Many years ago, I whipped up a dairy-free butterscotch sauce to drizzle on homemade vegan butterscotch cupcakes. That sauce has since become a favorite dessert topping, so I’m giving it a home of its own in our dessert section.
How to Make Dairy-Free Butterscotch Sauce without a Thermometer
This is a wonderful “no candy thermometer” recipe that comes together in minutes. It relies on a boiling time that’s proven quite flawless over the years. If you are addicted to your candy thermometer, the goal temperature is around 225°F. But go ahead and leave it in the drawer if you’re feeling adventurous. You can even play around a little with the ingredients. I have some tips and substitution options listed here.
Dairy-Free Butterscotch Sauce Ingredient Notes
- Buttery Spread: You can use a buttery stick (aka plant butter) variety instead. Either will work well. Some brands are saltier than others, which is why this recipe uses a range for the salt. When I first made this dairy-free butterscotch sauce, I used Earth Balance. I’ve since used a couple other brands successfully, including Melt and Country Crock.
- Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light brown sugar, so it has a little more depth in flavor. Both types will work fine in this dairy-free butterscotch sauce recipe. It’s really just a matter of personal taste.
- Coconut Milk: As noted in the recipe, this is full-fat coconut milk, which is sold in cans or small boxes. Do not substitute a milk beverage, it won’t be rich enough. That said, this is the milk specifically, not just the cream. So go ahead and shake or whisk the coconut milk in your can before using if it has separated. In a pinch, lite canned coconut milk could work as a substitute, but again, skip the drinkable “milk beverage.”
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Butterscotch Sauce
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the buttery spread or sticks that suit your dietary needs.
- ¼ cup dairy-free buttery spread
- ¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup canned, full fat coconut milk (see note below)
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Melt the buttery spread in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk in the brown sugar and coconut milk, and let the mixture bubble for 5 minutes (4 minutes at higher altitude), without stirring.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Let cool to room temperature. It will thicken more as it cools.
- Once completely cool, you can store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.