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small jar of caramel sauce with spoon dipping in to scoop some out

Vegan Homemade Salted Caramel with Coconut Milk

Course: Dessert, Topping
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade caramel, salted caramel, vegan caramel
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
cooling time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 151kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey
Rich and smooth, this vegan homemade salted caramel is everything that caramel should be! Made without the dairy; this recipe uses coconut milk and vegan butter. You won't find an easier more delicious vegan salted caramel!
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  • heavy bottomed medium-sized saucepan
  • 2 wooden spoons (or 1 if you rinse it off when prompted below)
  • pastry brush for brushing down the sides of the pan with water


  • 1/3 cup vegan butter melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk Room temperature - see notes
  • 1 cup sugar white granulated and organic for vegan
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Before you get started, I strongly urge you to read through the directions. Caramel sauce can be tricky.
  • Melt vegan butter and set aside. Carefully spoon out 1/2 cup from the top creamy layer of coconut milk, trying to not get any of the coconut water in with the coconut cream. Set aside. Get your other ingredients ready.
    the cream from canned coconut milk being carefully spooned into a measuring cup
  • Add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Stir together to moisten the sugar.
  • Melt the sugar: (Please see step below about using the pastry brush.) Turn your stove on low to med/low heat. Stir occasionally as the sugar starts to melt to ensure even quick melting.
    DO NOT allow this mixture to boil yet. The sugar must be fully melted and be clear before boiling.
    The sugar will be fully melted in 10-11 minutes. (Rinse your wooden spoon or use a fresh one. You will be using it later when you add the butter and coconut milk.)
  • While the sugar is melting, check the sides of the pan for any rogue sugar crystals that didn't melt. With a wet pastry brush, wet the sides of the pan where you see sugar crystals so that it is all melted into the mixture and it won't later seize up and revert back to sugar.
    watering down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and water where a sugar crystal has formed
  • Turn up the stove to med/high and let the sugar boil. DO NOT STIR! Continue WATCHING CAREFULLY without stirring for about 7-10 minutes more. The color of the liquid will start to change to a light amber color. You can start to smell the caramel. REMOVE FROM HEAT!
    You don't want the mixture to get too dark or it will taste burnt. If you start to smell burned sugar or if it gets starts to turn too dark take it off of the heat immediately. If it is already too dark and burned smelling then toss it and start fresh. Adding in the other ingredients is not going to improve it at this point.
    amber colored sugar boiling
  • While still removed from heat, drizzle in the melted vegan butter, stirring briskly so that it mostly mixes in.
  • Slowly add in the room temperature coconut cream, stirring briskly.
  • Turn stove back on to medium and continue to cook and stir so that the butter and coconut cream are incorporated. It will come to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Add the vanilla and salt. Stir and allow to cool. If you have any bits of hard caramel on your spoon or on the sides of the pan, just throw it out. don't try to incorporate.
    The caramel sauce will thicken on cooling.


  • The full-fat coconut cream must be room temperature or warmed. You will need to skim 1/2 cup from the top of the can. Do not refrigerate the can of coconut milk as you would when making whipped coconut cream topping.  Do NOT shake the can but carefully spoon the "cream" from the top of the can. You will have quite a bit leftover. You can freeze in an ice cube tray and add to smoothies and such.
  • I really emphasize that you must read through the directions and understand them before you get started. There is a lot of stirring and NOT stirring with this recipe and a great amount of attentiveness needed. Do not walk away from it. Put the dogs outside and the babies to bed before trying this recipe!
  • This caramel sauce should keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks if it is in a tightly sealed container. 
Three things that might go wrong:
  1. The mixture might have a random sugar crystal that was left on the sides of the pan fall in. It will seize up right in front of your eyes and there is absolutely nothing you can do to save it at that point. Melting the sugar first before boiling will help. Making sure there aren't any sugar crystals left on the side of the pan will help. Letting it come to a boil without stirring will help.
  2. You let it boil just a little too long and the sugar starts to burn causing the finished caramel to taste bitter. Watching attentively will help. Removing from heat as soon as it starts to turn colors will help.
  3. You get scared and don't let the sugar start to carmelize before removing from heat. (This is often my error).  The result will be a caramel that is too light and while it is sweet and yummy, doesn't really taste like caramel. It's the lesser of two evils in my opinion... 
If the kitchen goddess has graced your cooking today and it's all worked out,  this caramel sauce will be the best you've ever eaten - vegan or non-vegan. Resist the temptation to stick a straw in and just gulp it up. It really rich and you might be sorry...


Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 25mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 288IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg