To make this delicious dairy free caramel sauce, you need brown sugar, plant butter and coconut cream. In my many attempts in figuring out how to make dairy free caramel sauce, I crafted out two methods for cooking one recipe.
I wanted to share the quick and easy way to make dairy free caramel, and the one I prefer since it remains smooth when cooled. And it is the perfect topping for your dairy free ice cream or frappucino’s. Or to use a top your favorite apple dessert like this dairy free apple crisp.
How to make Caramel Sauce
Most caramel sauces are made with white sugar, butter and heavy cream. It entails caramelizing the white sugar by cooking it. Which means you gently cook the sugar on its own or with some water until it turns into an amber coloured syrup. Then you add in your butter and or heavy cream and cook for just a bit longer to combine it all.
There is another simpler method where you cook brown sugar and butter together until it is a nice caramel colour. And then add in your cream and cook it for another minute or so.
Many recipes that share how to make dairy free caramel sauce, take anywhere from 30-50 minutes to cook. It is because they call for a full can of coconut milk that contains a lot of liquid that needs to be cooked off. They also normally use brown sugar or coconut sugar.
My recipe is quicker to prepare and I share two preparation methods. I crafted them so they have different consistencies when cooled. That way you can choose how you want to make your dairy free caramel sauce! The first one remains remains a smooth consistency when cooled which makes it nicer for using in cold recipes. The second method is quicker and slightly easier but the caramel becomes grainy when cooled. Both can be reheated before seving and have very similar flavors.
Method 1: (I prefer this one because it can be used cold) First: add the brown sugar and butter to a small sauce and heat together over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for two minutes. Second: remove from the heat and add in the coconut cream and coconut milk. And whisk together. Third: return the caramel to the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Lastly: remove from the heat and whisk in the salt and vanilla. Then scrape into a glass container and let cool.
Method 2: (quick and easy caramel sauce) First:measure all the ingredients except for the salt and vanilla into a small sauce pan. Place over medium/high heat and cook for about 5 minutes until it looks like a nice sauce. Second: remove from the heat and add in the vanilla and salt. Whisk to combine.
What do I need to make dairy free caramel?
To Make this recipe you will need these ingredients:
plant butter, I use Country Crock’s
coconut cream, canned coconut cream or milk
the liquid from the canned coconut cream or coconut milk from a carton.
vanilla extract (optional)
pink Himalayan salt (optional), or any salt you use for baking
Can I use brown sugar to make caramel?
Yes you can use brown sugar to make caramel. However the main difference between butterscotch and caramelis that butterscotch is made with brown sugar and caramel is made with white. So technically speaking, a caramel sauce made with brown sugar may not be considered a traditional caramel by some. There are many easy caramel recipes and dairy free caramel recipes that use brown sugar.
Can I make caramel Without cream or milk?
Yes! I have crafted a recipe that uses coconut cream to make the caramel sauce. It still gives the caramel a rich creamy flavor that you don’t gain with other types of plant milk.
Can I make caramel without butter?
Yes! A great substitute in most recipes for butter is plant butter. I use country crock plant butter and it works fairly well in most things. According to the Fit Cookie’s post, margarine works but some of the oil separates when it is finished. I found that coconut oil separates too much after the sauce is made. So your best bet is (vegan) plant butter!
Other cooking tidbits
Cooking dairy free caramel is fairly simple since most recipes use brown sugar. I haven’t mastered one with white sugar yet which is more tricky. But when I do I will be sure to post it! I do have a recipe for a sugar free caramel sauce.
You can tell when the sauce is done by the taste, texture and smell. Cook it until it coats the back of the spoon and tastes like. It will be fairly liquid on the stove, but will thicken some when cooled.
Using the second cooking method will result in a slightly grainy texture when cooled.
Cooking the brown sugar and butter before adding the cream, makes it so that the texture remains smooth when cooled.
For more detailed instructions on how to make the caramel, scroll to after the recipe!
¼cupof coconut creamthick portion from a can of fullest fat coconut milk or cream
3TBSPof liquid from can of coconut milk or coconut milk from a carton(omit extra liquid if using caramel cooking method 2)
1/4tsppink Himalayan saltAdd 1/2 tsp to make a salted caramel
Instructions for method 1:
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat.
Bring to a gentle boil, whisking occasionally. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat for 15-30 seconds and then add in the coconut cream and coconut milk. Mix until smooth. Any lumps will dissolve while you heat and stir it.
Return to the heat and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and the salt. Stir to combine and enjoy!
Store in a glass container in the fridge. It will thicken up into a nice caramel syrup. Reheat to serve.
Instructions for method 2:
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar and coconut cream over medium heat. Cook together for about 5 minutes. I liek to set a timer.
It should be bubbling for about 4.5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the salt and vanilla. Whisk to combine and serve!
Ways to use dairy free caramel sauce
I have a million ways to eat this dairy free caramel sauce. Like by the spoonful… Actually though I really enjoy it on my Pumpkin Oat Muffins. And by the spoonful… Seriously though, here is a list of some dairy free recipes to use your dairy free caramel with:
When making caramel sauce, it is a good idea to measure out all your ingredients before starting. Measure the butter and brown sugar into a medium/small sized saucepan. Then measure the coconut cream and the coconut milk and pour them together into a glass bowl and set aside. The vanilla and salt don’t need to be premeasured since the caramel will be off the heat and you will have time to pour them in as you meaure.
Cooking the butter and brown sugar
Place the saucepan with the brown sugar and butter onto the stove. Turn the heat up to medium high heat and stir occasionaly as it heats up. I monitor it fairly closely to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once the plant butter and brown sugar have combined it will start to gently bubble. It will start to bubble up so that you cannot stir it down, and at this point I make sure to stir it fairly often. Let it boil for about 2 minutes. I like to set a timer. And once the timer goes off I remove it from the heat for 15 seconds before adding the cream
How to Add the cream
It is good to have the coconut cream and milk at room temperature before adding it to the caramel sauce. While I add the coconut cream/milk I make sure to stir it the entire time so that it doesn’t form any lumps or bubble over. It will be very bubbly for a few seconds, make sure to stir until it is smooth and combined. If any lumps form, they will dissolve when you return it to the heat and stir it.
Returning the sauce to the heat
For this step all you need to do is return the pan to the stove. Turn heat back on to medium/high heat and bring it back to a boil. Cook it for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Then scrape into a glass container and serve immediately or let cool
Measuring and cooking the ingredients
Method number two is definitley the quick and easy way to make this dairy free caramel sauce. All you need to do is measure the brown sugar, butter and coconut cream into the saucepan. Then place it over medium/high heat and cook for about 5 minutes until it looks like a nice sauce. Stir it occasionally. Once that is done remove from the heat.
Adding the vanilla and salt
Once you have removed it from the heat all you need to do is add in the vanilla and salt, and whisk to combine! It’s that simple and you have amazing tasting dairy free caramel sauce to devour.
How to Store Caramel Sauce
After you have removed it from the heat scrape it into an airtight glass container. I like to use a mason jar. You can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. And it can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months