5-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce

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Pouring AMAZING Vegan Caramel Sauce onto an apple perched on a metal stand

Friends, what we have here is some seriously creamy, dreamy vegan caramel sauce, and I cannot WAIT to share this recipe with you. Let’s do it!

Wood cutting board with arrowroot starch, dates, coconut sugar, coconut cream, and salt for making gluten-free Vegan Caramel Sauce

The base for this 5-ingredient caramel is coconut cream, dates, and arrowroot starch, which are blended until creamy and smooth. This makes up the liquid ingredients, which are added to a bit of coconut sugar and cooked until glossy and just bubbly.

Pouring coconut cream into a saucepan filled with ingredients for making plant-based Caramel Sauce
Stirring a saucepan of rich and creamy Vegan Caramel Sauce

The whole process for this naturally sweetened sauce takes just 10-15 minutes! And bam – it’s ready to go.

While it’s perfect right out of the saucepan, it also stores well in the refrigerator, where it takes on a slightly lighter color and is super tasty by the spoonful as a midday treat. (What? Who said that? Me. It was me. I did that. Several times.)

Pouring Vegan Caramel Sauce from saucepan to jar

You can see in the photo below that the caramel on the right is fresh from the saucepan, and the caramel on the left has been refrigerated for 24 hours and has taken on a much lighter color. Mmmm, dreamy.

Two jars of refined-sugar-free Vegan Caramel Sauce on a wood cutting board with a spoon

I hope you all LOVE this caramel! It’s:

Creamy
Smooth
Caramel-y
Perfectly (and naturally) sweet!
Slightly salty
So easy to make
& Super delicious

This is the perfect caramel sauce for things like Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream, Vegan Apple Pie, Ice Cream Snickers Bars, Caramel Frappuccinos, Cinnamon Baked Apples, Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tarts (!), Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pies, Vegan Samoas, and Apple Pie Sundaes! The list could go on forever and ever.

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot drizzling Vegan Caramel Sauce onto a green apple perched on a metal stand

5-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce

An easy, 5-ingredient vegan caramel sauce that requires just 15 minutes to make. A delicious, creamy, naturally sweetened sauce perfect for any dessert!
Author Minimalist Baker
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Drizzling Vegan Caramel Sauce onto an apple perched on a metal stand
4.86 from 27 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 16 (2-Tbsp servings)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 1-2 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 2 whole dates (pitted // finely chopped)
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, DIVIDED
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  • To a small blender or food processor (I used the smallest container of a Magic Bullet), add the arrowroot starch, dates, and 3/4 cup (180 ml // as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size // it will be about 2/3 the total amount) coconut cream or milk. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. If it has trouble blending, add more coconut milk or cream. If you don’t have a blender small enough, simply whisk coconut cream and arrowroot starch together, and finely chop/smash your dates and add them in.
  • To a small saucepan, add coconut sugar. Then pour the coconut milk mixture on top. Heat over medium heat and whisk or stir as it comes to a low simmer. As soon as the caramel is glossy and deep golden brown, it’s ready. It shouldn’t boil and only needs to cook for 2-4 minutes total.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and add remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml // as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) coconut milk or cream as well as salt and (optional) vanilla. Stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, vanilla for vanilla flavor, or coconut cream for a lighter color and more coconut flavor.
  • Let cool slightly. Then transfer to clean glass jar and let cool completely before covering (see photo). Store in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Reheat in microwave or place jar in a saucepan with 2-3 inches simmering water until warmed through. However, sauce is also pourable and delicious directly from the refrigerator!
  • Note: If for some reason your caramel sauce isn’t smooth and creamy and has little date pieces, once it’s cooled completely, you can add it to a high-speed blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. I didn’t find this necessary, but it will depend on the equipment you use.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Recipe adapted from my Vegan Caramel Sauce from our Cookbook!
*Recipe makes ~1 3/4 cups caramel sauce.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 two-tablespoon serving Calories: 82 Carbohydrates: 11.2 g Protein: 0.5 g Fat: 4.5 g Saturated Fat: 4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 34 mg Fiber: 0.5 g Sugar: 10.3 g

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My Rating:




  1. Mrs Hinton says

    OH MY WORD THIS IS SOOOO GOOD!!

    I’ve tried making other dairy free caramel sauces and they always fall just a little bit short–either too runny or off in flavor. This is awesome!

  2. MichL says

    This recipe did not disappoint! While not exactly like caramel made with full dairy cream and white sugar, it’s every bit as good!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Andrea! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Abby! It should set up just slightly at room temperature on a donut, or perhaps stick it them in the freezer before serving? Let us know how it goes!

