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15-Minute (Salted!) Caramel Sauce 🍯 gluten free & keto

This sugar-free and keto caramel sauce is truly unbelievable! In just 15 minutes you’ll end up with a luscious sauce, that’s shockingly close to the original in both taste and texture. Oh, and no thickener required!

Note: this recipe was first published on November 2018, but has since been updated to provide you guys with more deets ‘n tricks! 

A spoonful of sugar free and keto caramel sauce
Sugar Free, Low Carb & Keto Caramel Sauce

Sugar Free & Keto Caramel Sauce

The Definition Of Unbelievable!

Sugar free cooking and baking never ceases to amaze me guys! Other than being slightly less chewy, you’d be hard pressed to find a difference between this keto caramel and the traditional stuff.

And you guys clearly agree… I mean just read through your comments from the past year!

This is fairly unbelievable if you think that caramel is essentially burnt sugar sauce! And guess what? It’s also infinitely easier to whip up than the traditional stuff as you don’t need to watch out as much for crystallization, temperature, etc.

Essentially screw-up-free guys!

So serve it up with some (suuuper creamy!) vanilla ice cream, to finish off our famous ‘apple’ pie, whipped up into some (salted!) caramel ice cream, transformed into turtle candy…. I mean, endless possibilities await!

Oh, and it’s also epic as a fat bomb dipped in chocolate!

Drizzling sugar free caramel onto a slice of keto apple pie with vanilla ice cream
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini

The Deets

Because neither sugar alcohols nor allulose burn the same way as sugar, I took the dulce the leche route to bring you this sugar free caramel. This simply means simmering the ingredients together (and cheating a bit here and there).

Now, while dulce de leche requires roughly a 2 hours simmer to reduce and brown the sugar, neither sugar alcohols nor allulose are reducing sugars so that wouldn’t quite do it either. Rather, I opted for a browned-butter base and adding a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses for that burnt sugar kick (and needless to say, a tonne of umami).

Keep in mind that blackstrap molasses is considered a low glycemic sugar. One teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs, so just 0.4g net carbs a serving (i.e. half the sugar of a strawberry!). But carbs aside, it’s also known to be a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals; such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Fun fact: Molasses contain high amounts of chromium, which has been studied to increase glucose tolerance levels.

But if it’s still not your thing, read on to the section below for possible subs.

Pouring freshly made keto caramel sauce into a glass jar
Sugar Free, Low Carb & Keto Caramel Sauce

The Sweetener

You’ve got a couple options here, and know that the recipe was thoroughly tested with allulose(my favorite sweetener by a mile really), xylitol (try and use non-corn to avoid tummy problems), and erythritol. And these are the findings!

1. Allulose and xylitol work equally well. The resulting keto caramel is luscious and sticky, with no thickener required. Plus, both sweeteners keep your caramel ultra smooth, and I didn’t experience any crystallization whatsoever with either.

Note: I’ve been testing different brands of xylitol and have noticed Health Garden and XyloSweet are two solid ones (particularly if you tend to get occasional tummy pangs with the NOW brand).

If using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup (or kitty!) around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! 🐕

2. Now, erythritol is a bit tricker guys as it tends to crystalize once cool (you can always reheat it?). I did notice that doing about 1/2 erythritol and 1/2 of allulose or xylitol seemed to keep it smooth all the way through.

So if you’re not into the blackstrap molasses, try using of the brown erythritol sweeteners (say Lakanto Golden or Swerve Brown). Just keep in mind that you may need to add a touch of xanthan gum to obtain the thick ‘n sticky results (say 1/8-1/4 tsp, depending on desired thickness).

How much sweetener? Now this is the question. Traditional caramel uses about 1 cup of sugar, but in my opinion 1/3 cup of sweetener for keto palates is more than enough. As allulose is 30% less sweet than sugar (and xylitol), I did 1/2 cup (but you can probably do with just 1/3 cup for a lightly sweetened caramel). With xylitol I tried with 1/4 and 1/3 cup and they both worked great (just depends how sweet you like it, and what you’re using it for). Keto sweet buds are all over the place guys, but the neat thing here is that you can adjust to taste!

