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Salted Caramel Sauce (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Paleo)


Posted by on November 13, 2017 / 35 Comments

A salted caramel sauce that’s made from coconut milk and coconut sugar – which makes it vegan, dairy-free and paleo. It’s sweet, golden, gooey and you’ll never taste the difference.

Salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's a dairy-free, paleo and vegan caramel sauce. And it's extremely delicious! #CaramelSauce #Salted CaramelSauce #VeganCaramelSauce #CaramelSauceRecipe

I’m sitting here trying to come up with a justification of how this salted caramel sauce is secretly healthy for you. And from a nutrient-dense standpoint, I have to admit it’s with deep regret that I’m at a loss.

But I can tell you with full health coach integrity that it truly is good for you. How? Because it will make you extraordinarily happy!

This salted caramel sauce is not your mother’s or grandmother’s caramel recipe, made from refined sugar, butter and heavy cream. This dairy-free, paleo and vegan salted caramel sauce leverages the wonderful coconut palm tree in all it’s glory, with three coconut products: coconut milk, coconut sugar and coconut oil.

And before you ask the question – “Does it taste like coconut?” – let me assure you it doesn’t. It tastes like honest to goodness, sinfully good, caramel sauce.

Salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's a dairy-free, paleo and vegan caramel sauce. And it's extremely delicious! #CaramelSauce #Salted CaramelSauce #VeganCaramelSauce #CaramelSauceRecipe

Salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's a dairy-free, paleo and vegan caramel sauce. And it's extremely delicious! #CaramelSauce #Salted CaramelSauce #VeganCaramelSauce #CaramelSauceRecipe

How to Make Caramel Sauce

If you’ve ever made traditional caramel sauce you probably remember watching it carefully – with one eye on the sauce (to prevent burning) and one eye on a candy thermometer (to ensure the appropriate temperature).

Well, good news. This version is far easier. Just mix the coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will have to watch it more closely towards the end, but that’s it. Then, remove from the heat, add the vanilla and coconut oil and there you have it….the most divine salted caramel sauce.

Salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's a dairy-free, paleo and vegan caramel sauce. And it's extremely delicious! #CaramelSauce #Salted CaramelSauce #VeganCaramelSauce #CaramelSauceRecipe

Caramel Sauce Tips

The first time I made this caramel sauce I got a little concerned at the dark color – so take note, it will turn a dark amber. But the next day after it’s been chilled, it will lighten up a bit.

Another hint – judge the “doneness” of the sauce by texture, smell and taste. Cook until it coats the back of a spoon and tastes caramel-y. It will still be fairly liquid on the stove, but will thicken slightly as it cools. The cooking times will vary widely based on the brand of coconut milk used as well as stove temperature and climate. So for your first time making this recipe, just cook it slowly on a simmer and let it do it’s thing (on it’s own time). No need to rush this gorgeous sauce. The reward is worth the wait.

So what do you do with this sauce once you’re done? Oh, just drizzle it on absolutely everything. That’s what I’ve been doing.

This salted caramel sauce is also used in these other recipes: Vegan Caramel Cheesecake (coming this week!), Salted Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream (Vegan) and Iced Matcha and Salted Caramel Latte.

Enjoy!

Click HERE to pin this Salted Caramel Sauce recipe to your Pinterest Board

Salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's a dairy-free, paleo and vegan caramel sauce. And it's extremely delicious! #CaramelSauce #Salted CaramelSauce #VeganCaramelSauce #CaramelSauceRecipe

Watch this quick video of my Salted Caramel Sauce recipe:

And subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly cooking videos!

Salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's a dairy-free, paleo and vegan caramel sauce. And it's extremely delicious! #CaramelSauce #Salted CaramelSauce #VeganCaramelSauce #CaramelSauceRecipe

Salted Caramel Sauce (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Paleo)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
A healthier take on salted caramel sauce that's made from coconut milk and coconut sugar. It's sweet, golden, gooey and you'll never taste the difference! Adapted from GI 365's Double Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine the coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil (keeping a close eye on it, as it can quickly boil over), then immediately lower the temperature, keeping the sauce at a light simmer. 

  3. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the sauce reaches the last 5-8 minutes of cooking time, stir more frequently incorporating the darker caramel bits from the bottom into the sauce. This helps to flavor it! Once the sauce has turned a dark amber and has thickened to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat.

  4. Add the coconut oil and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  5. Serve the sauce warm or refrigerate in a sealed glass jar. If refrigerating, leave on the counter for 10 minutes to cool, stir again, then refrigerate.

Recipe Notes

The caramel sauce will stay good for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

I receive a lot of questions on the coconut milk I use. I use this brand of coconut milk for all of my recipes. 

 

 Recipe originally posted July 2015, but updated to include new photos and video. 

  • Liz Stark

    No justification needed – I would just refer to this caramel sauce as a “healthier indulgent treat.” Sounds better than the overly-processed caramel-like sauces on the market, right? ;) Can’t wait for the recipes using this marvelous caramel sauce recipe!