  3. Amy says

    First time making caramel sauce, I followed recipe exactly as written and it came out delicious. I made this to go on top of the chai spiced cheesecake, which was amazing. Won’t be making any other caramel sauces as this is perfect.

  4. Milan Lawrence says

    Hello!
    I have made this caramel sauce and it is the creamiest sauce I have ever made!! Thank you for a great recipe! It tastes awesome with vegan cheesecake:)

  5. Twyla says

    This is AMAZING!!!
    I used my Nutri Bullet for the date mixture and it came super smooth.

    Love all the comments about the different ways to use it.
    I would love to try those; I just hope I can stop eating it from the saucepan!

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  6. Ayla says

    Will this freeze hard if it’s between ice cream cake layers or swirled in an ice cream flavor?

    Would the two ingredient version harden between ice cream cake layers / or as a swirl in ice cream?

  7. Julia Gray says

    Any idea if this will work ok if it’s put in a fondue pot and kept warm for a couple hours to do a caramel apple station?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think that should work! Just be careful not to overheat as it could burn easily. Let us know how it goes!

      • Melissa says

        Would this work for a traditional Carmel dipped apple? We want to do this for Halloween and let the kids decorate them.

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Melissa, We don’t think it would ever harden and get sticky on apples. But it would be a delicious dip!

        • Julie says

          Is there a way to make this a bit thicker so more sticks on the apple when using it as a dip? Mine is the consistency of a sauce not a dip. It’s is absolutely delicious so I don’t want to adjust the flavor!

          • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

            Hi Julie, good question! This one is a bit more saucy. Our only suggestion would be date caramel, but it won’t have quite the same flavor. We’ll add it to our ideas list to do some experimenting!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Hiba. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

    • Annie S. says

      What a MOST WONDERFUL and GENEROUS gift! Thank you so much for beautiful, inspired looking and presented dishes that will be fun to create, and tasty to indulge in. Keep your musings a-coming !
      I’m off to make my first one now … wonder which one I can actually single out TO make first ;)

  8. Jamie Poindexter says

    I just made this caramel and it is delicious! I used it in an iced coffee but I can see many uses for it.
    Wonderful recipe!

  9. Kathryn Nu says

    This is so good!! I was shocked by how closely it resembles traditional caramel. I added just a touch more coconut cream bc I wanted extra creaminess but I could have left it as is (including vanilla). I was using a store bought caramel sauce in my coffee every morning but now I’ve replaced it with this and it’s 100x better! Really quick and easy to make, too — I was able to make the whole thing with my toddler tied to my hip (who is also a big fan!). Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Delaney says

    Best vegan caramel EVER! Super simple to make and only requires a few ingredients. I made it a couple hours before serving and ended up slipping it in the fridge before it was totally cooled to see if it would help thicken it. It worked for me, so if you’re on a time crunch try that.

    Thanks Minimalist Baker for another hit!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Maree, we’ve never tried that so we’re not sure! Let us know if you try it!

  11. Leigh R. says

    This is the most amazing caramel recipe. Super easy to make and tastes delicious! I poured it over some cooked cinnamon apples and ice cream!

  12. Susan says

    I only had white sugar and tried to sub- it didn’t work. But I poured it over some leftover sticky rice and added some mango and it was pretty good! So don’t throw it out if you mess it up!

  13. Catherine McCann-Shelton says

    Perfect caramel recipe! Rich and sweet and just what I was looking for. Didn’t change a thing!

  14. Michelle says

    I am trying hunt down a caramel popcorn recipe, would this sauce work for it? Would it firm up once baked?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we aren’t sure! It is more of a caramel dip consistency. Let us know if you try it!

    • Hannah says

      I tried it, and it did not work though it was probably my fault. I poured the hot caramel over the popcorn without cooling the caramel in the fridge first and the popcorn shrank and soaked up the caramel like a sponge. That being said it still tastes delicious.

  15. Janice says

    It tastes great and as you said it’s a sauce. Great for anything that uses a sauce like crumble, cheesecake and apple slices.

    I tried to use this to make chocolates with. It’s not thick enough for that.

    In case someone is looking for a filling for vegan chocolates like turtles, I found the answer. Use condensed coconut milk and boil in water for 3 continuous hours. Make sure it is submerged at all times. Let sit overnight. It will separate into two parts. I put it in my ninja smoothie cup and blended it together. Perfect consistency for turtles and filling for other chocolates.

