Coconut Caramel Sauce Recipe

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This coconut caramel sauce is a caramel-loving, dairy-free person’s dream come true!

This canned coconut milk caramel comes together quickly, and the ingredients are wholesome and simple. It’s truly a magical thing!

A close up view of this coconut caramel sauce in a small canning jar with the lid firmly attached.

What Is Coconut Caramel?

It’s caramel sauce, similar to dulce de leche, but made with all-natural ingredients. Namely, coconut milk and coconut sugar. It’s a dream come true for a caramel-loving dairy-free person!

This coconut caramel sauce has a deep, rich flavor and satisfyingly thick texture that’s still pourable.

It is completely refined sugar-free, thanks to the use of coconut sugar. In a pinch, you could even use date paste!

Why This Caramel Sauce Is Better

Regular caramel sauce recipes often include not-so-great ingredients. Things like brown sugar, heavy cream, or even high fructose corn syrup. All things that contribute to an unhealthy diet and body. (Although, really heavy cream is not bad unless you’re following a low-fat diet).

This recipe simply does better. It uses coconut milk, unprocessed sugar (coconut sugar), and best of all, there is no corn syrup in sight!

The only thing you can’t do with this recipe is make caramel candies. Sorry, I can’t work miracles. But I keep trying… But at least you won’t have to mess with a candy thermometer!

Vegan Caramel Sauce

This recipe is “accidentally” vegan. No butter involved!

A spoon lifts some of this Coconut Caramel out of the jar and towards the camera.

How To Use Coconut Caramel

There are so many uses for this type of sweet caramel. It’s no different than using traditional caramel sauce you can buy at the grocery store. You can drizzle caramel over so many things! It’s a great substitute for maple syrup on some recipes! Here are some ideas for what to pour this over:

  • Ice Cream
  • Oreo cookies or Samoa cookies – You can make some homemade oreos and then use this sauce as a dipping sauce! Yum!
  • Homemade cake – Drizzle this over the top of a cake, such as a bundt cake.
  • Dip fruit – Such as apples.
  • Dessert parfaits – With a caramel layer!
  • Sweet breads – Use it as a drizzle or topping over the loaf.
  • Coffee – You could even take this into a coffee shop with you to stir into your coffee in place of sweetener.
  • Care packages – Don’t forget to send some goodie jars to those you love!
A jar filled with this Coconut Caramel. The lid rests against the side of the jar.

Coconut Caramel Ingredient Checklist

15 oz. full-fat coconut milk – This is the stuff in a can. Not in a carton. Do not use the stuff in a carton. You do NOT want light coconut milk or coconut cream. Just regular, full-fat coconut milk.

½ cups coconut sugar – I used xylitol because that’s what works best for my blood sugar. But you can really use any granular sweetener you prefer, such as Sucanat or monk fruit.

½ tsp. baking soda – This does double duty so you won’t have to add salt to this recipe. But if you want it to be saltier, you can certainly add a little sea salt, or whatever salt you have on hand.

½ tsp. pure vanilla extract – Use the real stuff. Don’t use flavoring.

½ tsp. coconut extract – optional if you want a true coconut flavor. Otherwise, don’t bother.

How To Make Coconut Caramel Sauce

All the ingredients for this Coconut Caramel Recipe in a pot, ready to cook.

Put all ingredients in a medium to large saucepan.

Whisk to combine in the pot, and then turn on the stove to low heat or medium heat (not high heat!). Never leave this at a full boil. You want a nice, slow simmer. Skim any foam off the top, if there is any.

Cook for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so and skimming the foam off the top if needed.

Whisking all the ingredients together in a pot.

After about an hour or so, you will notice that the mixture has greatly reduced and gotten considerably darker (depending on sweetener used) and thicker. At this point, you can turn it off.

The finished After about an hour or so, you will notice that the mixture has greatly reduced and gotten considerably darker and thicker. At this point, you can turn

Allow to cool for a bit and then transfer to a glass jar. Chill overnight in the fridge (It will thicken as it cools). Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:

The photos shown above show a light-colored caramel sauce. This is because of the sweetener I used. If you use coconut sugar or any other dark-colored, unprocessed sweetener, the color of your caramel will be much darker like the one shown here below.

Showing the darker color of this sauce when made with a different sweetener. A dark caramel sauce fills a glass jar, a wooden spoon rests next to the jar.

Recipe Adaptation

When my mom, myself, and Mini Chef traveled to Ireland together in 2013, I started looking at Irish food blogs. I came across this one called, Farmette. It’s a delightful blog and has some incredible-looking recipes. My recipe here is an adaptation of this one on her site. I figured the recipe would be approximately the same using coconut. And while there were some very minor adjustments needed, this caramel sauce with coconut milk worked up beautifully with this dairy-free milk and unprocessed sweetener!

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COCONUT CARAMEL RECIPE

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
A jar filled with this Coconut Caramel. The lid rests against the side of the jar.

