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Vegan caramel sauce recipe

Vegan caramel sauce recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Pancakes
  • Fillings for pancakes

Coconut milk is simmered with brown sugar and margarine until it reduces to a thick and dreamy, totally vegan, caramel sauce. For caramel apples, carefully caramel spoon over apples.

2 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 240ml coconut milk
  • 65g soft brown sugar
  • 40g vegan margarine
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Combine coconut milk, brown sugar, vegan margarine and vanilla extract in a saucepan. Heat on low, watching carefully and stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 113 C on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat. Mix in any grease that separated from the mixture, or carefully pour it off.

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First, you’ll melt a half cup of sugar in a saucepan. By slowly cooking sugar over low-medium heat, it’ll begin to clump and eventually start melting. You’re going to want to mix the sugar often and be careful that it doesn’t burn.

Once the sugar is completely melted, you’ll remove it from heat and add in a half a stick of vegan butter. While the butter is melting, continuously whisk so that the butter and sugar combine.

Next, you’ll whisk in two tablespoons of nondairy creamer. Whisk until combined. If the mixture seizes at any point, return to low heat and continuously whisk until it combines back together, then return to the step you were at.

Now you’re gonna return the mixture to low-medium heat, whisking until it begins to bubble. Once it’s bubbly, allow it to cook and thicken for about one minute.

Remove it from heat and add in a quarter teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk to combine.

Finally, strain the sauce (this’ll remove any unwanted crunchy pieces) and use as desired! We use this caramel in our cookie dough caramel bars and caramel chocolate chip cookie bars, but it would also be delicious as an ice cream topping or drizzled over your favorite dessert!


Like 99% of recipes in my life, this magic vegan caramel was a happy accident that was inspired from making Angela’s Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars – the ones with the juicy, sticky jam? Yeah, those ones.

I was just following the recipe, doing what Angela instructed, and all of a sudden I looked down at the mixture I was whisking and I thought: hey, that looks like caramel. A really BOMB caramel. A really BOMB VEGAN caramel. I wonder if we could make a version of this that would just be straight vegan caramel sauce for eating?

We could and we most definitely did.

Uses of this sauce in my life have included:

  • Drizzling on oatmeal
  • Spreading on toast – don’t knock it till you try it
  • Stirring into yogurt (not vegan! but #everythingtarian)
  • Dipping with apples and other fruit
  • Pouring over ice cream (could be coconut ice cream for the Vs)
  • Mixing into no-bake batters – like energy bites
  • Topping for breads, muffins, and cakes
  • Stirring into coffee and tea
  • Straight spoonful snacking during Netflix binges, for those of us with no boundaries

But we’re in the heart of October now, so highest on my agenda is generously bathing all my gorgeous fall Honeycrisp applies in this liquid gold and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. It’s too good for words.

This is fall magic! ✨ Make it and love it.

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Frequently Asked Questions:


You can absolutely make this into vegan caramel cupcakes.

Just make the recipe as directed and then instead of filling cake pans, you’ll want to pour the batter into cupcake tins (or liners) 3/4 of the way full. Baking time will vary depending on what size cupcakes you are making, but the rule of them for standard size cupcakes is about 18-22 minutes.


We get it. No one likes “Pinterest fails”. You see something and think, “that’s out of my league, no way I’m trying that.” Take a deep breathe and instead say, “I’m going to following these steps and make the best cake I’ve ever made.”

Step 1: It’s all about positive thinking.

Step 2: You need to follow some really important tips that we’re going to share with you on how to make the best dairy free caramel cake that actually looks like it came from a bakery. Your guests (and yourself) are going to be blown away.

Here’s our tips for making this cake look exactly like ours in the picture:

  1. Follow the instructions pretty please. Cake baking is a science, especially when making a dairy free/vegan cake. The sifting and exact ingredient amounts are very important. Every step has a purpose to ensure the perfect dairy free caramel cake.
  2. We have a thick double layered cake in the photos. That is due to use using these specific 9″ cake pans. They are an inch higher (2.5″ instead of 1.5″) than most 9″ cake pans. If you only have the 1.5″ high 9″ cake pans, then we would suggest making a triple layer cake with 3 cake pans.
  3. Make sure that you evenly distribute the cake batter into the cake pans. You can use a scaleto make sure that they are all within a small range of each other.
  4. When the cakes are cooked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to allow the cakes to cool evenly.
  5. Let the cakes cool to touch, then remove them carefully to wax paper to cool completely. DO NOT RUSH. Let it cool completely.
  6. When ready to make the cake – use a cake leveling toolto make sure there’s no uneven tops.