    For regular caramel use regular condensed milk. Use the same process, but no blending needed.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Janice

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Irish, this recipe is more of a caramel sauce- not as thick as caramel candy, but we do think it would make a nice swirl inside cookie dough. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  16. Rosemary says

    Just finished making this to go with the Chai Cheesecake that I made last night. Licked the pans for both, and if that is any indication, they are going to be delicious.

  17. Irene Binyon says

    By all means let me say up front I didn’t have coconut sugar. That is the key, I feel. I read the comments and saw that some had used regular sugar. So I felt I was safe. Then one tablespoon of cornstarch wasn’t enough for my dip. I took a bit of the hot sauce out of the pot and added to a bowl with another tablespoon of cornstarch, then back into the pot. Next it just wasn’t a pretty color like Dana’s. I added some cocoa. (That’s brown and should work, right?) It still needed something so I added some dry peanut butter. This was a great dip. I will make again with coconut sugar next time.

    Thank you!

  18. Mikayln B says

    I am so excited to try this!! i am curious as to if i could use raw sugar instead of coconut? i have a whole bunch i need to use up and would like to save a few bucks if i don’t need to go out and buy coconut sugar. would it still work/taste the same do you think? thank you :)

  19. Sandy says

    This is absolutely delicious! I have tried it in the almond-butter cups and vegan cheesecake recipes, which are both fabulous. The caramel sauce is also delicious on vegan ice cream or as a dip for apple slices.

  20. Kathleen says

    I’m excited about this recipe because it’s faster with easier-to-find ingredients than some others I saw. I want to top a special birthday vegan cheesecake for a salted caramel fan … can you please tell me how much more salt I should add to get the taste right? Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kathleen, we aren’t sure as we haven’t tried it that way, but perhaps start with an extra 1/8 tsp and taste test from there. Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried but if you experiment with it, I’d recommend using 2 tablespoons for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

  21. Tahnee says

    If I wanted to make this a boozy caramel would it work if I added in some sailor jerrys rum or will it throw out the other ingredients?

  22. Rebecca says

    Do you think this would work as a replacement for maple syrup in baking? Or would a date syrup/sauce be better?

  23. Brice says

    I don’t understand what part of the coconut milk we are using. I could be mistaken, but in one of your replies you state “ideally the two are mixed”, but in another one you say to scrape off just the top layer of cream for use in the recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      To clarify: Use well shaken full fat coconut milk. If your can of coconut milk has separated you can opt to scoop the cream off the top (and leave the clear liquid behind) for a thicker, richer texture. But as long as you’re using full fat coconut milk you’re good!

  24. Sarah says

    This was perfect. The color and texture were gorgeous and it came together so quickly (before work in the morning, because, you know, when you get a thing in your head….) Compared to another caramel sauce recipe from another source, the sweetness was much better with Minimalist Baker’s version. The other, made with caramelized cane sugar, was so cloying that it grossed me out. This one was more grounded. Definitely sweet, but not in a sickening way. I mixed it with toasted coconut and pecan pieces and frosted a vegan German chocolate cake. I will definitely make this again for lots of other applications. Thanks!!

  25. Rose says

    Hi Dana,

    I have just made this but mine is still very thin looking – any tips on how to thicken it up? Maybe add more cornstarch? Thank you :)

      • Rose Aschebrock says

        Hi Dana, thanks so much for getting back to me. Yip, I decided to load up on the cornstarch and it turned really thick which was perfect for the apple pie we were cooking up – I tagged you on the gram :)

        Have a lovely day and thanks so much for all the recipe inspo!!

  26. Christine B says

    Hi Dana!

    Do you think this would work if it were kept warm in a heated crockpot in order to spoon over apple slices??
    THANKS!!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think so, but we haven’t tried and can’t say for sure! If you try it out, report back!

    • Alex says

      Did keeping it hot in a crockpot work? We do a caramel apple bar for the neighborhood kids at our tap room, we are vegan, so super excited about this caramel, but it needs to last 4 hours in a crock…whaddaya think??

  27. Navah says

    I doubled the recipe so I can have occasional treats on hand. Recipe is easy , delicious and satisfying. My 2 year old grandson loved it too. I swirled some natural blueberry preserves in the middle. I am preparing it again this week. While I liked the base I am looking for a crunchy crust this time

  28. Irene Duncan says

    This sauce is AWESOME! I make artisan chocolates (normal and vegan), and liked the look of your Almond Butter Cups. I tried this vegan version of caramel sauce to see what it was like, not expecting it to be anywhere as good as a normal ‘cream’ version, but WOW it is GORGEOUS!! I’ll be using this as my go-to version from now on (if I can stop nicking spoonfuls every time I open the fridge). ?