Pecan keto turtle candy with salted caramel
(Salted Caramel!) Pecan Keto Turtle Candy
Strawberry dipped in keto caramel sauce
Sugar Free, Low Carb & Keto Caramel Sauce

A spoonful of sugar free and keto caramel sauce

(15 Minute!) Sugar Free & Keto Caramel Sauce

Course: Dessert, Sauces
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: keto caramel, keto caramel sauce
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 16 tablespoons
Calories: 52 kcal

This sugar-free and keto caramel sauce is truly unbelievable! In just 15 minutes, you'll end up with a luscious sauce that's shockingly close to the original in both taste and texture. Oh, and no thickener required! 

If baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion.

Print

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add butter to a small saucepan over medium/low heat and simmer, stirring every so often, until fully browned (about 5 minutes). Add in the sweetener, heavy cream and salt (lower amount, see notes), stirring until fully combined. Add in the molasses (optional), and stir briefly until just combined. 

  2. Simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes (don't stir at all!), taste for seasoning and pour into a glass container of choice. Your caramel should be sticky and thick, but still totally pourable. Use warm or allow to cool completely, and refrigerate for roughly a week. The caramel will thicken up in the fridge (as does regular dulce de leche), so either bring it back to room temperature or heat it up with a little more heavy cream (or say almond milk!) to thin it out a bit. 

  3. Note: if your caramel splits (too high temperature is usually the culprit!), you might still be able to save it. Remove it from the heat, allow the mixture to cool down for about 5 minutes, bring it back on the stovetop over low heat, and gently whisk in a tablespoon of water until it comes back together (should happen almost instantly).

Recipe Notes

*I looove salted caramel, and using salted butter adds an incredible depth that you simply don't get by just adding salt. Just be sure to taste for seasoning, as you may not need to add more salt (varies from brand to brand!). 

**Please see section on sweeteners for full deets! How much sweetener? Now this is the question. Traditional caramel uses about 1 cup of sugar, but in my opinion 1/3 cup of sweetener for keto palates is more than enough. As allulose is 30% less sweet than sugar (and xylitol), I did 1/2 cup (but you can probably do with just 1/3 cup for a lightly sweetened caramel). With xylitol I tried with 1/4 and 1/3 cup and they both worked great (just depends how sweet you like it, and what you're using it for). Keto sweet buds are all over the place guys, but the neat thing here is that you can adjust to taste!

Please note that a batch yields roughly 3/4 cup, and nutrition facts were estimated per tablespoon. The blackstrap molasses adds 0.4g net carbs a serving (i.e. half the amount of sugar of a strawberry!).

Nutrition Facts
(15 Minute!) Sugar Free & Keto Caramel Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 tablespoon)
Calories 52 Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value*
Fat 5.5g8%
Saturated Fat 3.4g17%
Cholesterol 18mg6%
Sodium 65mg3%
Potassium 12mg0%
Carbohydrates 0.5g0%
Sugar 0.3g0%
Protein 0.125g0%
Vitamin A 200IU4%
Calcium 7mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

183 comments

  1. Susan says:

    I use this recipe to make fat bombs. For the caramel, my favorite sweetener is Sola. It’s expensive, but I only use about 1/4 cup. Sola never gets grainy like erythritol (even powdered Swerve gets grainy after cooling for me). I stir in chopped toasted pecans, pour into my mini cup silicon mold, freeze for an hour, then pop them out and keep them in my fridge. Absolutely decadent. Hits that caramel spot perfectly.

  2. Karin says:

    Hi at the deets section you recommend some Xantan gum to get thick results. I need it thick, we like to sparred it on crackers or bread, so I need to know in what step should I add the xantan gum? Thanks in advance

  3. Lori says:

    I think this recipe just changed my life. The absolute BEST caramel recipe! I doubled the recipe, used allulose and powdered it first (1 full cup), simmered it a little longer and it tastes like I just came from a wonderful candy shop! I am a new follower! Subscribing to everything you got! Thank you!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Made this last night. End result after cooling, it’s still very runny. Followed recipe fully. Used allulose as the sugar. It tastes great but the consistency makes it difficult to use for some things I had in mind. Any idea why it didn’t thicken?

