Vegan Pumpkin Caramels

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Bowl of homemade vegan Pumpkin Caramels

You guys know I have a thing for date caramel. It makes wonderful things like truffles and No-Bake PB&J Pies, and No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream. Clearly, there is nothing it cannot do.

Exhibit D: Pumpkin Caramels!

Dates, pumpkin seeds, and other ingredients for making Vegan Pumpkin Caramels

These truffles are seriously simple! They require just 6 ingredients, are naturally sweetened, and are both vegan and gluten free.

They get a serious punch of pumpkin flavor from both pumpkin butter (or puree), and pumpkin pie spice, and the result is a decadent-but-healthy caramel rolled in roasted pumpkin seeds and sea salt. Serious yum.

Making date caramel in the food processor
Food processor with smooth and creamy Date Pumpkin Caramel dough

If you’ve never tried date caramel, you must! Get your hands on some dates, whirl them in your food processor, add a little coconut oil (or water) until you get the creamiest, dreamiest paste that tastes seriously identical to caramel.

In addition to rolling your date caramel in pumpkin seeds and eating it as caramel bites, date paste keeps for weeks in the fridge and is ideal for adding to oatmeal, smoothies, desserts, and practically anything you want to sweeten naturally. It’s practically magic in a jar for health nuts and the sugar conscious.

Baking sheet with freshly roasted pumpkin seeds
Parchment lined cutting board filled with vegan Pumpkin Caramels

The concept for these caramels came to me one night just before drifting off to sleep, as so many of my ideas do. I muttered to John, “Don’t let me forget, pumpkin caramels with dates!” so it wouldn’t escape me.

I’m so glad I remembered and gave it a go. I’ve been snacking on these for the past couple of weeks. The best part? No guilt! Dates really do hold a special place in my food-loving heart.

Close up shot of Vegan Pumpkin Caramels rolled in pumpkin seeds

You’re going to love these caramels. They’re:

Infused with pumpkin
Creamy on the inside
Salty-sweet on the outside
Subtly spiced
& Healthy

If you give these caramels a try, let us know! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can be caramel-loving buddies together. Cheers!

Showing the inside of a date-sweetened vegan Pumpkin Caramel
Holding up a partially eaten vegan Pumpkin Caramel

Vegan Pumpkin Caramels

Delicious Date Pumpkin Caramels that require just 6 ingredients. Naturally sweetened and infused with pumpkin two ways. The perfect healthy dessert for fall.
Author Minimalist Baker
Bowl of Vegan Pumpkin Caramels rolled in pumpkin seeds
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 20 (caramels)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Week


  • 12 ounces medjool dates, pitted (12 ounces or 250 g yields ~1 1/4 cup packed // if not moist and sticky, soak in hot water 10 minutes then drain thoroughly)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin butter* (or sub pumpkin puree)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and place raw pepitas on a baking sheet. If your dates are not sticky and moist, begin soaking in hot water now. Wait 10 minutes and then drain thoroughly.
  • Bake pepitas for 5-7 minutes, or fragrant and just slightly toasty. Remove set aside.
  • Add dates to the food processor and mix until a ball forms. Then add in pumpkin butter (or puree) and spices and mix.
  • While mixing, stream in melted coconut oil until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed. If it won’t mix, add 1-2 Tbsp hot water (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) – this will depend on the size and stickiness of your dates. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  • Transfer mixture to the freezer to chill/harden for at least 2 hours, preferably 4-6. You want it to be tacky enough to allow for handling and rolling into balls.
  • Once set, remove date caramel from freezer and scoop out rounded Tablespoons and roll between your palms to form a ball. Roll in pepitas to coat and sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate and pop back in the freezer to set.
  • Keep these in the freezer for freshness – they won’t harden. Enjoy straight from the freezer, or let set at room temp for 5 minutes before serving.


*Find pumpkin butter at the store (check label to ensure it’s vegan-friendly) or make it yourself with this amazing recipe from Oh She Glows.
*Inspiration from PBS and my 5 Ingredient PB Caramel Truffles
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 20 servings)

Serving: 1 caramels Calories: 80 Carbohydrates: 13.9 g Protein: 1.5 g Fat: 2.8 g Saturated Fat: 1.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 47 mg Fiber: 1.4 g Sugar: 11.5 g

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  1. Jen says

    Just made these little gems up and they are absolutely divine!!!! I substituted pumpkin seeds for the pipitas and from the small tastes I have been enjoying, I would say that this is a fine substitution. Unbelievably, my Kroger does not carry pumpkin butter (sigh) so I was going to use apple butter but lo and behold I found a jar of pumpkin butter from Trader Joes in my pantry. I believe the apple butter would have been a fine substitute. I am very looking forward to serving these to my family!!!! I will 100% make this very easy recipe again!

