Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce

Oh yes.  Not just homemade caramel sauce…  HEALTHY HOMEMADE CARAMEL SAUCE!!

Oh yes x 2.

It all started with those Millionaire Shortbread Bars.  I was shocked at how the caramel layer turned out perfectly.  As I stirred the cooking caramel on the stove I craned my neck over the pot to smell that smooth, creamy and enticing scent.  It was so similar to real caramel I couldn’t believe it.  I mean, sweet and velvety caramel sauce without the heavy cream, white sugar and butter?

Oh yes x 3.

I have wanted to make a Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce for so long now.  The process seemed intimidating, but I love love love the taste of caramel.  I could never find a healthy option at the store, so I overcame my fear and finally made a batch.  And dang, I am SO glad I did.

Watching this liquid gold pour into the mason jars was a heavenly sight.

How to make Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce! This sweet and velvety caramel sauce is made without the white sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter, but you’d never know it. And did I mention it’s vegan, dairy free, and gluten free too? Don’t buy caramel sauce, DIY it! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes with sugar free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options at the Desserts With Benefits Blog (www.DessertsWithBenefits.com)

How to make Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce! This sweet and velvety caramel sauce is made without the white sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter, but you’d never know it. And did I mention it’s vegan, dairy free, and gluten free too? Don’t buy caramel sauce, DIY it! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes with sugar free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options at the Desserts With Benefits Blog (www.DessertsWithBenefits.com)

This Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce goes well over everything…  Individual Apple Pies, Vanilla Ice CreamPancakes, Waffles, etc.

You can stir it into your coffee or add it to smoothies and milkshakes.

You can pour it into your mouth, bathe in it, marry it…  or is that a little too much?  Eh, no such thing.

How to make Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce! This sweet and velvety caramel sauce is made without the white sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter, but you’d never know it. And did I mention it’s vegan, dairy free, and gluten free too? Don’t buy caramel sauce, DIY it! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes with sugar free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options at the Desserts With Benefits Blog (www.DessertsWithBenefits.com)

5 from 2 votes
How to make Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce! This sweet and velvety caramel sauce is made without the white sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter, but you’d never know it. And did I mention it’s vegan, dairy free, and gluten free too? Don’t buy caramel sauce, DIY it! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes with sugar free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options at the Desserts With Benefits Blog (www.DessertsWithBenefits.com)
Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Servings: 2 ½ cups
Calories: 100 kcal
Ingredients
  • one 13.5oz can Light Coconut Milk
  • 56g (¼ cup) Coconut Oil, melted
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 112g (⅓ cup) Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 192g (1 cup) Sucanat
  • 96g (½ cup) Granulated Erythritol
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, coconut oil, and salt.
  2. In a small saucepan (I used a 2-quart saucepan), add the maple syrup, water, sucanat, and erythritol. Add a candy thermometer to the pot and place over medium-high heat. Do not stir, let it come to a boil.
  3. At 250 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the coconut milk/oil mixture. Stop whisking once it's all added. Return to medium-high heat.
  4. At 220 degrees Fahrenheit, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. It should look like a dark caramel syrup. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof container (I used a 4-cup measuring glass) and let it come to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Keeps for ~2 weeks. Whisk before serving.
Recipe Notes

If you want a thicker caramel sauce, simply reduce the amount of coconut milk by ¼ cup.

Nutrition Facts
Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce
Amount Per Serving (2 tbs)
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 3.5g 18%
Sodium 35mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Sugars 13g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Here is the recipe’s nutrition label:

How to make Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce! This sweet and velvety caramel sauce is made without the white sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter, but you’d never know it. And did I mention it’s vegan, dairy free, and gluten free too? Don’t buy caramel sauce, DIY it! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes with sugar free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options at the Desserts With Benefits Blog (www.DessertsWithBenefits.com)

How to make Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce! This sweet and velvety caramel sauce is made without the white sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter, but you’d never know it. And did I mention it’s vegan, dairy free, and gluten free too? Don’t buy caramel sauce, DIY it! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes with sugar free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options at the Desserts With Benefits Blog (www.DessertsWithBenefits.com)

I drank could drink this caramel sauce.  Who needs water? 😉

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With love and good eats,

.

– Jess

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PS:  Looking for a SOLID caramel recipe?  Check out my Chewy Caramels or Cashew Caramels!

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61 comments on “Healthy Homemade Caramel Sauce”

  1. Oh my word! This looks heavenly. I would like a large ladle full, please! Yum

  2. This sounds AMAZING. Caramel is one of those things that you just NEED for some desserts, but it’s so HEAVY. Will absolutely be trying this for a whole bunch of recipes.

    THANK YOU. =]

  3. Wow! This caramel looks so dreamy and silky! You captured it perfectly! 🙂

  4. Why do you not own the condiment and dessert industry? The earth would teem with well-nutritioned superhumans.

  5. Is there anything you could use instead of shortening? It’s really hard to get hold of unhydrogenated shortening here in the UK

    • dessertswithbenefits

      You can buy nonhydrogenated shortening online. You can try using coconut oil. Coconut oil may smell like coconut out of the jar but I don’t think it will provide a strong flavor in the caramel since there is only 1/4 cup of it. If you want that classic butter taste like in REAL caramel, you can add ¼ tsp butter extract at the end along with the vanilla extract.