  5. Lori B. says:

    Having this on some Fage yogurt right now and I’m in heaven! It’s so good, I burnt the everloving ***** ***** ***** out of the tip of my tongue tasting it from the pan, just as I always do when I make real caramel sauce. 😀

  6. Teresa Senatore says:

    I can never get this caramel to thicken after cooking. I cook unstirred for 15 minutes and it is still liquidy. It doesn’t thicken until it is in the fridge. I don’t know what I am doing wrong.

  7. Connie heppner says:

    Your eceipes look so good but they wouldn’t convert to cups. Could you please let me know what 1/4cup is in grams and 1/2 cup also and 3/4 cup etc?

    • @brokeassketo says:

      You can toggle between metric and US Standard just below the ingredients by clicking on the black and white Metric or US Cups button.

  8. Zanine Mc Loughlin says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I tried it and was amazing. Mine firmed up nicely in the fridge. Was wondering if it could be used in a caramel tart topped with chocolate ganache?

  9. Becky says:

    Paola YOU ROCK!!! As if Your recipes weren’t just off the charts tantalizing, nutritious and delicious enough already with perfection – You go the extra mile to not only TRY every darn combination but You carefully document all the kitchen chemistry magic to take ALL the guess work and struggle out for us!!!

    You are Brilliant, Beautiful and Epicurean!!! Many MORE Blessings upon You and Yours for all You do, not just for Your family & friends but gazillions of us out here in cyberspace!!

  10. Mich says:

    You (and your team?) have the best keto recipes in the WORLD, M’Lady. This is sooooo good. I made it with sucralose. For chocolate i always use this, because it taste decent. I can’t get to allulose, so sucralose doesn’t raise my blood sugar. It’s not good for the gut bacteria, but i don’t have problems with this in moderation. I just used one heaping tablespoon of Erythitol and i don’t taste it at all. I just miss Rolo toffee chocolates and now can finally have them. Nom Nom Nom! I will for sure buy your cookbooks now. Thank you for all of your hard work and sharing it with us. Much love.

  11. LeeAnne Pugh says:

    Very good caramel. I used coconut milk because I am impatient and didnt have coconut cream. It turned out really well.

    • Leanne says:

      Depends on where you are located but I finally was able to find Allulose in Canada through amazon.ca Hoosier Hill carries it now. Mine just arrived that’s why I was reviewing the recipe again before beginning. Fingers crossed I’ll actually get caramel this time! I can’t tell you how many times I have tried unsuccessfully so I’m sure hoping the Allulose will be the game changer!!

    • Carrie E Valentin says:

      Click on the highlighted word itself. That will go to an Amazon Allulose product! She gets a tiny commission for selling! That is how all these sites work…they hook to Amazon for the products!

  12. Fran says:

    So I saw you had that photo of turtles above… how would you make this thick enough to make them and not have it ooze all over? With sugar it’s just a matter of longer cooking but not sure how it works with allulose, etc. Just getting started with keto! I’m trying to round up some candy recipes for Christmas… 😉

  13. Jeannette says:

    Hello. Would this sauce coat say half and apple and harden enough for a caramel apple or is it always saucy ;). I am craving a caramel apple but want it as low carb as I can get it.

  14. Pam says:

    Could I use coconut sugar that has been powdered in a coffee grinder instead of xylitol? I would love to try this recipe but I can only have Stevia or coconut sugar. Stevia has an after taste. Thanks, Pam

  15. Sally says:

    The taste of this caramel sauce is truly amazing and decadent! I was so surprised at how good it tastes. However; mine didn’t really get thick and after I refrigerated it, butter rose to the top. Is that normal? I see another reviewer who mentioned using regular butter and having the same problem as me (there was no answer to her query). Could using regular butter instead of grass-fed butter cause this problem? I did simmer mine on very low heat, so I don’t think my cream separated. I can whisk the refrigerated sauce and make it less chunky, but it is impossible to remove all of the butter chunks without some reheating.

