Willa’s Dairy-Free Salted Caramel (Latte) Sauce
We love a classic latte all on its own, with no sugar added. BUT there are days when you’ve got a sweet tooth or you need something to boost the mood. Like, you know, quarantine day number 4,522, or whatever the number is. We’re all searching for variety to switch it up. A new take on our same old same old. Add this sauce to your latte, matcha latte, iced matcha latte ice cream, brownies, apples, plain yogurt, dark chocolate...you name it. We promise it won’t disappoint!
The Search for the BEST Caramel Recipe
We’ve tried countless caramel recipes in search of the best one. If you ask us, good salted caramel is good on just about anything. Bad caramel can ruin whatever you combine with it. This one makes the smoothest, creamiest, easiest to drizzle caramel sauce with a deep nutty flavor and sweetness that doesn’t completely knock you over. It’s like the Goldilocks of caramel sauces.
Oat milk in a caramel recipe?
Now, it might come as a shocker that we’d use oat milk in a caramel sauce recipe. Or perhaps not. We also know that addition might look a bit self-serving to add it, but believe us. Oat milk is a really good idea in caramel sauce! Of all of our experiments making caramel sauce, including those with and without a milk component, this one came out by far the best. The oat milk gives it a touch of creaminess and depth that you don’t get with sugar alone. And if you really need an excuse, the whole grain oats make it a bit more...healthish. ;)
Unfortunately, a lot of the store bought caramels and the ones you see in coffee shops are made with corn syrup, or have long lists of not so caramely sounding ingredients. And a lot of them have dairy, which doesn’t work so well for those of us who are lactose intolerant or choosing to be dairy free.
There are also a lot of traditional recipes out there that weren’t quite as creamy, or came out far too saccharine, like simmering sugar and water, or simmering sweetened condensed milk (not dairy free). And there are those who like to add butter to the sugar (also not dairy free). This recipe, however, uses multiple types of sugar, as well as vanilla. It’s adapted from Grandmother Willa’s own caramel sauce recipe, and also inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie’s Coconut Milk Caramel Sauce, which was one of our favorites.
Make substitutions to fit your lifestyle and diet
We also love this recipe because you can use lots of swaps, depending on what you have in your pantry and still nail it. We prefer real maple syrup, but honey works great too, and we don’t have a reason to say agave wouldn’t work either. If you don’t have brown sugar, white sugar could work. If you’re avoiding cane sugar or aiming for a more paleo lifestyle, you could also swap the brown sugar for date sugar or coconut sugar.
We love this recipe with Willa’s Barista Oat Milk because the oil gives it just a bit more creaminess and makes it easier to drizzle. Willa’s Barista Oat Milk uses a type of organic non-gmo sunflower oil that has a similar nutrition profile to avocado oil, with lots of good monounsaturated fats. Barista oat milks include a tiny bit of oil to allow the oat milk to steam properly. If you’re using non-barista oat milk, then we recommend adding a tablespoon of butter or oil (if you aren’t dairy or butter free). Coconut, avocado, or sunflower oil will do.
And of course, without salt, you have caramel sauce. Either way, salted or unsalted, it’s delicious!
Willa’s Dairy-Free Salted Caramel (Latte) Sauce Recipe
13.5oz Willa’s Barista Oat Milk *
⅓ Cup Real Maple Syrup, Honey, or Agave (try 2.5-3 Tbs)
¼ Cup Brown Sugar, (or increase the liquid sweetener to ⅔ Cup)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp salt
*If using a non-barista oat milk with no oil, add 1Tbs butter or coconut oil
Combine all ingredients except the vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for around 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously, then lower to a simmer.
Let it simmer—stirring as needed—until it cooks down to about half its volume and thickens. About 50-60 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let it sit for about an hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight – it continues to thicken as it sits.”
Drizzle on your latte, matcha, apples, brownies, ice cream, yogurt, whatever you like for a tasty treat.
And don't forget to check out Willa's Iced Caramel Matcha Latte Recipe.
For more oat milk recipes, check out Willa’s recipe page.