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This classic homemade caramel sauce is made with only 3 ingredients that you can find in your cupboard and fridge! It’s vegan, easy, quick to make, and ready in under 20 mins. Use it for baking, caramel apples, drizzling on pancakes, and more!
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I first made caramel sauce following a non-vegan recipe I found in a book way, way back when I was in London. And this recipe is adapted from that recipe, but made vegan! This vegan caramel sauce is made without coconut cream and only calls for 3 simple ingredients. If you have a specific thickness that you are looking to achieve, you can make thin, normal, or thick caramel sauce by adjusting the cooking time. Let’s get started!
Recipe overview – why you’ll love this vegan caramel recipe
- Level: Intermediate
- Taste: Caramel
- Texture: Melty, smooth, and silky
- Diet: Plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and can be soy-free
- Time: 20 mins
Main ingredients and substitutions
Brown sugar: I used brown sugar for the rich taste it has. You can use other types of sugar to make this caramel sauce too. Use caster sugar, granulated sugar, coconut sugar, etc. If using granulated sugar, you may need to cook the sugar longer than instructed in the recipe card.
Soy cream: I used soy cream but use any other plant cream if you prefer.
*I use bone char-free sugars for all of my recipes. I cover the topic in my article Vegan Baking 101. Go to the “Is sugar vegan?” section to learn more!
Recommended equipment for this recipe
Deep saucepan: Use a medium to large deep saucepan. In the making process, the sugar and butter will bubble up quite a bit so use a fairly big saucepan.
Wooden spoon: Use a large wooden spoon to mix the caramel sauce. Do not use a regular metal spoon, the length is too short to make the caramel sauce.
*The ingredient list and measurement for this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom.
How to make homemade caramel sauce
Very important: Microwave the soy cream and make it slightly warm before you start making this recipe. Melt the vegan butter beforehand and let it sit on the side.
Step 1: Cook the sugar
In a medium to large deep saucepan, cook the sugar on medium heat until it’s completely melted and syrupy whilst stirring consistently. This will take about 10 mins or longer. The sugar will start to crump up first like in the picture, so keep stirring so that the heat distributes evenly.
Step 2: Add the vegan butter and soy cream
Once the sugar melted and becomes syrupy, turn the heat off for now. Slowly add melted vegan butter to the melted sugar and stir gently and consistently until combined. The sugar will bubble up, but if you add the butter slowly it shouldn’t bubble up too vigorously. Be careful not to burn your hand!
Once you added all the melted vegan butter, add the soy cream slowly and stir gently and consistently until it’s all incorporated. Turn the heat back on to low-medium heat and cook the caramel further.
For a thin caramel sauce: Cook the caramel sauce only for up to another 1 mins after mixing everything.
For medium thickness: Cook it for another 1-3 min after mixing everything.
For a thick caramel sauce: Cook it for another 4-5 mins after mixing everything.
Serving tips and ideas
- Dip apple slices and make a healthy and indulgent snack!
- Add in your favourite baking recipes to add caramel flavour.
- Drizzle on cakes, pancakes, waffles, porridge, and anything else you like!
Expert tips and tricks
Don’t use cold butter or cream
Make sure that your vegan butter is melted and warm and soy cream is at room temperature or microwaved to slightly warm. This is because if you add cold butter or cream to the melted sugar, the sugar will instantly solidify and won’t be stirrable.
If you accidentally used cold butter or cream and the sugar hardened in the pan, you can still save the caramel sauce! Simply place the saucepan on the cooker and gently heat it up again over low to medium heat. Stir to mix everything once the sugar starts to melt again.
Cook the sugar on low-medium heat
Every cooker and hob is different, but try cooking the sugar somewhere between low-medium heat. Do not cook it on high heat, this is because I made this mistake before cooking it on high heat. And the temperature of the sugar went up rapidly and it started bubbling up uncontrollably! The sugar was burnt, overflowing the saucepan, and left a bad smell and mess in my kitchen, which honestly wasn’t a pretty sight at all.. So cook on low to medium heat, and adjust it as needed.
Add more cream to thin the caramel sauce
If your caramel sauce turned out thicker than you wanted, you can whisk in some additional soy cream even after the caramel sauce is cooled. Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of soy cream and stir to combine. If the caramel is too firm and you can’t stir it well, put it back on the hob and heat up on low heat until it’s easy to stir.
- Add a pinch of salt to make a salted caramel sauce!
- Or add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to make a vanilla caramel sauce.
How to store
- Refrigerating: You can pour the caramel into a mason jar and store it in the fridge for up to 6-7 days. The caramel hardens slightly in the fridge, so when you use it rest it on the kitchen counter until it’s softer. You can microwave it for a few seconds if you want it to be thinner.
- Freezing: You can freeze the caramel sauce too. Place the sauce in a freezer-friendly airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 days. Here’s another fun way to freeze – pour the caramel sauce into an ice cube tray, cover it with a clingfilm and place it in the freezer until it’s solid. Take the caramel cubes from the tray, place them in a freezer-friendly airtight container, and store. This way you can use just the amount you need and keep the rest in the freezer.
Q and A
Can I make caramel sauce without butter?
Yes, you can make caramel sauce without butter actually. Butter adds a rich and buttery flavour to caramel sauce which I quite like but it can be omitted. Simply just add the plant cream to the melted sugar and stir. It will be a light caramel sauce.
Want to master the basics of vegan baking?
Check out Vegan Baking 101 – the beginner’s guide to vegan baking for you to become an excellent vegan baker and familiar with the basics of vegan baking, ingredients, and techniques with useful tips!
You will LOVE this vegan caramel sauce recipe because it is:
- easy and quick to make
- perfect for baking
- delicious on cakes, pancakes, and more
- versatile and handy to have in the kitchen
Want more recipes like this?
Try my other delicious sauce and other recipes you might enjoy!
Visit the recipe page for more delicious recipes!
Please leave a comment and rate this recipe with 5 stars in the comment section below if you like the recipe! Let me know and tag me @thechestnutbakery on Instagram too. Thank you for making my recipe, friends!