Vegan Milky Way

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Showing the chewy inside of our Easy gluten-free Vegan Milky Ways

There was a point in time when my love for Milky Way surpassed my love for Snickers. I know – it was a major shock to me, too.

Somehow, I managed to find room in my heart for one more candy bar.  I guess, if I were to admit my one fault, it’s that I love too much…(candy).

Plate filled with the insides of our gluten-free Vegan Milky Ways recipe

This recipe has been bouncing around in my head for a while now – the challenging part being the nougat.

I already knew how to whip up a mean date caramel (pats shoulder) and melt chocolate (pats other shoulder), but the perfect nougat had eluded me…until now.

This 6-ingredient, 30-minute recipe starts with a date-based nougat that’s so easy I don’t know how I didn’t think of it before.

Can you find it in your candy-loving heart to forgive me? Please say yes, please say yes.

Adding the chocolate layer to our homemade gluten-free vegan Milky Ways

Dates are blended into a sticky ball, and then coconut flour and almond flour transform it into a perfect, moldable dough that takes on the flavor and characteristics of a (terrible-for-you, corn-syrup-laden) nougat. That’s what I call 4-ingredient magic.

Next comes date caramel. And lastly, melted chocolate with a dash of coconut oil to ensure it’s the perfect consistency for dipping.

We’re getting close. Can you feel it?

Plate showing a plate of Vegan Milky Ways some with shells that have hardened

I know you guys are going to LOVE these bars! They’re:

Tender
Chocolaty
Caramel-stuffed
Triple-layered
Super rich
Easy to make
& Healthified candy at its finest

These are the perfect treat to make when your most intense junk food craving strikes and you need a healthier fix, quick! They come together in about 30 minutes and last for up to 1 month in the freezer! Enjoy them one bar at a time or, if you’re like me, remove a bar from the freezer 5 times throughout the day and cut off small bites to make you “feel better” until the whole bar is gone (insert sneaky eyes emoji).

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! We love your comments, ratings, and your photos tagged #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Stack of our gluten-free plant-based Milky Ways that require no baking to make

Vegan Milky Way

Decadent vegan milky way made with date-coconut-almond nougat, date caramel, and a dark chocolate shell! 6 ingredients, 30 minutes, so delicious!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Stack of halved Vegan Milky Ways revealing the insides
4.55 from 11 votes
Prep Time 27 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (bars)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 2 Weeks

Ingredients

NOUGAT

  • 15 whole pitted medjool dates (weight measured after pitting)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour* (or sub almond meal with varied results)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (not shredded coconut)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

DATE CARAMEL

  • 30 whole pitted medjool dates (weight measured after pitting)
  • 3-8 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

CHOCOLATE

Instructions

  • Make nougat by adding dates to a food processor and blending until small bits remain or it forms a ball. Then add almond and coconut flour and sea salt. Mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed. You're looking for a semi-firm dough that isn't sticky. If too sticky, add in 1 Tbsp each almond flour and coconut flour at a time until you reach the right consistency.
  • Once your dough is formed, add to a parchment-lined standard loaf pan (or more pans, as needed, if increasing batch size) and press down to form a uniform layer. Use something flat - such as a liquid measuring cup or glass - to help flatten. Then lift out of loaf pan and use your hands to shape any areas that are lumpy and compress it slightly until you have a rectangular nougat that is roughly 1/2-inch thick.
  • Slice nougat into 6 even bars (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and set on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet and pop in freezer to set.
  • To make date caramel add dates to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until small bits remain or it forms a ball. Then begin adding warm water 1 Tbsp at a time while blending, scraping down sides as needed. You're looking for a spreadable consistency that isn't watery, but also isn't dough-like. Add salt and mix once more. Set aside.
  • Remove nougat from freezer and spread with a generous amount (~2 Tbsp) of date caramel (see photo). You will likely have leftover date caramel*, which you can store in the refrigerator to use for things like ice cream, oatmeal, or other candy bars!
  • Set nougat back in freezer while you prepare chocolate. To melt chocolate and coconut oil, either heat in the microwave in 30-second increments until creamy and smooth, or over a double boiler on the stove top. Transfer to a shallow dish and set aside.
  • Remove nougat from freezer and quickly add one at a time to the melted chocolate. Use a fork to gently flip/roll the bar until completely coated. Then pick it up (nougat side down - caramel side up) and tap off any excess chocolate. Set back on parchment and repeat until all bars are dipped.
  • Either let set at room temperature, or pop in the refrigerator or freezer for 5-10 minutes until the chocolate is firm.
  • Enjoy at room temperature, or straight from the freezer or refrigerator. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer up to 1 month (sometimes longer).

