Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels

Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels

Soft and chewy, melt-in-your-mouth caramel that’s dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. These Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels are so delicious you’d never know they were dairy free!

What is caramel exactly?

Caramel (or Carmelo, as the Spanish would say) is a color, a texture, and of course a sweet treat.  At its primitive state, caramel is simply sugar that is heated until it begins to “caramelize”.  Different recipes call for different ingredients to be added in to this process, like milk, cream, or butter.


It sounds simple, right?

Well, it’s a little more complicated than it might seem.  You see, different types of caramel will be created at different cooking temperatures.  When heated between 320 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit, caramel will have a straw or light brown color and can easily be drizzled onto your favorite treats.  Heated to no more than 380 degrees F, caramel’s color will deepen and become firmer when cooled.  Often times this is when other ingredients like cream or butter are added in to slow the browning of the sugar and create an opaqueness to the caramel, typical in caramel candies.  If you keep cooking it until 410 degrees F, the caramel will become very dark and hard and goes by the names black caramel or baker’s caramel.  This is used to color other foods like soda!

I’m a novice chef.  Making caramel seems out of me league.

If I’ve made you a little nervous with all of caramel’s heating delicacies, don’t sweat it!  I’ve changed up my recipe, which will make the heating process a little easier.

Since I’ve made these Chocolate Covered Caramels vegan, we’ll be using coconut sugar and agave syrup as the sweeteners and coconut oil and condensed coconut milk for the added liquids.  Once heated all together and boiling, these ingredients simply need to be stirred continuously for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Good time to bring your ipad into the kitchen and catch up on your favorite Netflix show while you do some stirring.

Why vegan?

There are many reasons why someone would eat vegan food.  I am personally not a vegan myself, but like many others out there, dairy products and my body do not get along.  So I’ve set out on a quest to make many of the most popular and scrumptious goodies – but without the stuff that doesn’t sit right with my body.

In my Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels, there are no refined sugars, no dairy, (no gluten or soy either) and yes…there is still chocolate!  I love using Enjoy Life Foods vegan dark chocolate chips.  Tastes like the real thing, people!

Whether you’re a novice or a professional chef, rest easy that you can make these caramels without too much fuss.  If you got curious kids, invite them to help; they’ll LOVE to dunk the caramels in the chocolate, just like you will 🙂

Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels

NOTE: If you can’t find sweetened condensed coconut milk in a store near you, here’s a recipe to make your own: Homemade Vegan Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk.

4 from 6 votes

Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels

Vegan | Gluten-Free
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


For the Caramel:

  • Coconut oil spray
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 2/3 cup (7 ounces) sweetened condensed coconut milk* I like Nature's Charm
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Chocolate Coating:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips** I like Enjoy Life Foods dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • Course pink sea salt for garnish


For the caramel:

  1. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil.

  2. Place coconut oil, coconut sugar, agave and condensed coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly with a whisk for exactly 10 minutes.

  3. Add the vanilla and simmer for about 30 seconds more. Pour into lined baking dish and let cool by placing in the fridge for about 60 minutes.

  4. Once firm, remove from the fridge and from the baking dish.  Carefully cut  the caramel into squares.  To make this easier, spray your knife with coconut oil before cutting.  Place each caramel on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the cookie sheet into the freezer while melting your chocolate.

For the chocolate:

  1. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together either in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth and creamy. The trick to melting chocolate is making sure not a singe drop of water gets in!
  2. Once chocolate is melted, remove cookie sheet from freezer and place one caramel square at a time in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet.  (I like to use 2 forks to place each caramel in the chocolate, swirl it around, then use one fork to scrape off excess chocolate.)  Sprinkle the top with course pink sea salt. Continue until all the chocolate has been used.

Recipe Notes

*I like Nature's Charm Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk.  But if you can’t find sweetened condensed coconut milk in a store near you, here’s a recipe to make your own: Homemade Vegan Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk.
**I prefer Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips for the chocolate coating.

Did You Make It?

If you make this recipe, please let us know!  We love seeing your creations and hearing about how your recipes turned out.  Tag us with your photos on Instagram @naturaltastychef, #naturaltastychef or on Facebook: Alison Charbonneau, Natural Tasty Chef!


Thinking of going vegan or gluten-free and not sure where to start? Check out our One Week Vegan + Gluten-Free Meal Plan, complete with recipes and grocery lists!


53 thoughts on “Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels”

  • When you say 1/2 cup coconut oil is that in solid form or melted? Also can you just use regular coconut milk?

    • Hi Jill! The oil gets melted so whether it’s in solid or liquid form to begin, both with work. For the milk, it has to be sweetened condensed coconut milk. Regular milk will have too much water content. If you can’t find Nature’s Charm Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk and are okay with a little dairy, condensed milk will work too.

    • yes, you could also use maple syrup! Just DO NOT substitute honey. It will make the caramel too hard 🙂

        • I’m glad you did too! I tried it with honey just recently and it turned into toffee! I guess it’s something to keep in mind for the future if you’re trying to recreate a Heath Bar! lol

  • I just made these and they are BY FAR the most amazing caramels I have ever had. Hubby says the same! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. I used maple syrup instead of the agave.

