Epic Date Caramel Recipe (5 ingredients!)

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Date Caramel is a fast & easy recipe, made with only 5 ingredients. This recipe is the perfect if you’re looking for a dairy-free caramel dip for apples, and it would also make a delicious filling in homemade Snickers, or as a layer in your favorite Chocolate Cake.

apple dipped in date caramel

Do Dates Taste Like Caramel?

Dates are commonly used in vegan caramel recipes, because particular varieties, like Medjool dates, tend to have a subtle, caramel-like flavor. Their color even looks like a dark caramel!

Benefits of Dates

Worried about the natural sugar found in dates? Here are a few reasons to love them.

  • Dates are a good source of antioxidants, which may help to lower inflammation and potentially lower the risk for diabetes.
  • Flavonoids, like the ones found in dates, may also lower the risk for Alzeimer’s disease.
  • They may help promote intestinal health, by preventing constipation, and could lower the risk of colon cancer.
  • Despite their natural sugar content, dates are considered a low-glycemic food.
  • Eating 6 dates per day during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, may help promote natural labor. (It certainly worked for me! You can read about my first birth story and second birth story, if you’re interested.)
  • Dates contain important minerals, like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which may help promote bone health.

Since they are also packed with fiber, I think dates make an excellent alternative to sugar. Be sure try my date paste recipe, Date Energy Balls, and my Healthy Birthday Cake for more delicious ways to use dates!

date caramel in blender

How to Make this Healthy Caramel Dip

Making date caramel is just about as easy as it gets! Just add everything to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dates
  • Maple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter (or almond butter)
  • Water
  • Salt

The maple syrup is optional, but highly recommended if you want a truly caramel-flavored dip. (One that will please picky eaters!)

I like to use as little water as possible for blending, so start with only 1/4 cup, then stop and scrape down the blender to make sure the dates get totally broken down. I use 1/4 cup of water when I want a thicker caramel, like one that might be spread into a candy bar.

date caramel in a glass jar for serving

Use 1/2 cup of water for an even smoother texture, that you can use as a dip for apples. (The dip pictured here uses 1/2 cup of water total.)

Since you can taste this recipe as you go, it’s very flexible! You can leave out the peanut butter or almond butter, for a fat-free dip, or add in extra salt, or a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors.

Feel free to adjust it to your tastes!

Date caramel in a jar served with apples

apple dipped in date caramel
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4.65 from 34 votes

Epic Date Caramel Recipe (5 ingredients!)

Date Caramel is a fast & easy recipe, calling for only 5 ingredients. It's the best dairy-free & vegan caramel dip, and can be served with sliced apples, or used as a frosting for your favorite cake!
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword date caramel
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 150kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup squishy Medjool dates , pitted (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup , plus extra for desired texture
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt , or more to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  • If the dates aren't already soft and squishy, cover them with hot water for 15 minutes to help them soften up. Drain the water, then transfer the dates to the blender.
  • Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, salt, and 1/4 cup of water. Blend, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the dates have broken down. Add up to 1/4 cup more water to help with blending. When you use 1/2 cup water total, the caramel will have a consistency that's perfect for dipping. For a thicker caramel, use only 1/4 cup water.
  • Taste and adust the flavoring, if needed, then serve right away. You can store this date caramel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

Nutrition information is for roughly 1/4 cup of the caramel dip. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
The peanut butter adds a rich, creamy texture to this dip, but if you would rather not use it, you can substitute with almond butter or sunflower seed butter. Or, you can use 1/2 cup of cashews or almonds, which will turn into a "nut butter" when you blend it! Alternatively, you can also leave out the nuts completely for a lighter, fat-free dip. Some readers have reported that coconut milk works instead of the water, to add creaminess.

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 228mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

If you try this date caramel recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience!

Update note: This recipe was originally posted in October 2012, and was updated October 2020. The new version tastes SO much better than the original, so I hope you’ll give it a try!

Original recipe below:

  • 3/4 cup dates (add more if you need extra sweetness)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed to blend
  • 1 cup cashews (optional, for creaminess– you’ll need more water in this case)

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite dip for fruit? Try my Brownie Batter Hummus or Homemade Nutella for two more delicious options!

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Comments

purelytwins

dates are the best!!! love raw caramel!

Lisa

I’ve never tried raw caramel. This looks way better then the super sugar stuff though!

Meg

This looks amazing! Definitely making with my gluten/dairy/sugar intolerant little sister this weekend to make her feel better about all of her friends getting Halloween treats and her getting stuck with suckers. Toughest life for a nine-year-old I’ve ever heard of.

I love your site, lady.

jeanne

I feel like I would eat this entire thing in one serving it looks so delicious 🙂 Is it hard to scrape it all out of the vitamix around the blade, like is it sticky?

    Megan

    Nah, it’s not any harder than scraping out something like homemade cashew butter… I actually used my finger to (carefully) scrape out the very last drops! 😉

Courtney

This looks incredible! I can’t wait to make it.

Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa

This looks delicious! I love salted caramel everything. Glad I found you on Pinterest 🙂

    Susan

    I love BOTH of you!!!

chelsea

oh my goodness! i just made this; it was amazing. I didn’t have any almond milk on hand at all so I just used water and it was excellent. I’m sure the milk would improve upon the flavor, but as it stands it’s still out of this world good. So excited to have this in the fridge for the next few days. 😀

Fred

That sure looks sinful, in a good way of course!

tereza crump

now I know what I will be using the dates I got in my pantry for.

