Caramel No Bake Cookies

This post may include affiliate links from brands we've partnered with. Please read our affiliate poilcy.

These Caramel No Bake Cookies with chocolate chunks couldn’t be easier to make, and everyone absolutely loves them! They’re the perfect allergy-friendly treat to make for pretty much every occasion. And even better, you can make them ahead, and freeze them as well. This recipe is based on the classic no-bake cookies my mom made, but I’ve remade it with healthier ingredients. The ‘caramel’ flavor of these cookies comes from coconut sugar as a natural sweetener.

Wooden spatula scooping up a Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie from a gold cookie sheet.

Oh wow! That was what I heard after a friend took her first bite of these cookies. So if find yourself in need of a ‘go-to’ dessert this is a good one. It’s a really allergy-friendly recipe, (since it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, paleo & vegan).

But you’re not going to feel like these are a ‘health food dessert’ if you know what I mean. In fact, fights have actually been known to break out over these cookies in our house! Friendly fights of course, but nonetheless you’ve been warned, these will go fast. And everyone will probably beg you to make some more.

Chocolate Chunk Salted Caramel No Bake Cookies on a gold baking sheet.

Recipe Inspiration: When I made my Healthier No-Bake Cookies, I wondered what would happened if I left out the cocoa powder and turned them to a caramel version. So… here we are with a caramel version! And (dare I say it?) are better than the originals because chocolate + caramel = better than just chocolate!

Ingredients for Caramel No Bake Cookies

  • Coconut sugar – is the perfect natural sweetener for these cookies because it tastes like caramel when it’s boiled together with coconut oil and coconut milk.
  • Coconut oil – is my preferred dairy-free substitute for the butter called for in the classic recipe. But you can definitely use butter as well, (see substitutions below).
  • Sea salt – Just a touch of sea salt is so important to the flavor of the caramel base of these cookies. And if you want to go one step further, try a sprinkling of flaked sea salt over the tops of these cookies!
  • Coconut milk is my favorite milk to use in these cookies. I use coconut milk from the can for the richest flavor. But you can also use coconut milk or almond milk from the carton as well as regular milk.
  • Vanilla – just rounds out the caramel flavor and enhances the whole cookie!
  • Big flake coconut – Both coconuts used in this recipe are unsweetened. This is important since we’re folding the coconut flakes into caramel. Sweetened coconut would be way too sweet! I use a bit of big flake coconut to add a nice texture to these cookies, but you can use just fine shred as well.
  • Fine shred coconut – unsweetened finely shredded coconut is what makes up the bulk of these cookies. It takes the place of oats from the classic recipe, and it’s what makes these cookies grain-free and paleo. However, feel free to use the optional oats instead. Or you can use a mixture of both if you’d like!
  • Oats – if you don’t use the coconut flakes for grain-free cookies, use rolled oats, and be sure to look for a gluten-free label if you’re gluten-free. We love Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats for these cookies.
  • Chocolate chunks – for the chocolate chunks you can roughly chop up a chocolate bar. Or I’ve been using the chocolate chunks from Enjoy Life and it’s what you see pictured below. Be sure to check the labels on whatever you choose to use for chocolate if you have dietary concerns. Not all chocolate is dairy-free, nut-free, or vegan.
  • Nut butter or chopped nuts – These are entirely optional, and honestly most times I leave them out. But once in a while we really enjoy adding a few chopped roasted pecans, walnuts, or cashews. Also, any kind of nut butter is delicious in these cookies, but my favorites are cashew butter followed by almond butter. I have tried peanut butter in these, but the flavor overwhelms the caramel in my opinion. That’s why we choose to go nut-free with these cookies most of the time – more caramel flavor!

questions & substitutions

  1. What can I use if I’m allergic to coconut? You can make this recipe just like a classic no-bake cookie recipe using the milk of your choice, butter, and brown sugar. Then use the oats listed as an option in the recipe in place of the coconut flakes. That way there’s no coconut at all!
  2. Can I use a different kind of milk? Yes for sure, I know that regular milk and almond milk work.
  3. What if I don’t like coconut? I would follow the instructions for how to make this if you’re allergic to coconut, (see above). But I would recommend using coconut sugar if you’re not allergic because it gives the best caramel flavor to these cookies. These do taste like coconut as written. So if you’re not a fan, I would recommend using the milk of your choice, coconut sugar, butter subbed in for the coconut oil, and oats in place of the coconut flakes.

Let’s make this recipe step by step

The caramel simmered down in the pan with the coconut and chocolate chunks near the white pan.

Steps 1 & 2: We’re going to start by measuring out all the ingredients.

Next, we’ll boil the sugar, coconut oil, and coconut milk together to form a caramel base.

The coconut mixed into the caramel mixture with the chocolate chunks sitting on top.

Steps 3 & 4: Once the caramel mixture has boiled for 2 minutes, add the coconut flakes or rolled oats. Mix to combine over low heat and allow the caramel to absorb.

Finally, add the chocolate chunks and mix just to combine. You don’t want to over mix or the chocolate chunks won’t remain separate. Then portion the cookies out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and allow them to set up for 3-4 hours.

