This vegan caramel sauce is so quick and easy to make, it will be your new secret weapon for turning everyday treats into over-the-top indulgences! With only 6 ingredients, under 20 minutes, and no candy thermometer needed, you can have this dairy-free caramel cooling on your counter in the time it would take you to drive to the store to buy some!
This silky smooth vegan caramel is heavenly drizzled over ice cream, used as an apple pie topping, dipping sliced apples, or in a dairy-free caramel macchiato, or a vegan salted caramel frappuccino!
Vegan Caramel Sauce Ingredients
- Coconut Sugar: I highly, highly recommend using coconut sugar in this recipe. Coconut sugar has a wonderful caramel-like flavor, so it really adds to the richness of the sauce. I tried making this recipe once using cane sugar and didn’t care for it. Trust me, use coconut sugar!
- Maple Syrup: The first couple times I tried developing this recipe, the batches were a little sweet – too sweet. So I scaled back on the maple syrup and coconut sugar, and eventually found the “sweet spot” (pun intended).
- Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt: Start with a small pinch, if you really want to go for that Salted Caramel sauce vibe, add a bit more to taste!
Making Vegan Caramel
- When you first bring the coconut milk, coconut 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.
- Store the vegan caramel sauce in an airtight canning jar and keep it in the refrigerator. Use within 5 – 7 days.
- You can serve this caramel sauce warm or cold.
Consistency Of Dairy Free Caramel
This caramel sauce is just that – a sauce. It is fairly runny and won’t get really thick like a dairy-full 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 coconut sugar used to ¾ cup.
Ways To Get More Dairy Free Caramel Sauce Into Your Life
- Drizzle this vegan caramel over your favorite bowl of ice cream
- Add a few spoonfuls to your morning coffee (you can thank me later!)
- Drizzle over cakes and pies – like this vegan cheesecake or my dairy-free salted caramel pie
- Swirl into brownie batter before baking
- Use it as a topping in my gluten-free sweet tortilla pizza
- Drizzle into an ice cream maker in the final stages to give your homemade ice cream ribbons of decadent caramel
- Or use it as a gooey delicious filling for homemade chocolate candies
Caramel Sauce Variations
Warming and fragrant cinnamon caramel sauce is sure to delight your holidays when you add a cinnamon stick to the pot while simmering. Remove the cinnamon stick while caramel sauce is cooling.
Or try a bold infusion on this classic vegan caramel sauce recipe by adding a fresh sprig of rosemary to the finished caramel sauce jar while its still warm. As it cools, the rosemary will infuse the caramel sauce, remove the sprig once cooled entirely.
Adding a heavier pinch of a smoked sea salt will take your vegan salted caramel to new heights, find your happy place by taste-testing while adding in small amounts.
This recipe was originally published May 2013. Photos and blog post updated March 2022. No significant changes were made to the original recipe.
Vegan Caramel Sauce
This vegan caramel sauce will turn any dessert into an incredible one. It’s sinfully indulgent, silky smooth, and perfectly sweetened!
- 14 ounces canned coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut sugar (or palm sugar)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegan butter)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Small pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt
- 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.
- Whisk in the coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt.
- 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.
- Store in the refrigerator. Can be served warm or cold. Use within 5-7 days.
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 coconut sugar used to ¾ cup.
I highly, highly recommend using coconut sugar in this recipe. Coconut sugar has a wonderful caramel-like flavor, so it really adds to the richness of the sauce. I tried making this recipe once using cane sugar and didn’t care for it. Trust me, use coconut sugar!
When you first bring the coconut milk, coconut 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.
To those of you with small children in your home, please use caution when making this recipe.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Nutiva Organic, Steam Refined Coconut Oil from non-GMO, Sustainably Farmed Coconuts, 15 Fluid Ounces
Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt - 5 lbs. Fine Grain
Pure Vanilla Extract, Certified Organic
100% Coconut Milk - 8.5 Oz (6-pack) by Aroy-D
Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup, Grade A Amber Color, Rich Taste, 16 Fl Oz
MADHAVA Organic Coconut Sugar
Did you make this recipe? If you did, please give it a star rating and leave a review or comment below! And remember to take a pic and share it on social! Tag @allergyfreeak or #allergyfreealaska on Instagram!
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!
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!
You’re very welcome! Yes, I do have a Pecan Pie Recipe – CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE.
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! 🙂
I hope you enjoy it, Shirley! It’s dangerous – in all the best ways possible! 😉
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
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.
Oh Jamiemid, I love it when that happens! I can’t wait to hear how you like it! 😉
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says
Wonderful – I’ve been wanting to make something like this. Now…for a caramel candy :).
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! 😉
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…
🙂 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.
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.
[email protected]://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.
Thank you, Nancy! I agree… I love palm sugar. It has a wonderful flavor!
Suzanne Perazzini says
This looks absolutely delicious.
Thanks, Suzanne! It is really addicting!!
