Unbelievable 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!

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

Sugar Free & Keto Caramel Sauce

Unbelievable, For Real!

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.

Which 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! You don’t need to watch out for crystallization, temperature, etc. Essentially screw-up-free guys!

So serve it up with some (suuuper creamy!) vanilla ice cream, and just wait to see what I have in store for you guys with this little gem! Oh, and it’s also epic as a fat bomb dipped in chocolate!

The Deets

Because neither sugar alcohols nor allulose burn the same way as sugar,Β 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 molassesΒ is considered a low glycemic sugar. OneΒ 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 beΒ 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 xylitol, allulose and erythritol. And these are the findings!

1. Allulose andΒ xylitolΒ (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!)Β 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 pupΒ (or kitty!) around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys!Β πŸ•

2. Now, erythritolΒ 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!

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

Sugar Free & Keto Caramel Sauce

Course: Dessert, Sauces
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: keto, low carb, sugar free
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. 

Recipe Notes

*I loooveΒ 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!).Β 

**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
Sugar Free & Keto Caramel Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 tablespoon)
Calories 52 Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.5g 8%
Saturated Fat 3.4g 17%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Potassium 12mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 0.5g 0%
Sugars 0.3g
Protein 0.125g 0%
Vitamin A 4%
Calcium 0.7%
Iron 0.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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53 comments

  1. Wisknitcat says:

    Wow sounds amazing. Your recipes are the best keto I have found!! Is there a way to thicken these to the point where you could portion out and then eat them like a solid caramel?

    • Paola says:

      I’m still experimenting… but so far it looks like you need to bake it for it to turn crisp (the molasses lend some sugar qualities but candy is strictly a sugar thing)

  2. Janelle says:

    I used half of the batch to drizzle on some blondies and put the other half in a glass container in the fridge. It solidified like a rock! How do I best warm it up to get it back to a pourable texture?

  3. Jen says:

    I was wondering if you think this recipe might work to make pecan bars. Was wondering what might happen if you bake it.

    • Paola says:

      Yeah for sure! I’ve baked it in the pecan sticky buns and a couple of you guys made some sort of pecan pies and said it worked great!

  4. JanP says:

    i just made this to use with the caramel pecan roll recipe and I must say that it is AMAZING!! I couldn’t resist stirring and tasting. I did use Swerve. I’m not concerned about the crystallization since I will be using it for the rolls. YUMMY!!!
    Thanks again for another awesome recipe!

  5. vicki says:

    This caramel is awesome. I used mostly Xylitol but was shy about 1/3, so I used the brown sugar Swerve (I just found it for the first time…) and it worked great! The flavor was amazing for a perfectly salted caramel. I did not use the molassas, but I think the brown sugar added what component. I still get it a little grainy (not bad, but just lightly) — is there anyway to keep that from happening?

    • Paola says:

      Hi Vicki! It’s the erythritol that causes the graininess (adding xylitol worked for me, but clearly it’s a bit hit and miss?)

  6. Stacy Kirkpatrick says:

    This tasted sooo good! The only problem I’m having is it didn’t thicken up on the low heat Simmer. I’m thinking because I stirred It, I didn’t read that part – ugh. It combined well, but butter separated in the fridge. What advise can you give me for my next batch?! Thank you!!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Stacy!! Another reader reported back today that she had to leave it for longer for it to thicken. Maybe that was the issue? The butter shouldn’t separate though, so maybe try mixing it a bit more thoroughly before adding the molasses? I hope this helps!!

  7. Charlene Bailey says:

    Amazing! I figured out what I was doing wrong. I just turned the heat up and simmered a bit longer and it came together! It is perfection drizzled on the β€œApple” muffins. Well done! Thanks for having such great recipes!

  8. Briannon says:

    I followed the recipes, only difference is I used 1/4 c sweetner (pyure) was all I had it’s a stevia erythritol blend but mine had a great taste and but didnt thicken up at all… thoughts?

  9. Charlene says:

    During the 15 min simmer, should the oil from the butter be settled on the top? I am not stirring per the recipe but I am dying to. Is this what I should expect?

    • Paola says:

      Mine didn’t necessarily float on top Charlene, but the caramel definitely wasn’t an even texture. You can give it a gentle stir if it completely separated xo!

  10. Ruthie says:

    This is AMAZING!!!! I couldn’t believe from the description or comments that it could be *THAT* good, but it got me curious so I tried it, and it’s EVEN BETTER!!! 😍😍😍

    I’m thinking of bringing this to family Thanksgiving! My family has ice cream at every family gathering and keto and non-keto alike will love this as an ice cream topping!

    Ooh! It just occurred to me that this would probably be amazing with your cinnamon rolls! Caramel rolls keto-fied! YESSSSSS!!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your hard work! You’re a genius! πŸ™ŒπŸ‘©β€πŸ³πŸ™Œ

    Happy Thanksgiving!!! πŸ¦ƒπŸ˜„

    • Paola says:

      Right?! Tbh I was completely shocked too Ruthie πŸ˜‚! And DEF YES on the cinnamon rolls, what a terrific idea!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well πŸ˜‰ xo!

  11. Cat says:

    OMG! Salted caramel sauce, when the temps here are in the 30s!?!?!?!? Too cold for using it to top ice cream but a great addition to coffee. I made it the moment I got the email. Soooo easy and sooooo delicious!!!!! I could seriously just eat it right out of the jar with a spoon. Now I’m wondering what I can top with it during the winter months, though adding it to coffee is wonderful (think salted caramel latte).