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  7. has anyone tried brown rice syrup in place of the agave?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Carmen,
      I haven’t tried brown rice syrup but I would assume that would work as an agave replacement. Brown rice syrup is a bit thicker than agave and it has a stronger flavor, but if you don’t mind that then go ahead with the b.r.syrup! If I were to make this with brown rice syrup I would add an extra two tablespoons of coconut milk to the microwaved mixture. Good luck 🙂

  8. is there anyway i can make this without using the thermometer ?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Artania-
      I’m afraid that the thermometer is required to make caramel sauce… If u heat the sauce too much the sauce will be too thick and/or crystallize… Too little and it will not be syrup 🙁
      Thermometers are cheap and easy to find. I bought mine at Bed Bath & Beyond!
      -Jess

    • I know, this is really old question, but I have the solution!

       I made this without thermometer, actually I have never use one when making candy sauce. I use the cold water test. You know your sauce is ready when you drop a hint of sauce in to cold water and it keeps its shape. If you keep sauce on the heat after that it will be too thick.. 

      Thanks for recipe! I was delicious (so I ate it too much and know I swear that I’ll never eat any sweets..)

  9. Hi, will these make caramel apples?
    I don’t want to buy the caramel bits nor do I like the sound of many caramel sauce recipes around the web. This one sounds great to me and I would love to try it out for making the apples…Wud appreciate your reply. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • dessertswithbenefits

      DK-
      Hmmm, I’m not really sure I haven’t tried that yet. I think you can give it a try, just dunk the apples in and quickly put them in the fridge to firm up. At room temperature this caramel sauce is probably too much of a “sauce” to stay on the apples, this is more for drizzling into coffee and over desserts. If you don’t want to risk the caramel running off the apples then I would recommend my healthy soft caramels recipe. Just skip steps 7-11 and coat the apples in the caramel “fudge” after step 6. I hope this works out for you, I didn’t even think about making caramel apples until I read your comment. GENIUS!!
      -Jess
      PS: Also, I’m sorry, I didn’t measure how much the caramel sauce makes but I believe it is around 1+1/3 cups.

  10. ..and oh also how much does this yield?

  11. This is amazing!

    I used coconut oil ( I can’t get the shortening you mentioned), pure maple syrup (instead of agave) and xylitol (is this the same thing as erythritol?)

    It filled one 500ml mason jar perfectly.

    Thank you for this great recipe!!

    • Sarah-
      YAY!! I’m so glad the coconut oil worked (I really wanted to try that out) and I’m sure the pure maple syrup added a rich and buttery flavor 🙂
      Xylitol is different than erythritol, but they have many similar properties and basically taste the same.
      Thanks for providing the final yield amount, I forgot to measure the caramel out because I used some in my coffee right after making it. Oops!
      -Jess

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  13. shandra grace
    11

    I am allergic to coconut, do you know something I could substitute for the coconut milk? Thanks! 🙂

    • Shandra Grace-
      You can probably use any other nondairy milk out there, such as soy milk, more almond milk, other nut milks, etc. Hopefully this works just as well as coconut milk. I hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

  14. oh oh…want this! do you think it could be made with coconut sugar instead of succanot?

  15. How long will this stay good for? What is the best way to store it?

    I can’t wait to try it!

    • Crystal-
      I don’t know exactly how long this caramel sauce lasts because I used it all up within a couple weeks. I think 2 weeks is around the right amount of time 🙂
      I stored my caramel sauce at room tempe because refrigeration will cause the sauce to harden. Hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

  16. Can I use a regular thermometer ??

    • Marcy-
      Candy thermometers are built specifically for candy making. They withstand extremely high temps and can be submerged in boiling liquids without breaking. I’m afraid a regular thermometer might break/melt if used directly in a pot over a heat source. Candy thermometers are fairly cheap (just a few bucks!) and you can find them in almost all grocery stores, and stores like Bed Bath & Beyond (I got mine at BBB) 🙂
      -Jess

  17. I have the same question as Crystal, any idea how long it would stay good for? Does it need to be refrigerated? Thanks!

    • Alex-
      Thanks for commenting, for some reason I didn’t get a notification of Crystal’s comment!
      I don’t know exactly how long this caramel sauce lasts, as I used it all up within a couple weeks. I think 2 weeks is around the right amount of time 🙂
      I stored my caramel at room temperature because refrigeration will cause the caramel sauce to harden (due to the non-hydrogenated shortening)
      Hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

  18. 6 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk (or 1 cup + 2 tbs light coconut milk)

    Is it 1 cup + 2 tbs light coconut milk, canned or carton?

  19. I made these today and it turned into thick caramel. I followed the instructions exactly, what could have possibly gone wrong and is there any way to make it saucey?

