Learn how to make date caramel for a healthier alternative to traditional caramel recipes. Use on cookies, cakes, brownies, bars, ice cream, and more! Made with just 4 ingredients. 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.
So, think cookies, brownies, bars, cakes, and ice cream. The possibilities are delicious.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Dates are naturally sweet, meaning you don't need a ton of added sugar. That's why they're called nature's candy!
- The rich color of dates means this sauce has a fantastic color!
- 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- These dates blend easily when soaked and have beautiful color in the sauce. 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! Choose the one you prefer the taste but 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. Got vanilla bean paste on hand? What an upgrade!
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. Their tawny color lends to a beautiful light golden brown when blended with the other ingredients. The natural sweetness of Medjool dates works brilliantly in these easy chocolate energy date balls!
- Pitted dates make things even easier.
- 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. 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 desired consistency. Or, if you need 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.
What to do with date caramel? Here are some delicious ways to use it!
- Pair with apple slices
- Use as filling for pop tarts
- Spread on toast
- Sandwich in a cookie bar
- Use in between cake layers
- Swirl in pretzel bark
- A dollop in your coffee (add some pumpkin spice creamer, and oh my!)
- Drizzle on top of apple crisp
- 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.
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!
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and halved
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup coconut or unsweetened almond milk
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 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.
Revelation is right!
So good! Thank you!
Is this date caramel really runny? I want to use it for cookie sandwiches but I just want to make sure it doesn’t ooze out the sides. Thank you!
Hi Elly! It is not a runny date caramel, but if you are using it for cookie sandwiches, you might want to reduce the coconut milk a bit. You can always add a little more to get the consistency you need.
Hello!! This caramel tastes SO. GOOD! Thank you!!!😍🤩
What I am wondering is if it gets firm / chewy at all??
Thanks, Bridget! It won't get firm like traditional caramel will. If you reduce the almond milk, it would give you a thicker texture.