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 Date Caramel
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)
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite dip for fruit? Try my Brownie Batter Hummus or Homemade Nutella for two more delicious options!
Questions and Reviews
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 🙂
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?)
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.
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❤️
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!
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!!
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.
I love this recipe! It tastes best after refrigerating for a little. I prefer it with peanut butter but it’s also good with almond butter. I don’t add as much syrup either.
Epic is accurate!
Just made this to go with my lunch apple. Saw a post on Facebook about it and decided to give it a try. So glad I did. It’s wonderful!
Wow! This is sooo yummy! Tastes just like a caramel apple!
Just want to say that your website is amazing! The recipes are fabulous (I use several on the regular), but your site itself is so neat and clean. Thanks for the obvious “jump to recipe” button, easy searching, clean/controlled/purposeful ads, and lovely photos! You’re killing it!
Loved this!! I have a very unhealthy apple dip recipe, and while this one is different tasting than that one, it’s equally delicious! I like to dip my sliced apples into this and then dip into crushed peanuts. Definitely another winner!
I’m thinking about using this on donuts would there be any way to harden it?
Just made this and it’s a delicious dip! I omitted the PB to keep it nut-free this time and I added 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Next time I’ll add PB Fit to try it that way. Thanks for sharing💖
What a suprise this was. Love it.
I make this several times each fall season because I love it so much! I love to dip fruit in it like apples and pears but also love to just eat it by the spoonful! Sometimes I put it on pancakes or oatmeal. It’s so good and I love that I’m giving my kids and family a (refined) sugar free snack/treat!
Omg this is so tasty! I used cashews instead of peanut butter and mmmm delish