Date Caramel is a delicious dip made without dairy or refined sugar. It can be whipped up in just minutes for a healthy snack all week long.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Medjool dates have a natural caramel flavor which makes them the perfect base for this vegan caramel sauce. They are nature’s candy!
When shopping for dates, look for ones that are plump and juicy for the best results. The squishier the date is, the easier it will blend.
Other varieties of dates, like deglet noor, can also be used, but they are smaller in size so be sure to go by the weight called for in this recipe, rather than the number of dates needed.
Using dairy-free milk, like almond milk or oat milk, will keep this recipe vegan-friendly. In fact, you could even use the date soaking water for blending, and add a spoonful of peanut butter for creaminess. (Almond butter or cashew butter could also be used if you prefer.)
How to Make Date Caramel
1. Soak the dates.
Because dates can be very difficult to blend, remove their pits and place them in a large bowl. Cover them with boiled water and soak for 10 minutes.
This will make your life easier for the next step, even if you already own a high-speed blender.
Use a fine mesh strainer to drain the dates, then add them to a high-speed blender. Add in the milk, vanilla extract, and sea salt then secure the lid.
Blend until the dates are totally broken down, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula, if needed, until the dip looks smooth. For a smoother consistency, you can add an extra tablespoon of water and blend again.
If you’d like to adjust the flavor of your date caramel, add a tablespoon of maple syrup for extra sweetness, a pinch of salt to boost the flavor, or a tablespoon of peanut butter or any other nut butter for a richer flavor. It’s easy to taste and adjust as you go!
For nut-free creaminess, try adding a tablespoon of sunflower seed butter and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
Serve this vegan date caramel sauce right away with sliced apples or salty pretzels. You can also use it as a filling in your favorite desserts, like Vegan Snickers, or as a layer in a gluten-free Chocolate Cake.
Drizzling it over sliced apples, like a plate of apple nachos, is also an easy after-school snack!
When chilled, the date caramel will thicken slightly. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
I tested this recipe with canned coconut milk and found that the full-fat version separated when making this recipe. (There were little white flecks throughout the dip.) I think refrigerated coconut milk would not have this issue, but it’s something to keep in mind. Using full-fat coconut milk would probably make the caramel thicker when chilled if that is your goal, but it will also have a hint of coconut flavor.
In my experience, food processors won’t give you quite the same smooth texture as a high-speed blender, but it will still make a delicious dip! In that case, start with less liquid so it won’t splash out of your machine, and add more as you go.
- 1 cup Medjool dates (approx. 10 to 12 dates)
- ¾ cup milk of choice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Remove the pits from the dates, then place them in a heat-safe bowl. Cover them with boiling water and let them soak for 10 minutes. This will help them soften for blending. (Even if you're using a powerful blender; it helps!)
- Drain away the soaking water, then add the dates to a high-speed blender along with the milk, vanilla, and salt. Secure the lid and blend until the dates are totally broken down, about 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides of the machine, as needed.
- Taste the date caramel and adjust any flavoring, as needed. For a sweeter caramel, add a tablespoon of maple syrup, and for a richer flavor (that hides the date flavor) add a tablespoon of peanut butter and blend again. You can taste and adjust as you go.
- This caramel dip can be served right away with sliced apples or crunchy pretzels. Or transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will thicken slightly when chilled.
- 3/4 cup dates
- 1 to 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (to help thicken when chilled)
- 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)
If you try this date caramel recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.