Tips for piping:

  1. We used a Wilton 2A Icing Tip. Since we are doing a “naked cake” style it really doesn’t matter what tip you are using.
  2. Place a small amount of frosting down first on a rotating cake stand, then your first layer. The frosting acts as a glue so the cake won’t slip.
  3. Use a piping bag and a large round tip and pipe frosting in a circular motion from the outer edge completely in to the middle.
  4. Use a cake spreader to gently even out layer of frosting. Place next layer and repeat step 6. Place third layer on top if you have one. Step back and see if there is any gaps in between the layers. If there are, place enough frosting in those areas to get frosting to the edge of the pan.
  5. Use a cake scraper to go around the cake and ensure evenness around the entire cake. This step is really important. Place frosting on the top of the cake and more on sides if needed and frost evenly. Using a spreader on the top and the scraper to even evenness.
  6. We made this look like a naked cake so there’s no need for fancy piping on this one, but if you happen to want that then you are free to do so.
  7. *Bonus Tip: If you want to frosting the cake but keep a clean cake stand, cut four 7″ pieces of wax paper and overlap them before placing the first layer on the cake stand. When you are completely done frosting the cake, carefully remove the four pieces of wax paper.


We are sharing in the recipe below a vegan caramel buttercream, but we also have other options if you decide not to make that one.

One great thing about cakes is that you can mix and match frostings! We absolutely love doing this. Some ideas for vegan cake frostings are:

  • Vegan Vanilla Frosting
  • Vegan Buttercream Frosting
  • Vegan Chocolate Frosting
  • Vegan Strawberry Buttercream

Leave a comment below and tell us what frosting flavor you want to see next!

Can I make this a top 8 allergen friendly vanilla cake?

Unfortunately, this is one we are going to say at this time we can’t make completely top 8 free.

There are a few ingredients that we are looking at for Top 8 allergens.

To start, you can make this gluten free (we like this GF flour ). Please note that you should allow the cake to cool and keep at room temperature.

Then, use a safe for you dairy free milk. We like oat, but you could use hemp or flax or pea milk for a top 8 free milk.

The vegan butter can if soy free if you use one like Earth Balance soy free in the red tub.

The thing that makes this not able to make Top 8 free is that we use canned coconut milk to make the caramel sauce and because of how sensitive vegan caramel is to make, we can’t recommend a substitution at this time.

What other delicious vegan desserts should I try?

Once you have perfected this vegan cake, you may be looking out for other delicious dairy free cupcakes or cakes. Here are some dairy free dessert recipe ideas.

How do I make vegan salted caramel sauce?

  1. Measure out your coconut oil, plant-based milk, and salt and have them waiting near the stove.
  2. Start with a very clean pan and pour in sugar, water, and cream of tartar.
  3. Turn on the heat to medium and let it start to boil. (Don’t stir, just swish it around a little if needed).
  4. Allow the sauce to boil for about 5 minutes and then start watching it very closely.
  5. After about 6-7 minutes, the bubbles will get smaller and it will start to get a darker color and smell slightly of caramel.
  6. When it starts to caramelize, remove it from the burner and immediately pour in the coconut oil. (At this point you can give it a stir with a long-handled whisk).
  7. Then pour in the plant milk and continue to stir with the whisk for about 30 seconds. (It will bubble up and spatter when you add the milk, but then turn to caramel after a few seconds of stirring).
  8. Once the bubbling from the milk calms down, add the salt and stir for a few more seconds. (or leave out the for regular caramel).

How To Store and Reheat

It’s easy to store this paleo salted caramel sauce. Let it cool completely at room temperature, and transfer to a container with an airtight lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month!

When you want to use it again, you’ll find that this homemade caramel sauce has solidified when chilled. That’s the nature of all caramel sauces made without emulsifier. To get it back to a thick syrup-y texture, you can microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute and stir.

If you’d rather use the stovetop, submerge the container that it’s stored in in hot water to loosen it from the sides of the container. Transfer to a saucepan and heat over low heat until it reaches desired consistency.

How to make vegan caramel sauce:

First get a medium pot and put it on low heat over the stove. You want to use a medium pot because when you add the vegan butter and coconut milk to the sauce it will bubble up. The larger pot will keep it from overflowing.

I recommend using a low heat, on my gas stove I use setting 2 and on my electric hot plate I liked setting 3. You can always heat it for longer or turn up the heat slightly, but you can&rsquot undo any heating or cooking.

Add the sugar to the pot and then let it heat up, stir it almost constantly throughout the whole vegan caramel sauce making process.

First the sugar will get clumpy. Then it will turn a pale golden and start to look liquidy where it&rsquos touching the warm pan.

Then slowly the sugar will fully melt. You&rsquoll see it 50 then 90% melted with some sugar clumps remaining. When fully melted, the sugar will be a pale amber color, almost like the color of honey. This process takes 5-10 minutes.

Add the vegan butter:

As soon as all of the sugar has melted to liquid* turn off the heat and add the vegan butter.

*you may have some clumps of crystallized sugar stuck on the side of the pan or on the upper part of your spoon or spatula, and this is okay for this caramel sauce.

Be careful when you add the vegan butter as the cooler butter will cause the warm sugar to bubble. This is why we use a deeper pot! You can use oven mitts to protect yourself from potential splatters as these splatters are hot.

Stir the vegan butter in as it melts so that it combines with the sugar. At this point you can turn the heat back on low as you stir until the butter has mixed into the sauce.

