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Vegan Caramel Sauce

This Vegan Caramel Sauce will turn any dessert into an incredible one. It’s sinfully indulgent, and will forever change the history of your vanilla ice cream. Use it as an apple pie topping, make a dairy-free caramel macchiato, or even a vegan salted caramel frappuccino! You really can’t go wrong with this silky smooth dairy-free caramel sauce. In fact, I think you’ll want to put it on everything. 

Years ago, when I created this recipe, I aspired to create a non-dairy caramel sauce that would taste like the original dairy-filled one. I didn’t know what using maple syrup and coconut sugar would produce, but I was very determined to give it a try and find out. 

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). 

DSC_0421 (Small)

Tips for making this vegan caramel:

  • 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. I use the back burner on my stove and tell my girls to stay out of the kitchen (just to be safe)!

How to use this Vegan Caramel Recipe:

  • Spoon over ice cream
  • Add a few spoonfuls to your morning coffee (you can thank me later!)
  • Drizzle over cakes and pies
  • Hide it from your family and sneak spoonfuls straight from the jar when they aren’t looking

Try drizzling this dairy-free caramel sauce over this decadent vegan cheesecake!

Vegan Caramel Sauce

Vegan Caramel Sauce

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This Vegan Caramel Sauce will turn any dessert into an incredible one. It’s sinfully indulgent, silky smooth, and perfectly sweetened!

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegan butter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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 3/4 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. I use the back burner on my stove and tell my girls to stay out of the kitchen (just to be safe)!

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Riley

Friday 28th of December 2018

Any idea how to fix this if its very crystallized?

Megan

Friday 18th of January 2019

Hi Riley, I've never had it crystallize on me before, so I'm not sure! Did you change anything in the recipe?

Gina

Monday 16th of October 2017

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!!☺️

Megan

Monday 16th of October 2017

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!

Tina

Monday 14th of August 2017

This recipe sucks its literally a liquid

Megan

Monday 14th of August 2017

Wow! Thank you so much for your very kind and helpful comment!

Lynn

Sunday 20th of November 2016

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!

Connie Barlow

Saturday 14th of January 2017

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!

Megan

Tuesday 22nd of November 2016

Hi Lynn, I LOVE Aroy-D coconut milk! And yes, please use full fat.

Vivien

Wednesday 25th of November 2015

Hi, I really like your recipes and web site. Does your carmel sauce taste like coconut?

Megan

Friday 27th of November 2015

It has a mild coconut flavor, Vivian, but it's very, very mild. My husband is not a coconut fan and he loves it!