Notes

*Almond flour is made from blanched almonds and has a finer/more dense texture than almond meal. I like Wellbee's brand. If you can't find almond flour, almond or walnut meal is the closest substitute.
*The reason I make a larger batch of date caramel is that it requires using enough dates to make a paste in the blender or food processor. Too few and the dates don't get enough traction to form a paste! No worries - leftovers keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated using about half of the date caramel for 6 bars.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 bars Calories: 343 Carbohydrates: 42.5 g Protein: 5.1 g Fat: 18.9 g Saturated Fat: 11.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 179 mg Fiber: 5.7 g Sugar: 34.1 g

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Reader Interactions

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  1. Dee says

    The dates that tastes mostly like caramel to me are the deglet dates.
    Can you tell me the name and model of your food processor.
    Thank you

  2. Patty Patzman says

    My Granddaughter is alergic to eggs, dairy and all nuts. Is there another non-nut flour that could be used?

  3. LaurD says

    I made this and everyone (6 people) who tried them Loved them – and none of them are vegan or close. I was even asked for the recipe.

        • Valya says

          Alejandra, according to the PETA website the chocolate Dana recommends is indeed vegan.

          I plan on making these but subbing the caramel with a peanut butter fudge (with coconut oil, pb, maple syrup) layer. Will report back!

          • Alejandra says

            I understand but the chocolate that you recommend in Amazon contain dayri products ?

        • Kiki says

          These are ridiculous! Thank you! I was a Milky Way girl as a child. These really hit the spot. My son is enjoying one right now. :)

          So easy to make. I inherited two of my great aunt’s Bake King loaf pans 7-1/2 x 3-1/2. Bigger than a mini loaf pan and smaller than a full-size bread pan. Perfect size for this recipe.

          So I cut out two pieces of parchment the size of the bottom of the pan. Put the nougat on the parchment in the bottom of the first pan, then covered the nougat with another piece of parchment and used the bottom of the second pan to smush it flat. Worked like a charm.

          Thanks for yet another great (and simple) recipe!!

  4. Vanessa says

    Hi! I made this but the nougat didn’t seem to stick together as well as it needed to and kept crumbling, especially when I tried to dip it in the chocolate. Any siggestions?

  5. Sydney says

    I am a long time follower, but have found this to be the most bizarre recipe and would not repeat or recommend.

    First, calling this creation a “milky way” is incredibly misleading. The end result is essentially a bar showcasing the versatility of the date. The bar consists of a flour-y date powder (that is incredibly difficult to pack), a date pureed spread, and dark chocolate. I am surprised that the recipe called for “date caramel” (following the pattern of misleading names) when dates remain the bulk of the other layer. I would be interested in trying a coconut based caramel spread instead. Perhaps at the risk of disobeying the spirit of this blog, the recipe would have benefited from less minimalism with the ingredients and flavors employed.

    I would caution people from trying this recipe if they are expecting a milky way, especially for fellow vegans who are excited to enjoy such a treat again. This is a date bar with chocolate. It is minimalist, but it is not caramel-y, it is not like candy, and it is nothing like a milky way bar.

  6. Lydia says

    This is the best. YES!!!!!!! Though I made some mistakes of double-boiling the chocolate too soon, or steaming a bowl of chocolate in the steamer. But either way, it was delicious, which is what I cared the most. I know I am going to double-boil right the next time. And the next time because OMG I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!

  7. Kylie says

    Hi Dana,

    Love love love your creativity! I was wondering if you think these would be at all meaty. My Mom use to make this sauce where she melted BarOne chocolate bars (similar to Milky Way) and added cream. It made an amazing ice cream or pancake sauce. I recently discovered Oatly cream which is great for cooking and this sauce popped into my head after seeing a crepe cake on instagram laden with vegan ice cream and chocolate. Not one of my healthiest prevegan cravings but you have to indulge from time to time don’t you.

  8. Janette says

    I tried those yesterday, and even thought they maybe didn´t look as delicious as in the photos, they tasted SOO good!! :) I´m going to do more today!

  9. Mona says

    I just made these, yum! Helpful tip if you do what I did and buy Deglet Noor dates instead of Medjool. Deglet Noor dates are not as sweet and sticky, so my nougat came out very dry. I added more dates and some agave necter. Worked great! Thank you for the great recipe!

  10. Mariana says

    Hi! i really want to try this recipe but in Mexico its very very hard to find Medjool dates , there is any substitute easier to find i can use?

  11. Alisha says

    I do not have a food processor, but have a high powered blender. Would that work for making the nought? This look so delicious! !

  12. Sharice says

    First of all, I would NOT call this a Milky Way bar. However….it is AWESOME! I decided to try it after finding the recipe tonight and it is really delicious! My husband and 3-year old son even loved them. I think i was most impressed by that base layer with the almond flour and coconut flour. I was a little nervous about it because I typically hate the texture of coconut flour in baked goods. But I honestly thought it was great in these bars! I was really impressed. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Lacey says

    Made these last night and they were delicious!! My scale battery was dead so I didn’t measure out the weight of the flours and I think I added too much (used about 1/2 cup packed each) and the nougat was a bit dry. I added some water to help from more of a dough. I also used deglet noor dates instead of medjool, which I think aren’t as sticky and moist. I soaked the dates for the caramel and it worked great, I should have soaked them for the nougat too. Like I said though, delicious anyway!

