Is there anything more indulgent than biting down on a chocolate filled with caramel? The way the gooey, sugary sweet substance melts in the mouth, well, it’s hard to beat. We’ve gathered all of the best caramel-y treats on the market, plus, we’re breaking down how to make caramel yourself. But first, a little bit of context: We all know it tastes delicious, but what actually is caramel? Is it usually vegan? And how do you make and use it?

Jump to the treats

What is caramel?

Caramel is made of one key ingredient: sugar. Essentially, caramel is created when sugar is heated to around 340 degrees until it is golden, in a process called caramelizing. Salted caramel is similar, the only difference is that the mixture is topped with sea salt. Caramel sauce is created by mixing the caramelized sugar with cream.

Is caramel vegan?

Because caramel is essentially just sugar, in its purest form, it is vegan. However, it is often mixed with dairy cream, butter, or milk, which is why it’s important to always check the back of store-bought caramel candy. That said, many products on the market now mix caramel with non-dairy ingredients, like coconut milk, to ensure the recipe remains vegan.

How to make caramel

There are two methods of making caramel. One is dry, which is when only the sugar is melted and cooked. The second is wet, and this is when water is also added to the mixture. The latter is easier because it is less likely to burn. It is also potentially tastier because it takes longer, and as such, the flavors have more time to develop. However, it is prone to crystallization, which can make the process a little more frustrating.


According to Nila Jones of The Tough Cookie baking blog, a few things can stop crystallization from happening, including a dirty pan.

“Sugar molecules have jagged edges and can easily hook onto each other or impurities from the pan, such as leftover spices,” she writes in a blog post. She also advises taking care when stirring, as tools with impurities can also lead to crystallization, and notes that adding corn syrup or lemon juice to the mix may also help. “Both the invert sugars (corn syrup/glucose) and the acid of the lemon juice prevent crystallization,” she adds.

How to use caramel

After you’ve perfected the caramel cooking process, what next? Well, there are a few things you can do. You could make a sauce (like this Sweet Buttery Vegan Miso Caramel), which makes a great topping for fruit salads, your favorite vegan ice cream, warm brownies, blondies, or milkshakes, and Starbucks-inspired Frappuccinos.

Caramel is also a great addition to shortbread or cookies. Millionaire bars, for example, always contain a layer of gooey, golden caramel. And popcorn is another snack that works perfectly with a caramel coating. You could also drizzle it over pies, tarts, or even crème brûlées. The options truly are endless.

16 vegan caramel treats

If you’re not in the mood to make caramel from home (when you’re learning, the process does require a lot of patience), then there are plenty of vegan caramel treats out there. Here are some of the delicious snacks, sauces, and drinks that will satisfy your caramel cravings. You’re welcome!


1Caramel Candy by JJ’s Cocomels

The OG’s in vegan caramel candy, these deliciously salty caramel chews, chocolate-covered caramel bites, and caramel toffee bark candies make the ultimate treat. If you’ve missed classic chewy caramel candy, stock up now.
Best for: Enjoying straight from the package

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2Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Milk Ice Cream by So Delicious 

Sweet and salty, this rich frozen dessert won us over with chocolate-covered cashews and ribbons of gooey caramel. Laced throughout the pint, the sweet-and-salty caramel is nice and thick.
Best for: Satiating a Friday night ice cream craving
find it here

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3 Salted Caramel Iced Coffee by Califia Farms 

Delicious caramel essence in a rich coffee drink? Yes, please! Salty caramel adds a punch of sweet and salty flavor to this almond milk iced coffee that’s 100 percent Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Best for: A special treat with a boost of caffeine
find it here


4 Caramel Sea Salt Toasted Coconut Chips by Dang 

This gutsy combination of coconut chips and caramel makes for a crunchy, sweet, and festive snack. The natural caramel flavor balances out the buttery coconut for a treat that’s not overwhelmingly sweet.
Best for: Topping ice cream, yogurt, and even salads
find it here

VegNews.notrickscookiebars.nowheyNo Whey! Foods

5 NoTricks Caramel Cookie Bars by No Whey! Foods

Watch out, Twix! No Whey Foods’ NoTricks bar is a delicious, allergen-free combination of shortbread cookie, caramel, and chocolate in one candy bar. This is what we call a triple threat.
Best for: A perfect once-in-a-while treat

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6 Caramels by Smart Sweets

If you have to watch your sugar intake for health reasons, you don’t have to miss out on caramel. These creamy, gluten-free, low-sugar vegan caramels are perfect for when your sweet tooth comes calling.
Best for: Low-sugar vegan snacking
find it here


7 Vegan Salted Caramel Flowers by Lake Champlain

Why gift flowers or chocolate when you can gift both? These gourmet, flower-shaped dark chocolates feature a delicious coconut cream that’ll have anyone coming back for more.
Best for: Gifting to your favorite person (which can totally be yourself)


8 Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce by Nature’s Charm

This silky smooth, coconut-based, salted sauce will make your mouth water. Plus, it’s made with simple ingredients but boasts the flavor of a specialty, high-end sauce.
Best for: Topping sundaes, swirled into cookie dough, or eaten straight from the jar
find it here

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9 Berkeley Bar by Coracao Confections

Nougat-like whipped cashew butter caramel gets a flavor boost from organic vanilla before it’s enrobed in a thick layer of dark chocolate. The dreamy center makes for a Snickers bar-style bite with a healthy, unprocessed twist.
Best for: Anyone craving a healthier alternative to standard vending machine snacks
Find it Here


10 Salted Coconut Caramel & Crushed Cashew Raw Chocolate Bark by Rawmio 

This raw chocolate bar is even tastier than its traditional counterparts thanks to caramel-coated cashews mixed with vanilla beans and ground dark chocolate.
Best for: Healthy eaters who want a chocolate fix with the health benefits of raw chocolate
find it here

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11Vegan Sea Salt Caramel Sauce by Hot Cakes 

Hot Cakes’ small-batch caramel sauce owes its signature, buttery taste to a blend of coconut and hemp milk. Perfect for caramel purists, this sauce is
flawlessly traditional with a dreamy texture and classic golden-brown color.
Best for: Recreating the old-fashioned ice cream sundae experience at home
find it here

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12 Caramel Sauce by Date Lady 

A mix of dates, caramel flavoring, and sea salt lend this fan-favorite sauce its robust and fruity flavor. Drizzle it on your favorite desserts, fruits, or enjoy straight from the jar.
Best for: Topping raw banana ice cream or swirled into a latte
find it here


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13Caramel Apple Red Tea by The Republic of Tea 

What is it? Sweet African rooibos serves as the base for a pleasing caffeine-free blend
Caramel factor: Smooth caramel flavor with hints of crisp apple
Best for: Late-night tea drinkers who don’t want caffeine but do want to end the day on a sweet note
find it here


14 Organic Vegan Caramel Sauce by Hum Yum 

Dairy-free, organic, and kosher caramel sauce? Yes, and it is delicious. This smooth, vanilla-spiked sauce pairs well with everything.
Best for: Drizzled over ice cream and swirled into shakes
find it here

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15 Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn by Pop Crunch

Elevate your popcorn with this gourmet treat coated in creamy peanut butter and caramel. It’s indulgent, addictive, sweet, and a little crunchy.
Best for: It’s the ultimate movie night snack


16 Salted Caramel Rice Cakes by Lundberg

The perfect combination of crunchy and buttery, these rice cakes are sweetened with dairy-free salted caramel.
Best for: Pairing with apple slices as a mid-morning treat 

For more vegan caramel, read:

Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.

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