Vegan Caramel

This easy vegan caramel recipe is made with only 6 ingredients and is a perfect topping to drizzle over your favorite vegan ice cream and desserts. This sweet gooey sauce tastes so much better than anything at the store!

Serve this sweet, creamy sauce sauce over baked apple slices.

A small mason jar is full of vegan caramel sauce. A blue striped kitchen towel is behind it.

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 to share 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.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using a rich vegan cream as a foundation creates a smooth caramel with rich flavors
  • Adding a bit of cornstarch thickens the sauce, giving it a perfect drizzling consistency
  • Adding salt helps to intensify the other flavors, which is why 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 a complexity of flavors in baked goods, cookies, and sauces.
Caramel sauce is being drizzled over ice cream atop baked apple slices. There is an apple and a blue kitchen towel behind it.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Vegan half & half — I used Ripple, which makes a vegan half & half. You can use any thick vegan creamer, such as Silk, etc. You can also use the cream from a can of full-fat coconut milk.
  • Cornstarch — I used cornstarch as a thickener, but you can substitute arrowroot powder.
  • Coconut sugar — This has a natural caramel flavor. You can substitute regular sugar.
  • Maple syrup  — Feel free to use either maple syrup or agave nectar.
  • Vanilla extract — this adds flavoring to the sauce.
  • Salt — I prefer using a flaky sea salt, but a smidge of table salt works, too.

How to Make Vegan Caramel Sauce

Now, let’s go over the steps to make this vegan caramel a reality in your kitchen. It takes only 6 ingredients and basically two simple steps.

  1. 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 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. 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.

Now here’s a step-by-step instructions on how to make this yummy vegan caramel:

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 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vegan cream and sugar has been added to a saucepan. It is a light golden color.

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.

A saucepan has caramel sauce in it.

Storage Tips

Transfer the finished sauce to a glass container like a lidded mason jar. Then cover and keep refrigerated between uses. This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 15 days or more.

Serving

To serve, remove the jar from the fridge and drizzle over your favorite vegan desserts, like vegan nice cream.

For a vegan salted caramel sauce, be sure to add a sprinkle of salt over the sauce immediately before serving.

Non-Dairy Caramel Sauce

Does it seem impossible to make caramel sauce without butter or cream? If so, this recipe will surprise you in so many ways. First, you’ll see that not only is it entirely possible, but the resulting sauce also is simple and easy, and fall-down-on-the-floor good!

Frequently-Asked Questions

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 from a cow. In addition. There are more vegan caramels available for purchase every day and you can make homemade vegan caramel.

More Vegan Desserts

Here are some other recipes just begging for a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce:

If you’re looking for a healthier sweet sauce, be sure to try my date caramel sauce made with all-natural ingredients.

Slices of cookie bars are stacked on top of each other and topped with ice cream and sauce.
Caramel sauce is being drizzled over ice cream atop baked apple slices. There is an apple and a blue kitchen towel behind it.

Vegan Caramel

This tasty vegan caramel can be added to your favorite vegan desserts, like vegan apple crisp, and more.
5 from 4 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 85kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan half & half (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • 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 to 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 the sauce to a glass container and keep refrigerated between uses. This will keep up to 10 to 15 days in the fridge.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

I used Ripple Half & Half creamer which I have found at Target, Sprouts, and my local grocery store. Alternatively, you can use a vegan creamer.
For the sugar, you can use maple syrup, agave nectar, sugar, or coconut sugar. I like using coconut sugar because it has a natural caramel flavor.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Caramel
Amount Per Serving
Calories 85 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 41mg1%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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.

This post was originally published in 2020 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

3 Responses to Vegan Caramel

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMina Reply

    Yum! Can’t wait to add this to my favorite desserts! Thanks, Marly!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCathy Reply

    This is perfect over ice cream. I try to keep it in the fridge so we have it around for last minute desserts. ❤️

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMahayla Reply

    Best caramel ever! It just happens to be vegan too.

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