Gluten-Free and Vegan Caramel

by Maggie on January 18, 2010

Is there anything better than caramel?

On the weekend, while the babes were in bed, Pete and I indulged in some cheesecake. A caramel-pecan cheesecake that was sooo very divine. I licked the caramel off the plate it was so darn yummy.

Early on in the She Let Them Eat Cake days I came up with a recipe for gluten-free and vegan caramel that can be used for so many yummy delights.  Including Cheesecake.  And Caramel Squares.  And Caramel-Almond Shortbread .  And Caramel-Fudge Brownies.  And Valentine’s Caramel Delights.  And Oooey Gooey Bars. And, and, and.

This recipe is terribly easy and even healthier than your traditional caramel recipes.  I often double this recipe (because you can never have too much caramel sitting around).

I cook it until I reach the desired consistency for the recipe I am using.  I have a candy thermometer that I got for Christmas and the first time I tried making the caramel with my lovely new thermometer, I stopped once the caramel reached the ‘soft-ball’ stage.

If you have leftovers, store the caramel in an air-tight container and simply reheat when you need it again.  It lasts about a week in the fridge.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Caramel

3/4 cups non-dairy milk (I use soy milk or almond milk)

3/4 cups evaporated cane juice (cane sugar)

1/3 cups organic brown rice syrup

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons Earth Balance non-dairy butter or coconut oil

Cook non-dairy milk, cane sugar, and brown rice syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk mixture regularly for three minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk arrowroot powder and water.  Add to the saucepan and combine.

Cook this mixture until it thickens.  I cook it, stirring constantly, for approximately 20 minutes.

Once your caramel has reached desired consistency (or softball stage on your candy thermometer) remove from heat and add the Earth Balance or coconut oil.  Stir until non-dairy butter has melted.  Let your caramel cool for 15 minutes, depending on the recipe you’re using it for.

You can also find this recipe and many more ‘slightly indulgent’ recipes at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free January 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I love making caramel!! 🙂 Yum! Believe it or not, I made it with agave. I haven’t posted it yet…not sure why. I should.

Thanks for linking up!! 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve been joining us for Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!


Aubree Cherie January 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Do you think there is way to make it without the e. cane juice? Would it work with agave? It probably wouldn’t form right, would it? Still an awesome recipe either way!

~Aubree Cherie


Aubree Cherie January 19, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Oh… well I guess Amy answered that one for me… haha



MaggieSavage January 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I think the agave could replace the brown rice syrup too? I would definitely try it without the cane sugar – but you go first 🙂 And please report back! I’ll put it on my list of things to do. Thanks for stopping by Aubree!


katie October 30, 2011 at 11:19 am

This is a wonderful recipe, just made it this morning! I cooked it to the soft ball stage on my candy thermometer. Actually just a hair above. I was thinking once it cooled I could cut it into small pieces of caramel candy for my girls but it is way too soft. It is like a thick caramel syrup. Since these ingredients are so different, (brown rice syrup and arrowroot powder) I’m wondering how long should I cook it to get candy? Or is that possible?
Thanks again,


Maggie November 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

Hi Katie – Thanks for the note! I’m so happy that you tried it! I have never made it as candy, though I’d love to. I think you’d just have to go above the soft ball stage and test it. Do you know the cold water trick? I use it a lot to get the right consistency of caramel. Either way, it wouldn’t be a waste. You could use it to make chocolate coated candy 🙂 Let me know if you give it a shot. Thanks!


Maris March 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

This recipe looks so heavenly! I would make it, but the ingredients look rather hard to obtain…especially since I don’t have a health food store anywhere near me. Could I substitute the cane juice and brown rice syrup for corn syrup? And could I sub the arrowroot powder for something else (I don’t know what)? Thanks!


Maris March 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Ah, I just looked it up and I’m gonna try cornstarch. Thanks for the recipe 🙂


Maggie March 23, 2012 at 5:54 am

Hi Maris – I hope your caramel turns out, sounds like you figured it out 🙂 I used these ingredients so that it was a healthier caramel. Corn syrup is so hard on our bodies and our blood sugar, as is corn starch. Maybe next time you’re near a health food store you can pick up these ingredients. All the best!


Maris March 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Awe, I cooked it too long, and it was too thick. 🙁 I used molasses instead of brown rice syrup (which was delicious), but I substitutes the arrowroot for cornstarch, which ended up as little…er…”bits” in the caramel. I still tasted it and it was nice and sweet. 🙂 I’ll try again soon!


Maggie March 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Oh Maris! Well at least it still tastes good! Now you need to make some chocolates and use it as your filling 🙂 I like the idea of molasses, sounds delish. Thanks for coming back


Ashley April 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hi, love your recipe. Have used it several times 🙂 I am linking to it my blog today for fillings in vegan chocolate bunnies, hope that is ok 🙂


Maggie April 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hi Ashley – Happy Easter! Thank you so much for coming to let me know how much you love the caramel 🙂 I’d love to see your post and your chocolate bunnies, can you give me the link?


Michelle May 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

You have no idea how this recipe made my day! I used to be a big fan of McDonald’s caramel ice cream n ever since I became a vegan I’ve been searching for a recipe that is as delicious. Well today I found it! This caramel is so delicious n simple that I know I’ll b making it over n over n over again… I didn’t have cane sugar so I used regular brown or rice syrup so I used agave. If this was good, I imagine that ur original recipe would b out of this world! I can’t wait to put it on my homemade ice cream n my Spanish “Tres leches cake”.. Thank u very much!


Maddie @glutendairyfreedom January 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Thank you SO much for a healthy caramel recipe! All the other ones I’ve looked at have corn syrup (something I don’t think has a place in my kitchen). I will be trying this very soon 🙂


Maggie January 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

Yay! Thanks Maddie, I’m so glad you found me and the caramel recipe too 🙂


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