Ways to serve these Caramel No Bake Cookies

Storing leftovers

  • To store – place any leftover no-bake cookies into an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to 1 week. The cookies will get progressively drier over time, especially if you use oats rather than coconut flakes.
  • Make ahead – these cookies keep perfectly for at least 1 day, sometimes 2 days. You can also freeze these ahead of time and defrost before serving.
  • To freeze – place the cookies into an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Defrost on the counter or in the fridge before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • These cookies take longer to set up than the classic no-bakes at around 3-4 hours. But you don’t have to wait, dive right in while they’re warm and gooey.
  • These cookies are made with healthier ingredients and coconut sugar as a natural sweetener. But I just want to clarify that doesn’t make them ‘healthy’, they’re still a very sweet treat. So if you’re looking for something with less sugar I would recommend my Chunky Monkey Nice Cream which is made from fruit with no added sugar.

And I sure hope you enjoy these Caramel No Bake Cookies. If you do get a chance to make them, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. I always love hearing from you here!

Caramel No Bake Cookies


5 from 7 votes
Author: Kari Peters
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield: 15 cookies
Course: Dessert

INGREDIENTS  

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk - (from the can)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut - or omit the coconut and use 3 cups rolled oats (GF)
  • 1 cup unsweetened big flake coconut
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chunks - or chocolate chips, I use Enjoy Life
  • Optional: 1/2 cup almond or cashew butter

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • In a large saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes until the caramel thickens. Stir occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking.
  • Remove the caramel from the heat and add the vanilla, sea salt, and coconut or oats. Stir to combine. If you're using the almond or cashew butter, mix it in thoroughly.
  • Finally, add the chocolate chunks and combine, stirring as little as possible to keep the chunks intact.
  • Portion the cookies on a parchment-lined or non-stick baking sheet and let cool.
  • This version of no-bakes takes a full 3-4 hours to fully set up, but you don't have to wait that long because they're really good warm, and gooey. If you use oats in place of the coconut they will set up faster like classic no bake cookies.
Bonus StepIf you made this recipe, please leave a rating/comment. Ratings really help us continue to bring you high-quality free recipes. Rate This Recipe!

NOTES

To keep this recipe 100% dairy-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly check the label on your choice of chocolate. 
The nutrition facts were calculated using the grain-free coconut flake version. There are fewer calories and less fat if you use the rolled oats which you can see reflected in my Healthy No Bake Cookie recipe.
Category: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Coconut Sugar No Bake Cookies, No Bake Caramel Cookies

nutrition facts

Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @get.inspired.everyday on Instagram or hashtag #getinspiredeveryday

This post was originally published on October 25, 2013 and was updated in 2021 with more information, nutritional facts, and new photos.

58 thoughts on “Caramel No Bake Cookies”

  1. 5 stars
    Hi there Kari~First off, big huge kudos AND thanks for the delicious recipe! I’ve made a version with oats and coconut, but never all coconut and with the coconut milk and oil. My question is if you used natural, unsweetened coconut? it looks like it in the photos of the two bags of coconut, but cannot quite read the label….it almost looks like I can see where it says”ingredients” and there seems to be just one word, which I assume is “coconut”? Thanks, in advance~ Samantha in AZ

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed these cookies, and yes it’s unsweetened coconut milk. It never occurred to me to list that in the recipe because they don’t sell anything other than unsweetened coconut milk here!

      Reply
    • Yes these are gluten free, as long as each of your ingredients is gluten free/processed in a gluten free facility. Definitely look out for the chocolate, I make mine with the Enjoy Life brand which is gluten free. Just be sure the brands you use are actually gluten free, all these ingredients should be gluten free, but if you have a severe gluten allergy/celiacs you need to make sure of each of your ingredients. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions!

      Reply
  2. These look amazing but am I missing something? Where’s the caramel in the ingredients? Is it a mixture of the coconut sugar, oil, and milk?

    1½ cups coconut sugar
    ½ cup coconut oil
    ½ cup coconut milk, (from the can)
    2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
    ¼ Teaspoon sea salt
    2½ cups finely shredded coconut
    1 cup big flake coconut
    ⅔ cup dark chocolate chunks or Enjoy Life chocolate chips (I used 80% dark chocolate)
    Optional: ½ cup almond or cashew butter

    Reply
    • You’re definitely not missing anything, the caramel flavor comes from boiling together the coconut sugar, coconut oil, and milk – coconut sugar has a distinct caramel taste to it. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and be sure to let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Thanks Kari, sounds great will definitely try it soon. I’m always looking for no bake recipesand this one has both my favs chocolate and coconut 🙂

    Reply
    • I think it would work with canned coconut cream instead, but I might reduce the coconut oil by 1-2 Tablespoons because of the increased fat content of the coconut cream. The nut butter is totally optional as just a variation so you will definitely be fine without it. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and be sure to let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions!

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made these about three times now, and they are amazing!
    I made two batches for an Easter party I’m attending, and I hope everyone feels the same way. Thanks for this awesome recipe! (:

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed them, I hope they’re a hit at your Easter party too, they’ve always been a hit when I take them to any get together so I think you’ll be fine! 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.