How to Make Caramels (refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo, vegan)

Healthy Homemade Caramels

After making Millionaire Shortbread Bars and Homemade Caramel Sauce, the next step in my caramel quest was to make…  well, Caramels!  I thought the only thing I had to do was reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe but that wasn’t so.

These healthy homemade Caramels aren’t firm like the storebought kinds, these are incredibly soft and chewy — they literally melt in your mouth!

Chewy Caramels from the Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook!

Not to mention, these homemade caramels are made with light coconut milk (rather than heavy cream), coconut oil (instead of butter) and a mixture of sucanat and erythritol (to avoid high-glycemic white sugar and corn syrup), so you are able to enjoy these without feeling guilty.

AS IF you needed another reason to make these  😉

Chewy Caramels from the Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook!

Healthy Homemade Chocolate-Covered Caramels recipe (vegan, dairy free, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits
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Healthy Homemade Caramels

Servings: 32 caramels
These healthy homemade Caramels aren't firm like the storebought kinds, these are incredibly soft and chewy -- they literally melt in your mouth!



Recipe Notes

I originally wasn't going to share the recipe here because I worked so incredibly hard on publishing Naughty or Nice.  But, I understand not having a recipe here can be frustrating.  So, I'll meet you halfway...  how does that sound?  I'll show you all the ingredients I use in the recipe.  That way, you can determine on your own whether or not the cookbook is for you!
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Homemade Caramels
Amount Per Serving (2 caramels)
Calories 140 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 40mg2%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 0.5g1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Candy
Keyword: Dairy Free, DIY, Gluten Free, Vegan



With love and good eats,


– Jess


37 comments on “Healthy Homemade Caramels”

  1. These look like the perfect candy for Easter baskets!!

  2. I’ve got to try to make these candies. They look so good! Thanks and happy Easter.

  3. I can’t wait to try these!I love the touch with the papers : )

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  5. “so you are able to enjoy these without feeling guilty”

    I tend to not feel guilty for eating any kind of food, but thanks.

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  7. Made this recipe last night as caramel is one of my weaknesses!!! YUMMY! I used coconut palm sugar as I was out of sucanat. IT turned out just fine! Has anyone tried using more erythirtol to lower the sugar/carb content even more? Just wondering if it would still work.5 stars

  8. Hi Laura, I’m so glad you liked the recipe! Palm sugar sounds delicious 🙂
    I have tried making this with more erythritol but it was not very caramel-like — it wasn’t super chewy, it was more like a light/soft fudge … It’s hard to explain, but it just wasn’t the classic caramel.

  9. Would love to try these! I’ll try using full fat coconut milk instead of light. Thanks!

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  11. These look so fantastic – I am excited to try them! Do you think xylitol might work instead of the erythritol?

  12. you have such a talent!!! I’ve been looking through all your amazing recipes – keep up the good work!! Great photos, great healthy recipes just LOVE your site!! 🙂

  13. Hmm… I have tried this twice now and I just can’t seem to get it to work! Each time my caramel just become rather crystally and just melts away without any chew at all… I used coconut sugar after reading the above comments so I thought it would work… tips please? 🙂

    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      Oh no! I have no idea why the caramel crystallized. I haven’t tried this recipe using coconut sugar but I would assume that ingredient would be fine, especially since it worked for another commenter. Just wondering, did you use a candy thermometer?

  14. Hi Jessica! Thanks for the answer. I did use a candy thermometer, but I had to boil the mixture for at least 30-40 minutes after adding the coconut milk before it finally reached 250 degrees. Is this normal? I thought it was kind of long but when I googled it most sites said it was normal to have a long waiting period…

  15. Hi, Jessica! I do love your recipes, and your use of sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol. Thumbs up for your mouthwateringly good photos!

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  17. Hi Jessica,
    Thanks for sharing your creativity! Do you think vegetable glycerin would work for all or part of the sugars in this recipe?

    • Sadly, vegetable glycerin doesn’t work to replace the sugars 🙁
      I’ve tried it… FOUR TIMES!!! The “caramel” doesn’t turn brown and it actually stays pretty clear. But the weirdest part is the scent, it smells almost exactly like buttery popcorn. I got five different people to smell it (because I thought I was crazy) and they all said the same thing. I mean, it tasted okay but not great. And it needs to be cooked to a much higher temperature for a much longer period of time (it took about 3x as long as regular caramel).
      I’m working on a sugar-free recipe but it will take some time. Sorry!

    • Marissa-
      Oh, and I forgot to mention, it doesn’t solidify. It stays like a “caramel” sauce!

  18. is it only 90 calorie for all of them or just one?

    • Tova-
      The nutrition label on the left is for the unhealthy caramel recipe, and it’s 90 calories for 2 caramels.
      The nutrition label on the right is for my healthified caramel recipe, which has 60 calories for 2 caramels 🙂

  19. HI,

    I tried making this today & set the mixture to cool for 4 hours but the mixture still isn’t tight. Its still liquid. what do i do ?

    • Ridhima-
      Just wondering, did you use a candy thermometer? It’s crucial to cook these caramels to an exact temperature… a little too low and you’ll get caramel sauce… a little too high and you’ll get brittle.
      If it’s simply caramel sauce, you can use that in coffee, over ice cream, in oatmeal, as a dip for apples, etc. and then try the recipe again if you want to 🙂

  20. These look super yummy! The patience it takes for extra special treats is a serious gift 😉 Nicely done, I can’t wait to give these a try 🙂

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  29. Thank you for your work in putting this together. Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to be able to put out $50 for a cookbook. :(. I didn’t catch that caveat until I’d already gotten excited about the recipe! lol. sigh… thanks anyway and gl to all.

  30. I like caramels, but I hate all commercial foods. I don’t like any alcohol sugars, I wan just 1 candy sometimes taste like childhood!!! Real sugar(coconut sugar maple syrup) can I use it to satisfy memory of grandma. Just piece of goodness, not dinner… Thank you! Sincerely Mila
    Please, advice!

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