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Eat Well Oct. 15. 2013

Raw Caramel with Apples

Oct. 15. 2013
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


A 100% raw recipe that takes no more than 5 minutes to make.

Raw Caramel with Apples. A raw, sweet, ooey-gooey, caramel dip perfect for those of you wanting an alternative to traditional caramel which involves cooking, refined sugars, and dairy. This Raw Caramel is so simple to make that you may start making only this caramel recipe and not bother with the other time-consuming recipes…bold statement, I know! My Raw Caramel is made with only wholesome, raw, natural ingredients and takes no more than 5 minutes to make!

Traditional caramel is made of heavy cream, refined sugar, and vanilla and also takes hours to cook which requires a certain finesse, but of course tastes delicious. Since we’re dairy free here on Nutrition Stripped, I wanted to make an alternative to one of my favorite fall desserts and treats, caramel apples! Caramel is a sweet treat that I missed when first going dairy free many years ago- that was until this recipe was accidentally discovered in my kitchen.

I was making a raw pie crust (similar to Raw Peach Tart) filled with dates, maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt, coconut oil, and chopped almonds; I was pureeing the crust and let it blend far too long creating a much thinner texture than I needed for the crust. After a taste test, which was delicious, I added in more coconut oil and it reminded me of caramel in texture from the chewy dates with a slightly sweet flavor. A couple experimentations later, embracing the great qualities of creamy almond butter, thick and gooey dates, slightly sweet maple syrup and honey, and the smooth emulsifying nature of coconut oil, this caramel was created.

This Raw Caramel is called raw, well simply because there is NO cooking involved, and the only ingredients used are raw and unprocessed, such as dates, maple syrup, organic coconut oil, and raw almond butter. The texture should be just as displayed below in the picture- thick enough to stick on an apple but also thin enough to make ribbons off your spoon when holding up. This Raw Caramel is perfect for a decedent drizzle over BanaNO Cream, Raw Peach Tart, or any other fruit you enjoy (pears, bananas, peaches, strawberries, etc.).


Raw Caramel with Apples is perfect for a holiday gathering, party, or just hanging with friends at home. Speaking of, I actually shared this recipe out on my lovely group of friends on Sunday in celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving (a tough job they had right?). It’s easy to make, affordable, and not to mention contains nutrition benefits that traditional caramel lacks including protein, fiber, healthy MCT oils (from the coconut oil), vitamins E, B2, B3, folate, and minerals manganese, magnesium, zinc, copper, and phosphorus. Let’s compare that with traditional caramel: sugar, saturated fat (not the beneficial MCT kind), and minimal vitamin A and D.


If you don’t have a Vitamix no worries, soak the dates ahead of time to soften and then use smaller quantities in your standard blender or food processor. You may not get the texture as smooth as with a Vitamix, but you will still be able to combine it very well.

After you make this recipe and taste this deliciousness for the first time, I guarantee you’ll say “How is this not real caramel?!”. A friendly disclaimer about this Raw Caramel, just as traditional caramel is used in “moderation”, so should this recipe. Simply be mindful of your scoops because this.is.addicting. (end disclaimer and warning) haha.

What would you use this Raw Caramel with? Share below friends!

Have a sweet day,


The Recipe




1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup organic coconut oil

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons of raw almond butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 dates, pitted

1 tablespoon of local honey

1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)


Simply blend all of the ingredients together into a Vitamix or high-speed blender until thick and smooth.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

You may chill this after serving (if you have leftovers).

You will need to sit it at room temperature before eating again as the coconut oil will solidify.


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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • kellie

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing! Do you think it would set well if I covered an apple with this dip?

    • Great! It most likely will not set on an apple unless you put it in the freezer or fridge and allow the coconut oil to harden. Be sure to let me know how it goes!

      • kellie

        Thanks for the reply! I’ll let you know. 🙂

      • Kellie

        I made the dip and is was DELICIOUS! I didn’t try covering the whole apple in it because I see what you mean about having to put it in the fridge to harden. But I loved it as a ddip! Thanks again.

