How to make caramel sauce

Caramel sauce

Two ingredient caramel sauce. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Of course you can.

This stuff is good. Drizzled over ice cream, tossed with popcorn, poured into molds and eaten as candies, scooped straight outta the jar – get it? Good. And before you go all THIS IS THE MOST UNHEALTHY RECIPE EVER! on me, let me offer you a lower fat alternative – simply replace the amount of coconut milk fat with coconut milk or almond milk – you will have to cook the mixture longer, but you will wind up with a similar end result. However, I prefer the milk fat based caramel, as it can be used to make perfectly chewy caramel candies. Which I adore.


1 1/2 cups coconut milk fat
3/4 cup sucanat

Refrigerate two cans of coconut milk overnight, for at least 12 hours. The next day, scoop the fat off of the top of each can and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Place the coconut milk fat into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until liquid. Add the sucanat and whisk until the mixture turns a dark caramel color. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Allow mixture to boil for 15-20 minutes, whisking the crap out of it every 3-4 minutes. For a thin caramel sauce, cook it for 10-15 minutes; for the sauce pictured above, 20-25 minutes; for thick, candy making caramel, cook it for 35-40 minutes. Refrigerate in an air tight container until ready to use. Reheat to soften.

Yield: approximately 1 cup

  • Shannon April 23, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    This sounds wonderful! I will have to try it out. I have a standby recipe for making candy, but it doesn’t work well as a syrup for ice cream.

    • Ashlae April 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      That’s the best part about this recipe – depending on what kind of caramel you want (syrup, thick sauce, candies, etc.) all you have to do is adjust the cooking time. The only downside is that it’s really, really unhealthy. But who cares :) Let me know if you try it, Shannon! Happy caramel making.

  • Amanda April 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I tried making a vegan caramel sauce a while ago using a recipe that called for earth balance, brown sugar, and cornstarch – it was a disaster! I hate to waste food, but that went straight into the trash. Yuck!

    Your version, although not the healthiest, sounds phenomenal. I will definitely be giving it a try the next time a caramel craving strikes!

  • Noelle April 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    yum!!! This looks nice and caramally indeed!

  • Cadry April 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Whoa, this looks delightful! I could definitely use some homemade caramel candies. Once I’ve cooked the mixture for 35 minutes and refrigerated it, how do I turn it into candies? Do you just grab a section and form it, or is there more to it than that?

    • Ashlae April 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM

      Pretty much! I used a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop to shape it into a ball. Then I rolled it into a piece of parchment paper and twisted the ends for a straw shaped caramel candy.

  • Cara April 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Are you kidding me? How the hell do you come up with this stuff??? Unbelievable girl–this is why you are called Ladycakes. You are my freaking hero, I heart you so much!

  • Ruby April 23, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I’ve made a couple different caramel sauces, but never one that can be turned into candy- they usually end up way too liquified. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to make some caramel-filled cookies! Thanks for the recipe, Ashlae!!

  • celine April 23, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I’m definitely trying this this week! I could use whisking the crap out of something.

  • sensualappeal April 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    You say it will turn out using Almond Milk eh? I might have to give this a try soon.

    • Ashlae April 24, 2012 at 4:15 AM

      It will turn out – but not nearly as stable as the version using coconut milk fat or coconut milk. You can, however, make a really great caramel syrup using almond milk.

  • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes April 23, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    I LOVE you..I mean how easy this caramel sauce is! I can almost taste it, hmmm now all I can think about is this caramel sauce and Cara’s Snicker Donuts :)

  • Richa April 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    how awesomely creamy and perfect is that caramel! ahhhh i can make my own spiced caramel and sell it in cans and call it my day job.. if only! :)

    I am having a fundraiser for this amazing org on me blog! . Drop by to take a peek on all the fab items you can win in the raffle! . And of course share it if possible:) Thanks a bunch!

  • Isobelle April 24, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    This won’t help me get abs, Ashlae. Darn you and your stink’n caramel that I’m probably going to have to try.

  • Kristy | Keepin' It Kind April 24, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I’ve only ever tried to make caramel once (pre-vegan) and had disastrous results (I think I had to throw away my pot afterwards). This looks like a caramel recipe that I can actually handle! An not to mention, it’s totally gorgeous! Can’t wait to try it! Thank you!

  • kittycatstevens April 24, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    i have been looking for the perfect caramel recipe for so long! this looks perfect, i can’t wait to try it!

  • laurelvb April 25, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    I made dulce de leche like this last Christmas and made the most amazing truffles and fudge. I’ve only ever made it once because, well, let’s just say the ice cream would be the second course. Oh and “whisk the crap out of it” hilariously albeit truly put.

  • Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty April 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Ooooh drool……………

  • GiGi April 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Caramels here I come!

  • sarah May 2, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    coconut milk isn’t actually unhealthy for you–the type of fat in it is good for us, so eat as much as you want :)

    • Ashlae May 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      Yes, the fat from coconut milk is better for you than fat from, say.. deep fried twinkies – but it’s still fat, and needs to be eaten in moderation.

  • giuliana920 May 2, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Mmmmmmm! I really want to try try this recipe, but I’ve never heard of sucanat. Can you please, explain me what it is? This recipe, made with coconut fat, should be delicious!

  • Anonymous June 16, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    giuliana, Sucanat is a brand name for unrefined, evaporated cane juice. It looks like a coarse dark brown sugar, and is better than refined “evaporated cane juice”.

  • Anonymous June 20, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Do you have a use for the coconut milk left after you remove the fat?

    • Ashlae June 21, 2012 at 12:13 AM

      It’s essentially coconut water, so I just drink it.

  • Vanessa July 13, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    You rule! As always.

  • Anonymous July 13, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    I am starting a Sugar free Gluten free diet. Is it possible to make this with date sugar for example? If so would there be other changes to the recipe?

    And do you have any sugar free gluten free recipe favorites?

    Thank you

    • Ashlae July 13, 2012 at 11:12 PM

      Hi Anon! I’m not familiar with date sugar, so I couldn’t tell you for certain. If it’s sugar of the granulated variety, then it should work without having to alter the original recipe.

      If you go to my recipe link and click the option for raw recipes, all of those are gluten/sugar free! Good luck with your diet.

    • Anonymous September 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Date sugar is just ground dates, not actually sugar made from dates. It would not work in this recipe.

  • Rachael July 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    I found your lovely recipe via Pinterest and was SOOOOO excited, but I just tried it and ended up with clumpy burnt sugar (which is still kinda tasty, so I’m gonna throw a bunch of the crumbly chunks into the vanilla coconut milk ice cream I’m making — waste not, want not!). Thoughts on what I might have done wrong? I’m dying to get this right!

    • Ashlae July 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM

      1) When you added the sucanat, did you make sure to whisk it until it completely dissolved? That takes a good 4-5 minutes. 2) Did you whisk it every 3-4 minutes? 3) Try lowering the heat. Your burner may be hotter than mine.

  • Maggie July 17, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    That looks so absolutely amazing, just like dulce de leche!!! I miss dulce de leche!!! :)
    I can only get regular coconut milk, how is the procedure in this case? And also I can get regular sugar or powdered sugar… which one should work better?

    Thanks! :)

    • Ashlae July 18, 2012 at 2:37 AM

      What do you mean regular coconut milk? The kind in the container?

      Use regular regular granulated sugar, but you’ll want to add a bit of molasses.

  • Maggie July 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Oh, I’m sorry, I just get confused, because sometimes I find recipes that call for “full fat coconut milk” and in my country I only get plain “coconut milk”, we don’t have varieties. But now I read again and realize that you just specified to use the fat of coconut milk. Sorry!

    Thanks for your answer :)

    • Ashlae July 30, 2012 at 1:14 AM

      No problem, Maggie! You can make it with regular coconut milk (whatever is available to you) – you’ll just have to cook it longer. Which means standing over the stove, whisking it longer.

  • Rosanne Groeneweg December 15, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Hi Ahslae,

    I found your recipe and I just love it! I’m trying it for the second time. The taste is very good but it doesn’t get really brown. You say whisk it until it gets a dark caramel color but it it just kinda stays the same (the color from the sucanat) Can you help me?

    • Ashlae December 15, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Your sucanat may not be as dark as mine. If you’re concerned about the color, stir in a bit of molasses after the caramel has cooked.

  • Rosanne Groeneweg December 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Thanks for your answer. I will try that. But I think I’m just doing something wrong, it doesn’t get sticky (for making candy) even if I cook it for a very long time (while whisking the crap out of it in between)

  • Ashlae December 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Are you using the entire can of coconut milk? Or just the fat off the top?

  • laura February 22, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    hey lady! this recipe looks super delicious and I can’t wait to make it!! in lieu of sucanat, what could I use – brown sugar?

    • Ashlae February 22, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      Fa sho!

    • laura February 22, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      delightful! would you recommend I add in any molasses or anything or should just plain ol’ brown sugar do the trick? x

  • Cassi April 2, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Hello! Thank you so much for sharing! If I wanted to make this a spreadable consistency that would still hold its shape without becoming too hard (like for macaron filling!) how long would you recommend cooking it for?

    Thank you again for creating a caramel recipe that us lactose-intolerant folk can enjoy :)

    • Ashlae April 2, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      I’m not sure, as I haven’t tried cooking it longer. I’d say no more than five minutes.

    • Cassi April 3, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      Thank you!

  • Vanessa Figueiredo June 27, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    You’re a G-E-N-I-U-S! I loved your idea! And this was the best caramel sauce I’ve made in my whole kitchen life! Thanks for sharing it! :)

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