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

Vegan caramel sauce that’s made from coconut milk and coconut sugar – so it’s also dairy-free and paleo. It’s sweet, golden, gooey and you’ll want to drizzle it on everything!

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!

Watch My Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe Video

It’s easy to make this recipe, but it always helps to watch a quick tutorial video. Then you can see the perfect texture and color of the sauce before you chill it. Give it a watch below!

A Delicious Vegan Caramel Sauce

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 Vegan 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, Salted Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream (Vegan) and Iced Matcha and Salted Caramel Latte. Enjoy!

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

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

4.84 from 55 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
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!


  • 13.5 oz coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Combine the coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. 
  • 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.
  • Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the sauce reaches the last 5-8 minutes of cooking time, stir more frequently to incorporate the darker caramel bits from the bottom into the sauce.
  • Once the sauce has turned a dark amber and has thickened to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and stir in the coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  • Serve the sauce warm or refrigerate in a sealed glass jar.

Lisa's Tips

  • This recipe makes approximately 1 cup caramel sauce.
  • 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 my recipes.


Calories: 184kcal, Carbohydrates: 25.3g, Protein: 0.6g, Fat: 9.9g, Saturated Fat: 8.6g, Sodium: 30mg, Sugar: 24.1g
Course: Dessert, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dairy Free Caramel Sauce, Salted Caramel Sauce, Vegan Caramel Sauce
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @downshiftology and hashtag it #downshiftology.

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

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202 comments on “Salted Caramel Sauce (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Paleo)”

  1. This is a perfect recipe! I’ve used it twice now and it is so delicious and wonderful consistency that I can control without too much effort. I’ve used different kinds of brown sugar and they work great too. Thanks!5 stars

  2. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.I love using this awesome recipe and was wanting to know how to tweak it so that it becomes pipeable and freezable as well. Any input will be appreciated 5 stars

  3. This caramel sauce is SOOOOO good … my brother was just about inhaling it today :) Thank you so much … links to this recipe have been distributed to everyone at the family gathering today where it was served with a healthy sticky date pudding!!!5 stars

  4. I just tried making this recipe but only had raw sugar. I was excited about this recipe. I was even more excited upon starting to cook it as it smells like heaven! A half hour later after simmering perfectly with only occasional stirring, I turned off the heat and added the coconut oil and vanilla. What I ended up with was a very tasty, very light colored, oddly gooey, gelatinous ” caramel ” sauce. Tastes like coconut. Lighter than pictured. Oddly gelatinous consistency. What happened to mine?

  5. Can I use maple syrup instead of coconut sugar?

  6. I made this recipe with the vegan cheesecake. Loved the entire recipe! It was devoured by my family in one sitting!5 stars

  7. I was wondering if you can can this caramel sauce? I was thinking if canning it & sending it as a gift? Or would you just mail it as is? 

  8. Delicious caramel sauce! I was skeptical at first using coconut milk but it came out perfectly. 5 stars

  9. Can you use sauce after it’s made or do you have to wait a day ?

  10. Can you use coconut cream instead of coconut milk to make the caramel  sauce ,  therefore cutting down the boiling time? 

  11. Hi Lisa! I loved this caramel sauce when using it for the vegan salted caramel cheesecake! My question: I’m wanting to make a veganized caramel apple pecan pie & was wondering how you think this caramel sauce would hold up if baked? The recipe I was going to adapt called for adding toasted pecans to caramel sauce & pouring it over the apples before baking. Hmmm… don’t know if that method would work with this caramel though. Any thoughts? Thank you so much!5 stars

  12. Will this recipe harden in the fridge?

  13. excellent! used the entire recipe to make a salted caramel ice cream – for the ice cream, I added 1 entire can of full fat coconut milk. Flavor on this caramel recipe is strong and intense (as it should be) – will make again!5 stars

    • Wow! Happy to hear you were able to turn this into an ice cream recipe!

    • Nancy did you use this caramel as a ribbon in the ice cream or as the base flavoring. Wanting to make this and can’t find a good vegan caramel sauce that will stay gooey in the freezer within the vegan ice cream. I have an awesome coconut base ice cream recipe but would like to have the caramel ribbon swirled within the base. 

  14. Forgot to add rating to my comment – 5 stars!!5 stars

  15. I made this recipe in advance because I’m going to try and make the cheesecake tomorrow. I can’t believe how PERFECT it turned out. I am no cook and if I can do it – anyone can!! Thank you for such an amazing recipe – I hope the cheesecake works out for me too! 🤤5 stars

    • I’m so glad this caramel sauce was a success Sally! Can’t wait to see your final product with the cheesecake.

