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How to Make Vegan Caramel

How to Make Vegan Caramel

Last Updated on 8th February 2022 by

Because caramel is made with butter, it’s not considered a vegan food, but you can change that by switching out just one ingredient to make vegan caramel.

It’s pretty simple to make caramel at home, and you can change it from non-vegan to vegan just by substituting a single ingredient. I’ll show you how to make vegan caramel with a simple process you can do at home in your own kitchen.

Once you have homemade caramel sauce down, you can use it as a dipping sauce for apples and celery. It can also be used how to make your own homemade candy bars or to create a topping for cookies, cakes, and other desserts.

Why Is Caramel Not Vegan?

Caramel is made from a few key ingredients, one of those being butter. Since butter is a dairy product, coming directly from animal milk, it’s not considered vegan.

Any animal products in your food will make the food not qualify as vegan. That would include milk or any milk products, like yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, or cheese. It also includes eggs and egg products. Of course, all meat is considered non vegan as well.

If you’re looking to have a completely vegan meal or to make a vegan dish, you want to consider what animal products might be included and then either make something different or choose substitutions.

For many ingredients that are considered non vegan, there are substitutes you can use that give you a similar taste and texture and that can be used in a similar way in the dish.

I’ll show you how to do that with a vegan caramel recipe below. You don’t have to give up sweet, tasty caramel just to make your meal vegan.

How Do You Make Vegan Caramel

Let me share with you a recipe you can use to make caramel that’s completely vegan.


  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of vegan butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the vegan butter into a medium pot on the stovetop and heat on medium high. When the butter has melted, add in the brown sugar.
  3. Whisk the sugar until it is incorporated into the butter and melted completely.
  4. Place a candy thermometer on the pot or have one nearby ready to use. The thermometer should not be allowed to touch the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add in the coconut milk in syrup and whisk together. Continue cooking until your mixture begins to boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the candy thermometer reads 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Then, take the pan off the heat and add in the vanilla extract and sea salt until the mixture looks consistent.
  7. Finally, pour the caramel out onto your prepared sheet and let it cool. It can be stored in the refrigerator after it reaches room temperature, and you can slice, if desired.
  8. The finished caramel can be cut into small pieces and served or melted down and used as caramel sauce.

How do you make vegan caramel without a candy thermometer? You can let your mixture continue heating until it starts to boil quickly and then lower the heat to medium.

Continue stirring as your caramel starts to boil and bubble, and let it cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. It should start to pull away from the pot edges at that point and become a deeper golden brown color.

How to Make Vegan Caramel Sauce

Once your caramel mixture cooks and cools, it will harden. If you don’t want to serve it as hard caramel but would rather have caramel sauce, you can melt it down from there.

To make caramel sauce from vegan caramel, you can melt it in the microwave, warming it for a minute, and then if it’s not fully melted, adding 30-second increments until it melts completely.

For a creamier caramel sauce, you can place your caramel into a pot on the stove with some vegan milk and vegan butter. Adding these in makes for richer sauce, and you only need to heat the caramel like this on your stovetop for a few minutes until everything melts and combines easily.

Keep the heat on medium and whisk your mixture continuously until everything is combined smoothly.

How to Make Vegan Salted Caramel

Did you know that salted caramel is usually just another word for caramel? You can make caramel without the sea salt, but the recipe I’ve given you above is actually salted caramel. A lot of recipes will just leave out the word “salted” even though what you’re making is actually salted caramel.

The salt helps to bring out the flavor a bit more, and you can leave it out if you want or add a little more to make a saltier caramel.

When making salted caramel, be sure to use sea salt rather than iodized salt or table salt, as the sea salt gives you the best results.

Storing Vegan Caramel

Now that you know how to make vegan caramel, you should give it a try yourself sometime. The end result should be a smooth, sweet, and delicious caramel that makes for a great standalone dessert or that can also be made into a sauce or garnish.

There’s no need to buy caramel from the grocery when you can make it on your own, and the recipe is pretty simple to pull off, especially if you have a candy thermometer handy.

Once your caramel has cooled, you can store it in the fridge in an air airtight container. It will store there and stay fresh for up to two weeks. Let me know how it turns out when you make it.

I’d love to hear about what you used your caramel for and how your family liked it the first time you make the recipe. Feel free to tell me all about it in the comments section below.

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.