Add the coconut milk:

Once the vegan butter has mixed in, with the heat on low, slowly pour in the coconut milk while stirring.

The mixture will bubble as you add the milk. Whisk in the coconut milk until the sauce is smooth and combined. If needed, turn on the heat to get help it combine.

If you turned the burner on, then turn it off again as soon as the coconut milk is mixed in.

Note: this caramel sauce has a perfect syrupy pouring consistency when at room temperature and is drizzle-able even cold from the fridge. For a thicker caramel use less coconut milk&ndash1/4 to 1/3 cup instead of a full 1/2 cup.

Add the salt and vanilla extract.

When the caramel is done, with the heat off, add the salt and vanilla extract and stir it in.

Let the sauce cool down for at least a few minutes before using. Then go ahead and use it anywhere you want some caramel sauce!

The sauce will thicken as it cools, but remains a pourable or spoonable consistency even when cold.

Tip: Pour the warm caramel sauce into a clean glass jar or other container and wash your pot and spoon right away before any crystallized sugar becomes too hardened.

The Best Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce

The best, easy vegan caramel sauce recipe is on deck- made with creamy coconut cream, pure maple syrup and other natural, real food ingredients. It's dairy free, refined sugar free and absolutely delicious!

The time has finally come for me to showcase this beautiful glory dubbed vegan caramel sauce. I have actually been making this caramel sauce for years, but I've never given it the proper attention it deserves.

I'm sure you've seen some of my recipes that include it, like:

. but I've never given it its own photoshoot!

Can we talk about what makes this drippy deliciousness so damn good? Well, it starts with the real maple syrup.

Caramel sauce is traditionally made with

. so it was a relatively easy task to find some allergen-friendly substitutes in order to make it vegan.

If you're not super into coconut oil or don't have an issue with dairy products, you can use a brown butter or ghee instead. It turns out equally as fabulous! 🙂

How freaking phenomenal does the vegan caramel sauce look being poured over a nice, big bowl of ice cream? Yes, the ice cream is dairy free, too.

Yes, you can have all of the delicious things without all of the tummy upset. Trust me- you are going to fall in la-la-love here.

One of my favorite things to do is take thin slices of granny smith apple and dip, dip, dip into the caramel.

You can even bust out the flaked sea salt and get real wild. The only thing that could ever top caramel is salted caramel. am I right?!

We had a bunch of friends over last night for beers and games. I had a whole pot of this ready on the stove, and boy was it devoured by all.

I made some Simple Mills vanilla cupcakes, threw in some banana chunks & topped them off with a big pour of vegan caramel sauce.

By the end of the night, after many beers, I had Tim eating the sauce with a big wooden spoon directly from the saucepan.

Folks, since Sophie has arrived, this is what a wild Saturday night looks like for us. And I've got NO qualms about it 😉

Shut me up though, and get to making vegan caramel sauce now. It's the easiest thing ever, and you will soon be using it to top off alllllll the things!

Vegan Golden Caramel Sauce Recipe

1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked and rinsed
1 cup water

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil

½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1) Simmer the cashews to hydrate them

2) Whip the cashews to make the cashew cream

3) Caramelize the sugar mixture

In a heavy duty, medium saucepan, add the water then add the sugar in a mound in the middle, taking care to not get sugar on the sides of the saucepan. In another small saucepan, add the cashew cream, cover and place on medium-low heat. Cover the sugar and water mixture and bring it to a boil over high heat until the mixture registers 300F (149C) with a candy thermometer. This should take about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture registers 350F (177C) which should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

While you're caramelizing the sugar, bring the cashew cream to a boil. The goal here is to add the hot cashew cream to the hot caramel if the cashew cream boils before the water and sugar caramelization is done, remove the cashew cream from heat and leave the cover on.

4) Whisk the hot cashew cream and other ingredients into the hot caramel

Remove the cover from the cashew cream and carefully pour about ¼ of it into the caramel mixture, allowing it to bubble vigorously. When the bubbling has subsided, add the remaining cashew cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Slowly and carefully transfer the mixture to a heat proof container placed over a wooden cutting board to insulate your work surface, cover and store in the refrigerator until cool, about 2 hours. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one month. To reheat, just warm it up in the microwave or in a pot and give it a quick stir. This recipe makes about 1 cup of Vegan Golden Caramel Sauce.

Recipe FAQ & Tips

How long does it stay fresh? Up to one month if stored in the refrigerator.

Caramel sauce solidifies in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency.

Love salted caramel sauce? Stir in one tablespoon of sea salt.

A note on dairy-free cream: Dairy-free cream is sometimes not as heat-resistant as regular heavy cream. Therefore, it can happen that the caramel sauce doesn’t get as thick as when made with dairy products. But even if you think that the sauce is too liquid, let it chill for at least a few hours in the refrigerator. It will thicken immensely into a thick (yet not hard) caramel sauce! → I recommend using a dairy-free cream which is suitable for cooking.

Non-vegan version? If you don’t have dairy-free butter and cream at hand, swap the ingredients 1:1 with its dairy counterpart (regular butter & heavy cream).