Healthy Vegan Caramel Sauce (& Sugar-Free Date Caramel)

5 from 5 votes
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Healthy vegan caramel sauce in minutes – using under 5 ingredients, you can make this healthy caramel 2 ways – including a sugar-free caramel (with dates)! Perfect for serving with breakfasts, desserts, and drinks!

A bowl of Healthy Caramel Sauce

I have posted my recipe for simple classic homemade caramel sauce, but for those wanting to go a little lighter on the desserts, or even just dairy-free, this post contains my favorite recipe for an easy vegan caramel sauce, including a sugar-free caramel sauce option!

If you want to make a more traditional vegan caramel sauce, you can follow this caramel method, using coconut cream or coconut condensed milk. However, for a healthier option, then keep reading!

A spoonful of Healthy Caramel Sauce

Salted caramel (and caramel in general) is definitely too good to give up. Whether you’re dairy-free or trying to reduce your sugar intake, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to eat something silky and rich and caramel-esque, but without all of the ‘forbidden ingredients’. 

Healthy Caramel Sauce in a blender

While these healthy caramel sauce alternatives don’t taste exactly like their dairy counterpart, they are healthier and just as addictive! Plus, all you need is just a few simple ingredients and literally just minutes of your time. Not to mention that the healthier ingredients (like the dates) come along with health benefits too!

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The Ingredients

Ingredients for healthy vegan caramel sauce
  • The ‘sugar’ – for the sugar-free caramel sauce, you’ll need Medjool dates (or Date Paste). For the other option, maple syrup. Brown rice syrup will also work but will obviously affect the flavor. 
  • Nut Butter – unsweetened, natural peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter work particularly well. You can also make a nut-free version with tahini or seed butter. Be aware that certain nut/seed butter options have strong flavors, so they will overpower the caramel. 
  • Coconut Oil – I use homemade virgin coconut oil
  • Vanilla extract – use a high-quality (or homemade) vanilla extract for superior flavor. 
  • Salt – Add a pinch of salt for normal caramel or more for vegan salted caramel sauce. I like to use coarse sea salt, Maldon salt flakes, or fleur de sel. 

How To Make Vegan Caramel Sauce

Method 1: Sugar-Free Caramel Sauce (with dates)

For this date caramel sauce, you’ll need a blender. If your dates are nice and soft, you don’t need to pre-soak them, though I find it easier to blend soaked dates in general. To soak the dates, leave them in hot/boiling water for 30 minutes. 

Then add all of the ingredients (dates, nut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and salt) to the blender and blend into a smooth consistency. 

If you find the date caramel sauce too thick, you can either add a little of the date soaking water to thin it or even a little of your favorite dairy-free milk/cream. 

Blending healthy vegan caramel sauce

Be patient as this process can take time. Depending on how powerful your machine is, this date caramel sauce can take a full 10-12 minutes to become smooth and creamy.

Method 2: Refined Sugar-Free Vegan Caramel Sauce

In method two, we’ll be using unrefined maple syrup in place of traditional white sugar. 

All you need to do is add equal amounts of maple syrup, nut butter, and melted coconut oil, and a drizzle of vanilla extract to a bowl and mix well. Optionally, add a pinch of salt too. 

Gingerbread Salted Caramel Ice Cream - 11 of 11

How To Store

Store your homemade caramel sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator for between 1-2 weeks.

You can also freeze the caramel sauce (though dates don’t ever fully freeze – so that version will remain softer). I’m not sure exactly how long it would last in the freezer, though I’d imagine a couple of months at least. 

The vegan caramel sauces will thicken up as they chill. If you want it thinner, then reheat it lightly in the microwave (15-20 seconds to thin, 40-45 for a heated sauce) or over the stove, stirring frequently. If it’s still too thick, add in an extra splash of dairy-free milk/cream and stir well.

