This easy vegan caramel recipe is made with only 6 ingredients and is a perfect caramel topping to drizzle over your favorite vegan ice cream and desserts. This sweet simple caramel sauce tastes so much better than anything at the store!
I love to drizzle. Whether it’s adding cheese sauce over a baked potato, chocolate sauce over cakes, or yes, caramel sauce over ice cream. I love the look, the taste, and the act of drizzling! What can I say!
That’s why I was so happy for the chance to make for you some of my easy vegan caramel sauce. Let me just preface everything by saying this — there are a lot of unnecessarily complicated caramel sauce recipes out there. It doesn’t have to be that hard, and I’m about to show you why.
What is caramel sauce?
A caramel sauce is a thick, sweet sauce made from caramelized sugar thickened with some kind of cream.
Is caramel vegan?
Most store-bought caramel is not vegan. That’s because it’s typically made with butter and cream sourced from animal dairy. However, it is possible to make caramel sauce without cream or milk from a cow. In addition, there are more vegan caramels available for purchase every day and there are homemade recipes to make your own vegan caramel using nut-based or other non-dairy creams.
Non Dairy Caramel Sauce
Does it seem impossible to make caramel sauce without dairy? If so, this recipe will surprise you in so many ways. First, you’ll see that not only is it entirely possible, the resulting sauce is simple and easy, and fall-down-on-the-floor good!
Look, just because the sauce is thickened with cream doesn’t mean that cream has to come from a cow. These days there are so many different thick cream sauces to choose from, such as coconut cream, nut-based creams, and even a number of non dairy creamers!
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
To better understand this dairy free caramel sauce recipe, I think it helps to first talk about its ingredients.
- vegan half & half — I used Ripple which makes a vegan half & half, however, you can also use any thick vegan creamer, such as Silk, etc. You can also use the cream from a can of coconut milk to make coconut milk caramel.
- cornstarch — We’re adding cornstarch, just a little, to help thicken the sauce
- coconut sugar — I love using coconut sugar because it has a natural caramel flavor. Of course, you can use regular sugar as well and it will work too.
- maple syrup — Feel free to use either maple syrup or agave nectar
- vanilla extract — this adds flavoring to the sauce
- sea salt — interestingly enough, salt helps to intensify other flavors in a recipe which is one reason it’s so good in caramel. As much as we may say we have a sweet tooth, the truth is complex flavors are more interesting and salt adds complexity of flavors in baked goods, cookies and even caramel sauce.
How to Make Vegan Caramel Sauce
Now, let’s go over the steps to make this caramel sauce a reality in your kitchen. It takes only 6 ingredients and basically two simple steps.
Step One: Simmer Ingredients in a Saucepan
Stir together the vegan cream, cornstarch, coconut sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring this to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step Two: Add Vanilla & Salt
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Allow the caramel to cool for at least 30 minutes. The sauce is very hot at this point so cooling it is important. Also, it will thicken as it cools.
Transfer the caramel sauce to a glass container like a lidded mason jar. Then cover and keep refrigerated between uses. This sauce will keep in the fridge up to 10 – 15 days.
I refer to this as a meal prep recipe because you can make a batch of it and it lasts for so long in the fridge! In fact, if you have a big event, like a holiday dinner, you can make this sauce several days in advance to have it ready to set out on your dessert table.
To serve, remove the jar from the fridge and drizzle over your favorite vegan desserts, like vegan nice cream.
Here are some other recipes just begging for a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce:
- These chocolate chip cookie bars are even better with a drizzle of caramel
- This no churn vegan chocolate ice cream is great with all the drizzles on top
- Of course, vegan apple pie is a natural for some caramel sauce
- Serve this as a vegan caramel dip over your favorite sliced fruits, such as apples, pears, bananas, and more
- I think vegan caramel syrup would be lovely over these vegan banana pancakes
- As along as we’re talking about apples, this baked apple slices recipe takes on another level of delicious with some caramel sauce on top!
For a vegan salted caramel sauce, be sure to add a sprinkle of salted caramel over the sauce immediately before serving!
If you’re looking for a healthier sweet sauce, be sure to try my date caramel sauce made with all natural ingredients!
I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup vegan half & half (see note)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Combine the cream, cornstarch, coconut sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Allow the caramel to cool for at least 30 minutes. It will thicken as it cools.
- Transfer caramel sauce to a glass container and keep refrigerated between uses. This will keep up to 10 days in the fridge.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.