    P.S. I’ve got your cheesy crackers cooling as I type this. They smell amazing, even at zero dark thirty in the morning πŸ™‚ xoxo

  12. patricia says:

    This just sounds so delicious, but I have to be dairy free and you mentioned that using coconut cream made it not taste like caramel? I also am sugar free, so usually use Swerve or erythritol, so maybe this recipe would not work for me?

    • Lauren says:

      I just made a batch with coconut cream (I was out of heavy cream) and an erythritol/stevia blend (again, all I had). It’s a bit grainy now that it is cool but so delicious. Give it a try!

  13. Pea Green says:

    Paola, if this is as good as every other recipe you create, you will never hear from me again . . . I will have died and gone to heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for all your hard work. xxx

  14. Mary Anne Stein says:

    I’ve tried every single recipe on page 1 of google titled ‘Keto Caramel’ and this one is the only one that ought to be called that! WOW!!! This is actual caramel!! Most of the others use xanthan gum to thicken up and they just end up slimy rather than caramel-like…. utter waste of expensive ingredients!!!

    YOU ARE THE BEST KETO BAKER OUT THERE!!

    • Paola says:

      Mary Anne how awesome to hear you loved it so much!!! I get you on the xantham gum, it didn’t give me the best results either xo and thanks so much for reporting back!

  15. Betsie Eikenberry says:

    OMG, I would LOVE to have caramel again. Do you think it would work with Swerve? That’s all I have on hand and I don’t want to wait. lol!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Betsie! It does work, just not as well because it crystalizes as it cool (so you need to warm it up again). Follow the tips for erythritol (and I also got a bit of the cooling aftertaste). So good, just not excellent like with allulose or xylitol xo!

  16. Gloria Moore says:

    Umami – I looked this up but I don’t understand what it means in this context. Help, please!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Gloria! Yeah so this one is a bit hard to explain, as it’s a sensory response. As you prob googled, it’s one of the basic tastes we’re able to perceive in foods (sourness, saltiness, bitterness, sweetness and umami). It’s mostly used when a savory food produces a sort of pleasant experience while eating it (most meats, cheeses and soy have it). So for instance, when cooking we all always try to maximize the umami without even noticing (say when you top your burger with cheese and bacon, you’re adding two more elements with umami to your meat!).

      And when we come to molasses, it has plenty of umami (when you’re making the caramel taste it before you add them and after and you’ll see what I mean). They’re slightly salty and have such complex notes that they turn your caramel from ok to delicious πŸ˜‰

      I hope this made some sort of sense! xo!

    • Paola says:

      I tried and tbh it didn’t taste like caramel sauce at all… I believe in the paleo world they use ghee, not sure if that’s out of bounds for you? I will keep trying and post an update πŸ˜‰ xo!

  17. emily heart says:

    Might be a little nuts, but I whipped it up as soon as I got your email. I already thought you were a genius, but this just tops it! It’s still warm, but I can swear I’m eating real caramel and one of the best I used xylitol and the salted butter beacuse i’m also a salted caramel nut!

    Do you think this would work mixed with your vanilla ice cream to make a caramel one? I would literally die and go to heaven!

    • Paola says:

      Whaaat?! This is amazing to hear Emily thanks so much for reporting back! Totally with you on the salted butter, gives an incredible depth.

      And on the vanilla def! I’m thinking you may not need to whip up the vanilla ice cream… now, don’t take my work for it as I haven’t tried it yet- but I think just folding in some whipped cream could turn it into ice cream πŸ˜‰ xo!

  18. Shannon says:

    Do you think this could be used to make “turtles”? The candy with pecans, caramel and chocolate?

    • Paola says:

      Yes and no… it doesn’t quite set as solid (I’m working to see if I can get it even harder for candies). But it does make an incredible pecan caramel crunch (check back this week, I have a few surprises coming ;)!) xo!

  19. LaWanda says:

    Hi Paola! I love caramel sauce (I could eat it by the spoonful) Sadly, though, as a T2 diabetic, it is hands off. Not anymore. Your caramel sauce recipe looks so easy that I am almost certain that even I can make it (I am a novice when it comes to making anything other simple things). I am very picky about who I say this to (my standards are extremely high), but you are truly one classic act! πŸ™‚ I so appreciate all of the effort you put in to your recipes. You make eating so fun!

    • Paola says:

      LaWanda you’re always SO sweet! Thank you so much for your lovely comments, so happy to hear you’re still enjoying the recipes (and hopefully the keto diet is helping with your diabetes!) Kisses and happy Thanksgiving lovely!

  20. Patricia Brewer says:

    Is there a way to turn this in to caramel candies? Does this stay thin or does it harden at all? I have always made homemade caramels for the holiday and have tried different ways but the erythrital always crystallized. Should I try a different Sweetner? If so which do you recommend?

    • Paola says:

      I’m actually wondering the same thing Patricia! It does solidify once in the fridge (but not as in hard, just as in thick like dulce de leche). I’ll surely play around with some ratios and cooking times and see what’s up!

  21. Catherine says:

    Hi. Thank you so much for this recipe. I was just thinking yesterday that I wished I could find a really good Keto caramel recipe.

    Wondering how Monkfruit would do in this recipe? Any ideas?

    • Paola says:

      Pure monk fruit or the Lakanto blend with erythritol? In all honesty you do need a sugar alcohol or allulose to make it work and get that sticky thick texture when combined with the touch of molasses.

      Off the top of my head, it could potentially work but only if you increase the amount of molasses and let it cook longer. Though honestly cannot guarantee as I haven’t tried myself (but this is something I would try, so I’ll report back!).

  22. louise says:

    I’m surely trying it once I’m home tonight! I bought some sugar free caramels but they’re not quite the same. can’t wait, caramel is my favorite with everything lol

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