How To Make Date Caramel

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Bowl of homemade simple Date Caramel surrounded by fresh dates

If you’ve ever wondered how to make date caramel, this is the tutorial for you! Date caramel is so easy to make and extremely delicious, but there are a couple of important tricks to know before you dive in.

1) It’s all about having good, moist, fresh dates. If your dates are dry and hard, they won’t blend as well and will require soaking in warm water first in order to soften them. Otherwise, you won’t achieve that creamy, caramel-like consistency. So, whenever possible, look for the freshest, most sticky dates you can find.

2) It’s all about the equipment. In my experience, a food processor works best to get that ultra creamy, smooth texture. But now that I’ve simplified and only have a Vitamix, I’ve found it’s not quite as easy with a blender. While they get the job done, blenders just require a little more time, effort and a bit more water to get things going.

Now that you have the basics down, let’s make caramel!

Side-by-side shot of fresh dates and date caramel in a blender

Top down shot of a bowl of easy homemade Date Caramel

Date Caramel

Easy, 1-ingredient caramel made with creamy pureed dates. A versatile, naturally-sweetened, raw caramel perfect for adding caramel-flavor to a variety of dishes.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Medjool dates beside a bowl of homemade date caramel
4.88 from 16 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 16 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 1-2 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 20 large pitted dates (if not moist and sticky, soak in warm water for 10 minute then drain)
  • Water (to thin)
  • 1 pinch sea salt (optional)

Instructions

Notes

*This recipe is not my original idea, but rather one that I've adapted from other brilliant recipe creators.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 one-Tbsp servings Calories: 29 Carbohydrates: 7.8 g Protein: 0.2 g Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 68 mg Fiber: 0.8 g Sugar: 6.6 g

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Susan says

    I make “sugarless” recipes with dates as a substitute.
    My technique:
    I soak dates a long time, maybe 45 minutes, in hot or boiling water with a heaping teaspoon of baking soda mixed in.
    It softens skins of dates and they rub off so much more easily, and you can pit and rub skins off under warm water, so you just have ave creamy date meat left.
    My mom did this in her kitchen in the 1950s and it’s an old technique to make sure a recipe is smooth and less gritty.
    Doing this doesn’t take a lot of time and makes a huge difference in a recipe. Also I just don’t add sugar, even coconut sugar.
    Enjoying a healthier recipe,
    Susan in The San Juan Islands

  2. Kaitlan Whitteberry says

    Hi Dana!

    First, let me just say how much I adore your recipes! They are just awesome, keep it up :)

    I have a quick question. I accidentally added 1/2 a cup of water to my mixture and now it’s too watery, and I’m out of dates! Is the only way to fix it to add more dates? Or could I slowly cook some of the water off?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much, Kaitlan! Hmm, we aren’t sure how cooking them might impact it. We wonder if leaving uncovered in the fridge might help dry it out a bit?

  3. Amanda says

    I’m looking for a dairy-free alternative to caramel topping (aka Smuckers). Will your date caramel sauce work? I use ice cream topping in my iced coffee.

  4. Camille Martin says

    Ive been making date caramel with this technique for years! I even used it as the caramel inside chocolate with almonds so make a healthy type of snickers bar. It was amazing.

  5. Hannah Ashford says

    I have a big box of dates sitting on the worktop, being thrown into a few savoury dishes but not much else (other than my sister eating them every time she goes in the kitchen!) Today she asked me if I’m even eating them as the mountain looks no smaller than when I got them last week, came across this while looking through your recipes and omg!!! I have made this to go on top of banana fritters as my treat for having no desserts all month and what a revelation! My tip is when you think you’re done blending,blend some more for a smoother texture! Oh dates im sorry I neglected you! Never again! Thanks so much.simple but effective! I’ve only just turned vegan this month but your recipes have been my saviour!

  6. Nicole M Roman says

    Hi there! I made this over the weekend but after refrigerating, it got a little hard and doesn’t mix well in my frapp (using you cold brew recipe!). Should I add a bit more water and reblend?

