Dr. Axe > Recipes > Gluten-Free

Dairy-Free Caramel Apple Recipe

Caramel apple recipe - Dr. Axe

Total Time

60 minutes (plus 8–16 hours chilling time)



Meal Type



  • 1 cup full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 green apples
  • 4 sticks


  1. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper. Wash and dry the apples. Remove the stems. Insert the sticks into the top of the apples. Set the apples aside to allow them to come to room temperature.
  2. In a small pot, combine the coconut milk, coconut sugar and honey. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Stir the “caramel” frequently as it heats, watching for it to begin boiling. Once it comes to a rolling boil (bubbles covering the entire surface), allow it to boil for 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds to be sure the mixture doesn’t stick and burn.
  3. After 1 minute, turn the heat down to medium low. Allow the caramel to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to scrape down the sides and prevent sticking. You should see the caramel darken in color, reduce in volume, and thicken significantly. After 15 minutes, the mixture should resemble caramel and coat a spoon.
  4. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer the caramel to a glass bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  5. Stir the caramel and, holding each apple over the caramel bowl, drizzle the caramel over the apples until they are fully coated. Place the coated apples on the lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight. Refrigerate remaining caramel.
  6. Re-coat the apples in the caramel and refrigerate again. Add coconut milk to caramel as needed to thin it for dipping/drizzling.

When the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin changing colors, you know it’s caramel apple time. What better treat to welcome fall and all its delicious fruits and vegetables? If you have an apple orchard near your home, you can make this recipe into a fun family affair by taking a trip to pick up some fresh (hopefully organic!) apples. Then have the kids help with stirring the caramel and drizzling the apples and decorating them.

Then the best part — eating the caramel apples — can be guilt-free because those nutrition-rich apples are filled with fiber to improve heart health and help keep weight down, plus phytonutrients and antioxidants. The old saying about an apple a day isn’t fiction: Eating apples has been linked with a reduced risk for certain forms of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and even diabetes.

And my dairy-free caramel apple recipe, made with beneficial coconut milk, coconut sugar and raw honey, just sweetens the deal (pun intended). You’re going to want to eat this sauce on everything.

Here’s how to make these easy and delicious caramel apple recipe. (Note that you’ll want to make these the day before you plan to eat them, to give the caramel time to set.)

First, wash and dry four green apples and remove the stems. Insert your sticks and set the apples aside to come to room temperature. This will help the caramel stick to the apples better.Caramel apple recipe step 1 - Dr. AxeGrab a small pot and add the coconut milk, coconut sugar and raw honey. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Stir the sauce as it heats to make sure the sugar and honey dissolve in the milk and don’t burn. You want to bring the mixture to a rolling boil and allow it to boil for 1 minute.

Once the caramel has boiled for a minute, turn it down to medium-low heat and set your timer for 15 minutes. You’re going to let the caramel simmer, reduce and thicken. Scrape down the sides of the pot and stir the caramel every few minutes. You’ll see it begin to thicken and turn a darker brown. At the end of the 15 minutes, it should be thick and coat the back of a spoon. If it seems like it could be thicker, allow it to simmer a couple minutes more.Caramel apple recipe step 2 - Dr. AxeRemove the pot from the heat and stir in some vanilla extract and sea salt. Voila! Caramel sauce! Now comes the hard part: waiting for the caramel sauce to cool. Beware of little fingers sneaking into this sauce because it’s hard to resist.

Transfer the caramel sauce to a glass bowl and refrigerate it until it cools. Once you no longer feel any heat on the bowl, it’s ready.Caramel apple recipe step 3 - Dr. AxeNow the fun part in the caramel apple recipe. Stir the caramel and, holding the apples one at a time over the bowl, spoon the caramel over them to coat all sides. Then place the apples on a cookie sheet coated in parchment paper. Put them back in the fridge to set up. This will take at least 4 hours, or you can leave them overnight. Pull them out in the morning and give them one more coating of caramel. Then refrigerate them again to allow the caramel to set.

Once the caramel apples are ready, you can add even more fun by drizzling some melted dark chocolate over them or sprinkling them with shredded coconut or your favorite chopped nuts. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!Caramel apple recipe - Dr. Axe

Josh Axe

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