  • Katie

    Oh my gosh this is so exciting!! My birthday is Friday and living with an AI disease really discourages me from consuming refined sugars, dairy, grains, etc 🙂 What a perfect birthday gift to be able to take part still in my favorite fall treats – caramel apples and popcorn drizzled with caramel and dark chocolate (melted dark chocolate mixed with coconut oil, mmm)! Thank you! …

    Quick Question: HOW do you get all the last dredges out from the bottom of your Vitamix?? I LOVE mine, but it sometimes seems that I am losing precious amounts of the delicious creations I use it to make. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Katie! Wonderful, I think you’ll love this recipe then as much as I do and you have great ideas on how to use it. As far as the vitamix goes– I often have trouble with this too, but what helps is using a small spoon and carefully scraping out as much of the goodness as you can! Best of luck to you and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • OMG McKel this looks so good. Cannot wait to try this recipe! <3

  • Georgia

    Thank you for this recipe!! Do you think I could use raw sun butter in place of the almond butter. I’m sure it would change the flavor slightly but I have a son who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, so difficult sometimes when eating healthy!

    • Hi Georgia! Of course, use any seed you enjoy- sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds would be nice, but like you said, this will create a different flavor but I’m sure still great! Please let me know if you try it out with something else, I’d love to know 🙂

  • looks delish! And I’m guessing you can easily make this 100% vegan by subbing in agave or maple syrup for the honey, yes? Love the almond butter addition!

    • Hi Kathy! Yes, the honey is purely for that flavor- you can use maple syrup or agave. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Loralee

    I love this!!!! It was so good

  • I am so excited about this recipe! 😀 I love caramel, but obviously the traditional version is less than healthy.

  • Putting this on the to-make list ASAP! Thanks for creating a healthy version of a fall favorite!

  • Yum! Totally making this this weekend for a heathy fall dessert. PS Recently found your blog and I’m in love!

    • Hi Elle! So glad you’ve stumbled upon the blog- I’m happy you’re here and also glad your going to try this dessert… it’s amazing I promise 🙂

  • OMGosh, It even smells like caramel, and taste is spot on. My blender fell on ill times and had to use my emersion blender. It’s a little course but so tasty. Got a bag of organic apples and taking it along as a hostess gift with them. Thanks so much…

    • Hi Millie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, it does help to have a high speed blender or sharp blades on a food processor to break everything down well. I love the idea of using this as a gift! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • Claire

    Great dessert with my guests (6 adults, 11 children): dangerous milk allergy and gluten intolerance, 2 different families, 2 different boys. Plus, the girls (6, 10 and 11 will actually enjoy make the desert, while the boys are playing cards, or video games, or fight! and while the parents are enjoying dinner). Thank you.
    One question, have you tried to make oven roasted apples with the dip?

    • Hi Claire! Wow that is a group needed very specific foods and I’m so glad you were able to please everyones taste buds with this recipe! I have dehydrated apples before in my dehydrator- which would be similar to oven baking them for long hours at a low temp. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Valerie

    hey! 🙂 the taste of this recipe is amazing! Only question, is there a reason why my blender kind of separated the ingredients a little? It ended that the texture is really like caramel, but a small part is still liquid.

    • Hi Valerie, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it, the best blender to use for this is the Vitamix or blentec 🙂

  • Made this tonight and it is seriously amazing!!!! I’ve never seen my kids eat so many apple slices in one sitting, and my Vitamix was practically sparkling clean, because I had to scrape out every ast drop. Well done!!!!!

    • Haha SUCCESS! If the kids love it, everyone can love it- then again how can you not love every ingredient in this sauce? Thanks for stopping by EA!

  • Patty

    Any alternative suggestions for someone allergic to coconut? So many recipes now use coconut.

    • You can use extra maple syrup instead of coconut oil, it won’t have the exact same texture, but it’ll still taste fantastic! xx -m.h.

  • Alicia

    I just made this without the dates and with Sunbutter instead of almond butter. All I can say is OOH-LAWD! This. Is. So. GOOD!!

  • Danielle

    Wow! You are a genius. This is AMAZING. I could barely believe it when I saw the caramel forming right before my eyes in my Vitamix. Then I tried it and couldn’t believe how delicious this was. Your site is wonderful and has become one I frequent regularly!

    Thanks so much!

  • Tanja

    This looks lovely and I would like to try it out. My problem is that it is very difficult to find maple syrup or agave nectar around here. Could I use just honey?

    • You can use honey- I would add a touch more cinnamon and maybe 2 tsp. of molasses to get that maple flavor/rich flavor!

