Paleo and Vegan Caramel

This Vegan and Paleo Caramel is not only super delicious, but it’s also easy to make! We’ve tested three different versions using unrefined sweeteners for all of your caramel needs!

Three different colored paleo caramel jarsVegan Caramel

This Paleo and Vegan caramel is UNREAL. It is made with a handful of wholesome ingredients and is super simple to make requiring no special equipment in just under 20 minutes. This paleo caramel is perfect for topping ice cream, cocktails, using with cake or drizzling on top of fresh fruit. We tested this dairy-free caramel with three different types of unrefined sweeteners: maple syrup, honey and coconut sugar. They truly all have their own flavor, so you can make whichever might go best with what you plan to use the caramel for.

Paleo Caramel Ingredients

  • Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk
  • Sweetener (choose between maple syrup, coconut sugar or honey)
  • Coconut oil (or ghee, or grass-fed butter)
  • Sea Salt
  • Vanilla Extract

vegan caramel drizzling off a spoonUnrefined Sugar and Oil Options

The best part of this recipe is that there are a few different options for sugars and fat to make the Paleo Caramel. You can choose which option works for you in terms of what you have in your pantry and what your dietary needs are! You could also use a mix of two of the sugars. We love the mix of half coconut sugar and half maple syrup. It gives it a delicious flavor with the characteristic caramel color.

Maple Syrup: Caramel made with maple syrup has the most mild flavor. It’s also great because most people already have maple syrup in your pantry. Just make sure to use the real stuff! This makes a light colored caramel.

Honey: Caramel made with honey has a distinctly honey flavor, so make sure to use a honey that you actually like the flavor of. The milder, the better. If you are vegan, skip this sweetener option. This makes a light colored caramel.

Coconut Sugar: Caramel made with coconut sugar has the most caramelized flavor and is very dark in color. It’s a good option for both paleo and vegan diets.

Grass-fed Butter: Good quality grass-fed butter like Vital Farms or Kerrygold adds an amazing flavor to the caramel. Obviously it’s not a good choice for fully dairy-free or vegan options.

Ghee: Another option for added fat is ghee, which is the non-dairy part of butter. This too adds a great flavor, and if you tolerate ghee would be a good choice for the butter flavor.

Coconut oil: For fully dairy-free and vegan caramel, coconut oil is the best choice. You won’t taste any coconut oil flavor in this, but it helps make there caramel silky!

paleo caramel bubbling in a potHow to Make Dairy Free Caramel

Here is how simple it is: You put all of the ingredients in a medium-large pot and cook it over medium-high heat, undisturbed for about 15 minutes until it’s slightly thickened and darkened in color. Seriously, how easy is that?

But there are a few important things to note:

  1. The size of the pan matters! Use a pot that holds about 2 quarts of liquid. The caramel will bubble close to the edge as it boils down, so you want to make sure you pan is big enough.
  2. Do not disturb the caramel! As much as it may be tempting to whisk it or stir it while it’s cooking–don’t. When you whisk it it makes it bubble up even more, and potentially out of the pan.
  3. If you notice sugar on the edge of the pan burning you may have to play with how high your heat is. If you need to turn the heat down, you can cook it for a bit longer.
  4. Cook it about 15 minutes until it has reduced by about half, slightly thickened and darkened in color. You don’t want to cook it too long however because there is a potential that the mixture will separate. The caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.

paleo caramel drizzled over cake

How to Store Vegan Caramel

Store this caramel in the refrigerator. You can let it sit out briefly to warm up before using it, or you can gently reheat it before use.

How to Use this Caramel

The options are endless as to how to use this! This caramel is perfect:

vegan caramel in jars

If you like this dairy-free recipe, check out these others:

Watch the video:


Paleo and Vegan Caramel

Prep Time 00:02 Cook Time 00:15 Total Time 00:17 Yields about 1-1/4 cups

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and whisk together.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the coconut milk is fully combined with sugar and oil. Continue to cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes, or until it's reduced by about half, thickened slightly and darkened in color. While cooking, if it comes close to bubbling over you can turn down the heat slightly.
  3. Shut off heat, whisk together one more and let cool down.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Use on ice cream, here or here.