    I was very hesistant to add too much at first after seeing some comments.

  7. Patty says

    I made this and my husband and I love, love! Great with Apple slices, or on a slice of your delicious banana nut bread.

  8. Emilie says

    I only have a hand blender, and I have killed one in the past by blending dates, so I’ve been a bit wary of date-based things. But boiling the dates and letting the water almost completely boil away helped loads! No over heated hand blender this time. Actually I think this would make it possible to mush the dates with a fork, for a caramel that’s a bit more “rustic”.

  9. Sue says

    I made this and it turned out perfectly. Just like Dana said, use soft, not dried. I know a few people have said they didn’t have a food processor. I was one of those people for a long time. I recently purchased an inexpensive (aka, not top of the line) and I am so glad I did. Really opens up to a bunch more recipes I can make.

    Also, I wonder if you could put some type of flavoured extract in this if you like. I’m guessing you could.

  10. Nidia says

    Hello! Thank you SO much for this wonderful recipe! So easy! You are truly a genius! The salt does make a difference! Thanks again!

  11. Orignal says

    Awesome, thanks for this. Date sugar is very hard to find locally and it’s expensive on Amazon. This caramel will come useful.

  12. Amber says

    I’m wondering if I add more water and make it more liquid instead of a paste could I use this on your vegan cheesecake recipe instead of the bourbon Carmel? I’d just like to not use processed sugar but still have the Carmel.

  13. Judy says

    Well, I’ve finally gotten around to making Dana’s date caramels. I sure wish I hadn’t, they are ruining my waistline!!! Addicting? Ridiculously! The skins on my dates were separating from the dates themselves & so I thought that the skins being dry would not result in a dreamy, creamy caramel feel in the end, so I found that rubbing the dates under a cool water faucet easily removed the skins completely – and while processing, I found that I did not need to add water at all which may dilute the flavor. Though it got an A+ for dreamy, creamy straight from the processor, I thought the taste was just OK, that is until I pulled out one later from the freezer that I dipped into her homemade chocolate recipe (my version with what I had on hand is 1/4 cup each cacao powder and coconut oil – refined if you want more chocolate/less coconut flavor in your finished chocolate product & then 3 TBSP pure maple syrup). I zapped my choc mixture in the mic for a few seconds when finding that simply beating with a fork didn’t smooth it out enough for me. Then I made turtles and next will make nut clusters. I made frozen bananas too, minus the caramel, but that led me think of making caramel apple wedges with the caramel, minus the chocolate, & rolled in nuts as well. Will do that tomorrow. Possibilities are endless! Dana, you are awesome – thank you for your wisdom and your inspiration!

  14. Brandy says

    I’ve been making a version of this for over a year now using half dates and half raisins, to up the nutrition value a little, since I stopped eating processed sugars and flours. I actually soak my dried fruit for a day or so and save the sweet water I drain off to make a delicious chocolate sauce. I’ve only used my blender and never even thought to use my food processor. Duh. *slapping forehead* Thanks for the great idea, can’t wait to try it. When people ask how I’ve lost so much weight (60 lbs.) and how I can live without sugar I’ll just send them here. =)

    • Reba says

      Brilliant idea. Getting off sugar is a task no one do alone, lol!! I like Dana Carpender’s cookbooks. They’re great. Congratulations on your weight loss… !!!

  15. Melanie says

    Hello! I love this Date Caramel, but need help using it in your recipes! For instance, I’m wanting to make the Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I don’t have fresh dates right now, so was hoping to use the Date Caramel I made, but have no idea how much to use! Would it be possible for you to add an amount equivalency to the Date Caramel recipe (i.e., 1 cup dates equals ___ cups or __ grams Date Caramel)?
    I also wondered if the added water in the Date Caramel recipe would be a problem if substituting in recipes.

    Thanks!

  16. AbbyZ says

    I want to use this somehow in your cinnamon rolls recipe, to make the filling even thicker and more caramel-like. Have you ever tried?

