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.
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!
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:
- Maple Syrup
- Peanut Butter (or almond butter)
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.
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!
Epic Date Caramel Recipe (5 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
- 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.
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)