This caramel sauce is the most versatile, no fail, best vegan caramel recipe you will ever need. Smooth, sweet and just like the real deal.
Are you in love with all things caramel but slightly intimidated at making it homemade?
If you are shaking your head yes and yes, then a) you have found the perfect no fail vegan caramel and b) this is your safe place. There is no need to be intimidated here!
I am IN LOVE with caramel. When I was pregnant with my youngest, I made some type of homemade caramel sauce monthly. And I wish this recipe would have been around back then.
This caramel is so smooth, thick and perfect you will never miss the fact that is it not real deal caramel. And you will not stress out and break into a nervous sweat trying to make it because it is easy peasy friend.
And bonus, you only need 4 ingredients and about 15 minutes of your time. This is caramel heaven. Stress free vegan caramel heaven.
Is caramel vegan?
Traditional caramel recipes are not vegan or even dairy free. Most recipes call for heavy cream and butter to make them which would eliminate them from any vegan's diet.
Is this thick vegan caramel or a caramel sauce?
Well friend, it is both!
This caramel is so versatile that I think you could make recipes for days with it.
Thanks to the extra thick consistency it is when cold or room temperature, you can use it in recipes like gluten free millionaire bars (recipe coming soon!) or magic bars.
If you need a caramel sauce, no problem, just heat it up in the microwave or stove top and you have a vegan caramel sauce on your hands in minutes.
Is this gluten free/paleo?
Yes! This caramel is gluten free and grain free.
We don't add anything to thicken the caramel and if you use a brand like Nature's Charm Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk you can be comfortable knowing it is also gluten free and vegan.
This recipe is not Paleo because we use cane sugar.
Ingredients, Expert Tips and Substitutions
To make this recipe you will need:
- sweetened condensed coconut milk
- pure cane sugar
- lemon juice- weird but necessary, it keeps the sugar from crystallizing
- refined coconut oil- it is very important to use refined for this recipe or your caramel will have a very coconutty taste. If you use refined the oil will not have a flavor.
As I mentioned earlier, do not fret about how hard caramel can be to make. Because this recipe is simply no fail. The only way you can fail is if you leave it on the burner unattended or leave out an ingredient.
I have a few tips for you to keep in mind when making this recipe!
- Use a deep sauce pan. Both times I made this recipe I skipped this part and cussed at the oil coming out of the pan when I stirred. Don't be me.
- It is normal for the oil to seem like it is separated from the rest of the ingredients until it becomes very hot and simmers for a bit.
- Use a digital thermometer, if you have one, and cook until it reaches 240°F. This will ensure you have a caramel that is really thick and chewy when it is cooled down.
- Do not skip the lemon. If you do, your caramel will likely crystallize when cooling. See below for a substitute for lemon.
- This is going to get very hot! Do not taste test with your finger or you will burn it off.
- Lemon- the only ingredient I would recommend substituting in this recipe is the lemon. Corn syrup can replace the lemon, but corn syrup is something I steer clear of, which is why there is lemon. Add 3 tablespoons of corn syrup if using that instead.
- Coconut oil- just another reminder to use refined coconut oil
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk- if you are not vegan, you could totally sub in regular sweetened condensed milk.
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk and evaporated milk are not the same thing. Do not confuse these the two.
How to store and use vegan caramel sauce
After cooking, pour into a heat proof jar. If you are using as a caramel sauce you can wait for it to a cool a little bit then be sure to use while it is still pourable.
Once the sauce becomes room temperature it is thicker, and chewier in consistency.
You can store the caramel in the fridge with a lid. Once the caramel is completely cooled it does become lighter in color and is very thick. Caramel from the fridge will not pour out of a jar, you will need a spoon.
If you need it to be a sauce again after it cools, you simply reheat amount you need in the microwave or on the stove top.
You can use this sauce in anything your heart desires! Top your coffee, put it in brownies, ice cream or whatever floats your caramel filled boat.
It is time to caramelize the heck out of your life!Print
The Best Vegan Caramel
- Total Time: 15
- Yield: about 2 cups of Caramel 1x
- Diet: Vegan
The best and easiest vegan caramel recipe! Versatile and the perfect smooth sweet texture you want from caramel. No fail recipe and can be used as a caramel sauce or caramel.
- 11 ounces of sweetened condensed coconut milk (I used Nature's Charm)
- ½ cup of pure cane sugar (see notes)
- ½ cup of melted refined coconut oil (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- Add all of your ingredients to a medium sauce pan. (see notes)
- Turn the heat to medium heat and slowly melt the sugar while bringing to a gentle boil. Whisk the mixture often while it is coming to a boil. It is normal for the oil to stay separated until it starts to boil and cook longer.
- Once boiling reduce the heat to low-medium heat and briskly simmer for about 12 minutes. Be sure to stir the caramel every few minutes while cooking, until thickened.
- At 6 minutes the caramel should be thickened and coat the back of the spoon (see notes)
- At 12 minutes the caramel should be very thick and about 240°F with a digital or candy thermometer. (see notes)
- Once the caramel is finished cooking pour into a heat proof jar. You can store in the refrigerator with a lid up to 3 weeks (probably longer).
- The caramel will thicken and lighten in color when cooled. You can turn it into a sauce again by reheating on the stove top or microwave, in the amount you need.
- I prefer to use organic sugar as it is non gmo, which is what I used in the recipe, you can use either
- Be sure to refined coconut oil. If you choose unrefined it will have a strong coconut flavor. The oil is measured after melted.
- Don't use lemon juice from a fake lemon, that is just gross.
- Use a sauce pan that is medium in depth versus shallow. The oil will spill out when stirring until it incorporates, when you use a shallow pan.
- To see if the caramel coats the back of a spoon, dip a regular spoon into the caramel. If the caramel does not stay on the back of the spoon, it is not thick enough. This happened at 6 minutes for me.
- It is not required to cook to check the temperature. You can just gently simmer for the 12 minutes and check with spoon.
- Prep Time: 3
- Cook Time: 12
- Category: Dessert Sauce
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan caramel, vegan caramel sauce, best vegan caramel, easy caramel sauce, no fail caramel sauce
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