  17. johanne says

    Love your ideas and recipes! I’m headed out to the book store to get your recipe book! Also, I noticed you only have one paper copy and the second cookbook is online only. Is it possible to get it in book format? Are they the same cookbook? It appears as they are two separate cookbooks. Thank.

  18. kayla says

    I just made this. It’s awesome. Even more so with about a 1/4 teaspoon each of vanilla and salt!

  19. Yanic says

    Simply fantastic! I doubled the recipe and used it as icing on your chocolate cake. Just divine!

  20. Michelle says

    My husband eats your gf black bean brownies every night for dessert. I make a double batch and freeze them . He is crazy for them! I will try the turtle brownies asap. P.S. I definitely prefer the food processor to the vita mix for making date caramel. Maybe you can get your food processor back.

  21. Ashwaq says

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know, coconut oil is a great alternative to the water for a very creamy smooth flavour of sweetness. Ali add a pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract and it comes out tasting just like caramel! Wonderful!

  22. Kate says

    I have been making this recipe for the last few weeks, however I’ve been adding a splash of vanilla extract. I want to eat all of it! I have made this and also the truffles, but i want to add it to so many other things! Do you have any recommendations for other recipes this could be used in?

  23. Tamika says

    Wow! This is such a great idea to have on hand for adding to any sweet recipe! I’m so excited to give this a go. Thanks for the inspiration Dana :)

  24. abdulla says

    We have dates all around the year , the best quality and was wondering what can I make besid our traditional staff that we do.
    Many thanks , I will try this recipe and get back to you

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! If you search “date” in our search bar (in the sidebar), you’ll come up with a whole round-up of recipes!

  25. Cari says

    I tried to make these in a blender and it is WORK to get it smooth! I wonder if it would be any easier by using an electric mixer and a bowl? I don’t have a food processor :(

  26. Holly says

    I used to make chocolate chunk cookies with a rolo baked in the center. This how-to reminded me of those. Yummm. If you could veganize those cookies you would have a BFF for life!! :)

  27. Joel says

    My mom used to make this at home when we were growing up, and I still make it whenever I can. She called it date butter. She would soak the dates for a few minutes in boiling water and then put them in a food processor. The results were just as you’ve shown. Delicious date goodness, which we use as an alternative for jelly, in our PB&J sandwiches.

    Thank you for the brilliant ideas on other ways to use it. I’m sure they will taste great. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes.

  28. tatin says

    i did this but i pureed them the old fashion way with a fork (’cause i broke the jar of my blender :’)) and it was really good! chunky, yeah, but dates are amazing whatever form they’re in.
    I mixed some in in a cashew based ice cream (a.k.a. a custard gone wrong i shoved in the freezer) and it was kinda close to my childhood favorite dulce de leche ice cream!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I do! Just as long as they’re moist – that’s the most important. Medjool are always best, in my experience.

      • SoozMarie says

        I bought both deglet and medjool dates today. The deglet are tasty, but the medjool have a caramel flavor in comparison. I’d say go with medjool if you can!

  29. Tara says

    The one itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie problem with this this date caramel is that……if it’s there –staring at me from the shelf in my refrigerator, it must be eaten! It’s so delectable I can just eat it, one scoop at a time, all by its lonesome….deadly delish:)

  30. Elizabeth says

    Thank you for the recipe! I absolutely LOVE your site- your dishes are constantly making their way onto my table! About how much water did you use? I’ve tried making date caramel before and I added too much, so I’ve been kind of intimidated to try again, but yours looks absolutely perfect!
    Thanks again :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think I added about 3 Tbsp, but it definitely depends on the freshness of your dates. You’ll know you’ve added too much when it’s liquidy, so only add a little at a time!

  31. Alexis @ Upside Down Pear says

    This sounds amazing! I have a bunch of dates sitting on the counter waiting to be turned into something, and now I know what to do with them :D What a great idea to add this to oatmeal! Can’t wait to try it for breakfast.

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