I made the raw almond butter yesterday… oh, my!! those were the longest 20 min of my life… I finally added a bit of the peanut oil that had separated from my raw peanut butter to get to the almond butter state. I think I will roast the almonds next time!!

tereza crump

I just made this. You are an answer to my prayers! I have been asking God for recipes and a way that I can give my kids better food that they will eat and enjoy!!

they are now drinking green smoothies everyday for over 3 weeks now. And I made this and it was a success!!

Loved it! now I am passing the recipe to my mom who has a sweet tooth!

thank you thank you 🙂

PS I added the raw almond butter that I had just made a couple of days ago to this. Yumm-O

Carole

I made this tonight and it was great! I added a little cinnamon…yum!

Lauren Gettinger

I love caramel apples! I’ve been craving them so bad this fall and I’ve been looking everywhere for healthier version that tastes good! I can’t wait to try this!

    Lauren Gettinger

    I tried it and it’s amazing! My husband said he liked it better than regular caramel apples! thank you for the awesome recipe!

@MarlenaTorres

This is brilliant! I was thinking about how I could have a candied apple this fall, because I love apples so much. This is perfect. Thank you!

Adrien

I made this last night. Soooooo good. Especially with Granny Smiths.

Heather H

Love this! I’ve made the sucanat version of caramel dip before but this sounds even better. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us. 🙂

Lisa

OMG! Just made this “healthy caramel” with my daughter. It is SO good! 🙂

Natasha

just made it with soaked cashews. extra delicious!

DanielJ

This is just awesome… one of my new favourites!! I am eating it right now. Fantastical.
Behold, the power of the date!

Abbra

I just tried making this and was bummed as itoesn’t look as much like caramel like it does in your picture. I used a food processor and cashews. I soaked the cashews and dates for a couple hours too. Could I be doing something wrong? It tastes great though, I feel like it was better right away than after chilling.

Stephanie

I agree with you, Abbra. I made this tonight, and while it tastes okay, it doesn’t look or taste like caramel at all. I followed the instructions precisely. I’ll eat it, but I won’t make it again.

Ginger greenfield

Love it!! It tastes just like caramel!!! Looking forward to trying other recipes on ur website! Thank you!! 😉

Leah

This looks delicious but… I don’t care for the flavour of dates. Does this taste like dates?

Ginger

It does not taste like dates. It tastes like caramel (which really shocked me) but LOVE it!! I’m thinking about adding this to the cheesecake recipe she has (which is delicious, too)..

Leah

Thank you so much! I’m very excited to make this now!

Denise Nelson

Wow!! I just whipped this up in my food processor. I used raw almonds (unsoaked) I just ran them for awhile till rhey were very sooth then added the rest and tried it in an organic Honeycrisp apple~ Incredibly delicious!! I thank you & my immune system thanks you!! (My mouth is pretty grateful, too! <3

Sally

I made it in my Vitamix, which required WAY more liquid to work (probably a cup or more). The dip is very tasty, though I won’t call it caramel when I label it for the party we’re taking it to. The addition of the recommended cashews definitely makes the color an unappealing beige–not at all like the image in the recipe, so I’m feeling a little frustrated about that. Honestly, I think I’d make something else for the party if I weren’t rushed today.

Irene

I made this and put in the almonds to make it creamier. It was much better cold. If the other members of my family like it, I’ll make it again. This one wasn’t off the charts for me personally.

Tiffany

I just made this with the cashews and it is so yummy!

Sif

This is sooooooooooo good!!!! my spoon won’t stop feeding me !!! 😀

Thank you SO much for this super delicious recipe!

Sif (Denmark)

Courtney Grace

I am officially obsessed with dates and this recipe! Sooo good! It may not taste exactly like the regular sugar filled caramel, but it still tastes amazing! I’ve been eating this with apples almost every day now. Something I’ve also learned from my last batch is that if you add extra lemon juice, it tastes just like the inside of a lemon bar! So good!

Kelly

I used this as an icing for apple, carrot cupcakes. http://goodformytummy.blogspot.com/2014/04/apple-carrot-cake.html
It was so delicious!

Julianne

Surprisingly tasty! I didn’t have coconut oil so I just used sunflower oil, plus I used soya milk rather than almond. I added a little extra milk to make it more of a sauce to top my ice cream – nom nom!

nashaly

Can you omit the coconut oil? I don’t want to add any oils or nuts at all so Im wondering if the consistency will be the same.

Marcella

I made this today and it’s amazing. I used Silk Vanilla Coconut milk. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe.

Rose

Oh, wow! I made this last night using unsoaked dates and a small handful of soaked almonds in my Vitamix. I used coconut milk instead of almond milk. It is so good! Everyone in my house loves it. It really has the texture of buttery caramel. I will be writing this one down on a card to use regularly. Thank you!

Colleen B

This was easy and amazing!! It was a hit at the party I took it to! Thank you!!

Leah

Just made this, and oh my!! Sooo tasty, I almost ate it all!! Thank you so much for this recipe!

Emma

I love the versatility of dates! This would go great as a drizzle over my inside out baked caramel apple a la mode that I just made. YUMMY!

ashley marchuck

love love love. this is phenomanal

Sam

has anyone tried this in coffee? Like to make caramel iced coffee?

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