  16. Gale Dacalio says:

    WOW! I just made this and it is awesome and sooo easy. I had made a caramel from another site and was totally disappointed. (threw that one out) But this one tastes like good caramel. I had also preciously made several other of your recipes and all are good. I love the “graham cracker” pie crust. Oh I bought both your books too. Thanks or everything you do!

  17. Mick O.G. says:

    Yummy! I love this recipe. I was wondering if you know of a recipe for dairy-free heavy whipping cream. I’m lactose intolerant (had to take lactase enzyme supplements to consume this treat) and was hoping I can substitute the heavy whipping cream with a homemade-dairy-free one of my own. I couldn’t find anything on the internet. Some say to mix almond milk with butter but then I already have butter in this recipe. Hmm…

  18. Tammy F. says:

    Hi Paola,

    I’m loving your amazing recipes & thoroughly appreciate the tips & tricks you generously include. 😍So many are regulars in our kitchen. 👌🏼
    I am going to make this caramel sauce today but since I’m lactose intolerant I’ll be using coconut cream instead. Have you tried it this way? I’ll let you know how mine turns out!
    Wish me luck!😋

    • How awesome to hear Tammy!! I haven’t tried it personally, but I know a few of you guys have reported back successfully. If you’re successful o would love to know with what coconut milk xo!!

      • avi-rose says:

        Hey Paola! I made this today substituting coconut milk (Thai Kitchen Organic (Ingredients: Organic Coconut Water & Organic Guar Gum)) and it’s truly excellent. It was a tad thin after 15 minutes simmering on a low heat, so I took it off the heat, let it cool a bit, and whisked in 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (Bobs Red Mill) and the result is a thick and creamy caramel- thanks for another fantastic recipe <3 <3 <3

      • Tammy F says:

        Well I must say, I’m amazed! The coconut cream worked like a charm. The flavor is shockingly good. Really! I make everyone who comes in my kitchen try it. They can’t believe it’s paleo, sugar free And dairy free! It’s a keeper❤️ Thank you 😊

      • Anita McGrew says:

        I’m not lactose intolerant like the person above, but I am diabetic. Xylitol will raise blood sugar. will Erythritol work in this recipe, and if so how much do I use?

      • Reena says:

        Hello everyone!
        It works fantastic with coconut cream, I used AROY-D coconut cream (found in Walmart in Canada).
        It is the only one I can find that has no additives.
        Although I found it’s absolutely essential to brown the butter and to use some Molasses (I used 1/2 tsp Blackstrap) for both flavour and colour.
        FYI full fat whipping cream (33% to 35%) is low in lactose and has less impact for those of us with lactose intolerance. This is the reason why we can use butter and some cheddars or hard cheese, there’s next to no lactose in it and lactose is the culprit = thus lastose intolerance…obviously 😉

        Hope this helps!
        And Paola, I just love your recipes, you definitely are gifted in making keto so much more enjoyable!
        Flavour is a big deal to me, and I adjust most recipes I ever use or develop my own. However, with yours most of the time I don’t need to!
        Reena xo

  19. Sue says:

    I have been using erythitrol-monkfruit blend as my sweetener. Can I use it in this recipe and if so, how will it turn out and do I need to make any measurement changes?

      • Becky says:

        TY so much Kat for sharing that information!! That is super helpful to know what others have tried, brand when helpful and how it turned out!! Paola can’t do ALL our work for us!! But between us… Always Perfection!! One of the Best Blogs EVER and the best followers!! 😉

    • Becky says:

      Hey Sue, If You read the post and all the kitchen chemistry magic that Paola has already tried & so painstakingly documented to take all the guess work out of which sweetener etc works best for what qualities & outcome – You won’t need to ask because she has answered already in the blog post/recipe. She is AMAZING that way!! One reason I LOVE this blog above so many others. Great Healthy Cooking to You!!

    • Joe says:

      You need a reducing sugar to cause mailliard browning. Allulose is a non nutritive Keto sugar. One if the few non nutritive reducing sugars.

      Erythritol will not get brown…

      Don’t like Xylitol in the house because I have a dog.

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