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  • Byron Clark

    Went really well right up until the end. As I removed it from the heat, it separated, and became a thicker, gloopy sauce + oil. What did I do wrong?

    • Oh no! I’ve never had that happen. The only thing I can think of is maybe if you cooked it a bit too long (or too hot) before removing from the heat and/or didn’t stir enough towards the end. It sounds like it seized up, similar to how chocolate can. And that’s almost always a heat/overcook issue. Hope your next batch goes better! :)

  • ADcalgary

    I used a coconut milk that has no guar gum. Just coconut and some water. It’s been cooking for an hour, still no thickening… :-/ Does it need the guar gum to work ?

    • It doesn’t need the guar gum (I’ve made it with cans that don’t have guar gum) – but are you using full fat canned coconut milk? Refrigerated coconut milk in a carton and “light” canned coconut milk won’t work.

      • ADcalgary

        It’s canned and full fat. I’m French. I don’t do anything *light* :-)
        It never even managed to “catch” at the bottom to add colour, even on high. I cooked it for 90 minutes. It reduced a lot, so, is now super sweet of course, it’s still very light in colour. So I put it in a jar and will now see what it looks like in the morning.

        • Ha – I love that you don’t do “light.” ;) Perhaps it’s just the brand. Coconut whipped cream can be temperamental based on the brand, so this might be the same. Out of curiosity, what brand is it?

          • ADcalgary

            AROY-D :-?

          • I’ve never used that brand. Next time I make a batch I’ll test it with Aroy-D though! Thanks for the feedback and happy holidays! :) x

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  • Suzanne Walton Stanton

    OK. This is good enough to just drink the whole lot, once cooled of course, through a straw. The 1st time I made it was 08Aug15 & I made it again today, 24Jan16. Today’s is a much deeper amber color, probably because I didn’t stir it too much & let more of it brown on the bottom. I guess the 1st time I was afraid it would burn. So far, I’ve used this sauce to make your Iced Matcha & Salted Caramel Latte + your Salted Caramel Apple Pie Ice cream. Both of those recipes are stellar, BTW. I use the exact same ingredients as you do in this recipe, follow your instructions to a T, & haven’t had any issues whatsoever. I just ate a giant spoonful of today’s batch & it is DIVINE. Thanks so much for a fabulous recipe w/ so many uses! <3

    • Oh, these photos are amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing all your salted caramel success – and I’m thrilled you love those other recipes. They’re some of my faves as well! ;) xo

      • Suzanne Walton Stanton

        It’s a pleasure & an honor to cook all the wonderful recipes you develop. Thanks so so so much for all the work you put into helping us by creating delicious & varied food choices. xo

        • Aww, thank YOU so much for trying out my recipes and being all around awesome!! :) xo

          • Suzanne Walton Stanton

            Aww, thanks! :-)

      • Suzanne Walton Stanton

        After spending the night in the fridge, the salted caramel sauce I made is nearer to the color in your photos (as was my first batch) as opposed to the blackstrap molasses color mine was when I took it off the stove to cool yesterday. I’m s’posed to keep coffee to a dull roar, so 1/2 the glass is almond milk. I used the salted caramel sauce as a sweetener (instead of the usual Stevia droplets) & it imparts a subtle, not-too-sweet flavor. Teeny-tiny beads of coconut oil surface on the coffee / almond milk mixture, but who cares?! It’s good for you! xo

        • Yes, the color definitely lightens after being refrigerated.

          • Suzanne Walton Stanton

            !YaY! I’m not crazy!

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  • Ari B.

    Made this sauce last week to use in a granola recipe – OMG, it’s amazing. Luckily I had some left over after using it in the granola… since then I have been using it to top ice cream and as a graham cracker dip. LOVE the ideas in comments below – can’t wait to make it again!

    • Hi Ari – I’m so happy you love it and using it as a graham cracker dip sounds delicious. Thanks so much for your comment! :) x

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  • Joyce Hawkinson

    This is the first dairy free caramel I’ve made that has thickened! It’s wonderful! I think the difference is that the brand of coconut milk recommended has guar gum in it.

    • Yay – I’m so happy to hear that! :) And yes, different brands of coconut milk can definitely make a difference. Thanks Joyce!

  • Babyfro

    Mine tastes great but I can’t get the color to darken up much… to get it caramel color I’m ending up with a hardball caramel. Tastes great, just wish I was having better luck getting it to darken.

  • JeffLocalEats

    Can I use fresh coconut milk? I usually make it myself with local coconuts because I live in the tropics.

    • Oh wow – I’m jealous! I haven’t tried making it with fresh coconut milk, so don’t know if it will work. But might as well give it a try!

  • Alix Barth Brossette

    I made this this weekend to stir into my coconut ice cream recipe and therefore make Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream. This is hands down the best recipe I’ve tried! SO yummy! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Liz S.

    It’s a balanced indulgence! People need to take a chill pill – stress will kill all of us before a drizzle of salted caramel sauce ever will. Glad to know the coconut flavor doesn’t shine through, since I despise coconut – sounds like a worthy, decadent sauce! :)

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