Vegan Dulce de Leche

This Vegan Dulce de Leche comes together in minutes, it’s easy to make, and absolutely delicious. It makes a thick and creamy dulce de leche that you can spread.

I have been trying to make Vegan Dulce de Leche for a long time. This recipe for vegan dulce de leche sauce comes after many trials, many attempts, and finally arriving to a result that I think is the closest you can get to actual dulce de leche.

vegan dulce de leche on a spoon.

How to make Vegan Dulce de Leche

Making this Vegan Dulce de Leche sauce is so easy and it comes together in just a few minutes.

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You only need a handful of ingredients that you might already have in your pantry.

Ingredients

You will need:

  • Sweetened Condensed Full Fat Coconut Milk: make sure to stir the contents of the can before measuring it to use in the recipe.
  • Coconut cream: you will need coconut cream for the recipe, don’t get it confused with coconut milk. Coconut cream has a much higher fat content than coconut milk. It comes in a can and it’s thick. It will also be separated into a thick white cream and a clear liquid. Make sure to scoop out just the white cream to use in the recipe, don’t use the clear liquid.
  • Coconut butter: coconut butter is not the same as coconut oil. Do not substitute coconut oil in the recipe instead of the butter, it simply won’t work. Coconut butter is sold at many grocery stores, and at health food stores, or you can order it online.
  • Brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar to give a deeper color to the dulce de leche. You can use light brown sugar too but the color won’t be as deep. Also, you can substitute the brown sugar for maple syrup or agave, which may alter the final thickness of the recipe, making it less thick.
  • Nut butter:  I prefer cashew or almond butter for this recipe, because they are more mild in taste. If you use peanut butter, it will overpower the flavor, which can be a good option if you are making this sauce to use in a peanut butter recipe. Also make sure to use the creamy, not the crunchy versions.

Instructions

Simply add all ingredients to a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat.

adding ingredients to a pan to make dulce de leche.

Cook the mixture just for a few minutes as it comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. The ingredients should all be incorporated together in a smooth caramel sauce.

cooking vegan dulce de leche in a small saucepan.

The sauce will be like a thick caramel sauce. Transfer sauce to a bowl or to jars to cool down.

As the sauce is cooling it will thicken. If you want to pour it on a pie, or use as cake filling, you can wait 1 to 2 hours for it to come to room temperature, it will still be a thick sauce but kind of liquidy.

If you want to spread it, let it chill in the fridge for a bit.

You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week. If you want it to be at a pouring consistency, simply microwave it for a few seconds and stir.

Freeze for up to 1 month, remove from the freezer the night before you want to use it and let it thaw in the fridge.

vegan dulce de leche sauce in a jar.

What does this Dulce de Leche taste like?

If you have ever tried Brazilian brigadeiros, you’d know they have a very similar taste to dairy dulce de leche. They both have that caramelized thick creamy fudgy taste and texture. So when I made this recipe, I asked my husband to try it. Upon trying it, I asked him what he thought that was and he said: “is that brigadeiro?”. So I will take that as confirmation that this recipe is the closest you can get to the real thing.

This vegan dulce de leche tastes like a milky and thick caramel sauce.

Does this Vegan Dulce de Leche taste like coconut?

Because we are using coconut cream, coconut butter, and coconut sweetened condensed milk, the recipe will have a hint of coconut taste. When I presented it to my husband, he could only identify the coconut taste after I mentioned it. So it’s not a very overpowering taste.

vegan dulce de leche in a bowl.

Dairy free Dulce de Leche experiments

There are many recipes online that use only one can of coconut sweetened condensed milk. I’ve tried them all, I’ve tried all the methods.

First, I have tried cooking the sealed can of coconut sweetened condensed milk on the stove in a pot full of water for hours, and also in the pressure cooker. That’s how I usually make dairy dulce de leche, by boiling the submerged sealed can in water. However, the results of doing it to the coconut sweetened condensed milk were less than satisfactory. I really don’t understand how some of the recipe creators are claiming this works because it certainly didn’t for me in any of my attempts. When I opened the can of sweetened condensed coconut milk, the milk looked exactly the same, maybe a shade darker, but still a white creamy and runny milk.

I have also tried the microwave method for making dulce de leche, and it just does not work well. If you cook it enough to make it have dulce de leche color and taste, it becomes hard as a rock once it cools. And if you cook it just enough so it won’t become hard as a rock as it cools, the dulce de leche will have no flavor or color, it will be again like a thin sauce, with barely any caramelized flavor.

vegan dulce de leche on a spoon.

