Earlier this year, I went to a cooking demonstration by Chef Lynn Crawford at the Museum of Agriculture. At the time, it was maple season and the theme for the evening was, of course, maple! All of the recipes she made including maple, including a maple caramel sauce she drizzled over a maple sticky toffee pudding.
At the end of that evening, all attendees were given a printout of the recipes she made so we could try them at home, if we wanted to. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to make a vegan version of her maple caramel sauce, and I did!
Chef Lynn’s version is quite different when compared to what I’ve put together here. Hers contained real butter, maple syrup, heavy cream, no sugar…and no cooking!
On my first try, I bought some vegan butter, which I rarely use because the kind I have access to, I just don’t like. But I thought, it’s going into a vegan caramel sauce, so it will be fine. I was wrong! The flavour of that vegan butter was the only thing I could taste in the finished sauce, so try #1 was a big fail.
Try #2 involved using way less vegan butter and adding in some coconut sugar in addition to the maple syrup and coconut milk and again, even though I drastically cut back on the vegan butter, the flavour of it was still quite dominant. Try #2 was another fail. Plus, even though I love using coconut sugar in my creations, it just didn’t work well here, for me.
So on to try #3. This time I omitted the vegan butter entirely and opted for a small amount of coconut oil in its place, and that was the magical combination.
The result was a smooth, creamy, dairy free caramel sauce that was so delicious, I couldn’t stop “taste-testing!”
This recipe is easy (you just need 4 ingredients!) and quick. Quick as in it just takes 5 minutes of active cooking time. Once it’s done on the stove, you need to be patient as it cools down and thickens up so you can give it a taste and dig in. Don’t even try to taste your vegan caramel sauce too early and singe your taste buds. Like I did. Oops.
When it’s ready, there are so many things you can do with it, like:
- Drizzle it over your cold coffee drinks like this Vegan Mocha Frappe
- Use it as an ice cream topping
- Use it as a topping for scones or waffles and pancakes
- Use it for desserts that call for maple caramel sauce, like sticky toffee pudding
- Drizzle it over cinnamon rolls (it would be so good on these apple raisin cinnamon rolls!)
You can also serve it as a dip for things with contrasting flavours. Like sour green apples which work so well with the sweetness of the maple caramel sauce:
Or you can dip something salty, which also works very well with the sweetness of the sauce, like pretzels:
And speaking of salty, you can totally make your maple caramel sauce, “salted” maple caramel sauce. Mmm…salted caramel sauce… see the recipe notes below on how to do that!
One more thing…you will need to refrigerate any unused sauce. When you’re ready to use it again, you’ll find that it has hardened and crystallized a little. Not to worry, just warm it up for 10 second intervals (stirring after each interval) in the microwave and it will be back to how it was before and ready to be devoured.
If you like this dairy free caramel sauce recipe, you may also like these:
- Vegan Mocha Frappe
- Apple Raisin Cinnamon Rolls
- Vegan Pumpkin Scones
- Easy Vegan Gluten Free Pancakes
- Easy Vegan Gluten Free Waffles
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How to Make Maple Caramel Sauce
A quick, easy, and decadent vegan, dairy-free maple caramel sauce that you'll want to use as a dip and put on everything from ice cream, iced coffee drinks, pancakes, waffles and more!
Add the maple syrup and sugar to a small pot. Stir over medium heat until the sugar crystals have melted and it comes to a low boil. The mixture will bubble up like the image above. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or wire whisk.
Once there are no more sugar crystals, turn the heat down to medium low and continue to boil while occasionally stirring, for 5 minutes. You'll notice the mixture start to thicken slightly.
In the last minute, add the room temperature (or warm) coconut milk and continue stirring.
After the 5 minutes are up, remove from the stove and whisk in the coconut oil until it has melted and has combined.
Let cool for a few minutes in the pot and then carefully transfer to a glass jar. it will start to thicken as it cools.
Serve warm and refrigerate any unused maple caramel sauce in the fridge.
- This recipe makes 1 cup of maple caramel sauce. Recipe can be halved.
- To make your maple caramel sauce "salted" maple caramel sauce, add 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt when you add the coconut oil and stir very well. Cool a little off on a spoon and taste. If it's not salted enough for you, add a little more salt until it is where you like it.
- Refrigerate any unused sauce. When you're ready to use it again, you will find that it is a little thicker than before and has crystallized a little. Not to worry, just warm it up for 10 second intervals (stirring after each interval) in the microwave and it will be smooth again.
- Sauce will last a little over a week in the fridge.
- I get questions about whether granulated sugar is vegan or not. There are some that are not but the sugar I link to in the recipe is 100% vegan.
- Calorie count is based on a 2 tablespoon serving size.