3-Ingredient Date Caramel Sauce Recipe is a creamy, gooey sauce perfect for a vegan dessert topping! This dairy-free caramel sauce is a delicious, creamy, refined sugar–free sauce. Drizzle this creamy date sauce over sliced bananas, dairy-free ice cream, popcorn, sliced apples, and so many other desserts!
For a more traditional recipe, try this vegan caramel sauce.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- The use of dates means there are no refined sugars, making this a very healthy caramel option
- Adding peanut butter gives the caramel a creamy texture and consistency
- Minimal ingredients mean you can make this quickly any time you’re ready for a sweet, healthy treat!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Medjool Dates
- Nut butter of your choice (I used peanut butter)
How to Make Raw Date Caramel Sauce
It’s easy to make this creamy caramel date sauce recipe.
You don’t even have to use peanut butter in this recipe, but I like the extra dash of flavor and creaminess that it adds.
Simply combine these ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth!
- When blending dates, be sure to use soft dates. If your dates have firmed up from being stored too long or being refrigerated, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes first or microwave them for a few seconds (be sure and use that sweet date water in some other recipe like a smoothie)
- Add more water to the caramel paste if necessary to get the desired thickness and spreadability of your sauce. If you want to use this as a dip for apple slices, a thicker sauce is preferred. If you want to drizzle this over vegan ice cream, a thinner sauce might be best.
- You can use almond butter, peanut butter, or even a seed butter to add even more caramel flavor, however, this is an optional ingredient as the date puree tastes great too!
- You can change up the flavors in this Vegan Date Recipe by adding some chopped chocolate chips.
What to do with dates?
Use dates to make your favorite desserts refined-sugar free! Because dates are naturally sweet and have a natural “caramel” flavor, they make great additions to many of your favorite desserts, like these Chocolate Brownie Energy Bites!
Why do Dates taste like caramel?
Dates are dried fruit and when you bite into one, you’ll notice a sticky, sweet flesh and a distinct caramel flavor. The wrinkled skin might cause you to think that the dates are dried, like a raisin, but that is simply the texture of the fruit’s skin. Therefore, the caramel flavor is simply the flavor of the natural fruit shining through.
Are Dates Healthy?
Dates are a healthy alternative to refined sugars found in so many recipes like the standard caramel sauces. However, dates have many phytonutrients like fiber and more. For example, dates boast the following nutritional elements:
-Protein (yes, even dates have some protein!)
Even though dates are high in natural sugars (they’re 80% sugar), that dates may be an “ideal food” providing lots of nutritional phytonutrients.
Non-Dairy Healthy Caramel Sauce
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all caramel sauce must be dairy-based. In fact, there are plenty of ways to make a non-dairy caramel sauce. For example, I use plant-based milk in my Vegan Caramel Dessert Bars. It works!
This recipe uses Medjool dates, which have a sort of caramel flavor in and of themselves. You can simply combine dates with water or add a little bit of peanut butter to create even more caramel flavor.
Raw Date Caramel
This is a raw caramel date sauce. If your dates are firm, you may need to heat them up a bit to make them soft and tender. But otherwise, all you need is a food processor to make this recipe work.
Also, this Medjool date caramel recipe is versatile. You can make it thicker and it’s almost like fudge. I like a nice, thick caramel sauce as you can see from the photos. You can add more water to make a thinner sauce. That can be nice served over ice cream, or even as the topping for a slice of cake!
This is basically a date paste caramel infused! Who knew it could be so easy and delicious!
If you love simple, sweet recipes, try this Vegan Fudge. It’s made with minimal ingredients, but lots of flavor!
Healthy, Naturally-Sweetened Desserts
Do you love naturally sweetened desserts? Check out my Healthy Fruit Crisp recipe! It has a granola-type crust that’s so delicious! There’s also this simple Vegan Banana Ice Cream made with minimal, all-natural ingredients!
You can drizzle some of this caramel sauce over the top. Perfection!
Vegan Date Caramel Sauce
- 1 ½ cups Medjool dates pitted
- ⅓ cup almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)
- 5 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons water (add more water for a sauce consistency)
- Place pitted dates and water in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and set it aside.
- Dates should be soft at this point. Place them in a food processor with the water, add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (optional) pulse until smooth. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Take a taste. If you'd like more peanut butter flavor, add another tablespoon here and pulse to combine.
- Place in a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Serve over vegan ice cream, oatmeal, bananas, you name it!
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
If you’re into caramel sauce desserts, then you’ll love these:
- Salty Chocolate Date Caramels by Heartbeet Kitchen
- Salted Raw Caramel Dip by Detoxinista
- Also, check out Cinnamon Poke Cake with Caramel Sauce
Whatever vegan caramel sauce you’re drooling over, enjoy!