Variations of Dulce de Leche Sauce recipe

  • Chocolate: add one or two tablespoons of cocoa powder, or chopped chocolate to the recipe to make it chocolate flavored. If using cocoa powder, give it a little sift before adding. And if using chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, simply add it to the recipe.
  • Vanilla: add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to the recipe once you remove it from the heat to give it a little bit of vanilla flavor.
  • Salt: add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of sea salt to taste to make salted dulce de leche.
  • Peanut butter: use peanut butter as the nut butter of choice to the recipe to make it peanut butter flavored. Peanut butter is the only nut butter that will overpower the taste of the recipe, so I recommend using it only if you are going to make any peanut butter flavored sweets.
vegan dulce de leche sauce in a jar.

How do you eat Dulce de Leche?

Dulce de Leche is a thick milky type of caramel sauce, and can be used in many different ways, and can be used to enhance any dessert:

  • In pies and tarts, such as Banoffee pie.
  • You can use it to fill cakes, cupcakes.
  • Spread on toast.
  • Drizzle on top of muffins and cakes
  • Use it to fill macarons, or cookies.
  • Drizzle over ice cream.
  • Serve on top of pancakes or waffles.

To get the dulce de leche to a drizzling consistency, warm it up gently for a few seconds in the microwave, or use it while it’s still cooling down.

vegan dulce de leche on a spoon.

Here are some recipes you might like:

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do, if you make it share pictures with me on instagram, or comment below! I love hearing from you!

vegan dulce de leche on a spoon.
vegan dulce de leche on a spoon.

Vegan Dulce de Leche

Camila Hurst
This Vegan Dulce de Leche comes together in minutes, it’s easy to make, and absolutely delicious. It makes a thick and creamy dulce de leche that you can spread.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Servings 1 cup
Calories 60 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 50 grams
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk 115 grams
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter 74 grams
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream 74 grams
  • 2 tbsp nut butter I prefer a mild tasting butter such as cashew or almond

Instructions
 

  • To make the Vegan Dulce de Leche, place all of the ingredients in a medium pot.
  • Stir over medium heat. Make sure to stir a couple of times to make sure the sugar is melting and all ingredients are incorporating together.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
  • Pour the dulce de leche in a bowl. Let it cool down. Once the dulce de leche cools down for about 30 minutes to one hour, it will still be soft and you can pour it in pies, or cake filling.
  • If you want to spread the dulce de leche inside cookies, or if you need it to be at a thicker consistency, place it in the fridge.
  • It will get thick and spreadable in the fridge.
  • If you need it to become softer, or have a pouring consistency, just microwave for a few seconds.
Storage
  • Store the vegan dulce de leche in the fridge for up to 7 days. Or freeze for up to 1 month, let it thaw in the fridge overnight.

Notes

Sweetened condensed coconut milk: before measuring the amount you need, give the milk a stir because it will be separated in the can.
Coconut cream: only use the thick white creamy part for the recipe, don’t use the clear liquid. Open the can carefully and scoop out the amount you need. This recipe calls for coconut cream, not coconut milk. Coconut cream is thick and not a liquid.
Nut butter: I prefer cashew or almond butter for this recipe. If you use peanut butter, it will overpower the flavor, which can be a good option if you are making this sauce to use in a peanut butter recipe.
Brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar to give a deeper color to the dulce de leche. You can use light brown sugar too but the color won’t be as deep.
Cocoa powder: you can add one or two tablespoons of cocoa powder, or chopped chocolate to the recipe to make it chocolate flavored. If using cocoa powder, give it a little sift before adding. And if using chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, simply add it to the recipe.
Sugar substitution: you can use maple syrup instead of brown sugar.
Coconut butter: do not substitute the coconut butter for oil, the recipe won’t work. If you can’t easily find coconut butter at the grocery store, you can order it online, but most grocery stores or health food stores carry it.
Vanilla: once you remove the dulce de leche from the heat, you can add 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract if you want. It’s not needed, I’ve made both with and without it.
Keyword caramel, dulce de leche, vegan

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3 Comments

    1. Does the coconut cream need to be refrigerated beforehand to ensure the proper separation between the more solid and liquid or does it work well enough without needing to refrigerate?

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