  • this was delicious!! It is def a healthy alternative to fall!

  • Jennifer

    This is phenomenal! I made mine with cashew butter as I didn’t have almond butter and it’s great – like light, gooey caramel. It was a bit thicker than I wanted, though. Any recommendations on thinning it out just a bit? I think if I could have made it thinner I could have blended it longer to make it smoother (mine is a just a bit chunky). I added a wee bit more coconut oil, but it didn’t thin it out. Regardless, though, it’s awesome! Does almond butter make a darker caramel? Mine is very light.

    • Awesome Jennifer! To thin it out you can add more coconut oil or maple syrup. The almond butter, dates, and maple syrup all make it darker in color. The cashews you used are probably making it a bit lighter in color- nonetheless, if it tastes great then good on you!

  • Jennifer

    Have you ever made it in a food processor?

  • Kendra

    McKel, this is AMAZING! I first made my almond butter using raw almond meal, and instead of cleaning the blender I added the rest of the ingredients. Such a delicious way to use the local maple syrup and local honey I love to buy from the farmers market. Going to try this with your apple bread!

  • I just now made this recipe, and I cannot even begin to express the sheer, wonderful, less guilt-inducing than “regular” caramel joy it has created! First, it was super easy, which is a requirement, because while I love to cook I am fighting a painful disorder, which has had a direct correlation with how much energy I have to cook. Second, I wanted to thank you, because even though it’s a dessert, I managed to get my incredibly picky eating daughters to eat 3 apples in less than an hour with just a drizzle of this delicious caramel! I am never going back to the old recipe! Thank you so much- I can’t wait to explore your site and find more wonderfulness to make!

    Also, I am a very new blogger, so I’m still learning widgets, a way to take decent food photos (that is proving to be quite a challenge!) Would it be alright to share the link to your blog and this recipe on my blog? I would be honored to share it. Either way, thank you for your amazing blog!

    • Thank you for your kind words and so glad you enjoyed it Tracy! With recipes, I’m sorry but I don’t allow other blogs to use them or share them, but you’re more than welcome to say recipe inspiration by me with the link:)

  • Liz

    This was so, so, so amazingly good. I’ve made several things from your website, and they’ve all been delicious, but this is the best one yet. My 6-year old daughter was amazed at how easy it was to make caramel (we made our own almond butter and proceeded from there). I have to admit, we ate it straight from the blender as an appetizer, then dipped apples in it for dessert. I used it this morning as a spread on her waffle, and she said it was the best waffle she’s ever had.

    We will definitely be making this again!! Thank so much for sharing this, and all your other wonderful recipes!

    • That’s so great, I’m glad you enjoyed it (all of you)! Thank you for all your kind words and sharing my blog!

  • Nancy

    We are vegetarians who try to eat vegan whenever we can. We gave up on caramel sauce a long time ago. I just made this today. OMG!!! Best thing I’ve ever made in my Vitamix. So easy and incredibly delicious! Thank you so much!!!

  • Lauren

    I made this over the weekend and discovered that your disclaimer is DEFINITELY needed! This stuff is incredible! I put it inside of your raw chocolates and even my husband thought they were amazing! I will definitely be making this again – SO much easier than real caramel and a little less guilty too (as long as I don’t eat it out of the jar with a spoon) 🙂

  • Angie Bonanno

    I don’t have coconut oil in my house so I substituted an equal amount of applesauce, and since applesauce is sweet, no maple syrup was needed at all! This recipe is so unbelievably delicious, you have my entire family drooling over it! I will make it again and again and again!

    • Excellent, thank you for sharing that improvisation, I never tried applesauce! Happy you enjoyed it!

  • Wan Nguyen

    Hi, wonderful recipe you have there! I would like to ask, would using peanut butter be okay and regarding the coconut oil in the recipe, is it at room temperature or is the coconut oil already melted?
    Thank you!

    • McKel Hill

      Great question- the coconut oil should be melted so depending on where you live, if the room is warm enough it’ll already be liquid. You can use peanut butter if you’d like but not as a replacement of the coconut oil 😉

  • Jacquie

    I am impressed by how delicious this is. I only made half the recipe so as to not waste ingredients in case it was a disappointment. Totally not necessary. So good.

    • McKel Hill

      Glad you enjoyed it Jacquie!

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