Vegan Caramel Brownies (No Bake, Gluten Free)

The ultimate no bake vegan caramel brownies. This easy recipe is flourless, gluten-free and made with a walnut brownie base. The perfect fudgey gooey healthy snack.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
4.66 from 29 votes
close up of salted caramel brownies with chocolate and pecans.

I first shared the recipe for these vegan caramel brownies back in 2017 (It was my first ever YouTube video – cringe!). I’ve since made these salted caramel brownies countless times over the years and have refined and tweaked the recipe a little. I think they will always be my go-to raw vegan brownie recipe. They’re a variation of my salted caramel brownie bites.

Here’s why I think you’ll love these no bake brownies:

  • Easy to make
  • No baking required
  • Made using wholesome ingredients like dates and nuts
  • Gluten-free
  • Decadent and delicious
 

vegan caramel brownies with pecans on top.

Ingredients overview

  • Walnuts: These make up the base of the no bake brownies. Using nuts in place of flour or oats helps to keep these brownies gluten-free. You can also use pecans in place of walnuts if preferred. 
  • Cacao powder: Depending on your taste, you can either use raw cacao powder which is slightly bitter, or Dutch processed cocoa which has a deep chocolatey flavour. Either is fine in this recipe as we’re not baking these brownies. When baked the difference in acidity level between raw and Dutch processed can potentially change the final results.
  • Sea salt: An absolute must for any chocolate or caramel recipe. Sea salt helps to balance out the sweetness of the caramel as well as enhancing the chocolate flavour.
  • Medjool dates: These dates naturally taste like caramel so are the perfect ingredient for making healthy caramel brownies. You can swap these out for another variety however, if your dates are a little on the harder side, soak them in a little warm water for an hour before using them.
  • Cashew butter: As well as helping to bind the ingredients for the raw brownie base, cashew butter is used for the caramel layer. 
  • Pure maple syrup: This is used in the caramel layer for added sweetness.
  • Coconut milk: This adds creaminess to the caramel as well as helping it to set as full fat coconut milk solidifies when chilled.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla adds flavour as well as enhancing the sweetness and flavours of the other ingredients. 
  • Chocolate: I like to use 85% dark chocolate seeing as these vegan brownies are already quite sweet. 
  • Pecans: These are added on top of the brownies for crunch.
 

ingredients for vegan caramel brownies.

How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

Step 1: Making the raw vegan brownie base

Start by adding the dry ingredients to the food processor (walnuts, cacao powder and salt) and blitz until they form a light crumb consistency. Add the dates and cashew butter blend further for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to stick together to form a dough. Line an 8×8″ cake tin with parchment paper and press the brownie dough evenly into the base of the pan.

Step 2: Making the homemade caramel

For the caramel, add all the ingredients to your high speed blender and blitz until smooth and creamy without any lumps. Use a spatula to evenly spread the date caramel over the brownie base (you can use all or just part of the caramel mixture if you prefer). Set aside in the fridge to chill.

Step 3: Making the chocolate topping

Melt the chocolate and cashew butter and stir well. Pour the chocolate on top of the caramel brownies and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Arrange the pecans on top of the chocolate while melted to ensure that they stick to it. Sit the brownies into the freezer for about 15 minutes to set.

Lastly, sprinkle with some sea salt for garnish and cut the brownies into 16 portions using a sharp knife.

How to cut brownies with caramel in the middle

I’ve definitely had some messy looking slices when it comes to brownies that have caramel in the middle. This usually happens because the chocolate on top is thicker (and harder) and therefor the force of pushing the knife through can cause the caramel to ooze out from underneath. The best ways to avoid this happening include:

  • Cut brownies straight from the freezer: The key to getting neat and clean cuts is down to temperature. So cut your brownies once the chocolate layer has set and the caramel is still frozen underneath.
  • Use a very sharp knife: I can’t stress this point enough, a blunt knife will do you no favours on presentation when slicing these brownies!
  • Heat up your knife: Fill a cup with boiling water and dip the knife in between each cut. Use some paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to wipe the knife dry before slicing into the brownies.
  • Mark out your cuts on the chocolate: Carefully mark out your cuts by gently pressing the knife into the chocolate layer only. Then come along and slowly press the knife through caramel and brownies layers, using your weight to lean on the knife and cut through them.
 