  2. Jen says

    Some friends and I get together once a month for a potluck-style dinner. I’m usually the dessert girl. Between the five of us, we’re gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan, though none of us is all of these together. Of course, when we cook, we ARE, so as to accommodate everyone. I made these for this month’s dessert (I made my own pumpkin butter to ensure there was no refined sugar) and everyone LOVED them! They’re gooey and sweet (but not TOO sweet) and hearty and just freaken perfect. Thank you for this recipe!! I think I’m going to make it again for my Sunday Funday group next weekend. Go Bolts! :)

    • Shukla says

      Hi! Any tips on making this in a Vitamix? I don’t have a food processor. I tried making this in my vitamix and it just doesn’t mix! I have to keep adding water , which ruins the consistency. Any tips would be great !

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Shukla, we’ve also struggled with dates in the Vitamix. But pulsing in short bursts works OK. A food processor is best!

  3. Beth says

    OH my goodness! I just made these, or rather just processed them, they are still chilling, but I tasted them and they are seriously amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Steph says

    I don’t really like sweets so I substituted the pumpkin components for Granny Smith apples and almost went half/half with the batter and the pepitas. YUMMO! Will definitely be experimenting more and making a second batch. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. April says

    I am very excited to make these pumpkin caramels! I love the combination of dates and coconut oil and think this recipe is just going to be phenomenal! Dates are wonderful for sustained energy and are known as “nature’s fuel”, so this will be a great snack before, during, or immediately after working out.

  6. Alison says

    These look divine. Can you please suggest a substitute for pumpkin pie spice which I haven’t yet found in Brisbane, Australia! Thank you!

  7. Mer Now Fitz says

    Having never looked for medjool dates or pumpkin seeds at a grocery store, I don’t know how difficult (or not?) they’ll be to find, but I am definitely going to make it a mission if need be, because this recipe looks heavenly! I was thinking as I read it that I might make it for some friends for holiday gifts, but once I saw that you should eat them from the freezer, I was less sure about the caramels as gifts. If I would be driving them about 30 minutes away to get to friends’ houses, do you think they’d get weird before delivery? What happens to them outside of the freezer for too long?
    P.S. I will definitely be making them for myself either way, but I’d rather just make a big batch if you say they’d be good for friends, instead of a trial run first.

  8. Cherri says

    Wow!!! These are amazing, love your blog, everything is quick and easy. And mostly, really health too!!! Keep up the good work x

  9. Lynsey T // Eeyore Likes Cupcakes says

    These caramels look irresitably gooey and moreish !! Love salty-sweet combinations from the pumpkin seeds. YUM. L x

  10. Kristina says

    What a perfect combo of sweet and salty flavors, and such a perfect snack size too. YUM. They look amazeballs–ha, no pun intended :)

  11. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says

    I’ve made snack balls with dates before, but I’ve never made caramels with dates! Definitely giving these a go!

  12. Carmen says

    Hello! I think these look delicious and I really want to try them, but I have a question–is the melted coconut oil mandatory? We have a coconut allergy in our house, and I know these would go over really well! Thank you very much!

  13. The Blonde Chef says

    I love recipes that use dates as sweetener and this pumpkin caramels look divine! Good call on the pepitas, those are always a good idea :)

  14. Emilie@TheCleverCarrot says

    In your face yum! You are outdoing yourself, girl. Ps- I love date caramel and literally just made a batch of granola bars with them Great minds ;) xx

  15. Melodie says

    I love your site! You always post such delicious, simple recipes and your photography is stunning. However, I have one small criticism: as a reader who checks your blog every day, I would love to see something besides pumpkin as a key ingredient. Obviously, your blog your rules. Just a thought. :-)

  16. Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy says

    Yum! I haven’t tried making caramel with dates yet, but I’ve been meaning too. This is the perfect opportunity :)

  17. Julie Cookson says

    These are addictive! Do you think they are still healthy if you eat five at once!! I also made your pumpkin bread today. It looks amazing but I am saving it for tonight’s dessert…if I have the willpower!

  18. Teffy says

    YUM!! I am a huge date caramel fan, so I definitely don’t need an excuse to eat dates. With added pumpkin butter and pumpkin seeds? It’s now become my duty to eat this!

  19. Abbie @ Needs Salt says

    I couldn’t agree more about date caramel! I constantly keep a jar of it stocked in my fridge. It’s my go-to natural sweetener for pretty much everything. Plus it’s amazing on a spoon. (: These pumpkin caramels look stunning! I love how you rolled them in pumpkin seeds. So creative and cute!

  20. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table says

    Never tried making date caramels… How sweet would you say these turn out? I like to sweeten things with dates because it tastes less jarring… But these seem like they might be too sweet, no?

  21. Danielle @.Chits and Chats and Chocolate says

    Dates are magical. And these caramel look super creamy and soft…..I just want to sink my teeth into one (or twenty-five)!