Vegan Caramel Recipe
This vegan caramel is thick, spreadable and perfectly sweet. It’s great for baking with and makes a tasty dairy-free filling for pies, tarts, cakes and more!
Scared of making caramel from scratch?
No longer, my friend! I have created a super convenient, 5-minute dairy-free caramel recipe that is easy even for beginners.
A foolproof recipe
Because this recipe contains just 5 ingredients and can be made with no thermometer of any kind, it’s basically foolproof!
I think this should be named cheat’s vegan caramel because technically the sugar doesn’t “caramelize” fully. It sort of just dissolves into the sugar and the rest of the ingredients do the work.
I used to use a similar caramel in my millionaire shortbread recipe but that one heavily relied on knowing when to take it off of the heat. It was very runny at first then thickened as it cooled, meaning it was very easy to over or underdo it if you’ve never made caramel sauce before. It also took a LOT of patience and time.
So by adding cornstarch and a few other ingredients to the recipe as I did with this one, you can see it thicken within minutes. Basically, once it’s thick, you’ll know that it’s definitely ready.
Like I said, it is very much a cheat’s caramel but I love it because it takes away the guessing games, especially if you don’t have a candy thermometer or tonnes of time to spare.
A great condensed milk caramel replacement
I actually created this recipe very recently when making a homemade filling for my vegan banoffee pie. Every non-vegan recipe I’d seen before called for condensed milk and I had never used the vegan version at the time so I was a little apprehensive.
It got me thinking…
I had recently made lemon curd and realized what a great job cornstarch did of making it spreadable. So I decided to add some to my original caramel recipe, along with some vegan margarine and vanilla, and voila! A miracle was born.
This caramel is thick enough to spread, thicker than a caramel sauce, and quite similar in taste and texture to condensed milk caramel. I think it would taste absolutely delicious spread on top of cakes, as a cupcake filling or mixed into some frosting.
It’s obviously perfect for filling banoffee pie and millionaire’s shortbread too, as I mentioned. And if you wanted to get extra fancy, you could even add a pinch of salt to the recipe for vegan salted caramel. I’ve also used as the filling for my vegan caramel tart!
How to make vegan caramel
I’d recommend that you start by measuring out all of your ingredients first. This will save time and make things easier.
You will need:
- 250ml of soy milk (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 tablespoons of vegan margarine (The soft, spreadable type, not the block. I used Vitalite.)
- 80g of soft light brown sugar (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (3 teaspoons)
Take 2 tablespoons of the already measured soy milk and mix it together with the cornflour in a small pot until smooth. This will prevent it from clumping up into lumps when it goes on the heat.
Mix the milk and cornflour mixture into the rest of the soy milk.
Melt the vegan margarine in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients then turn the heat up high.
Stir continuously until the caramel becomes thick. Remove from the heat and leave it to cool.
A quick note!
I must tell you that this is not the same as a “regular” caramel but taste-wise it’s very close! This will not set to become sticky or solid but will firm up enough for you to cut into your cake, pie, tart, or whatever else you use it for.
This caramel is purely a “cheat’s” recipe for those times when you’re in a pinch and have only basic ingredients to hand or are limited for time. I will be creating a dairy-free caramel sauce/dulce de leche recipe in the near future using the usual method, so keep an eye out for that.
This one is great for those recipes where you need a thicker caramel. Think recipes like millionaire shortbread, banoffee pie and caramel tart.
You can use it for filling cupcakes with or add some of it to your usual cake frosting recipe. It also makes a good dip for things like pretzels, fruit and sweet crackers.
Dairy-free caramel is best kept in the fridge in an airtight container. Mix well before use as it may separate a little as it chills.
I haven’t tested this recipe out with any milk other than soy but I would guess that it would work absolutely fine. I’d recommend something like coconut or oat milk for best results.
Simply reduce the amount of cornflour to 1/2 a tablespoon. The method stays the same. As it’s heating on the stove, you’ll be able to determine if you’d like it thinner or not. If so, you can add more soy milk at this point.
At least 5 days but probably longer! When I used it in my banoffee pie and caramel tart, it held up really well and didn’t lose its texture or flavour at all.
Yes! I’d recommend adding a small pinch of salt if you like vegan salted caramel.
I hope you enjoy this 5-minute vegan caramel recipe! Let me know what you’re going to use it for and how it turns out for you! xo
Vegan caramel (5 Minute Recipe)
A thick, dairy-free caramel recipe that takes just 5 minutes to make.
- 2 Tablespoons Cornflour (cornstarch)
- 250 ml Unsweetened soy milk (1 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan margarine (the spreadable kind, not the block)
- 80 g Soft light brown sugar (⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon)
- 3 Teaspoons Vanilla extract
Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of the soy milk until smooth. Add that mixture to the rest of the soy milk and mix well.
Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over a very low heat. Once melted, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, including the soy milk, and turn the heat up high.
Stir continuously until the caramel becomes thick. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Mix well before use.
Sunday 19th of February 2023
Hi, would I be able to use a different type of sugar? As I would like to make a vegan caramel that is made with reduced sugar or only natural sugars for a vegan millionaire. Also, would it be possible to swap the Unsweetened soy milk with Unsweetened coconut milk? Thanks
Tuesday 21st of February 2023
Hi Eleanor. You could probably swap out the sugar for coconut sugar but I'm not sure if it would work with a liquid sweetener like maple syrup. Coconut milk should also be fine for this recipe. Have you considered making a date caramel? That would be a good natural alternative :)
Sunday 13th of November 2022
very clever recipe thanks
Monday 14th of November 2022
Thanks Saff :)
Friday 1st of January 2021
Hello ^-^ Do you think it would work in a recipe if I wanted to try to re-create these cakes? https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/vachon-ah-caramel-the-original-cakes/6000191284435
Friday 1st of January 2021
Hi Brooklyn. You might be better off with the caramel in my millionaire shortbread recipe. You can take it off the heat earlier so that it's more gooey🥰