This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This date caramel tastes just like the caramel dip from your childhood yet is refined sugar-free and dairy-free! It’s completely and utterly delicious. A healthy apple dip that’s easy to make and fun to share alongside other Fall favorites like Pumpkin Chia Pudding.

caramel apple dip in a white bowl next to a bowl of sliced green apples on a wooden plank with fake leaves.

At this point, what can’t Medjool dates do? I use them as a natural sweetener in smoothies like my Apple Pie Smoothie and this Mint Chocolate Smoothie as well as recipes like Carrot Cake Oatmeal and Peanut Butter Fudge.

This healthy apple dip is versatile in and of itself. It truly tastes like caramel, with the signature thick sticky texture and dippable nature.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe Ingredients
  2. How to Make Healthy Apple Dip
  3. Food Processor vs. Blender
  4. How to Use Date Caramel
  5. FAQs
  6. 5-Ingredient Date Caramel Recipe

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe uses five ingredients to get the perfect thickness and texture and caramel flavor. If you aren’t able to source them then I’ve got some tips, too! Here’s what I’m using:

  • Medjool dates: I specifically use Medjool dates for this recipe due to their flavor. The best ones are soft (not hard or crunchy) and sticky, not dry. Be sure to check for pits. They are big and not delicious, so leave them out.
  • Cashew butter: This is a bit unique and not as widely available as something like almond butter, yet it carries less flavor which is what I want. You can make homemade nut butter easily to use in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract: Just a little bit helps turn the dates into a warm, caramel dip.
  • Sea salt: Add this finely ground or use the coarse version if you want a sea salt caramel taste.
  • Dairy-free milk: Feel free to use what you have on hand for this as you only need a little. I use homemade almond milk yet oat milk would work great, too. You don’t have to use homemade, just look for unsweetened.

How to Make Healthy Apple Dip

white bowl of healthy apple dip next to a bowl of apple slices and one apple with dip on it.

You can easily make this thick and dip-like or thin it out to use as a vegan caramel sauce, it works great as both! The key is making sure the dates are chopped well before trying to puree them. Even with a high-speed blender, you need to chop on medium before switching to high speed.

  1. Place pitted dates into a food processor container with the blade attachment and pulse until they are well chopped. Once they are well broken up, turn the processor on high and let it run until a smooth paste forms. If they aren’t forming a paste, add some dairy-free milk one teaspoon at a time to get things moving. Stop and scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process again until smooth. If you want a thick consistency for a dip then you should be done once a smooth consistency is reached. If you want a sauce then add dairy-free milk one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. Transfer to a jar with an air-tight lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. If using from the refrigerator then bring to room temp before stirring well. If cold, this will be very stiff and hard to mix. You can also place the jar in a bowl of warm water until it is able to be stirred.

This stays fresh for 1-2 months in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing this as it will be hard to use after freezing.

Food Processor vs. Blender

Dates to use in the caramel apple dip recipe.

All you need to make this is a food processor. The better your food processor, the creamier your caramel apple dip will turn out. If you’re willing to double or triple the recipe then a high-speed blender could work.

When using a blender, blend the dates on medium or pulse to chop them well before blending on high. You may need to add a bit more liquid to start to get the blades moving and chopping.

How to Use Date Caramel

date caramel covered green apple with wooden stick in it and crushed nuts sitting on a paper.

Depending on whether you made a thick dip or a thinner sauce, vegan date caramels can be used in many ways. Use the sauce to top Vegan Ice Cream or stir into Pumpkin Chia Pudding. It can also be drizzled over Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies or Gluten-Free Brownies. Mix it into your next batch of Baked Oatmeal or Steel Cut Oats for an elevated breakfast.

If you want to keep it thick then serve alongside fresh fruit as a part of a Vegan Charcuterie Board, serve with a bowl of apple slices, or use it as a topping for some Apple Donuts. I think it would be incredible served with Vegan Waffles or Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes!


Is caramel made from dates?

Traditional caramel is made by heating sugar to melting (but not burning). You then add different ingredients like heavy cream or corn syrup to reach the consistency you want. You can make a refined-sugar free version using Medjool dates.

Do all dates taste like caramel?

No, not all dates taste like caramel. Medjool dates have a rich, caramel flavor that makes them perfect for a sauce that is refined sugar-free. Deglet Noor dates are less sweet and have a more nutty flavor.

Is caramel just melted sugar?

Caramel is made from melting sugar, then adding other ingredients like heavy cream, milk, or corn syrup to give it the consistency and flavor you want.

Please leave a rating + review once you make this recipe and let me know how you served yours!