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed them!! 🙂 🙂 I’ll have to add maple syrup as an option to the recipe.

    • I believe i’ve kept these counter top before AFTER they had been dipped in chocolate and cooled in the fridge or freezer. Our home stays at about 70 – 72 degrees F. If it’s too hot I can see them melting. Also, I know if you don’t dip the caramel in chocolate, it will spread at room temp. Hope this helps 🙂

    • Hmm, I think it could work! I would simmer, while whisking constantly for about 4 minutes instead of 10! Dip the apples and then place in the fridge to set. Let me know how they turn out!

    • If you did, you’d have to keep them in the freezer to keep their shape before dipping in chocolate. right out of the freezer they’ll be more like toffee. When they’re room temp without a chocolate coating, they spread and lose their shape.

  • 1 star
    These didn’t work for me at all. The caramel wouldn’t thicken. Should I try cooking the caramel with a candy thermometer? When I’ve cooked honey caramels I had to cook them to 250 degrees, just over soft ball point.

    • Hmm, let’s see..did you use Nature’s Charm sweetened condensed coconut milk and whisk over a medium boil for exactly 10 minutes? I’ve never used a candy thermometer for these, but you could try it. If your batch didn’t set, i wouldn’t throw it out, i’d put it back in a saucepan and bring back to a boil, reduce to medium and whisk for 10 minutes. let’s see if that works!

      • 5 stars
        It was totally user error,I purchased evaporated milk instead of condensed coconut milk (the packaging is the same). So when I tried the right ingredients, it worked out fine! Now just waiting for the chocolate to set. Thank you!

    • Hmm…I’m not sure. I think that it would contain too much liquid and not be sticky enough. You can find condensed coconut milk on Amazon, or you could also try making your own, i’ve seen recipes online.

  • Hi Alison, these look awesome! I accidentally used Coconut Milk instead of condensed coconut milk, and they did not hard after an hour in the fridge. Any idea how to save this batch? I appreciate the help!

    • Hi Taylor, what a bummer. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to achieve a firm caramel with this batch due to the high liquid content already in there, but what you could try is adding 1 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk (11.25 ounces) and boil again for 8 – 10 minutes. If it doesn’t firm up completely, you’ll at least get some yummy caramel SAUCE that would be delicious served over coconut ice cream.

  • Instead of condensed coconut milk could I use the solid layer of a canned coconut milk?

    • Hi Vlada, In place of the coconut sugar, maple sugar or date sugar would work in equal amounts without changing the cooking time or texture. I have never tried this recipe with cane sugar, but it may work. I’d probably reduce cooking time by 2 – 3 minutes since it’s more refined. Again I have never tried it. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • They came out great. Substituted regular sugar for the cocunut sugar and worked great. A cookie cooling rack for the chocolates helps them come out better

    • That’s great! Did you reduce the boiling time? Glad they worked out and good tip about the cooling rack!

  • 5 stars
    Hi Alison! I made these yesterday (subbed maple syrup and used regular condensed milk and regular baking chocolate) and they came out amazing! My kids tried this morning and they are a winner for all. This will be my go-to caramel recipe moving forward and now I am dreaming of homemade twix bars, etc. I am hoping the coconut oil in this recipe helps to keep things moving in my littles ones’ systems, if you know what I mean. Is coconut oil known to help with constipation? That is always something I am watching for with my kids. Thanks for a great, yummy recipe!

    • Hi Rachel! Thank you for sharing. I’m so happy that you and your kids are enjoying them, yay 🙂 Coconut oil is thought to help with that, so they’re a double win. Flaxseed oil is also very helpful in preventing constipation. I like adding 1 – 2 Tablespoons to my smoothies or toping oatmeal with it. Those could be ways for you to sneak them in for the kids.

    • Hi Annette, Yes, I believe that vegan butter can replace coconut oil just fine 🙂

  • 5 stars
    I made these a few weeks ago and was actually quite surprised at how well they came out. I might mix up some of the ingredients next time to cut down on the coconut products to let the caramel flavor shine more but these were still really good.

    • That’s a great question. Since brown rice syrup is much thicker and half as sweet as agave, i’m not sure how they will turn out. Maple syrup, on the other hand, would be a nice substitute. Hope this helps.

      • So I decided to try it with the brown rice syrup anyway…it was all I had at home. They turned out perfectly, I added 2 tbsp of water to thin out the thickness of the syrup but I followed the rest of the recipe exactly and they were amazing!!

        • Yay, that’s great, thanks for sharing. I wasn’t sure if the caramels would get too hard after boiling, but good to know brown rice syrup will work!!

  • 3 stars
    I used maple syrup instead of agave and Let’s Do Organic sweetened condensed coconut milk, contains cane sugar. Mine turned out more like sugary (sweet and texture) toffee than caramel. They are pretty good, but not what I was going for.

    • Hmm…it sounds like you may have simmered a bit too long, and maybe the brand of sweetened condensed coconut milk may have changed the consistency. Their ingredients are slightly different than Nature’s Charm brand. The final product should be chewy and melt in your mouth. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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