Paleo Caramel Sauce

A few weeks ago we were having my Paleo Chocolate Ice Cream for dessert and my friend suggested I make a caramel sauce to go along with it. Β At first I didn’t think it was a good idea because caramel sauce is usually really sweet. A basic caramel sauce is made with sugar, water, cream or milk and vanilla extract. I then thought that if I am just drizzling a little caramel sauce over my ice cream that it would give it just the right kick and make it that much better.

Here is my Paleo version of a caramel sauce that I will be serving along with ice cream for some friends. There are only four ingredients needed: water, raw coconut palm sugar, coconut milk and vanilla extract. The texture is smooth and creamy like we are used to. I have found that using different brands of coconut milk tend to change the flavor slightly depending on the brand. You may want to experiment with a few different brands until you find the flavor that you like most.

Paleo Caramel Sauce

Making caramel sauce is actually much easier and faster than you may think. You will just need to dissolve the coconut palm sugar in water and then add the coconut milk and vanilla and stir it continually so that it does not burn.Β If you over cook the caramel and it is thicker than you prefer, add some water a little at the time until you achieve the desired consistency.

This recipe makes a very small amount, approximately 1/3 cup of caramel. Store it in an air tight jar and it will keep in the fridge for about a month.

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5.0 from 6 reviews
Paleo Caramel Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup raw coconut palm sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  1. bring the water and coconut palm sugar to a boil stirring the mixture constantly
  2. add the coconut milk vanilla extract and salt and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly so that it doesn't burn. The mixture will start to thicken and turn darker in color.

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Posted in: Desserts, sauces
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  1. shannon May 31, 2013 at 12:33 am Reply

    Does it taste caramely or coconuty? LOL

  2. Faigy June 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm Reply

    Any way to make this sugar free?

    • adriana June 17, 2013 at 10:19 am Reply

      it’s not possible to get that consistency without sugar because the sugar caramelizes when heated with water. Here is another option that you may like that uses dates instead: Macadamia Caramel Clusters

      • Brittany June 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm Reply

        You can get the same consistency with rice malt syrup (healthier alternative than sugar). I use rice malt to make caramel sauce all the time πŸ™‚

        • connie October 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm Reply

          Brittany, so I substitute sugar for rice malt with the exact recipes above but can I replace full fat milk with coconut milk? I’m not a fan of coco milk

          • adriana November 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm

            Connie, you can use heavy cream in place of the coconut milk. You can also make this recipe with honey or maple syrup.

  3. Kapu August 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm Reply

    coconut sugar is just as bad as table sugar. is there something else one can use?

    • Peaceninja February 10, 2015 at 9:32 am Reply

      Why Coconut Sugar is Healthy

      Coconut sugar is a whole, pure and completely natural sugar. It doesn’t through the extensive refining process as sugar does, so it is a whole, pure food. It will not give you sugar high’s and low’s and won’t make you feel sluggish or bloated. It’s naturally full of vitamins and minerals like amino acids, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc and is a completely safe as a diabetic sugar substitute. Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index (35), making it safe and convenient for any one concerned with blood sugar levels. Not all natural sweeteners are perfect for those who are concerned with this, but coconut sugar is one that is safe!

  4. Johanna September 24, 2013 at 6:13 am Reply

    hi!!! what Can I use in stead of coconut palm sugar?? thank you

    • adriana September 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm Reply

      organic raw cane sugar

  5. Dani September 25, 2013 at 7:19 am Reply

    Hi! I was recently trying to come up with my own little caramel recipe for Paleo caramel apples for Halloween and I’m so new to Paleo, I’m just lost! Would the consistency of this recipe work well for caramel apples? πŸ™‚

  6. Tammy Bohannon October 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm Reply

    I have followed the instructions to the letter and mine’s not thickening up. Any suggestions?

    • adriana October 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm Reply

      Try returning the pan to the stove and cook it longer. Keep I mind that it will thicken more as it cools.

  7. Jessica November 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm Reply

    Im not sure about an actual ‘sauce’ but mesquite powder has a caramel taste, i use it in my sugar free clean caramel slice πŸ™‚

  8. Kim November 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm Reply

    What type of coconut milk do you use – canned, boxed or refrigerated? Thanks!

    • adriana November 11, 2013 at 9:53 am Reply

      full fat coconut milk from can

  9. Janina February 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm Reply

    I am a big fan of anything with salted caramel. Do you think this sauce could be turned into it and what would I need to do, Just add the salt (stupid question I know, sos)? And then used with Paleo Butter Pecan Caramel Ice Cream?

    • adriana February 16, 2014 at 11:02 am Reply

      Janina, yes sprinkle some salt on it, should be very close to a butterscotch caramel sauce πŸ˜‰

  10. Rick April 27, 2014 at 10:38 am Reply

    What about the vanilla?? Changing it could have a much greater effect than swapping brands of c. milk.