Recipe Notes

  1. For fully vegan, use maple syrup or coconut sugar for the sweetener and coconut oil.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Caramel Apple Upside Down Honey Cake

This Upside Down Gluten Free Apple Cake is unbelievably simple to make and so delicious. It’s grain-free, nut-free and dairy-free but with no shortage of delicious apple cinnamon flavor. It’s perfect to serve up for Rosh Hashanah or to whip up for a weekend baking project after you’ve gone apple picking.

upside down apple honey cake with caramel on a platterGluten Free Apple Cake

We’re bringing an oldie but a GOODIE out from the archives, updated with new photos! This Gluten-free Upside Down Apple Cake was originally published back in 2015, but we thought it was time to give this simple and delicious cake an updated look. I developed this recipe to be a grain-free and gluten-free alternative for a Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake. Whether you celebrate or not, this is the ultimate Fall cake all season long! This cake is fluffy, moist, flavorful, and loaded with your favorite Fall flavors. It’s also made using a dairy-free honey caramel that is to die for.

apples with paleo caramelHow to Make Upside Down Gluten Free Apple Cake

To make this Gluten Free Apple Cake, you’ll start off by making Paleo Caramel. I promise, it’s easy to make. We wrote a whole post all about how to make it, so if you are looking for more information or to read about the different sugar options you have for making it, be sure to check that out. For this cake, if you want to make it for Rosh Hashanah be sure to make the caramel with honey.

After you make the honey, you’ll want to grease a pan (we used coconut oil) and layer some sliced apples inside of it. Be creative as you want when layering in the apples. Just make sure the apples are sliced thin, and are basically uniform in size so they cook evenly. Next you’ll pour in the caramel and set aside the pan.

Making the cake couldn’t be easier. It’s made all in one bowl, with a handful of simple paleo ingredients. We love that this recipe is both grain free AND nut free, using just two flours: tapioca and coconut. After the cake has been made, you’ll pour the batter on top of the apples and smooth it out before baking.

Once the cake is baked, you’ll let it cool slightly before inverting the cake on to a platter!

Slice of gluten free apple cake on a plateTools Needed for this Gluten Free Upside Down Cake

While this cake definitely looks impressive, you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment to make it. The caramel is made on the stove top, and the cake is whisked together in a bowl. No thermometer or stand mixer needed! To make this you’ll need:

dairy free cake with caramel and apples

If you like this apple recipe, check out these others:


Caramel Apple Upside Down Honey Cake
Yields 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup coconut flour
  2. 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. Pinch fine sea salt
Wet Ingredients
  1. 5 organic eggs
  2. 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  3. 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons raw honey
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Apple Bottom
  1. 2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  2. 1/3 cup homemade caramel
Optional
  1. Additional homemade caramel  for serving/drizzle
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease 8 inch round pan
  3. Slice apples and lay them in the bottom of the baking pan
  4. Heat caramel   if it isn't already hot and pour evenly over apples
  5. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients (sift if flour has clumps)
  6. Add in wet ingredients and whisk together
  7. Pour cake batter into cake pan on top of the apple mixture
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Once cooled completely, carefully flip the cake pan upside down onto a serving dish
Lexi's Clean Kitchen https://lexiscleankitchen.com/

 

Gluten free apple cake with a slice taken from it

Caramel Turtle Cups

These Homemade Chocolate Turtles are the ultimate lightened-up homemade candy. They’re so delicious and making them at home is easy, using only a handful of wholesome ingredients like our Vegan caramel, pecans and dark chocolate. They are the  perfect treat to have on hand in the fridge or freezer for when you want something sweet!

homemade chocolate turtles cupsHomemade Chocolate Turtles

Homemade Chocolate Turtles just might be the best homemade candy of all time. If you don’t know what a turtle is, let me tell you: It’s chocolate with homemade caramel and pecans. We made a handheld version that is easy to make and eat. Plus we lightened these up using vegan, dairy-free caramel and dark chocolate, so these are essential a healthy snack, right?! Run, don’t walk, into the kitchen to get started on these now!

