sugar — other than that calories etc., sugar content/carbs, are pretty much the same. The pure maple sugar is also interchangeable with sugar as far as calories and carbs — basically, sugar is sugar regardless of it’s source. I would also think, that with the use of coconut water if a person used tapioca starch as a thickener you could get it thick enough to at least make a soft caramel candy. Anyway, I would like to know why palm sugar etc. Thanks so much. Also, I really like your site and especially your bread recipes having Celiac along resultant autoimmune diseases (Sjogren’s and Polymyositis). All I can say is kudos to you and keep up the great work I can certainly see it is appreciated by many of us. I will certainly be a frequent visitor.

    The reason I am asking is that I have a problem with caramel sauces (commercial), absolutely love iced caramel macchiatos, but alas, the ones I purchase at certain coffee shops cause celiac like symptoms pretty quickly, I am assuming they probably contain wheat as a binder (the caramel sauce) as many commercial sauces do. Also, by the way, I am a whole hearted supporter of all things coconut, water, milk, oil etc., etc., etc..

    • Megan says

      I cannot have dairy products, so milk and butter are not options for me. Also, my body does not process cane sugar well at all. Coconut sugar is much easier on my system, and is lower on the glycemic index, so it is my sweetener of choice. I’m a firm believer in fueling my system with what I know works best for me. What works for me might not work for you, so please feel free to use what works best for you.

  30. Alisa says

    Fantastic recipe! I just made this and the only thing I changed was using Soy-free earth balance in place of the coconut oil. It turned out wonderfully creamy, sweet and buttery with a touch of salt. Thank you so much!

  31. Rebecka says

    Can I use coconut sugar instead of palm sugar? Coconut sugar has a bit of a caramel-y taste to it as well 😛


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