Do you have nutrition information on this?
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. 🙂
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 🙂
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!!
Shirley is wonderful, isn’t she?! 😉 Thank you, and welcome to AFA!
Ewa "Mom Photographer" says
this sounds so super delicious!! !
Paige @ Not Missing a Thing! says
Definately pinning this for later! Sounds amazing!
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,
featuring this this week Megan!
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
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. 🙂
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 🙂
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!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Jen! And thanks for letting me know about the freezer experiment!
Just wondering…can you make this in larger batches and waterbath process it for storage for longer than a week?
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.
Little Aussie Bakery says
This is a great recipe! Mind if we share it to our followers?
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!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for including the corn starch info!
Cheryl Harris says
I have a similar recipe–it IS just about perfect, isn’t it!! http://www.gfgoodness.com/2010/11/02/sweet-treats-part-1-caramel-y-apple-dip-vegan/
I’m realizing it’s been way too long since I’ve made it. Now I have to come up with a good excuse!
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!!!
😉 You are are so, SO welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Eat some of that turtle ice cream for me!
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.)
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!
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. 🙂
Have fun, JD! You definitely would be loved if you showed up on my doorstep with cake! 😉 LOL!
Enjoy – M
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.
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!
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!
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!
Wonderful, Dafni! 😉 And you are VERY welcome!
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!
No, I haven’t. The maple syrup adds such a rich flavor, I wouldn’t want to leave it out. 😉
Cookie's Mom 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?
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? 🙂
Cookie's Mom says
Okay, will do. I do have a candy thermometer from my soap making days!
I just made this and it is fabulous.
Glad you enjoyed it, Rachel! 😉
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. 🙂
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.
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!
The recipe is missing from this entry. Where can I find it?
Sorry about that, Saundra. It’s there now; thanks for letting me know!
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!
YUM Michelle! That sounds decadent! 😉 Enjoy a slice for me!
And you’re SO welcome!
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.
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! 😉
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.
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).
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!!!
Love this recipe! My fave dairy free caramel at the moment 🙂
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!
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.
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!
Is this supposed to separate? Cuz mine did and the oil is sitting on top of the mix….
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.
This sounds wonderful, however my kids are extremely allergic to coconut. Have you tried it with any other dairy substitute?? Like rice milk?
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.
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..
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.
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!
Can I use coconut sugar instead of palm sugar? Coconut sugar has a bit of a caramel-y taste to it as well 😛
YES! You sure can!
Looks fabulous – is there any way to make this w/o sugar?
No, this recipe definitely needs the sugar.
I was wondering if it is possible to use this recipe to make a caramel pie filling?
I have no idea! I guess it would depend on the recipe. It’s hard to say – you might need to experiment! 😉
Hi, I really like your recipes and web site. Does your carmel sauce taste like coconut?
It has a mild coconut flavor, Vivian, but it’s very, very mild. My husband is not a coconut fan and he loves it!
I tried a different recipe today with awful results, so want to try your recipe. Is the coconut milk a full fat milk? Do you recommend any particlar brand? The recipe I tried was just the coconut cream, honey and coconut oil, and I opened 2 cans of coconut milk to get enough cream. I had 2 different brands and one had double the amount of cream as the other. Anyway, cooked, and cooked mine and ended up with a small blob of gelatinous brown stuff under a thick layer of oil.
Great tip on back burner, also keep pets out of kitchen! I was making homeade caramel at Xmas a few years back. My cat came out and was rubbing myeg, as I bent to pet him, I accidentally hit the wooden spoon, which flew up in the air spinning wnd over end, my Winston ran and the spoon landed on his head. Of course it was freezing rain that I had to drive thru to get him to the vet. They were waiting for us and raced him back. They shaved the spoon and caramel off my poor boy and the Vet said if he had not been a long haired cat he would have had severe burns on his head, neck and back. Thankfully all he lost was fur, and he gained the nickname carmel winnie!
I LOVE Aroy-D coconut milk! And yes, please use full fat.
Connie Barlow says
Hi, that is a HORRIBLE STORY. I can so relate to you.
Poor Baby !! And dont you know he was So Embarrassed to have his hair gone!
This recipe sucks its literally a liquid
Wow! Thank you so much for your very kind and helpful comment!
I made this recipe using chaokoh coconut cream. And replaced the oil with soy free earth balance “butter”. I didn’t have palm sugar, so I used coconut sugar. This is Amazing! This recipe is not going to get thick where you can make caramel apples, but this can be drizzled over chopped apples or anything really. I like to chop apples, sprinkle with chopped cashews and drizzle with this caramel. Thank you Megan!!☺️
So happy to hear you enjoy it, Gina! Thanks for coming back and leaving me a comment with your thoughts and experience! I love it when readers do that!
Any idea how to fix this if its very crystallized?
I’ve never had it crystallize on me before, so I’m not sure! Did you change anything in the recipe?