Vegan butterscotch caramel that will blow your gosh darn mind. No coconut, no dates, but with an authentic flavor that will convince anyone.
I HAVE FINALLY DONE IT! I HAVE FINALLY FIGURED OUT VEGAN CARAMEL!
This recipe is the one I think I’ve been the most excited about since my macaron recipe was finally ready. Y’all! I made caramel without coconuts! Without dates! Without nonsense!! Aaaahhhhh!!!!!
Thanks to The Stay at Home Chef for her homemade caramel candy recipe that sparked my imagination for this. It’s her recipe with a few alterations to turn it into a butterscotch caramel sauce – and vegan!
So without further ado, LET’S GO!!!
Vegan Butter – Make sure you’re using one that is a stick/block type and not a soft spread. My favorite is Country Crock plant butter sticks – any of the three varieties are great! Can’t do any of the vegan butters out there? Feel free to use Palm Oil if you need to! Just add a tablespoon of water to the mix if you do.
Brown Sugar – I used light brown sugar. Make sure to check that yours is vegan if you’re in the US. I use either an organic brown sugar or Zulka brand to be sure.
Sweetened Condensed Milk – I used sweetened condensed soy milk I get from my local grocery store (H-E-B). You can use coconut if you want, and one of my testers reported back that you can’t taste the coconut in it if you do. If you need to make your own, it’s just a 2:1 ratio of your favorite milk and sugar, simmered until reduced by about half.
Syrup – I used light corn syrup, not high-fructose. You can also use golden syrup or maple syrup – though the maple syrup will give it a maple-y taste (duh). If you can get a corn syrup that has vanilla added, that would be amazing!
Vanilla – Just a bit for that yummy authentic caramel flavor!
Salt – Caramel and salt are best friends!! I love a good flaky sea salt, but kosher salt works great too. Heck, even just a sprinkle of table salt is better than none at all!
MAYONNAISE! Yes, mayo! DO NOT GET ANGRY WITH ME!!! PLEASE just trust me! And trust the 100% success rate of my recipe testers and tasters!
Vegan mayo is full of emulsifiers, and they bring together the butter and the milk and the sugars to a most amazingly silky caramel. It also has vinegar, which helps prevent the sugars from crystallizing. And it has aerated fats, which work JUST LIKE cream!
Mayo is the magic that means a PERFECT match for traditional butterscotch caramel sauce without dairy, without coconut, and without dates!!
The first thing you’re going to do is melt butter in a medium sized saucepan over low-medium heat. You want it to be a very, very low simmer – not boiling or bubbling at all.
After the butter is completely melted, add in the brown sugar, condensed milk, and syrup. All of the new ingredients will sink to the bottom and the melted butter will sit on the top. This is normal and what we want right now!
With a silicone spatula, stir it well and keep stirring – taking special care to get the sides and bottom to prevent burning. Remember, we don’t want it to boil and bubble, so keep an eye on the heat and turn it down as necessary.
You’ll notice as you’re stirring and the mixture heats up, the layer of melted butter on top of everything else will start to get smaller and smaller. Eventually the butter will disappear completely as it becomes one with the sugar.
Once the butter is totally combined, the mixture will be darker and begin to thicken up.
Keep stirring the mixture until it thickens from dripping off the spatula when you lift it, to cascading in gloops and ribbons.
Once you’ve reached this stage, take the caramel off the heat and whisk in your mayonnaise. Keep whisking vigorously until all of the mayo is fully incorporated.
If you’re impatient like I am, you can use an immersion blender to do this instead of a whisk.
Once the mayo is fully integrated into the caramel, you should be able to draw pictures with what comes off the spatula when you lift it. 🙂
The caramel will now continue to thicken as it cools. I like to give it a stir every five minutes or so until it’s cool enough to dish out. Then stir in your vanilla and salt.
Once the vegan caramel is cool enough to not melt or break whatever containers you’ve ordained for it, portion it out and keep it in the fridge, tightly covered. My favorite way to do this as mess-free as possible is with an ice cream scoop.
Once it comes completely to room temperature, it will resemble the caramel inside of some of your favorite candybars. 🙂
How do I store the vegan caramel?
As mentioned above, the best way is to keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure you don’t leave it in the open air for too long or the top will start to dry out and crystallize sort of the way royal icing does.
If it does happen to crystallize, gently warm it up and give it a quick stir. It should take care of the problem.
How can I enjoy this vegan caramel?
This is one of the most asked questions I got at the market where my daughters and I sold portions of it. Like, how do people not know how to eat caramel?? In case you’re not familiar, you can eat it pretty much however you want. And you’ll love it!
Enjoy it on apple slices! Dip cookies in it! Put it in and on your coffee! Pour it over ice cream! Eat it with a spoon! Forget the spoon, just use your fingers! Use it in chocolate truffles! Vegan Snickers and Milky way and Twix!
Seriously, the world is your [vegan] oyster and you can slather that sucker up with caramel.
It also makes an amazing gift. 🙂
How long will the caramel last?
Until you eat it all! 😀
In all seriousness, it should last at least two weeks in the fridge. That’s the typical time for non-vegan butterscotch caramel. This doesn’t contain as much spoilable content so it shoooould last longer, but since I’m not sure how much longer we are just going to go with two weeks.
My caramel is very thick once it cools – how can I thin it?
The longer you cook the caramel the thicker it will get. After you have already made it, you can warm it up slightly (just a couple of seconds in the microwave) to thin it for pouring and drizzling if need be. Then for future batches, stop cooking it a little bit earlier.
My caramel is very thin – how can I thicken it?
Just cook it for a bit longer until it thickens up a little. 🙂
It’ll also thicken up in cooler temps, so if you chill your house a little or pop the caramel in the fridge for a little while, it’ll thicken up for you to use however you need to.
Video coming soon!!
This post was done as quick as I could get it finished and pretty much on the fly to get it out before Christmas – so I’ll go back and update with prettier pictures and answer any questions that come in about it.
And with all that said – here’s the recipe. 🙂
- 1/2 c (one stick, 114g) vegan butter
- 7oz (1 cup minus 2 tbsp, 207 ml) vegan sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 c (114ml) syrup, corn or golden
- 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low/medium heat.
- Add in the sugar, syrup, and condensed milk.
- Stir with a silicone spatula, over a very low simmer, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of pan until the butter incorporates into the sugar.
- Once the caramel thickens to the point of running off the spatula in thick ribbons instead of drips, pull it off the heat and whisk in the mayonnaise.
- Whisk until the mayonnaise is completely incorporated.
- Once the caramel is thick enough to draw pictures with the drizzle that falls off the spatula into the pan, stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Stir every five minutes until the caramel is cool enough to portion out into containers.
- Enjoy however you see fit!
Please see the blog post for additional recipe notes and tips.