  29. jessica says

    This is a miracle… As I was making it I thought there is now way this is going to be caramel but all the sudden… bam… it turned into caramel. It is absolutely delicious!! Thank You

  30. Jever says

    I am wondering how everyone that has made this did not have chunks of dates through out? Lumpy caramel sounds like a turn off, or is it cooked so much they sort of dissolve? THANKS!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      The blending is what makes it creamy and smooth. Just keep blending until it’s creamy. And to ensure no clumps, you can strain through a fine mesh strainer after blending!

  31. Ro says

    This is sensational! Tastes amazing drizzled over coconut ice cream. Also used it in a warm drink of almond milk. Have to hold back from just eating it straight! Great recipe, thank you!!!

  32. G says

    I am a vegan but I’ve always hated the taste of coconut so I was wondering if there is anything I can use instead of the coconut cream and coconut sugar. Thank you!

  33. Nicolle says

    I was thinking about turning this into small candies (wrapped in wax paper) to hand out for Christmas stocking stuffers. Would this recipe hold up if I ‘harden’ the caramel in a cake pan in the fridge? Or will it still be too creamy?

    • Robin says

      I wonder if you would add a very small amount of xanthan gum powder or other additive vegan cheese-makers often use to help stabilize their recipes that the caramel might “stand alone” for individual wrapping, or better cover an apple on a stick?

  34. Upma dhingra says

    Thx for this!! But my excitement was cut short by coconut cream .. so not me… and I have couple Le of bottles of date syrup lying though … can u suggest how best I can use it .? Tku!!

  35. Kat says

    Hi Dana. I am wondering what brand of coconut milk you like? I’ve only tried a few different brands and they all kind of have a gritty texture. Thanks, Kat

      • Tania says

        Or you can make it yourself. Buy a coconut scraper from an (continent) Indian supplier. Cut a fresh coconut in half and scrape it, mixing the meat with warm water. Squeeze out the coconut milk and use. It is quite another ingredient than tinned milk.

  36. Melissa Stouffer says

    Has anyone used this to coat apples? About how many apples did they get covered out of the 1 3/4 cup the recipe makes? Thanks!

  37. Annaliese says

    wow-what a cool recipe, Dana! I love how you used a starch to thicken the caramel; since this is lacking dairy, you lose that protein boost usually associated with traditional caramels (and the fat too, but thank you, coconut for being a rich plant-based source of fat!). Right on!!!

      • Annaliese says

        Well, actually, the market for enhanced confections, including protein-enhanced caramels, is on the rise. So, perhaps. From a functional and qualitative stand-point, as a consumer, you actually do “think” about protein content in caramel as perceived in textural properties. So, indirectly, yes, one does indeed think about protein content as they enjoy caramel!

        • Ansrea says

          Shoot. So someone on a plant based diet won’t be able to answer caramel when a meat eater asks the age old question, “where do you get your protein from?” ?

          • Annaliese says

            Baahhaa! Well, it seems we have uncovered a serious opportunity!! :) :) :) Protein fortified plant-based caramel…it has a nice ring to it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, perhaps another oil (such as avocado)? And for coconut milk you could try making homemade almond milk but make it really thick so it’s more creamy!

  38. Rakan says

    Well done Dana ?, no easy feat….any idea if it’s a good alternative to your date caramel in your milky way recipe

  39. Laura U. says

    I had already planned on making your 1-bowl Apple Gingerbread cake for Christmas dinner dessert. Now, I want to incorporate this! Do you think this would go with that cake? Could I use this instead of the cream cheese frosting or in addition to? Decisions, decisions…
    PS – loving the fan favourites book :-)

  40. Lucy Morris says

    How long will this keep in the fridge for? There is a similar beauty chef recipe that says a week.. would this be about the same? Can’t wait to try!

  41. Theresa says

    Dana, its so generous of you to create and share these recipes. Thank you! Its easier than ever to adopt plant-based living!

  42. Rachel says

    I am so happy about this (but also slightly crying on the inside because last night I looked all over the website for vegan caramel sauce and nada haha). Thank you so much for this amazing recipe :)

  43. Mojo says

    Looks yummy! Are you using only the solid part of the coconut cream/milk or do you mix in the liquid and then measure?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, I’m not sure! If you give it a try let me know. But I fear it may be a little too wet for popcorn…

  44. Leigh says

    Dana, thank you for this wonderful recipe. I have been searching for something where I can use palm or coconut sugar and this is perfectly fits the bill.