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I know you’re going to see this caramel and think I’m a liar.

You’ll think it was made with naughty things heavy cream, white sugar, and bricks of butter.


I don’t blame you; this caramel sauce is pretty amazing. Rich and golden, lusciously velvety. And I will tell you that it’s sweet, but not cloyingly so, with a touch of salt, a subtle smokiness, and a hint of coconut. How could it be made with anything but those wicked (lol!) ingredients?

Looks are deceiving like that.

As it happens, there isn’t a drop of heavy cream or a grain of white sugar, and there’s only one tablespoon of butter in the whole recipe. Oh, and there is a vegan option as well. Be still my fluttering heart.


Just think of the possibilities with this recipe:

Coffee (Hello iced coffee season…and homemade frappuccinos!)

French toast, pancake, and waffle topping

Ice cream and frozen yogurt topping

Oatmeal, yogurt, and pudding topping

Fruit drizzle or dip (It’s a perfect “fondue”, especially after chilling in the fridge overnight – see the photo at the bottom of this post.)

Filling for homemade chocolate-caramel candies

Filling for sandwich cookies or layer cakes

Spread for toast

Pleasure that comes from eating it off a spoon

I would feel guilty about introducing you to this not-so-guilty pleasure right before beach season, but I don’t. Reach for this caramel sauce instead of its cousin that’s laden with heavy cream and white sugar, and I think you’ll be just as satisfied.


Salted Coconut Caramel Sauce {Paleo}
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: About 1¼ cups
  • 1 (14 oz/400 g) can full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup (50 g) coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Combine the coconut milk, maple syrup (or honey), and coconut palm sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down so it doesn’t boil over, and boil until thickened, dark amber in color, and reduced to between 1 to 1¼ cups, about 15 minutes, whisking frequently. (The cooking process is all about evaporating off the extra liquid. Because of this, it could take longer depending on the weather; I made mine on a dry day, but I would expect the cooking process to take a bit longer on a humid day.)
  3. Turn off heat and whisk in the vanilla, salt, and butter until smooth.
  4. Cool completely, and then use or store in lidded glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Recipe inspired by my recipe for Vegan Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk.

Vegan Option: Use maple syrup (instead of honey) and use a vegan “butter” spread (instead of butter). If you go with a vegan "butter" spread, you may want to start with a bit less salt at first and add more to taste.


This sauce should keep for up to three weeks stored in a lidded glass jar in the fridge. After refrigerating overnight, it will thicken slightly and become opaque like the photo directly above (note that even after refrigerating this sauce does not need to be reheated to have a caramel sauce consistency; in fact, I don’t recommend reheating it since this may change the texture). The other photos that show the caramel’s darker color were taken on the same day it was made; either way it tastes amazing. 

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. I’m making this right now! I can’t wait to try it! :D Hope you’ve had a marvelous week, my dear!

    1. And it’s most excellent! Thanks so much for a great recipe, Faith!!

  2. This was really good…. until I added the salt. I didn’t even add quite all of it and our whole family felt it was too salty. I think the salt in the “butter” (I used earth balance soy free buttery spread) would be sufficient salt. Will definitely make again, just not adding salt. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Amy, Thanks so much for trying my recipe and for your comment! I just want to mention that the recipe actually calls for unsalted butter, so using a different product (like a “buttery spread”) definitely impacted the final outcome. Also, if you used fine salt instead of coarse salt (which is what the recipe specifies), the end result will be too salty. I hope this helps!

  3. I just made this to spoon over some ice cream- so delicious!! It turned out so thick and creamy and smooth. It was fun to make too. I found coconut palm sugar at

  4. I just wanted to let you know that I ended up using this sauce as a base to make caramel apple sauce which in turn I added to my apple muffins. I made them for a friend’s birthday and they were a huge hit, she loved the sauce! Thank you for the recipe and the inspiration.

  5. Michelle Grant says:

    I just made this yesterday and it tastes fantastic. It does seem to have a slight grainy texture…has this happened when you made it? Not sure what I did wrong. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear.

    Thanks so much for the delicious recipe!

    1. Michelle, I’m so glad you enjoyed this, thanks so much for letting me know! When I make it, it’s always completely silky smooth without any graininess. The only thing I can think of to ask you is when you added the sea salt…did you do it as the recipe says and add it right after you turned off the heat and then whisk until smooth (basically to dissolve the salt in the hot caramel)? If you waited longer than that and added the salt later, maybe that caused graininess, but that’s all I can think of. Hope this helps! :)

  6. Can’t have any dairy, substitutions for the butter??

    1. Hi Debbie, Like I mentioned in the Notes above, you can make this with a vegan “butter” – basically a dairy-free margarine. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I’m going to try this out tonight but I’m going to use homemade coconut milk. I can’t get mine to come out as creamy as the canned stuff. I’ll let you know how it goes. Looks yummy!

  8. how magical. i’m now more convinced than ever that the coconut is one of the top 5 foods god ever created. :)

  9. I’m going to dream about this sauce until it ends up on my pancakes!

  10. Eating it off a spoon sounds perfect!!!! It looks creamy, smooth and delicious, Faith!

  11. Sooooo I need that caramel in my life! I plan on spooning it over EVERYTHING.

  12. Any chance on leaving the coconut sugar out all together and this still working? Maybe increasing the amount of honey a little?

    1. Carrie, I haven’t tried it, but it might work…let me know if you give it a try!

  13. Yum, yum, yum!

    I do have a question, though. Could you sub the coconut palm sugar with something else? I don’t have that ingredient on hand….;)

    1. Krista, The closest substitution would be light brown sugar (lightly packed). Hope you enjoy it!! :)

  14. Oh wow, I can’t believe this doesn’t have any cream in! It looks so decadent and just like traditional butter-laden sauces – so clever.

  15. This looks utterly divine! I saw Oh Ladycakes’ recipe for this recently and have been meaning to make ever since – you’ve persuaded me that this weekend it’s a MUST.

    1. thelittleloaf, I love this sauce so much I was thinking about making another batch this weekend! Maybe I’ll try someone else’s version. I will have to check out her recipe to see what she uses as the sweetener!

  16. How yum! Another creative sauce. Yayy for coconut milk

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