Ingredients Needed:

How to Make Chocolate Turtles

To make these chocolate turtles you mostly just assemble ingredients. The only thing that needs to be prepared is the caramel. For this recipe, we are using our favorite vegan caramel. It is made with a handful of wholesome ingredients and is super simple to make requiring no special equipment and it’s made in just under 20 minutes. We tested this dairy-free caramel with three different types of unrefined sweeteners: maple syrup, honey and coconut sugar. They truly all have their own flavor, so you can make whichever you’d like. We really enjoyed using a mix of the coconut sugar and maple syrup for our turtles recipe.

Here is how simple it is to make the caramel: You put all of the ingredients in a medium-large pot and cook it over medium-high heat, undisturbed for about 15 minutes until it’s slightly thickened and darkened in color. Seriously, how easy is that? We wrote a whole post about it, so go check out all you need to know and the exact recipe to make it there.

You will want to let your caramel cool before trying to use it in this recipe. If possible, let it cool overnight in the refrigerator. As the recipe says, this caramel will be thin when it is first made and will thicken up as it chills.

Once you’ve got your cooled caramel you can mix in some pecan pieces and melt the chocolate. After that, there isn’t too much more to do other than assembling! We used a muffin tin to make our turtle cups. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with parchment paper or silicone liners and then add in some chocolate. Using a spoon, push the chocolate 1/3 of the way up the sides. Next, freeze it for 10 minutes. Then, add in the turtle mixture, before topping with more chocolate and sea salt if desired.

Making healthy turtles recipesHow to Melt Chocolate

We suggest melting chocolate over a double-boiler. Most people don’t have an actual double boiler at home, so make up your own by placing a heat proof bowl over a simmering pot of water. Just make sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Using this method to melt the chocolate is easy and it ensures you don’t over cook the chocolate. Overcooking the chocolate can make it separate, or “break”.

The microwave is an alternative way to melt chocolate. If you do use the microwave heat the chocolate in very short bursts, no more than 20 seconds, while whisking in between each time.

Stack of vegan chocolate turtlesHow to Eat and Store Chocolate Turtles Cups

These chocolate cups are best eaten when they are slightly warmed at room temperature (so the chocolate isn’t super hard), but they’re best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. 

They’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or slightly longer. And in the freezer they’ll keep for up to 3 months. 

I like to store them in the freezer long term, and then grab out when I’m craving a healthy treat. Let it sit on a plate at room temperature for about 15 minutes and then it will be good to go!

If you like this lightened up treat, check out these others:


Homemade Chocolate Turtles

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:03 Inactive Time 00:10 Total Time 00:28 Yields 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan caramel, prepared and cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) dark chocolate chips 
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped finely
  • 12 whole pecans, for garnish

Directions

  1. Place parchment paper or silicone muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate using the double-boiler method: Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer and place a heatproof bowl over the top. Make sure the simmering water isn't touching the bowl. Add the chocolate and the coconut oil to the bowl and slowly melt and stir the chocolate, whisking together at the end. Alternatively you could melt the chocolate in the microwave at 20 second intervals, whisking in between until it's fully melted.
  3. In a small bowl combine cooled caramel and pecans and mix together.
  4. Place 2 teaspoons of chocolate into each of the molds with a spoon and gently push the chocolate 1/3 of the way up the sides of the parchment paper. Place in the freezer to harden for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from freezer and drop in about 1 tablespoon of caramel mixture into the center of the chocolate and smooth down.
  6. Top the caramel with 2 teaspoons melted chocolate and let sit for a few minutes before topping with whole pecan. 
  7. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!