  16. Absolutely DELICIOUS! Omg I’m still in aw of how good this tastes and that I actually made it! Lol. Great recipe that i will use for the years to come!5 stars

    • Hi Janaya- So glad you enjoyed this caramel sauce! Definitely keep this one on hand for future dessert recipes :)

  17. After looking at your vegan salted caramel cheesecake recipe forever I decided this weekend I will actually attempt it. Made the caramel sauce this morning and it was easy and is super tasty! Looking forward to attempting the cheesecake next!5 stars

  18. Hi! Would coconut cream work instead of coconut milk?

  19. I don’t know what happened, but I followed the recipe exactly, and my sauce didn’t thicken, even after 1hr of simmering. I used full-fat coconut milk, coconut sugar, and salt, boiled it and then simmered. There were never any bits and no thickening. It must have gone past that point where the coconut milk/oil separates in the fridge. The flavor is so good but the texture is too liquidy.3 stars

    • Hi Jennifer – oh no, that’s a bummer. The only thing I can think of is maybe it’s the brand of coconut milk you used. Sometimes certain brands are just funky like that. Next time try a different brand and see if it helps. :)

      • Same exact thing happened to me. Once in fridge the ingredients divided and the sauce became chunks 🤦‍♂️

    • Same thing happened to me. My guess is that you have to use a coconut milk w/ guar gum added. Mine I used doesn’t have that in it. 

    • Same happened to me and I used one with guar gum. Followed recipe exactly and timing and all it’s liquidy :(

  20. I was not expecting to like this recipe as much as traditional caramel sauce, but I actually prefer this version! it is amazing! And our kids loved it. I added some potato starch to thicken it and poured it over ginger cake. I’ve tried other vegan caramel sauce recipes and this is my fave. 5 stars

    • Hi Kathleen – I’m so glad you found a vegan caramel recipe that you love now! Always a good sign too when kids enjoy it :)

  21. I also made this using brown sugar. For those curious, it takes MUCH longer, about 1.5 hrs. I was a little nervous it was taking so long, but eventually it came together really beautifully. Just be patient!5 stars

  22. Solidified in the fridge and completely separated upon rewarming.

    • Just to add, mixing it did not help, and it ruined my cake by being so oily.

      • Hi Emily – this sauce should never solidify in the fridge. The only way that happens is if it’s overcooked on the stove and you turn it into the hardball candy stage, which then might lead to the oils separating. Next time I’d recommend cooking it less on the stove. :)

  23. Yum! How long can you keep in freezer before serving – could you keep it for 3-4 days?

    • Hi Lauren – I would recommend to keep this in the fridge for the 3-4 days :) But I would suggest to make this the day before so it’s extra fresh!

  24. Can i use maple syrup instead of coconut sugar?

    • Hi Patricia – You can try using maple syrup, you will just need to cook it for a bit longer as maple syrup holds more moisture. Also, the color probably won’t come out as a deep brown as shown in the picture. Hope that helps!

  25. Love the salted caramel recipe.  Easy, delicious, perfect consistency,  Thanks,  Barbara5 stars

  26. I just made this to drizzle over brownies and WOW! It is perfect. The recipe yielded about 3/4 cup for me.. but only because I ate 1/4 cup straight out of the pot before it was done ;)

    SO GOOD!5 stars

  27. Can I use regular sugar for this?

  28. You can’t go wrong if you follow the recipe. This is so yummy I had to restrain myself from eating it with a spoon.5 stars

  29. Hi Lisa! I love this recipe so much❤️ I was just wondering how much a serving is? 5 stars

  30. So yummy! Made this for the Caramel Cheeksecake recipe and it was wonderful. Will be making again as an icecream topping!!5 stars

  31. This is amazing caramel! Its worthy the time you need to simmer lol It felt like forever, but once it was done, sooo good!5 stars

  32. Hi!

    Thank you so much for amazing recipes on your blog! I just have a question about this caramel recipe. Is it possible to use maple sugar instead of coconut sugar? Thank you in advance! 

  33. This worked SO well for me. I used Trader Joes coconut milk and brown sugar. I did end im simmering for about 1hr20 but it made an amazing caramel. I also added a bit of bourbon in to make a bourbon caramel :)5 stars

  34. This is very good however after its been in the frig, hard as a rock, due to the coconut milk I guess. Needed to be reheated a bit to use it. I also noticed that when I reheated a few seconds in the microwave it seemed oily. Also tastes a bit coconutty for me. I used date sugar in place of coconut sugar.
    It seemed the right consistency before refrigeration.4 stars

    • Hi Betty – Yes, after refrigerating you will need to re-heat it and make sure to give it a good mix before serving!

      • What method do you suggest is the best for reheating? I made this tonight, but wont be using it until tomorrow so I am going to refrigerate it overnight. Do you suggest putting it back in a pot to reheat or just microwaving until soft to pour on! 

      • Hi Mikayla – you could use either method to reheat it. But if you’re pouring it on the cheesecake, I probably wouldn’t reheat it at all. Maybe just let it come to room temperature. You don’t want it too liquidy when pouring.

  35. Will this sauce harden for candy apples?

  36. So I used granulated sugar and lactaid whole milk and it is still yummy I cant wait to put it on my husband’s birthday cake5 stars

  37. How long would we need to cook this and what modifications are needed if we want to make caramel apples (on a stick). Thanks!

    • Hi Carla – This caramel sauce actually won’t be the best option for a caramel apple as this is more liquidy and doesn’t harden.