Learn how to make date caramel for a healthier alternative to traditional caramel recipes. Made with just 4 ingredients! Use on cookies, cakes, brownies, bars, ice cream, and more. Gluten-free and vegan.
Date caramel is a revelation.
Just like the sweet, decadent texture and taste of the traditional confection, this is the refined sugar-free healthy alternative you will love.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Dates are naturally sweet, meaning you don't need a ton of added sugar.
- Combining dates and maple syrup make the perfect vegan option for a sweet, sticky sauce.
- Simple ingredients - only 4 needed!
Ingredients and substitutions
Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients in this recipe. You can see a complete list of ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below.
Medjool dates- This type of date blends easily when soaked and has a beautiful color in the sauce. The Medjool variety is also sweeter than other varieties. Other types of dates, such as Deglet will work too, but they may need to soak longer beforehand.
Coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk- Vegan options that still add lots of creaminess. No heavy cream here! It is a completely personal preference. Any non-dairy milk will do. Soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk can keep things nut-free.
Maple syrup- A vegan sweetener, the color and flavor pair nicely with that of the dates.
Vanilla extract- Always use pure vanilla extract here for the best taste.
Before you start: Soak your dates in hot water.
Step 1: Drain water and place dates back in the blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth!
Step 2: Store date caramel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Medjool dates are optimal for this recipe. They soak easily and quickly and replicate the taste of caramel the best. Their tawny color lends to a beautiful light golden brown when blended with the other ingredients.
- Pitted dates make things even easier and are great to have on hand in the pantry.
- Soak time is essential for achieving a smooth, creamy outcome. Using hot water keeps soaking time to a minimum.
- To make more of a vegan caramel sauce, add a little more dairy-free milk until you reach the desired consistency. Or, if you need it as more of a natural sweetener, check out this date paste recipe.
High-speed Blender - An important tool for making easy date caramel. If you don't have a high-powered blender, a food processor will work as well.
Store date caramel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To freeze, store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to one month.
- Pair with apple slices
- Use as filling for pop tarts
- Spread on toast
- Sandwich in a cookie bar
- Add a dollop to chocolate mug cake or apple mug cake!
- Use in between cake layers or on cake slices
- Swirl in pretzel bark
- A dollop in your coffee (add some pumpkin spice creamer, and oh my!)
- Drizzle on top of apple crisp or blueberry pie
- Make healthier caramel brownies
Use an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks. Give it a quick stir to reincorporate before using.
You can try using a food processor, but I'd recommend a smaller version since this recipe doesn't make a ton at once. If you are making a double batch for a party, then it should work just fine in a food processor.
Sticky Medjool dates, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract create a sweet, caramel flavor similar to traditional caramel sauce.
Store at room temperature for a week or two in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Or for longer storage, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for several months.
Recipes with dates
Love this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating on the recipe card below and let me know what you think in the comments!
- Place dates into a blender. Cover with hot water and allow to sit for 5 -10 minutes.
- Drain water and place dates back in blender. Add salt, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.
- Store date caramel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- You can certainly use other types of dates for this recipe, but you will need to factor in a longer soak time. Soak time is essential for achieving a smooth, creamy outcome.
- To make more of a vegan caramel sauce, add a little more dairy-free milk until you reach desired consistency.