Homemade natural caramel

Looking for a paleo recipe for homemade natural caramel – especially one that’s super easy and doesn’t require a candy thermometer? You found it!

homemade natural caramel

 Oh. My. Goodness.

This is seriously delicious stuff. I’ve always loved caramel, but when I decided to stop buying products that contained corn syrup, I thought my days of gooey, buttery sweetness had come to an end.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I started looking for a paleo-ish recipe for homemade natural caramel before Thanksgiving, in the hopes of having the perfect dessert – something that tasted delicious, but that even my newly-paleo SIL could partake of. It seemed pretty futile at first – most basic caramel recipes called for both corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Neither ingredient was allowed. Bummer.

Then, when I searched the term “real caramel,” I hit upon this link – and it all seemed so simple. I just needed one thing – some form of sugar; the rest was just to fill out the flavor and texture. I found the simplest recipe that I could, and then just subbed out everything that was a no-go; guess what? It turned into caramel. Yummy, wonderful caramel.

It’s only fair to warn you: this stuff is unbelievable. So good that I had to exercise every ounce of self-control to keep myself from just eating the whole jar with a spoon. In one sitting. It’s also a very dangerous recipe to share, because it’s such an easy recipe and comes together very quickly – no candy thermometers are needed.

It’s not like it’s just my freakish real-food tastebuds enjoying this, either. I offered a spoonful to my hubby without telling him what it was. After his initial skepticism (he tends to taste my “chick food” with just the tiniest dip of his finger and teensiest taste of his tongue), he devoured the whole amount, proclaiming it better than storebought. There was a slight moment of panic when I said, “Oh, good, because I used healthy ingredients.” Once I told him what I meant by “healthy,” though, he was fine with it. As long as it wasn’t made out of squash or something, he loved it.

Feel free to modify this recipe according to your own wants and needs. Like salted caramel? Add extra salt. Don’t use coconut oil? Use butter. Maybe use half honey, half maple syrup for the liquid in the recipe rather than all one or the other. And don’t be afraid to try out sweeteners other than coconut sugar (that’s just what I had on hand). Try this out with sucanat, rapadura, turbinado – whatever you’ve got!

Also, note that the texture is exactly like a normal caramel - it’s a sauce when it’s warm and a solid when it’s cool. You could probably get it to remain a sauce if you added something to thin it out (such as cream, or coconut milk).

homemade natural caramel

This is what it looked like after cooling in the fridge – thick and chewy.

Enjoy – I know I have!

Homemade Natural Caramel:

  • 2/3 c. natural sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 c. honey or maple syrup (I used honey)
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter, if you don’t need it to be Paleo)
  • Scant 1/8 tsp. real salt
  • 2 tsp. real vanilla

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan; stir until oil is melted over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then stir constantly for about two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Use this as you would any other caramel! Drizzled over any dessert, served with apple slices, maybe stirred into your coffee, cocoa or cider (what? I can’t be the only one who likes a little caramel in my hot cider!). Just don’t make it too far in advance if you’re planning on using it for a holiday party or dinner – it’ll probably be too much of a temptation, and might not last that long!

Happy holiday baking!!!


Jaime W. (461 Posts)

Jaime is a Christian, a wife, a mom, a writer, an illustrator, and an aspiring homesteader. She loves trying to find new ways to save money and resources--but also save her time, so she can spend as much as possible with her family! !

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  1. Oh my, that is just awesome! I had no idea you could make caramel so natural! So pinning this for our holiday baking next week!

  2. That would be amazing to put in a mason jar and create a gift basket with apples and it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m going to have to try this out. It’s super close to the recipe I already use though so I’m pretty sure it’ll be a hit!

  4. This looks delicious! I really want to try it!

  5. I love love love carmel! This looks delicious. I’m going to bookmark this recipe for a splurge :)

  6. Yowza, that looks amazing!

  7. Im going to have to try this for sure. Looks great. Thanks!

  8. I love anything sweet! :) But seriously, I had no idea you could make this so naturally. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing! I hate using a candy thermometer so this recipe is right up my alley :)

  10. Serious yum!!

  11. It may be a BAD thing that I just saw this. Now I want my favorite chocolate cake with caramel drizzled over it and it’s not even 8 am! ;)

  12. I am a sucker for caramel. Really it is my crack. I love the stuff. I will give this a try! Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday! I am excited to see what you have to share this week!

  13. These are actually great ideas in about blogging.
    You have touched some pleasant factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

  14. I’ve been looking for a way to make my own coffee creamers, and caramel came to mind.. would this caramel recipe work to integrate into a creamer recipe? I just want my fall and winter creamers without all the junk… you know?! :)

  15. Yay – I just tried it and it is wonderful! I’ve been slowing working towards going primal and yet, I occasionally have a little bit of ice cream with caramel sauce, among other things. Well Hershey’s Classic Caramel Sundae Syrup contains: Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sweetened condensed non fat milk, water and cornstarch, etc., etc. I should not have read the label, ick. I didn’t exactly follow your recipe but used sugar, some old honey, a cup of cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, a little vanilla and salt. I don’t usually measure and didn’t this time, but it came out well and doesn’t involve corn, soy or food dyes at all. Thanks for the inspiration Jaime.

  16. Christina says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! By real vanilla, do you mean vanilla bean or vanilla extract?

  17. I just made your sauce and it is wonderful! I thinned it with a little coconut milk and increased the salt. My kids are going to be so happy when they get home from school. I don’t think they’ve ever had caramel because of their food allergies. Also, I have a few dairy-free friends, and they are going to receive a jar as a Christmas gift this year. Thanks so much!

  18. I’m slowly easing into Primal/Paleo for 2014 and I was looking for something to substitute my coffee creamer in the morning. I am not ready to give up coffee yet but a friend suggested that I use whipping cream and add this to sweeten it a bit. I think it’ll be perfect since I love caramel flavouring. So thankful for this!

  19. I am trying to make a nautal carmel pop corn. I tried making half a batch and used half of all ingredients. I used honey and sugar in the raw. Texture was great. Recipe for carmel corn required pouring carmel over popcorn then baking for an hour , mixing frequently. When done baking popcorn, it was stickier than expected and honey taste was overpowering carmel flavor? Could it use more vanilla or try maple syrup? Also conventional recipes call for baking soda to be added at end to help create fluffier texture. Any ideas

  20. Thank you so much for this recipe! It tastes exactly like my moms difficult and so bad for you caramel recipe! All other paleo caramel recipes use coconut milk and since I didn’t have any I was excited to try this one.

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