Substitutions 

  • Cashew butter: To keep these vegan brownies cashew-free, you can swap out the cashew butter for almond butter, peanut butter, hazelnut butter or tahini.
  • Walnuts: You can replace these with pecans if preferred.
  • Maple syrup: This can be substituted with agave syrup.
 

Storage instructions

Store these salted caramel walnut brownies in the fridge in order to keep them fresh as long as possible. Place them in an airtight container or wrap well and they will keep for up to a week. 

Freezing instructions

You can freeze any leftover brownies as defrost them as needed. Make sure they are wrapped well or in an airtight container and freeze for up to a couple of months. Allow at least an hour to defrost them before serving. 

chocolate salted caramel brownies on a metal tray.

Related recipes

More no-bake vegan brownie recipes

 

More baked vegan brownie recipes

 
*This recipe was originally published here on October 10th, 2019 and prior to that on YouTube on October 8th, 2017. The recipe has since been improved and last updated on September 28th, 2021.
close up of salted caramel brownies with chocolate and pecans.

Vegan Caramel Brownies (No Bake, Gluten Free)

4.66 from 29 votes
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The best no bake vegan caramel brownies. This easy recipe is flourless, gluten-free and made with a walnut brownie base.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 16

INGREDIENTS

Brownie

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 12 medjool dates pitted
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter

Caramel

  • 10 medjool dates pitted
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • cup cashew butter
  • 1 cup chilled canned coconut milk use only the thick part from the top of the can
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut oil solid
  • ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt

Topping

  • 6.3 oz vegan-friendly chocolate
  • 3 tbsp cashew butter
  • 16 pecans
  • flaky sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Brownie

  • Add the walnuts, cacao powder and salt to your food processor and blitz until they form a light crumb consistency. Add the dates and cashew butter blend further for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to stick together to form a dough.
  • Line an 8x8" cake tin with parchment paper and press the brownie dough evenly into the base of the pan.

Caramel

  • For the caramel, add all the ingredients to your high speed blender and blitz until smooth and creamy without any lumps. Use a spatula to evenly spread the caramel over the brownie base (you can use all or just part of the caramel mixture if you prefer). Set aside in the fridge to chill.

Topping

  • Melt the chocolate and cashew butter and stir well. Pour the chocolate on top of the caramel brownies and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Arrange the pecans on top of the chocolate while melted to ensure that they stick to it. Sit the brownies into the freezer for about 15 minutes to set.
  • Lastly, sprinkle with some sea salt for garnish and cut the brownies into 16 portions using a sharp knife.

RECIPE NOTES

 

Substitutions 

  • Cashew butter: To keep these vegan brownies cashew-free, you can swap out the cashew butter for almond butter, peanut butter, hazelnut butter or tahini.
  • Walnuts: You can replace these with pecans if preferred.
  • Maple syrup: This can be substituted with agave syrup.
 

Storage instructions

Store these salted caramel walnut brownies in the fridge in order to keep them fresh as long as possible. Place them in an airtight container or wrap well and they will keep for up to a week. 

 

Freezing instructions

You can freeze any leftover brownies as defrost them as needed. Make sure they are wrapped well or in an airtight container and freeze for up to a couple of months. Allow at least an hour to defrost them before serving. 

NUTRITION

Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 439mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 3mg
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2 thoughts on "Vegan Caramel Brownies (No Bake, Gluten Free)"

  1. 5 stars
    I actually cannot compliment these enough! They go perfectly with a cup of tea, they’re very filling too which helped me make them last a couple days. The caramel in the middle is just mouth watering!