How To Use

This vegan caramel sauce can be used in nearly all the same ways that regular caramel can. This includes:

Gingerbread Ice Cream with Gingerbread Cookies

Recipe Notes

  • A High-speed food processor works best for creating this recipe, though a powerful blender should also work.
  • Try to avoid soaking the dates or adding water to the recipe if possible, as it will shorten the date caramel sauce’s shelf life. You should only need to do this if the dates are dry or if your machine isn’t very powerful. 
  • I’ve found the main issue with making the date caramel sauce is making sure you add enough ingredients to the blender/processor jug. If you don’t add enough, it simply won’t blend properly.
  • For an oil-free version, you can replace the coconut oil with full-fat coconut milk. However, the results won’t be quite as silky.
  • For a smoother caramel, you can strain the mixture. This definitely isn’t necessary, though. 

If you try this vegan caramel sauce recipe, then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and would love to see your recreations – just tag @AlphaFoodie.

Healthy Vegan Caramel Sauce (2 ways)

5 from 5 votes
By: Samira
Healthy vegan caramel sauce in minutes – using under 5 ingredients, you can make this healthy caramel 2 ways – including a sugar-free caramel (with dates)! Perfect for serving with breakfasts, desserts, and drinks!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 Tablespoons

Ingredients 
 

  • 5 dates Medjool
  • 1.5 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter, cashew butter, tahini
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • water in case the caramel is too thick, or plant-based milk

Instructions 

Method 1: Sugar-Free Caramel sauce (with dates)

  • For this date caramel sauce, you'll need a blender. If your dates are nice and soft, you don't need to pre-soak them, though I find it easier to blend soaked dates in general. To soak the dates, leave them in hot/boiling water for 30 minutes.
    Then add all of the ingredients (dates, nut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and salt) to the blender and blend into a smooth consistency.
    If you find the date caramel sauce too thick, you can either add a little of the date soaking water to thin it or even a little of your favorite dairy-free milk/cream.
    Be patient as this process can take time. Depending on how powerful your machine is, this date caramel sauce can take a full 10-12 minutes to become smooth and creamy.

Method 2: Refined Sugar-Free Vegan Caramel Sauce

  • In method two, we'll be using unrefined maple syrup in place of traditional white sugar.
    All you need to do is add equal amounts of maple syrup, nut butter, and melted coconut oil, and a drizzle of vanilla extract to a bowl and mix well. Optionally, add a pinch of salt too.

How To Store

  • Store your homemade caramel sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator for between 1-2 weeks.
    You can also freeze the caramel sauce (though dates don't ever fully freeze- so that version will remain softer). I'm not sure exactly how long it would last in the freezer, though I'd imagine a couple of months at least.
    The vegan caramel sauces will thicken up as they chill. If you want it thinner, then reheat it lightly in the microwave (15-20 seconds to thin, 40-45 for a heated sauce) or over the stove, stirring frequently. If it’s still too thick, add in an extra splash of dairy-free milk/cream and stir well.

Notes

  • A high-speed food processor works best for creating this recipe, though a powerful blender should also work. 
  • Try to avoid soaking the dates or adding water to the recipe if possible, as it will shorten the date caramel sauce shelf life. You should only need to do this if the dates are dry or if your machine isn’t very powerful. 
  • I’ve found the main issue with making the date caramel sauce is making sure you add enough ingredients to the blender/processor jug. If you don’t add enough, it simply won’t blend properly.
  • For an oil-free version, you can replace the coconut oil with full-fat coconut milk. However, the results won’t be quite as silky.
  • For a smoother caramel, you can strain the mixture. This definitely isn’t necessary, though. 
Course: Condiment, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: 2-3 Months
Shelf life: 1-2 Weeks

Nutrition

Serving: 1Tbsp, Calories: 32kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 35mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    5 stars
    Thanks Samira for this recipe, this stuff is delicious!!! My only thought is that it seems to be misnamed. While it is a smashing apple spread, it taste nothing like caramel 🙂 A better title might be more like “Crazy Good Apple Spread?!”

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Sue,
      Thank you for your comment – much appreciated! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this crazy good apple spread 🙂

  2. My says:

    Hi Samira,
    Can I replace coconut oil with grapeseed oil and should the dates be pitted before soaking?
    I am looking forward to try this recipe

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hello.
      The dates don’t need to be pitted before soaking. And it’s even easier to do this after they are soaked.
      For the grapeseed oil – I haven’t tried it for this recipe, but as it is neutral in taste, you could give it a try.

  3. fajer says:

    5 stars
    simply looks delicious , thanks dear

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment!