Easy caramel sauce

Easy caramel sauce

I’ve been looking for a way to make caramel sauce that is less involved than my other recipe. Because I don’t have time to wait around for 25 minutes, watching as coconut milk and sugar evolve into golden, syrupy goodness. And you probably don’t either. In the amount of time it takes for a pot of caramel to come to life, you could watch a rerun of The Office. Without the commercials. Or you could clean the kitchen. And when you’re done with that, maybe organize all of your stuff in the bathroom? No? Fine. But I really don’t think it’s necessary to have two dozen replacement razor heads or a year’s supply of bio-rutin supplements or three different conditioning treatments taking up precious bathroom real estate. Speaking of conditioner, maybe you could take a shower? And wash your hair while you’re at it because not washing your hair for four days is gross. I don’t care if you’re trying to protect your cylindrical filaments from the arid Colorado climate. It’s not cool to go on a hair washing strike when you share a bed with another human being. Your hair is dirty. Wash it.

Did that get weird? That kind of got weird. Anyway, I’m not saying we should ditch the old recipe entirely (ok, maybe we should), but this recipe is nice to have on hand when you don’t have half an hour to devote to making caramel sauce. It’s also nice to have on hand when you want to make caramel apple crumb pie at the eleventh hour. Like, maybe later this week?

Easy caramel sauce in the makingEasy caramel sauce in the makingEasy caramel sauce

Notes: Feel free to use brown sugar or muscovado sugar in place of the sucanat – both will produce a similar result (although the caramel may be a bit darker) (it may also be super light if your sucanat is lightly colored – just add a touch of molasses). Oh, and say you forget to whisk your caramel for a few minutes and it burns and sticks to the bottom of the pan. But you don’t find out until you go to whisk it and burnt flecks of caramel ruin your perfectly golden sauce. No worries! Simply pass the caramel through a fine mesh strainer a couple of times then place it back on the stove (in a clean pot, of course) to finish cooking. Crisis averted!


1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/2 cup sucanat

Start by opening the can of coconut milk and separating the thick, white milk fat from the water. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut water to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the sucanat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-6 minutes, whisking only a few times, then stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk fat (you may have more or less, depending on your can of coconut milk – that’s ok). Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture for 5 minutes, whisking every minute or so. If you added less than 1 cup of coconut milk fat, you’ll want to cook the mixture for an extra 2-3 minutes. Off the heat, then transfer the caramel to a glass jar and cool on counter, uncovered, until the caramel reaches room temperature. Refrigerate for at least four hours before using; caramel will thicken as it cools. Will keep for up to one week.

Yield: 2/3-1 cup caramel sauce


  • Reply Chloe Moon 4 March 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Yum!! And I have to add another Yum!! =)

  • Reply Vanessa 4 March 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Want! Pretty.

  • Reply Ashley 4 March 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Wowowow. Really?? This seems so easy. Definitely have to try it. A few months ago I was researching how to make caramel and was completelyyyy overwhelmed. There are a billion and 1 recipes out there and all vary SO much. This will be the next one I try. That first pour shot? Stupendous!

  • Reply london bakes 4 March 2013 at 2:42 PM

    That first picture has pretty much made my day. I’m just going to sit here and stare at it for the rest of the afternoon.

    • Reply Anonymous 5 March 2013 at 1:51 AM


  • Reply Scissors and Spice 4 March 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Pinned! :)

  • Reply Little Kitchie 4 March 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Insanely gorgeous pictures! I’m definitely going to try this recipe… making caramel sauce has always intimidated me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Averie @ Averie Cooks 4 March 2013 at 5:36 PM

    ” But you don’t find out until you go to whisk it and burnt flecks of caramel ruin your perfectly golden sauce.” — DID that about a month ago. I was so ticked. Didnt want to strain it b/c I feared the burnt flavor would linger so pitched it and started over.

    Your sauce is divine looking!

    • Reply Ashlae 4 March 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Thankfully the burnt flavor didn’t linger ;)

  • Reply kickpleat 4 March 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Yum. Who knew that such a luscious looking caramel could be made with coconut milk. Love it! I’ll save this for my next cake making opportunity.

  • Reply Rhonda 4 March 2013 at 9:39 PM

    How large is the can of coconut milk? A standard can here in Australia is about 425ml.

    • Reply Ashlae 4 March 2013 at 9:43 PM

      I think a can in America is about 400ml. That doesn’t matter though, as you need only 1/4 cup of the water and up to 1 cup of the milk fat for the recipe.

  • Reply Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! 4 March 2013 at 11:00 PM

    You’re HIlarious. Seriously. The hair thing? I relate almost too much to it. Oh, and there was a recipe! The caramel looks awesome, I can’t wait to see it in the crumb pie later this week!

  • Reply sara forte 5 March 2013 at 5:16 AM

    i thought about this all day. just fyi

  • Reply Richa 5 March 2013 at 7:06 AM

    that gorgeous color and the texture.. perfect!

  • Reply thelittleloaf 5 March 2013 at 7:35 AM

    I love the idea of coconut caramel. Yum.

  • Reply the cake hunter 5 March 2013 at 1:29 PM

    I hate that I am at work right now and not out buying cans of coconut milk to stockpile in the fridge. You have made Tuesday so much better :)

  • Reply Ashley @ Blissful Basil 5 March 2013 at 1:35 PM

    This is genius! What a simple and brilliant way to make caramel. Looks amazing.

  • Reply playfulandhungry.com 6 March 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I am in love with this recipe!
    Always have whole cane sugar at home! Live can be so easy! ;)

  • Reply Anonymous 6 March 2013 at 7:07 PM

    I’m new to gluten free and I am curious if this caramel sauce tastes reminiscent of the coconut?

  • Reply Kathy Shea Mormino 6 March 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Hi! I’m new follower of your blog and would like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:


    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

  • Reply Jeanine 7 March 2013 at 10:34 PM

    ooh, so easy, I’m making this so soon.

  • Reply Anonymous 8 March 2013 at 4:26 PM

    This looks really good! Does it actually taste like caramel?

    • Reply Ashlae 8 March 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Is the sky blue?

  • Reply alexanderwillowharvey 8 March 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Boy do I love caramel, so happy to see this post!

  • Reply Megan Gordon 11 March 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Glorious caramel! Stunning, stunning photos and nothing I love more than pies made with whole-grains. And as much as wel all wish that spring fruits were ready, they’re just not … so this is perfect. A treat to come across this morning!

  • Reply Vegan Urbanite 12 March 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Thanks so much for this recipe. Pinned :)

  • Reply Anonymous 14 March 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Could this be used to make carmel apples? OR is it not the right consistency?

    • Reply Ashlae 18 March 2013 at 8:42 AM

      It’s not as sticky as candy making caramel, but I don’t know – it could work.

  • Reply Kier 15 March 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Just made this & stirred in 1/4 cup of Irish whiskey at the end. Hoping it thickens up nicely and then I plan on using it in the apple crumb pie that you posted.

    • Reply Ashlae 16 March 2013 at 2:13 AM

      Did you cook the sauce longer before stirring in the whiskey? I made a boozy caramel sauce for a cinnamon roll recipe I’m sharing next week, and only added 2 tablespoons but it thinned it out significantly. If you cooked the caramel according to the instructions above, you’ll want to use 6 tablespoons of starch in the filling to help absorb the excess liquid.

  • Reply Jessica Caneal 17 March 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Making this up as we speak! Hold on, I have to whisk…Ok, whew! I am going to use this for drizzling inside the middle of a cake. One thing though…this didn’t make much caramel sauce for me. I think I ended up with way less that what is shown inyour picture above, which is fine because like I said, just using it for drizzling in a cake. Thanks so much for posting!

  • Reply missy 18 March 2013 at 7:50 AM

    will this get like hard/ kind of gooey?
    like if i wanted to make chocolate covered caramels?

    • Reply Ashlae 18 March 2013 at 8:40 AM

      Not sure, I haven’t tried.

  • Reply Teyewerahkwa 1 April 2013 at 10:54 PM

    I had this pinned for a few weeks and finally made it this past weekend. So ridiculously rich and yummy!!!! And easy! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Anonymous 22 April 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Just a question, why refrigerate coconut milk and scoop off the top layer rather than use coconut cream ?

    • Reply Ashlae 22 April 2013 at 10:31 AM

      Because coconut milk is far more accessible.

  • Reply Anonymous 1 May 2013 at 9:01 PM

    yeeee haw…sooo now i can make my own snickers ice cream bars…:-))

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  • Reply Olivia 11 August 2013 at 10:55 AM

    There’s a problem with the shelf life: it will NOT last a week in my fridge! ;)
    Also, I don’t know if anyone is keeping up with the goings-on in south FL right now, but the US Sugar Corp is definitely not a sustainable source for sweeteners. Any suggestions for an alternative, sustainable sugar source?
    Thanks so much, love your recipes!!!

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  • Reply Ellice 19 February 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Can you use honey instead of sucanat

    • Reply Ashlae 19 February 2014 at 9:39 AM

      Hi Ellice –

      Unfortunately you cannot.

  • Reply Talitha 4 April 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Can you use coconut cream instead of coconut milk?

    • Reply Ashlae 4 April 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Hi Talitha –

      I’m not sure as I’ve never used coconut cream. If you give it a go, let me know how it turns out!

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  • Reply Rich 6 November 2014 at 8:24 PM

    This is the best vegan caramel recipe ever. I use it all the time. I just made vegan rice krispie treats and threw it about 1/2 cup of the caramel to the melted mallows to make salted caramel treats. Make sure you use good coconut milk without guar gum. Again, thanks for this simple recipe in a sea of overly complex ones. :)

  • Reply sophia 19 November 2014 at 8:00 PM

    can you tell me how to scale the ingredients if I want to make a large amount of this caramel? trying to make four times the amount but now i am not sure how long to boil!
    A Fan!

    • Reply Ashlae 20 November 2014 at 8:13 AM

      Hi Sophia –

      Unfortunately I’ve never made more than one batch at a time, so I don’t have a clue! Sorry.

  • Reply Jodie 21 January 2015 at 12:17 PM

    Does thicken as it cools? I kept cooking it to see if thickened while it cooked but finally gave up. . . .

  • Reply Jodie 21 January 2015 at 3:52 PM

    I made this earlier and it’s now had time to cool. It didn’t thicken at all. I looked at your other caramel recipe (which is pretty much the same) and will try cooking this one again. . . .at least with your other recipe you specify cooking times for desired consistencies. I don’t know how this particular recipe yields better results when the cooking time is considerably less. This also has a definite coconut taste, not sure how that will come across in an apple pie. . . . but I’m always willing to try once and tweak if I have to :)

  • Reply Letti 14 December 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Ashlae just made this to a friend, but I have re-made it cause I almost ate it all! :D I already have a cheescake recipe in mind, with this awsome caramel sauce!
    love-love love it!

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