4.86 from 7 votes

5-Ingredient Date Caramel

Hope you're sitting down because this healthy date caramel is going to blow your mind! Made with all-natural, plant-based ingredients and ZERO added sugar (no corn syrup!), this sauce is rawkin'. Use as a spread, dip, topping, sauce, filling, or just eat it by the spoonful.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Plant-Based
Serves: 4


  • food processor


Save this recipe
Enter your email to get this recipe sent to you, plus enjoy weekly healthy recipes.


  • Place pitted dates in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade or a blender. Pulse to start breaking up the dates, then process on high until a smooth paste forms. Stop and scrape down the sides, as needed.
  • Add cashew butter, vanilla and sea salt to food processor. Process again until smooth. Test the consistency of the caramel. If needed, add a little dairy-free milk and blend again. To use as a dip, leave the caramel a little thicker. If using for drizzling, add enough liquid to reach the desired consistency.
  • Transfer to a jar with tight-fitting lid and store in fridge until ready to use. 


  • Don’t have cashew butter? Use your favorite nut or seed butter. The flavor may change a bit depending on the type of seed or nut used. Tahini is very delicious and adds a little bit of a bitter flavor like burnt sugar has.
  • For a richer sauce/dip, use full-fat canned coconut milk or add a little MCT or melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • If dates are not soft and pliable, soak them in hot water for about 15-20 minutes to allow them to rehydrate a bit. Save the water for another use or to help thin the caramel sauce, if needed.
  • The sauce will be quite firm out of the fridge, leave at room temperature or warm the sauce, still in the jar, in a pot of gently simmering water. Though for best flavor and texture the sauce is best used within 1-2 months, the sauce will keep 6-12 months in the refrigerator.
  • I don’t recommend using a blender for this recipe as it will be difficult to blend well. Instead, us a food processor or if your blender has a personal size cup then that might work.


Calories: 205kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 148mg, Potassium: 348mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 55IU, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

You might Also Love…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  1. 5 stars
    Holy cow is this good! I just made my second batch because I can’t get enough of this! It’s so decadent and satisfies a sweet tooth. I love dipping my apple slices in this! Your recipes are just next level and I’m so grateful I found your website almost 2 years ago when I started my smoothie journey and since then, thanks to you, I’ve been able to add more plant based into my diet without sacrificing taste. I wanted to lose a few pounds but what I’ve discovered is I’m more content fueling my body with real Whole Foods that make me feel my very best. Also your the reason I have my vitamix Thank you so much for all you do and bring to me and all your readers!

  2. This recipe sounds delicious. Wondering if you can somehow use whole cashews instead of a nut butter?

    1. Of course! You might just have to puree longer to remove the gritty texture.

  3. 5 stars
    I love caramel dip for apples in the fall and I’m really excited to try this and not feel so guilty about indulging!

  4. 5 stars
    I was never brave enough to try dates until I found them being used on this site. Love how they add sweetness with out needing processed sugar!

  5. 5 stars
    Whoa!! This recipe is amazing. A healthier take on caramel apples, my fall was just made!

  6. This was so good! I also loved how it satisfied my sweet tooth with a very modest amount. It seems like with real junk food I don’t really get satisfied, and I just keep eating it mindlessly. I also loved that it was a treat I could share with my vegan daughter. Delish!

    1. Emily, I really like the point you made and it does seem like that’s what happens! So glad you loved this. 🙂

  7. Would this be okay to use in coffee? Does the blender or food processor break down the date enough that it isn’t gritty or grainy?

    1. Kaylee, I don’t know if this would be a good addition for coffee. If you’re worried about grittiness or graininess from the dates, you can soak them in hot water for about 15-20 minutes to allow them to rehydrate a bit. Save the water for another use or to help thin the caramel sauce, if needed. 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a non-dairy caramel recipe for a loooong time. Can’t wait to try this one!

    1. And it comes at the perfect time! I feel like caramel dip is a perfect fall treat. Makes me want to go apple picking this weekend!

  9. 4 stars
    I like the idea of a “healthy caramel apple dip” and all the ingredients sound amazing… yet don’t have a food processor. I’m tempted to make it in my blender, yet I think it’s gonna be so messy and hard to get out of the bottom. If I thin it out a bunch so it pours, do you think it’ll thicken up in the fridge?

    1. Hey Dani! No food processor? No problem! If you have a high-speed blender, you can use that. You will want to double or triple the recipe to make sure there’s enough in it to blend correctly. And don’t worry about making a lot, this dip has a very long storage life in the fridge! 🙂