    Did you use a run of the mill artificial, a good artificial, or the real thing? If the latter which variety?

    • adriana April 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm Reply

      Rick, this is the vanilla extract I used

      • Rick April 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm Reply

        Thank you. I will try it first with Madagascar then (if I can convince my sister to part with some) with West Indian from the Dominican Republic.
        Have you ever heard of anyone adding a bit of coconut oil? It seems to me that if good butter does so much for regular caramel then a little oil might enhance the texture.

  11. Monica June 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Can I use silk coconut brand or is it from the can?

    • adriana June 12, 2014 at 8:53 am Reply

      Monica, you can use any brand of coconut milk as long as it is full fat.

  12. Faezah July 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm Reply

    hi. I’m wondering, can i make this sauce as a cupcake filling? i mean, what is the consistency like?

    • adriana July 3, 2014 at 10:23 am Reply

      Yes, you can use this sauce as a cupcake filling. The consistency of the caramel can be made to your liking. If you cook it for about 10 minutes, you’ll get a thick caramel. But you can also cook it for less time and it will be softer.

  13. Mary Anne September 10, 2014 at 10:28 am Reply

    This looks like an amazing sauce that I might try this fall. Thanks for sharing this. πŸ™‚

  14. Nixx September 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm Reply

    Whoever is afraid of sugar in its closest to natural form is sadly misinformed- not all sugar is bad sugar just like not all fat is bad fat. Unrefined cane sugar contains 17 amino acids, 11 minerals, and 6 vitamins, including antioxidants that may help reverse oxidative damage. It is made up of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Table sugar is just sucrose and calories, plus traces of chemicals utilized in the refining process such as lime, sulphur dioxide, and phosphoric acid. Organic cane sugar is not like brown sugar, which is white sugar with molasses thrown back in.

    Having that said this recipe is incredible! The only thing I tweaked was the vanilla- I didn’t have any so I used organic maple syrup (yes I’m canadian haha) instead and it turned out better than regular caramel id say!! I served this drizzled generously over. Vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream with a wedge of graham cracker in the middle. Everyone I served it to raved and it was all gone within seconds.

    Thank you so much! I will be using this recipe for life.

    • adriana September 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm Reply

      How funny you posted this message now Nixx. I was also writing about the exact same thing for another article. Thank you for your well educated opinion and feedback. πŸ™‚ Did you use 1 teaspoon of maple syrup in place of the vanilla or you added more?

  15. Nixx September 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm Reply

    Thank you thank you!

    We weren’t meant to live the way we do now.. Figuring out what is real or fake and who is honest or full of shit is something that takes time in research ..A non-superficial knowledge of everything you consume.

    I measured everything else spot on but the syrup I just eyeballed a teaspoon !

  16. Anita November 21, 2014 at 8:36 am Reply

    Does this get thick enough to make caramel candies?

    • adriana November 21, 2014 at 9:06 am Reply

      Anita, yes, cook it until it is thick enough, but keep in mind that it thicken even more as it cools.

  17. Yara January 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm Reply

    Hi Adriana,

    I;ve made the caramel sauce using xylitol instead. Unfortunately it took me an hour to get the right consistency and it;s still white. Do you think I should avoid xylitol in that recipe?

  18. majid February 8, 2015 at 10:44 pm Reply

    Perfect!! It tastes really good… I can’t tell the difference except the sugar is not dissolved really well.. Any suggestions?

    • adriana February 9, 2015 at 8:42 am Reply

      I’m wondering if this has to do with the brand of coconut sugar you used. I have never had this problem and all brands of coconut sugar I have tried dissolve well in liquids.

  19. majid February 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm Reply

    I added more coconut milk.. Problem solved ☺

  20. Mike February 23, 2015 at 11:35 am Reply

    Could I use Coconut Cream to really thicken this up to use in a caramel slice? I was thinking of using your cookie pie crust recipe and this together with a layer of chocolate on top.

    • adriana February 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm Reply

      Hi Mike, I never tried using coconut cream to make this recipe, I always use full fat coconut milk. The longer you cook the caramel, the more it thickens, so you could follow the recipe and cook it until you get the desired consistency (keep in mind that the sauce thickens even more when cooled). I think coconut cream may also work with this recipe.

  21. Yari April 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm Reply

    This is the second time I try making this recipe. I used full fat coconut milk and Madhava organic coconut sugar and it never thickened for me. Is it supposed to be the consistency of maple syrup? I cooked it on medium-low for 10 minutes and it started to smell burnt so I stopped cooking it. I stirred it the entire time to make sure it didn’t burn. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. πŸ™

    • adriana April 8, 2015 at 7:08 pm Reply

      Yari, I’m not sure either. Usually the longer you cook the mixture the thicker it gets. It also thickens more as it cools. I use the same coconut sugar as you and my coconut milk has 14g total fat. Next time, cook your mixture until you draw a spatula through the center of the pan and it creates a hole that stays open for a few seconds and then fills back in. Once this happens, remove from the heat and it will continue to harden as it cools.
      If you need to change the consistency once it cools in case you make it too thick you can easily do so by adding water.

  22. Christina May 12, 2015 at 1:21 am Reply

    Thank you for this recipe! I froze mine in an ice cube tray and used it in my iced coffee. Delicious!

    • adriana May 12, 2015 at 8:11 am Reply

      What a great idea Christina!! Thank you πŸ™‚

  23. Lisa June 14, 2015 at 11:00 am Reply

    THIS.IS.THE.BOMB!!! OMG. I can’t believe how good this is! I think I put a little too much coconut milk into the recipe because it was a bit watery. So I took some arrowroot powder and whisked it in. Voila! It thickened up nicely! πŸ™‚

    I can NOT wait to make the pecan praline recipe tomorrow!! Yum yum!
    Thanks Adriana!!

  24. Amy October 29, 2015 at 6:39 am Reply

    This stuff is fantastic! Whole family loved it. Whipped up second batch, doubled ingredients and cooked 18-20 mins to make it perfect consistency for dipping Apple slices.

    • adriana November 3, 2015 at 12:12 pm Reply

      Thank you for your feedback Amy! πŸ™‚

  25. Gabrielle Grossman November 30, 2015 at 10:46 pm Reply

    Can one use almond milk instead of coconut milk?

    • adriana December 1, 2015 at 7:58 am Reply

      Gabrielle, almond milk might not work because it’s not as high in fat, but I am not sure since I have never tried using it in this recipe. Heavy cream works well also.

    • Amy December 19, 2015 at 7:05 am Reply

      I tried it with almond milk and it didn’t not work.

      • adriana December 21, 2015 at 9:05 am Reply

        Hi Amy, did the sauce never thicken? I had a feeling it wasn’t going to work. You need milk higher in fat.

  26. Donna December 10, 2015 at 8:53 am Reply

    This caramel sauce is dangerously good. I made it for my kids and their friends to dip apple slices in and seriously considered keeping it all to myself! The kids loved it, too.

    • adriana December 10, 2015 at 10:43 am Reply

      So happy to hear Donna! Thank you for your feedback πŸ™‚

  27. toby January 23, 2016 at 5:18 pm Reply

    Could I use almond milk mixed with coconut oil to create full fat coconut milk. It is so expensive to buy the coconut milk, but the oil (solid at room temp) is not so costly. Will it work? I thought of melting the oil and mixing it with almond milk. Or I could use coconut milk, but not full fat…. How much milk to almond or coconut milk?

    • adriana January 25, 2016 at 10:41 am Reply

      Toby mixing almond milk with coconut oil will not work. Also only the full fat coconut milk will work with this recipe because its high in fat. You can use heavy cream instead if you can have dairy.
      You can also make your own coconut milk at home to save money. Soak unsweetened dry shredded coconut in warm water for 5 minutes and then blend with a blender. Strain the milk with a clean cloth or fine mash strainer. I usually use 1 cup of water with 2 cups of shredded coconut.

  28. Gigi March 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm Reply

    Just made this and topped some Against All Grain Cocoa Brownies with it ( IT WAS SO GOOD. It made the brownies x100 better. Thanks for the recipe!! I just moved to Brazil a month ago and it’s hard to find healthy treats here, so I loving getting to find clean desserts to make πŸ™‚

    • adriana March 19, 2016 at 1:19 pm Reply

      Thank you Gigi. I’m so happy my caramel sauce made your brownies better :). Do you still have any left? Take a photo and post it here so I can see!
      It’s great to know more people living in Brazil. I miss my hometown in Rio!!

  29. Gigi March 20, 2016 at 5:26 am Reply

    The sauce is all gone, but I still have the brownies!! Maybe I’ll make some more tonight to finish off the rest of the brownies & post a photo πŸ™‚ I’ve only been to Rio twice, but I loved it!! I’d be so fun to go back!

  30. Gigi March 25, 2016 at 8:32 am Reply

    Here’s the picture of my brownie + caramel sauce! (I know it’s not the greatest picture in the world) Thanks Adriana for the recipe!

    • adriana March 25, 2016 at 9:03 am Reply

      Gigi, I love your photo!!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with me! ?

      • Gigi March 25, 2016 at 9:06 am Reply

        Hahah, thank you!! No problem πŸ™‚

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