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Coconut Caramel

Did you know that you can make thick and completely vegan coconut caramel sauce from a can of coconut milk?

coconut caramel

1 can coconut milk

Pure vanilla extract

Sweetener of choice

Pinch of salt

Just four or five ingredients, and you’re on your way to the perfect coconut caramel sauce, good for serving with fruit, pancakes, or over my Banana Ice Cream Recipes.

And the best part is that there’s NO heavy cream and NO high fructose corn syrup required for this recipe!

Above – Watch the video how to make coconut caramel!

Step One:

Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract in a medium saucepan, and whisk everything together.

Bring to a boil, then let it boil for around 3-4 minutes.

caramel recipe

Step Two:

Turn to a simmer, and let the mixture cook down to about half its original volume, stirring as needed.

Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and let the vegan caramel cool. Then refrigerate.

vegan caramel

The homemade coconut caramel sauce will continue to thicken overnight.

Use it as you’d use caramel sauce.

It tastes absolutely amazing over homemade Coconut Ice Cream.

coconut milk caramel

Or try it on top of this Frappuccino Recipe!

Stored in the refrigerator, the jar of vegan caramel sauce will last for at least a week.

I don’t know if it lasts longer or if it can be frozen, because I’ve never been able to keep a batch around long enough to find out!

How To Make Homemade Caramel From A Can Of Coconut Milk (Easy Recipe)
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Coconut Caramel Sauce

How to make easy vegan coconut caramel sauce from a can of coconut milk!
4.9/5 (20)
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 2 /3 cup


  • 13.5 oz coconut milk (Coconut-free recipe here)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar OR simply increase the above liquid sweetener to 2/3 cup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • optional 1 tbsp butter-type spread or coconut oil, for richer flavor


  • *Use the brown sugar (or coconut sugar) if you want more of a caramel flavor; however using all liquid sweetener still yields delicious results. Make sure to buy full-fat canned coconut milk, not lite or coconutmilk beverage.
    Combine all ingredients except the vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for around 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously, then lower to a simmer. Let it simmer—stirring as needed—until it cooks down to about half its volume and thickens. This usually takes around 50-60 minutes, depending on your climate, stove, and the fat content in your particular can of coconut milk. Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let it sit for about an hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight – it continues to thicken as it sits.
    Instant Pot Version: Combine all ingredients except vanilla in the instant pot, and use the sauté setting. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and let cook down until thick, about 20 minutes. Turn off, and stir in the vanilla. Thanks to reader Jaclyn for creating this version and commenting to let us know it can be made in an instant pot!
    View Nutrition Facts


Also be sure to try this recipe for Coconut Whipped Cream.

Have you made this recipe?

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Published on March 2, 2017

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  1. Anne says

    Is there any way to modify this recipe so that it solidifies into a soft caramel versus a drippy sauce? For example, to put on cookies?

  2. Marielle says

    I had a can of coconut cream that needed to be used, so luckily, I came across this recipe. It turned out great!!! It didn’t take nearly as long–more like 15-20 minutes, perhaps since the coconut cream has a more solid consistency. I have it sitting in my fridge now and am doing my best NOT to eat it all. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

  3. Jo Zimny says

    I’ve made this a few times now and it turns out perfect each time. I love that you used coconut milk instead of dairy. I did use maple syrup and coconut palm sugar in mine. I put it on some warm apple crisp. Can’t get much better than that! I’m going to double the recipe next time. Thanks for the amazing recipes, Katie!!!

  4. Elle says

    Wow! I had quite the experience with this caramel sauce! I was making it for a coconut ice cream, and decided to use coconut milk becuase we had so much of it. Origionally, I only saw the list of ingrediants at the top (without the quantities) and put everything in according to taste. After I followed the directions and the sauce was done, I noticed it was very thin. Looking to the bottom of the recipe, I saw the amounts listed and almost slapped my forehead! I then proceded to add the brown sugar (as listed), boiled and simmered it. It was still very thin and I was confused. I went onto google andlooked up how to thicken caramel. It said to put in cornstarch and water and stir. Well, to my surprise, that didn’t work! I decided that nothing could thicken this sauce, and I should just try boiling it again as a last attempt. After about 2 minutes, it was a thick, caramel-y consistency and I was ecstatic! If you had the same issue as me, try what I did and it might just work! Thanks for this recipe!

  5. Colleen says

    I have a true milk allergy (not lactose intol) by blood test. I love this alternative for caramel sauce.
    I followed to the T. I was skeptical at the 25 min mark it would ever thicken up. However by 35 it deepened in color and began to thicken. It does take the full hour to come to desired consistency.
    I also have a simmer burner on my stove which may have helped and I never left the stove by itself. I have great heavy pans but I ensured stirring every few mins to avoid burning/sticking.
    Only problem is I wished I’d doubled the recipe!

  6. Denise Corklin says


    I made the recipe (again for the umpteenth time)……to pour over ice cream for my husband’s birthday….and then decided I needed more toppings.

    I made one with molasses which was wonderful . Dark and rich and velvety with the addition of a little butter.

    And then I made a third batch and after adding double the vanilla I stirred in peanut butter powder for a rich Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sauce. I probably added almost half a cup of the PB2 powder because I wanted it to be really nutty……and now I need to do it all over again since my dad and I have almost polished off this sauce eating it with Fuji Apple Slices. Seriously yummy.

    Thank-you for the fabulous recipe. I’m envisioning several new variations!!

  7. Millie says

    MMMMMM. 🤤
    That looks sooooooo good! Can you replace the coconut milk with cow/goat milk? And the butter type spread with cow butter? I’m going to try this for on top of a frapicchino.
    Please get back to me ASAP!

  8. Sophie says

    This caramel is INSANE!!! It takes me back to the last time I had non-vegan caramel sauce, I am seriously in love. It took the full hour to thicken up, but the taste was well worth the wait. It doesn’t taste like coconut in the slightest!!! I used regular coconut milk and was afraid it wouldn’t turn out the same but it ended up working great. I also used coconut sugar and maple syurp and the taste is just incredible. Thank you sooo much Katie, I’ll be eating this up before the day ends 💛

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