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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4.63 from 35 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



  • 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.


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.


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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This recipe looks great! I came up with a date caramel recipe myself, in which I mushed dried dates and then melted them like they were plain sugar. Then I added milk and butter like for reg. caramel (it tasted divine but was sooo unhealthy). I wanted to see if there was an alternative to the butter, which is how I ended up here. happy I found this and hope it comes out good!


This was so delicious! Made it for a work party and it was an instant hit! Everyone wanted to know the recipe! Thanks!


I tried this and it’s great! I think it would make a great topping for a German chocolate cake if you stir some nuts into it. I’ll have to try that the next time I make a chocolate cake.


    I totally agree, and was thinking the same thing! I will have to try soon! ?


My sister is on a super stricked diet right now and I wanted to make this for her. Problem is she can’t have nuts either. Can I substitute out the almond milk for coconut milk?


I love this recipe! I make it all the time and it’s a huge family hit!


How long can this keep for after being made ? Need to be refrigerated?


I cut way down on the coconut oil and this was still amazing! Will make many times in the future for sure!


Will this harden if you roll it into a rectangle, to then cut into caramel squares? Does it have to be refrigerated or can it be room stable?


This caramel was out of this world amazing! I used Deglet Noor dates rather than Medjool, and I did not add any nuts. And I love it. My husband loves it. Our son wouldn’t love it, but I’m hiding it for now! ? I cannot wait to try with apples or with banana ice cream, but by the spoonful = awesome! Thank you so much for this absolute winner of a recipe!


    *our son WOULD love it… Oops!

    (And he DID once I shared it!)

Joella Molson

I hacked this a bit with whatever dates I had in the pantry and organic soy milk. I didn’t even use my blender, just used my handheld immersion model. Worked great and It was divine tasting. This with apple slices killed my sweet craving and didn’t leave me with “sugar guilt”. This would be awesome on toast with almond butter. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

Lyn :]

We LOVE this recipe, really good. My husband is allergic to most nuts so I substituted coconut milk for the nut milk. He LOVED it !!! Thank you once again, you really have saved my bacon for cooking with both of your cook books and this blog !!! Thanks !!!


Really good! My blender didn’t do very well with the small amount, so next time I’ll use an immersion blender. I also used Deglet Noor dates, plain water for blending, and about 3/4 cup of unsoaked pecans for the nuts.


This is INSANE! Tasted so good! I used normal dates and did not add additional nuts – amazing!


I used organic canned coconut milk for a nut-free version. Had to use quite a bit to get it to blend smooth, but it’s delicious with apple slices.


This is a very good recipe. I love that it hasn’t got any unhealthy ingredients in it and is so easy to make.
I have a raw vegan salted caramel sauce recipe that I make in the blender and also has no refined sugar in it: https://magicallifeoffruit.com/caramel-sauce-recipe/

I would love it if you would check it out and let me know what you think 🙂

Chris D

So good! I added the optional cashews. With half of the recipe, I added a bunch of cinnamon and tastes like the cinnamon spread you can buy, but this is way healthier.


Could I just use date syrup and omit the water? (or most of the water?)

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, if you’re using date syrup instead of dates, you probably don’t even need the blender. I’d just stir in peanut butter and maple syrup, to your taste.


      Awesome, thanks!!

Nicole George

Thank you for this great update. I omitted the water, blended in my Vitamix and used a spatula to cover whole apples for caramel apples. I stuck popsicle sticks in them, dipped them in crushed peanuts and set them in the fridge overnight. They were a huge hit with even the die hard caramel apple lovers loved them. They made our Halloween party for our homeschool pod feel extra festive.


Thanks Megan! This looks delicious and I’m so happy to see it’s made with dates! Thanks for creating these healthy recipes for us to enjoy! xx❤️

K iler

This is fabulous, sweet, creamy and a great substitute for what I used to make with cream cheese and brown sugar.


Absolutely delicious! This is a perfect dip for my honey crisp apples.


Made one batch with peanut butter and one without. Both were tasty but the peanut butter one definitely gets the ultimate indulgence award. Might reduce the maple syrup in half next time. Used no added sugar peanut butter, as well.
Another delicious recipe!!!


This is so great! I have just recently experimented with eating dates for sweetening recipes and find I can tolerate it! With just using bananas for cookies, etc. wasn’t doing the trick! Somewhere recently you had asked, I think it was a Facebook response, if people were interested in more recipes from you with date paste and dates. I would really be interested in that! Thank you so much!

Samantha McClellan

Our family really enjoyed this as a mid morning snack. We made it with Almond Butter and it tasted great! Next time we are going to use Hazelnut Butter.


amazing! the kids loved
it. we will be making this on repeat.


To me it tastes like the filling in fig newtons… I used date syrup and almond butter instead of dates and peanut butter, and omitted the water. I added peanut butter to make it palatable and will eat it with apples, just so it doesn’t go to waste but it’s definitely not something I’ll make again. (I used almond butter initially because my mom, who I cook for, cannot eat peanut butter, but she hates fig newtons).


This was seriously so good. Let’s call it pudding and not dip, because I literally just ate it with a spoon! I did at one point dip apple slices in it. So good! Better than store bought caramel dip! This will be made regularly in my house for sure.


This was really delicious! We had a great time putting this in apples with sunflower seeds for teeth. Thank you


Made it twice in one week it was so good! We loved it. Thanks for sharing another delicious recipe of yours. Your cookbooks are my favorite.


Hi! Can you please post the original recipe somewhere still? I loved that one and still have some of the old ingredients to use!! I’m sure this one is good too, but I’d like to have both recipes available! Please and thank you!!

    Megan Gilmore

    I just added the original one to the very bottom of this post, so you can still reference it!


      Fabulous! Much appreciated, Megan!!


I kept tasting peanut butter so I added vanilla & more maple syrup.


I loved this dip! I thought it was a little too sweet though, so I would adjust that next time. I think I’ll wait to add the maple syrup a tea spoon at a time and be sure it doesn’t get too sweet with the full 1/4 cup.

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