Vegan Caramel Sauce

This Vegan Caramel Sauce recipe is incredibly decadent and also easy to make. All it requires is 4 ingredients and 15 minutes of your time. Made with coconut milk, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and vegan shortening, your friends will be so busy gobbling it up that they won’t ever guess it’s made with healthy ingredients.

My Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream is incredible smothered in this Vegan Caramel Sauce. This pairing is the perfect dairy-free dessert. I developed this rich caramel sauce recipe, as well as my vegan Chocolate Ganache for my world famous Paleo Caramel Brownies recipe.

Both of these toppings are also delicious when drizzled on the dairy-free ice cream recipes in my third book, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry. Those ice cream recipes include Coffee, “Peanut” Butter, Cookie Dough, and more, and are amazing topped with dairy-free Caramel Sauce.

Vegan Caramel Sauce

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  • Place coconut milk fat, coconut sugar, and honey in a saucepan
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
  • Continue simmering for 10 minutes
  • Allow caramel sauce to cool for 5 minutes
  • Stir in shortening until completely dissolved
  • Serve
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Tried this recipe?Mention @elanaspantry or tag #elanaspantry!

In order to obtain coconut milk fat for this recipe, refrigerate two cans of coconut milk for 24 hours, then open the cans and scoop the rich creamy fat off of the top, measuring out 3/4 cup for this recipe. You can use the water that has separated for smoothies or discard it.

If you would like to substitute various ingredients in this Vegan Caramel Sauce recipe, feel free. Please note that unless I test a substitution I have no way of knowing how or if it will work –that’s why I tested this recipe more than 15 times. I wish I had a crystal ball that would write recipes and test substitutions for me, however, I do everything the old fashioned way by working hard and using loads of ingredients to perfect each and every recipe for you until I get it just right!

Drizzle Vegan Caramel Sauce over these dairy-free ice cream recipes:


64 responses to “Vegan Caramel Sauce”

  1. I have recently noticed stomach distress from canned coconut milk and I thought it was from the guar gum so I tried a “guar free” option and still have been having issues. I did some research and found that canned coconut milk is super high in BPA so I have started making my own coconut milk, is there a way to get full coconut fat from homemade coconut milk?

    • Nan, thanks for your comment! The coconut milk I link to in my recipes comes in a can that is BPA free :-)

  2. Thank you Elana for all the hard work you do testing and testing and then sharing your recipes, I so appreciate your efforts and kindness. Looking forward to trying more in the new year.

  3. I am having a difficult time finding canned coconut milk. I found condensed coconut milk, can I use that in replacement of the coconut milk fat? Or is there another alternative to use instead of the coconut milk fat? Thanks!

    • Hi Annika, canned coconut milk is available at health food stores, and you can also get it online by clicking the green text in the ingredients portion of this recipe. I haven’t tried making this recipe with a substitute for canned coconut milk so not sure if that would work. If you do experiment please let us know how it goes.

  4. Does anyone have a great recipe for caramel with out using any of those sugars. I can only have stevia or xylitol or I get very sick. I miss not having caramel.

  5. Oh my goodness!! How DO you manage to stay so slim while making (and testing) recipes like this?!?! It’s crazy delicious and super easy! I may (or may not) have eaten a spoonful or two of this on top of homemade ice cream….

  6. I substituted butter for the vegan shortening, and it turned out well. I know it’s not vegan or dairy-free, but I find that I can use butter and full-fat non-homogenized cream. It’s the fine fat particles in homogenized milk that seem to permeate my leaky gut.

  7. this sounds amazing. Sometimes I have a craving for caramel and this sounds like it will fit the bill! One question, do you think I can use coconut oil instead of the shortening? Has anyone done that? I have never seen the shortening, will have to look for it. thanks!

    • Scroll up through the comments and you’ll see someone used coconut oil instead of shortening and liked how it turned out. I just made it using coconut oil, but am waiting for it to thicken up. I added a little bit of arrowroot powder also hoping to give it a little of the texture that’s there when you use powdered sugar. Also, I substituted maple syrup, and while it turned out delicious I’ll probably go with the other commenter and skip it next time since I think the coconut sugar makes it sweet enough.

    • Oh boy… Did you not see in the ingredients where it says: 2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar? Also, check out all of the other comments above asking the exact same question.

      • Where are you seeing “so many angry vegans”? I see someone asking about honey, not anger. I do see judgement, which makes me wonder why people look up vegan recipes. We end up getting yelled at, it makes no sense :(

        For the folks who missed it, honey is only one of three options. The recipe does not require honey.
        This is why I don’t share recipes online. People want to substitute for everything and feel entitled to immediate answers that could be found reading other comments or Googling it. It just isn’t worth it. Everyone who is kind and brave enough to share has my absolute respect.

    • I don’t understand vegans issues with honey…… you fee the enzymes bees add to the nectar is disruptive to your system?

      • For me, as a vegan, these things come down to personal choice, and being as educated as I can about what I can do to heal and not harm in as many situations as I can. For a while, bees were dying out everywhere (Colony Collapse Disorder is still an issue), also bees really are busy, they do all the work to make honey, so many people believe it isn’t right to just take the fruits of their labor. It makes me sad when people are mocked for this – thank you for not doing that – this is my choice for me. I don’t try to pass laws that make everyone eat the way I do. I don’t force my faith in God on others either, that seems counter intuitive to me :) So when it comes to honey, I avoid, and there is almost always a great substitute. I hope that helped. :)

        Colony Collapse Disorder
        “Scientists are still trying to sort out the mysterious problem of Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees are dying at an alarming rate, and entomologists are finding dead bees and mostly unpopulated hives in all parts of the country. From an animal rights standpoint, it’s imperative that this catastrophic state of affairs be sorted out before more animals die. From the standpoint of a human being who depends upon agriculture to put food on the table, it’s essential this problem be solved since bee pollination is what makes plants grow” – from a both sides argument

        • Lily, colony collapse disorder is so serious that we may lose a good part of our food supply if it continues. There are so many crops that depend on the bees. Thanks for sharing about this very serious issue here.

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Recipes » Toppings » Vegan Caramel Sauce