Caramel is sugary with a creamy texture that is versatile as a topping, sauce, candy, and beyond. Its creaminess is one of the primary reasons why many people wonder if it has dairy.
Is There Dairy in Caramel?
Generally, caramel has dairy. Below we discuss the type of dairy in homemade and store-bought caramels. We also provide examples of dairy-free caramel alternatives.
Homemade Caramel & Dairy
Homemade caramel commonly contains sugar, butter, heavy or whipping cream, and salt. Other ingredients may include corn syrup, brown sugar, water, and vanilla or vanilla extract.
Since caramel is typically made with both butter and cream, it has dairy. It is certainly a product that should be avoided by vegans and some vegetarians that avoid dairy.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients of some popular homemade caramel recipes for examples of dairy in caramel:
- Broma Bakery’s Homemade Caramel is made with sugar, unsalted butter, cream, and sea salt.
- Taste Better from Scratch Homemade Caramels have the ingredients of butter, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract.
- Bell Full’s Quick and Easy Caramel Sauce uses granulated sugar, water unsalted butter, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt.
- Bobby Flay’s Salted Caramel Sauce recipe includes granulated sugar, heavy cream, unsalted butter, and kosher salt.
- Taste of the Frontier Best Homemade Caramel recipe calls for the use of brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, butter, light corn syrup, and vanilla extract.
- No Frills Kitchen Chewy Salted Caramel is created with heavy cream, unsalted butter, sugar, and salt.
All homemade caramel recipes listed above contain dairy. In fact, all have at least two ingredients that are dairy products. You should expect most caramel recipes you come across to contain dairy similar to what you can see above.
Store-Bought Caramel & Dairy
Store-bought caramel commonly can be found as candies, syrups, sauces, or dips. Below are the ingredients for a selection of these products. All have at least one source of dairy, many with multiple sources. You should assume that any store-bought caramel has dairy.
Caramel Candies & Dairy
- Kraft Classic Caramels are made with corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, palm oil, whey (from milk), salt, artificial and natural flavors, and soy lecithin (emulsifier).
- Werther’s Original contain sugar, glucose syrup (from wheat or corn), cream, whey, butter, contains Less than 2% of sugar cane syrup, salt, soy lecithin, and artificial flavor.
- Goetze Original Caramel Creams have wheat flour, corn syrup, sugar, coconut oil, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, modified whey, skim milk, cream, mono & diglycerides, palm oil, corn starch, salt, natural & artificial flavor, soy lecithin.
- Howes Milk Caramels are produced with the ingredients of corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, whey, salt, artificial flavor.
Caramel Syrups + Sauces & Dairy
- Hershey’s Caramel Syrup has corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sweetened condensed skim milk (adds a negligible amount of fat) (skim milk and sugar), water, contains 2% or less of: disodium phosphate, sodium citrate, salt, artificial flavor, caramel color, xanthan gum, artificial color (yellow 6, yellow 5).
- Hershey’s Caramel Topping is made with high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sweetened condensed skim milk (skim milk and sugar), water, contains 2% or less of: modified cornstarch, disodium phosphate, natural and artificial flavor, sodium citrate, monoglycerides, salt, carrageenan, caramel color, artificial color (yellow 6, yellow 5).
- Smucker’s Simple Delight Caramel Topping: corn syrup, brown sugar, milk, butter (cream [from milk], salt), molasses, sodium citrate, vanilla extract, sea salt.
- Ghirardelli Premium Sea Salt Caramel Sauce is constructed with corn syrup, water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, heavy cream, sea salt, salt, natural flavor, pectin, disodium phosphate.
- Coronado Dulce de Leche Caramel Topping Syrup has goat milk, corn syrup, sugar, sodium bicarbonate and potassium sorbate (preservative).
Caramel Dip & Dairy
- Marzetti Caramel Dip is made with invert sugar, corn syrup, skim milk, palm oil, sugar, butter (cream, salt), modified corn starch, contains less than 2% of: disodium phosphate, potassium sorbate (preservative), salt, mono and diglycerides, artificial flavor, water.
- Kroger Caramel Apple Dip contains high fructose corn syrup, skim milk, corn syrup, palm oil, sugar, butter (milk, cream, salt), modified corn starch, disodium phosphate, potassium sorbate (preservative), TBHQ (preservative), salt, mono and diglycerides, artificial flavors.
- Litehouse Old Fashioned Caramel Dip has high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, hydrogenated coconut oil, sugar, skim milk powder, modified corn starch, butter, salt, natural and artificial flavor, monoglycerides, disodium phosphate, potassium sorbate (preservative), calcium disodium EDTA (added to protect quality).
Caramel Without Dairy
With the rise of dairy-free diets, there are now numerous recipes and products for caramel without dairy.
We won’t list out the recipes but a quick search will reveal all you need to make homemade dairy-free or vegan caramel.
Examples of store-bought caramel that is dairy-free include Mr Dewie’s, Hum Yum, Sweet Hazel & Co., and Walden Farms.