  14. Erik says

    I’m glad I made this. This recipe is really good. I don’t think it tastes like a milky way bar though; the date caramel is more like a jelly than a caramel. Either way I can’t stop eating them, thank you for the recipe!

  15. Akino says

    I’ve never actually tried milk way before but these look so sweet and delicious! I think I’ll try making them around halloween :3

    Akino

  16. lucky patcher says

    as the one say below “If any other non-Americans get confused – American Milky Ways are apparently sold as Mars bars everywhere else”

  17. emily says

    I had to use quite a few more dates for the nougat layer. Not sure if this is because I used almond meal instead of almond flour, but it was pretty crumbly without extra dates. These are super sweet and super delicious!

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      This can also depend on the size/freshness of your dates! Mine were quite large. Glad you figured it out, though!

  18. Ally says

    This is the third recipe I’ve made. I have a hell of a lot of fun cooking this stuff and cauliflower rice is now a staple of many meals. We love it. I had a hard time with this. I think you need the right tools. My food processor is a bit old and the nougat was tough to make. Parts were crumbly as much as I mixed. I feel like it wants some oil. I may try that next time. So I had no parchment paper and no square baking pan, so I will get those next time. I pressed nougat into a big cookie on a pizza pan and chilled in freezer while I made caramel. I didn’t cut it as it just crumbled. I put caramel on, chilled it and did my best to cut in bars. I used dark, Belgian chocolate chips and that part was easy. Melted in a big measuring cup in microwave. So I just dipped my clumps in and laid them on a plastic lid. Put in freezer. Very delicious but look like turds. Next time I will get proper utensils. I may try an actual cooked caramel with xylitol and coconut oil. Anyway I made this in the first day of ‘Aunt Flows’ visit. My husband thanks you!! Lol

  19. Cassie says

    I’ve always been Team Hershey’s and Team Crunch bars! Milky Ways were kind of meh for me! This healthy rendition of the classic chocolate bar looks so much better than the real deal! It’s incredible!

  20. Sofie Fysioterapeut says

    Wow… it looks amazing.
    I will defiantly make them.
    Thanks for yet another amazing recipe.

  21. Jennifer says

    As soon as I saw the picture I knew that making these was on the agenda for today. I jumped right in thinking I had all the ingredients, but didn’t end up having enough dates to make the caramel. I made the nougat as instructed, and it is delicious. My big improvisations were to the caramel- I used figs instead of dates, and added maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla as well as the salt and water Dana recommends. The result was a bit too figgy but then I had the idea to add peanut butter, and MAN they are so delicious! After dipping them in chocolate I added a bit of shredded coconut. My adapted version of this recipe can’t really warrant the title of a Milky Way, but thanks Dana for the awesome inspiration!

  22. Rosie says

    After reading this recipe, I had the sudden realisation that all my life I had been searching for almond flour and had been using it the whole time except under the name ‘almond meal’. Mind. Blown.

  23. Jennifer says

    OMG this looks incredible!! I recently started dating a vegan and I think he will go crazy for these!

  24. Paige says

    I just wanted to let you know how much I love your print cookbook! The recipes are great! I’ve tried the chocolate chip cookies and the garlic biscuits so far, so good!

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aquafaba knows no bounds! Just started experimenting with it. Hope to have a recipe up soon!

  25. Ola says

    If any other non-Americans get confused – American Milky Ways are apparently sold as Mars bars everywhere else (it did look more like a Mars bar)

    • claudia says

      Yep its a mars bar a milky way is just nugat, but lets face it if you cant work out to leave the caramel layer to get a mars bar :0) I will be trying this out thanks.

  26. Sarah says

    Hi there!
    Reading the ingredients, 15 dates + 30 dates seems like a looooot to make only 6 bars. I just wanted to verify if this was correct!

    Thank you,
    Sarah

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! You will have leftover date caramel, it just takes that many dates to make the caramel otherwise they’ll never blend in the food processor/blender. I note that the leftover caramel isn’t included in the final nutritional count.

  27. Moya says

    I love your recipes! I often have to alter them bc my children are allergic to tree nuts (except coconut) peanuts & chick peas. How would you sub the almond flour? Pumpkin seed or sesame seed pulverized to meal?

  28. Ana | Espresso My Kitchen says

    These look really delicious Dana! A healthy version of a milky way, such a great idea!

    • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says

      I usually buy about 6 bags of candy for Halloween but am envisioning myself being the hero neighbor and making these for all my Tricks-Or-Treaters instead. We probably get about 100 kids at our door at least!

  29. Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says

    This is a healthy enough to have two kinda chocolate bar, and I am a big fan of that!! It’s practically just a serving of fruit :)