Summer is winding down, and winter festivities haven't filled the calendar yet. Fall is that time of year when the days shorten, the air becomes cooler, and leaves begin their vibrant change in color. To me, caramel apples are the epitome of fall. The salty-sweet caramel is the perfect flavor to capture the bittersweet moment of Autumn. And this vegan caramel apple recipe is the ultimate way to celebrate it all!
In the Pacific Northwest, apples of all varieties are in the full swing of their season. We love to go apple picking every year. There's nothing like being able to eat a fresh apple, since most of the apples in the grocery store (at least in the U.S.) have been frozen for months.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
- Dairy free caramel sauce is thick and creamy, just like traditional caramel sauce. But it's vegan which means you can enjoy it if you have a lactose sensitivity, like me!
- Sometimes caramel apples are made with whole apples are dipped in caramel that hardens. But I prefer dipping apple slices into smooth caramel sauce. You waste less caramel and you don't get any stuck in your teeth.
- Vegan caramel apple dip is a fun, easy and healthy snack.
- This recipe is naturally dairy free, gluten free, and vegan!
- Vegan butter - If you're not strictly vegan, you can use regular butter. Or you can make your own homemade vegan butter.
- Brown sugar - Provides a rich depth of sweetness to the vegan caramel sauce.
- Full-fat coconut milk - Don't use low-fat or light coconut milk, otherwise your caramel will be too runny.
- Vanilla - Brings out the other flavors in the caramel sauce.
- Salt - Adds the perfect salty balance so the sugar isn't too overpowering.
- Apples - Use any of your favorite apple varieties!
How to Make Vegan Caramel Apples
Melt the butter: In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter.
Add the sugar: Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter until it is smooth.
Mix in the coconut milk: Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk until it is smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients: Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
Let cool: Let the caramel sauce cool and thicken. Store in the fridge in an airtight container like a mason jar if you're not using it right away.
Slice apples and dip: Slice an apple per person and dip into your homemade caramel sauce.
- The vegan caramel sauce will thicken as it cools. All it to cool to room temperature so you don't burn your tongue, and so it's a thicker dip.
- This caramel is especially thick when it's refrigerated.
- While this caramel dip tastes great with apple slices, you can also serve it with graham crackers, carrots, celery, pear slices, or crispy apple chips.
- For an extra flair, top your vegan caramel apple dip with mini chocolate chips, crushed pretzels, or chopped nuts. It'll add a crunchy texture to each bite.
Storing Homemade Caramel Apples
Store the caramel sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 or 3 weeks.
This vegan caramel recipe hardens a bit when it's in the fridge, since the butter and coconut milk both get more solid when refrigerated. This makes it fun to dip apples into! Or you can leave it on the counter to warm and soften.
It's best to leave apples whole until just before you plan to eat them. Slice them after you've made this vegan caramel apple recipe, so they're ready to immediately dip and eat.
What goes with caramel dip?
Apples are the first choice in Autumn to pair with caramel dip. But you could also dip pretzels or other fruit into caramel sauce. Or spread it on pancakes as an alternative to maple syrup. Or you can even drizzle it on popcorn for homemade caramel popcorn!
How do you cut apples for dipping?
You could leave your apple slices big and chunky, for more apple than caramel in each bite. But I recommend slicing them thinner so you can eat more vegan caramel sauce!
How do you prevent apples from turning brown?
If you want to prepare your healthy caramel apple dip beforehand, you could toss apple slices in a little squeeze of lemon juice. Apples turn brown due to a reaction with oxygen. And since lemon juice contains citric acid which is an anti-oxidant, it'll prevent apple slices from turning brown.
What apple variety is best for caramel apples?
You can use either green or red apples in this recipe. But I prefer tart green apples to balance the sweet caramel.
More Caramel Recipes
- Caramel Popcorn without Corn Syrup
- Miso Caramel Scones
- Caramel Banana Pancakes
- Strawberry Baked Oatmeal with Caramel Sauce
- Vegan Butterbeer
- Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
- Vegan Apple Crisp
Vegan Caramel Apple Recipe
- 6 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup full-fat coconut milk (don't use light or low-fat coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 apples
- In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter.Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter until it is smooth.
- Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk until it is smooth.Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Let the caramel sauce cool and thicken. Store in the fridge in an airtight container like a mason jar if you're not using it right away.
- Slice one apple per person and dip the slices into your homemade caramel sauce. Enjoy!!