Vegan Caramel

April  3, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Makes 1/2 cup
Author Notes

From Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole Food, Grain-Free Desserts cookbook: "Our favorite way of serving it is on top of sliced bananas, or with a piece of dark chocolate. We won’t judge if you eat this straight out of the jar with a spoon!"

Featured in: A No-Cook Caramel You'll Eat by the SpoonfulFood52

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup almond or cashew butter or puree, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 or 2 fresh dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch Himalayan pink salt
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Transfer the caramel to a glass jar and place in the refrigerator to chill. The caramel will stiffen up in the refrigerator, so if your recipe calls for it to be spreadable, let the caramel sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, and give it a good stir before using. The caramel will keep for about 1 month, refrigerated.
  3. Notes: If you want a thinner sauce to drizzle on top of a dessert, just add another 2 tablespoons maple syrup. For a denser, caramel candy texture, add 2 more dates. For spreading on cake layers, add 2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter. Because this recipe contains fresh dates—which will ferment over time—it’s important to keep the caramel refrigerated.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hannah
  • cyndilurks
  • Laura415
  • Jean-Pierre Dansereau
    Jean-Pierre Dansereau
  • Stephanie Van Vuuren
    Stephanie Van Vuuren

18 Reviews

Hannah November 24, 2020
I used grape seed oil and almond butter, and this came out delicious. I also made a second version of this with pumpkin seed butter for someone who is allergic to nuts, and even though it came out an unappealing brown-green color, I liked the taste of this better!
cyndilurks October 12, 2019
I was so hopeful that this would be a great vegan substitute for caramel, but I was disappointed. I made it with cashew butter, and it has a bit of a nutty background to the flavor, which is not terrible, but makes it unsuitable for a drizzle on apple pie. In my ignorance I used medjool dates. Would fresh dates have made that much of a difference?
T April 30, 2019
This is delicious! I just had my 1st caramel apple in at least 20 years. (Cut up and dipped) I dont eat sugar unless it's coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey. So this worked out perfectly with almond butter. It would work with agave and if you can't find dates, I'm sure it would work anyway. I followed the recipe exactly as is.
Amy M. December 22, 2018
Can editor confirm that fresh dates are called for? They are seasonal and very hard to come by, even in Brooklyn with its wealth of middle eastern groceries. Commenters NC and Laura415 are offering sources for dried dates, not the same, but you haven't contradicted them, so I'm not sure.
NC September 3, 2018
I'm not a fan of coconut, so I used grapeseed oil. It was delicious!
MB May 3, 2018
Where do I find fresh dates?
NC September 3, 2018
Costco sells organic, pitted dates with nothing added.
Laura415 September 24, 2018
Also try your local middle eastern grocery store if you have one. They use dates in their cooking and sell them in bricks you can just cut off what you need for the recipe. No soaking or pitting necessary.
Deb A. April 9, 2018
Delicious and so so easy to make!
Ttrockwood April 8, 2018
What the what...?? This isn’t caramel. It’s sweetened nut butter!
Vegan caramel just needs sugar from either beets or coconuts (neither are processed with bone char). Just swap in canned coconut cream instead of heavy cream. No nut butter or maple flavors in caramel.
Wendy April 6, 2018
I have not tried this recipe yet but I offer my eternal thanks. This may not be the answer to world peace but it will go a long way to helping my family, vegan and not.
Michele K. April 5, 2018
I'm not crazy about the taste of maple syrup. Can I use agave nectar instead?
Safiyeh April 5, 2018
Why “vegan?” Last I heard, sugar isn’t an animal-based product.
witloof April 5, 2018
Most commercial sugar is bleached using the charcoal obtained from burned cow bones, so it isn’t vegan.
Dvdphile April 5, 2018
It’s normally made with condensed milk! ;)
Michele K. April 6, 2018
Can you use turbinado sugar and have it be vegan? Just wondering.
Jean-Pierre D. March 21, 2019
cause there is cream in classic caramel.
Stephanie V. June 27, 2019