    • Jules-
      The coconut milk is from a can. I updated the ingredient list so it’s not so confusing 🙂
      I’m not sure what went wrong if you followed the ingredient list and instructions… did you caramel sauce just turn very thick, did it set into “sliceable” caramels or did it harden into a toffee-like brittle? These are signs that the caramel may have been overcooked (only a few degrees can change the final product).
      As for making your caramel more liquidy, try heating it up again on the stove and adding more coconut milk. Whisk in one tablespoon at a time until you like the consistency.
      Hope this helps!
      -Jess

  20. Thank you for your help Jessica!

    That could have been the problem! I stepped away for only a few seconds and the temperature reached a little over 250 degrees Fahrenheit before I added the vanilla extract.

    The caramel thicken, yet soft enough to slice.

    What is the difference between using coconut milk and almond milk and canned milk versus carton milk?

    Do you know if the caramel will spoil since there is milk in it?

    • Jules-
      Yeah, cooked desserts/candies are really finicky… a few degrees can determine whether or not you’re cooking a soft fudge or a hard candy! No wonder so many people like cooking over baking, haha
      Personally, I haven’t noticed a huge difference between using coconut milk and almond milk in the caramel sauce, but almond milk won’t work well if you’re trying to make actual caramels. I think the fat in the coconut milk helps keep it soft and smooth 🙂
      I’m not sure exactly how long the caramel sauce will last, but I would say about a week or so at room temperature would be about right. Dairy milks usually require refrigeration more than nondairy milks 🙂
      -Jess

  21. Here’s an update, I incorporated the caramel last night to make Samoa Cookies, and sadly the caramel was so hard, but not as has as brittle. I melted it and added more coconut and almond milk.

  22. That caramel sauce looks yummy. Besides replacing agave with maple syrup can the succanate & erythritol be replaced with coconut Sugar?

    • Lorraine-
      Yup! The coconut sugar should replace the sucanat and erythritol just fine. I think I tried a batch like that before and it was delicious! The flavor was a little different, since sucanat tastes like brown sugar, but it was still good 🙂
      I hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

  23. What is inside of the apples on those pictures? Just trying to come up with some dessert ideas.

  24. Nevermind, clicked the link. Lol

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  26. Hey Jess, I love that you actually respond on here and have always answered my questions.  I was wondering why shortening vs butter?  and by butter I mean the real stuff not margarine.  I could probably good the differences and figure something out but I was just curious about your personal logic between the 2.  I was hoping to use this in a Salted Caramel Gelato recipe. If it works out I’ll send you the recipe!  I made a full sugar full dairy version to make sure it turned out ok before I start replacing things with almondmilk and erythritol 🙂  Thanks for helping us indulge our fantasies of enjoying treats without having to run 10 miles afterward!

    • Chelsea-
      Aw thanks so much Chelsea!! 😀
      I used the non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening because it’s what I had on hand, and coconut oil didn’t seem like it would work as well. I’m sure butter could work just fine in place of the shortening! I always recommend organic grass-fed butter (for the omega 3’s and a better ratio of 3’s:6’s).
      By the way, Salted Caramel Gelato? YUMMMM! I have no other words, just YUMMMM and I WANT SOME NOW PLEASE 😉
      I hope you like the Caramel Sauce! 😀
      -Jess

  27. What could I use in place of Erythritol? Would need to be gluten free dairy free soy free…?

  28. Hello Jessica, Quick question – What is the nutritional information for this sauce? Also, do you have any recommendations to reduce the sugar further by replacing the Agave Nectar with an alternative, as well as the Sucanat with perhaps additional Erythritol? Any advice on these questions and the nutritional breakdown with these changes, as well as in the original format would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • I didn’t calculate the nutrition facts for this recipe, so I’m not sure.  I’m considering revamping the recipe though, and if I do, I’ll add the nutrition label then.  I wouldn’t recommend omitting the agave (you can try replacing it with maple syrup if you don’t like agave), however, you can try reducing the sucanat to 3/4 cup and increasing the erythritol to 3/4 cup.  Just know that too much erythritol can cause the sauce to crystallize.

  29. I made this today. I use a mix of coconut palm shortening and ghee for the shortening. Also use a mix of maple syrup and coconut syrup. Use xylitol and stevia as the sugars. Also used some homemade coconut milk. Seems to taste pretty good. Just waiting the hour before storing to use tomorrow.

  30. Wow it looks so silky and smooth !

  31. Caramel on everything, please! Also, I love the gif!

  32. This literally looks JUST LIKE unhealthy caramel sauce! That’s CRAZY! I would probably finish a whole jar within a week!

  33. We usually use a traditional caramel made from scratch but, will give this a try at home!

  34. Mandy Stoffer
    31

    Do you think this could be used to make caramel corn?

    • I’ve never made caramel corn before so I can’t be sure… however, I just looked up some caramel corn recipes and it appears as if you need to add a 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the caramel at the end of cooking to get it to foam up, then you mix it with the popcorn, and then bake it all together to get crunchy. If you’re up for some recipe testing, feel free to give it a shot, but I’ll definitely add caramel corn to my recipe wishlist and try to make it soon! 🙂

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  37. How can this be healthy when it’s maple syrup in it??

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  41. Are your temp correct? Higher temp then return to stove and get lower temp?confused!,

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