Vegan Caramels Laced with Cardamom

vegan caramels

Yay for caramels! I love love love caramels, but this is pretty much the only time of year I ever really make them.  They are so ridiculously easy, though, that I think I should start making these all year long.

And so should you!  These are ooey and gooey and have the perfect hint of cardamom… guaranteed to please.

With any candy-making, it helps to have a candy-thermometer… but  for caramels, one really comes in handy. There is about a 20 minute (don’t quote me on that, because I have never actually timed it) cooking time where you don’t stir. During that time you just wait for the candy to reach the proper temperature or the proper “firm-ball” stage.  So, making the caramels is easy.  But, there is a lot of standing at the stove… and waiting.

If it has been a while since you have had a good caramel, or the vegan versions are just too inconvenient to purchase… just make your own!  It is totally worth it.   I honestly prefer these caramels to any of the store bought, non-vegan versions I remember as a kid.  These are actually a veganized version of the caramels I made pre-vegan days…. and guess what?  They taste exactly the same.

They are the perfect silky, but sticky, texture.  And they have a nice, shall I say, “Earth Balance-y” flavor. These things are absolutely divine….


Vegan Caramels:


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegan coffee creamer, I used “Silk” brand—  I think coconut cream would work well also
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)


First, gather your ingredients and tools.

  1. You will need a sort-of heavy saucepan (see mine in pics below), and make sure that the sides are not too short (at least 6 inches) because the caramel mixture will bubble up high.
  2. You will need a wooden spoon.
  3. You will also need a greased loaf pan… I use this size to achieve a thicker caramel.
  4. Oh, and don’t forget that candy thermometer… clip it on the side of your saucepan.
  5. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, have a short glass of cold water in the fridge for a “firm ball” test.

Now, add all ingredients, except for Earth Balance, vanilla extract and cardamom into the saucepan.

Over medium heat, stirring constantly, dissolve sugar completely.  Next, add your Earth Balance and stir until boiling.

vegan caramels

Once boiling, stop stirring!

vegan caramels

Let it continue to  boil, without stirring  (even the littlest bit), until it reaches 250 degrees on your candy thermometer.  It will look like the picture below for a long time.

vegan caramels

A good indicator to test for progress, if you are lacking a candy thermometer, is to take your wooden spoon, and just dip the very tip of it into the top of the bubbly mixture.  The syrup should stick to the spoon like this when it is about done:

vegan caramels

If you think it’s time… take a teaspoon and grab a spoonful of the syrup and quickly drop it into a very cold glass of water… when it is ready, this is what you will get:

vegan caramels, firm ball

Basically a caramel, right?  This is referred to as “firm-ball” stage.  You will know it is ready when the ball is firm enough not to flatten when you remove it from the glass with your fingers, but it will flatten if you give it a little squeeze.

Okay, when the mixture is at the right temp, immediately stir in vanilla and cardamom and quickly pour into your prepared loaf pan.

vegan caramels

Let cool at room temp for a few minutes and then slip into your fridge for about an hour.  Once firm, cut them into squares.  I froze mine for a few minutes, before cutting, to make them slightly less sticky .

vegan caramel

Wrap them in waxed paper and store in fridge.  They will not melt at room temp… in case you want to give some away during the holidays.  But they get pretty soft if kept in warmer temperatures.  I would definitely recommend not storing them in your pocket.

vegan caramel

Happy Vegan Caramel making!!

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21 Responses to Vegan Caramels Laced with Cardamom

  1. tw says:

    This is a GREAT recipe!!
    Smoked salt is a must! I left the cardamon out and it was just perfect!!!! Thank you!!

  2. […] learning how to make caramel, but it came at a cost – I had to use corn syrup.  I used this recipe and it was so easy and fantastic. Tonight I’m going to use the left over filling from […]

  3. Sarah says:

    I made these with coconut cream, skipped the cardamom and topped them with smoked salt. Amazing.

  4. Ari Anderson says:

    Hi there—
    Do you think that agave would work for the corn syrup?

    • allyson says:

      Hi Ari… possibly… I’m not familiar with using anything other than corn syrup in this candy… but it might be worth a shot. the only thing that would make me hesitate in using it is that corn syrup is thicker than agave, so I don’t know how that might affect the texture in the end candy.

  5. […] water, a soft ball will form. Here is a great demo from another site about how to do that, and  here’s some more info from my previous caramels post. The caramels need to go to a “firm” ball […]

  6. Lisa says:

    This is actually Lisa’s Mum. I just CRAVE these caramels – they are sooooo good.

    When I read “Cardamom – Optional” I thought “I don’t think so ;)”. The cardomom just makes them.

    I laughed at Veganin Vegas licking the screen – but totally empathised – hope you got around to licking the spoon Veganin Vegas.

    I am making these for Easter. Thanks for a great recipe Allyson.

    • allyson says:

      Hi Lisa’s Mum!
      Thank you soooo much (and you are very welcome)! I agree with ya 100%.. cardamom is a must! ;) Have a wonderful Easter!
      <3 Allyson

  7. […] I weren’t eating Christmas cake today, I’d be tempted to try baking a vegan caramel for Christmas […]

  8. VeganinVegas says:

    OMG.. I can taste them already. People here at work are looking at me funny because I’m licking the computer screen.

    Will have to try this recipe but first I need to go buy a candy thermometer! :)

    • allyson says:

      Thanks for the smile VeganinVegas! Yes… go get a candy thermometer.. you will never regret it!!

  9. Mo says:

    These look awesome!

  10. laura says:

    OMFG WANT TO MARRY. Everyone who knows me, meet what you’ll be getting for Christmas!

  11. Lisa says:

    I tried these using coconut cream and they were fantastic! Thanks for the recipe! :) (The only problem was they didn’t come out of the pan very easily; any tips?)

    • allyson says:

      Hi Lisa! glad to hear they turned out well with the coconut cream.. :)

      As far as the difficulty in getting them out: I always use a silicon baking pan for pretty much anything like this… but I think if you line the pan with non-stick foil– non stick side out… or even wax paper would work well. Err, better than if you had greased the pan generously, and they stuck. :( Also, freezing (not sure if you did this or not) seems to help, when the pan is lined with something like wax paper, or the caramels are poured in the silicon pan. Thanks for making the recipe– :D and letting me know how it went– I sure hope my tips help out a bit!!

  12. Gena says:

    Those look incredible! And how beautifully photographed, too. I definitely would love to try these!

  13. Wow it’s good to know that a vegan version is possible. The cardamom spicing is ingenious!

  14. Alisa says:

    Incredible! I’m going to link to this on Go Dairy Free :)

  15. […] Best of all, these caramels feature cardamom, which for my money is the most delicious spice on the planet. You can never get enough cardamom. Link. […]