Coconut Caramel Sauce Recipe

Delicious, diary-free caramel sauce for topping any dessert.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 1 batch
Calories: 1104kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Ingredients

  • 15 oz. full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cups coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a medium to large saucepan.
    All the ingredients for this Coconut Caramel Recipe in a pot, ready to cook.
  • Whisk to combine in the pot, and then turn on the stove to low heat or medium heat (not high heat!). Never leave this at a full boil. You want a nice, slow simmer. Skim any foam off the top, if there is any.
    Cook for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so and skimming the foam off the top if needed.
    After about an hour or so, you will notice that the mixture has greatly reduced and gotten considerably darker (depending on sweetener used) and thicker. At this point, you can turn it off.
    Whisking all the ingredients together in a pot.
  • Allow to cool for a bit and then transfer to a glass jar. Chill overnight in the fridge (It will thicken as it cools). Serve chilled or at room temperature.
    The finished After about an hour or so, you will notice that the mixture has greatly reduced and gotten considerably darker and thicker. At this point, you can turn

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data is for the entire batch. Yield will vary from batch to batch depending on how much it cooks down before it thickens.

Nutrition

Serving: 1entire batch | Calories: 1104kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 91g | Saturated Fat: 80g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 759mg | Potassium: 938mg | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 14mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 5/13/2013.

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28 Comments

  1. Omg!! You are my hero!!! I grew up eating Dulce de leche and I was convinced that I was never going to find a healthy recipe for it!! You are the best!!! Mwaaaa

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Monica – Haha! Enjoy!

  2. I’m so excited to try this! Just wondering if this might work in a crock pot?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Felicia – I honestly don’t know as I haven’t tried it. I don’t think it would work simply because a slow cooker has to have the lid on the entire time to keep the temperature correct. But with this, you have to stir it and skim the foam constantly. So I don’t think it would work.

  3. Penny North says:

    How long will this last in the fridge?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Penny – 2-3 weeks, I’m guessing. It didn’t last that long for me, but I gave most of it away.

  4. OMG. Thank you for your fantastic photos – this is as close to the Castle as I will ever come.
    You are such an inspiration to all of us with your photos, blogs and recipes – God Bless.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Phyllis – Awww, thank you! 🙂

  5. Why do you use one light and one full fat? what if you use two of the same?

    thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Desirae – Because it needs some fat, but I didn’t want to overdo it. So I did half and half. If you want to use two of the same, opt for two of the full fat cans.

  6. And what recommended uses for this decadence? 🙂 The castle is awesome. Jealous.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kinzie – Anything! You can make caramel lattes, dip fruit in it, anything you would use regular caramel sauce for really. Even over ice cream! (Clean ice cream, of course…)

  7. I’ve seen recipes for regular dulce de leche that are done in the crockpot, meaning it wouldn’t have to be stirred every ten minutes. Would this work for this recipe, and if so, how?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nancy – I don’t know as I haven’t tried. When I return home, I’ll experiment.

  8. Lovely to be included in this beautiful post. Thank you. Imen xx

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Imen – My pleasure! I love your blog. Absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  9. FYI if you click the “print” button in the blog, it doesn’t just print the recipe, it prints the full 18 page blog post, including full pages of castle photos. 🙁 It just used up the last of my ink and paper. I’d suggest cutting and pasting if anyone’s wanting this recipe. Despite that, I can’t wait to try it.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – If you click the print button, a print screen will pop up. Once you are in that screen (and looking at the recipe and post), anything you click will disappear so you don’t have to print it.

  10. Kim Hopkins says:

    Thank you Thank You Thank you, finally a dairy free caramel that I can enjoy eating & not worry…. you rock!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim – My pleasure! Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  11. Can I sub maple syrup or date syrup for the sugar? I no longer bake or cook with any kind of sugar.
    Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Penny – You can try it. In theory, it should work if you sub by weight, not volume. But I haven’t tired it myself, so I can’t say for sure. I think worst case scenario, you’d have a yummy syrup!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Is that coconut milk in a can? If so, I can’t find it anywheres except in the international food section and then I can’t read it to see if it is full fat or what. Do you have any suggestions on where to find it?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stephanie – Yes, it’s in a can. Most mainstream grocery stores carry it. If you can’t find one you can read, try buying it from amazon. The Natural Value brand is clean and is also BPA free.

  13. Looks delicious. What is coconut sugar? Can I sub real sugar if I can’t find coconut sugar?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lori – Depends. If you want it to be clean, then no. But if you don’t care, than it would probably work. Take a look at the original recipe I linked to in the notes above the recipe. It will give you a good idea of how to do it with real sugar.

      Coconut sugar is a sweetener made from the sap of a particular type of palm tree. It looks similar to brown sugar, but more dry. Good stuff! You can get it at many health food stores or order it online from Amazon.com.

  14. I love your blog!!
    It is coconut sugar same than coconut palm sugar???

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Olivia – Yes, I believe so.

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