This Low Carb Caramel Sauce has just 1g net carbs per serving and takes less than 15 minutes to make; you’ll want to drizzle it on everything!
Imagine sitting down to a decadent caramel brownie sundae. There’s a fudgy, rich chocolate brownie as the base. The brownie is topped with a generous scoop of velvety ice cream flecked with vanilla beans. Cascading down the ice cream is none other than this luscious Low Carb Caramel Sauce. A beautiful dollop of freshly whipped cream adorns the top. THIS IS KETO.
I’m not saying that keto is all about indulgences, because it’s not. It’s about quality fats, low carb produce, organic grass-fed meat and dairy. But sometimes a girl just wants to have her caramel brownie sundae and eat it too. And stay in ketosis.
I know the idea of low carb or sugar free caramel sounds a little silly because caramel is just burned sugar! However, with the fabulous sugar substitutes that are available on the market today, Low Carb Caramel Sauce isn’t as crazy as it first appears.
What is Sugar Free Caramel Made Of?
Regular caramel is made by caramelizing – that is, burning – regular sugar. To make caramel sauce, the burned sugar is combined with butter and cream, and sometimes other flavorings, such as vanilla and salt.
Sugar free caramel sounds like an oxymoron; how can we have caramel when caramel is inherently sugar?! That’s the magic of low carb and keto cooking, my friends. Sugar free caramel uses a sugar substitute, and of course keeps the butter and cream.
In my recipe for Low Carb Caramel Sauce, I use a combination of granulated erythritol (which caramelizes like sugar) and stevia glycerite for sweetness. I don’t consider this caramel to be truly sugar free because I include a touch of blackstrap molasses, which contains sugar. However, this small amount of blackstrap molasses adds depth of flavor instead of sweetness, and don’t add a ton of carbs. Additionally, the blackstrap molasses slightly improves the texture of sauce. However, if you want a sugar free caramel sauce with as few carbs as possible, you can omit the blackstrap molasses in my Low Carb Caramel Sauce.
Do Sugar Alcohols Count as Carbs on Keto?
In general, sugar alcohols have less of an impact on blood sugar because the gut doesn’t fully absorb them. Because of this, sugar alcohols are typically subtracted from total carbs (along with fiber) to determine net carbs. Sources of sugar alcohols include the following: xylitol, erythritol, glycerin, isomalt, sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol, and maltitol.
What is Stevia?
Stevia is a non-nutritive sugar substitute (non-nutritive meaning that it has almost zero calories) that tastes about 200 times as sweet as sugar. It is extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana, which is native to Brazil and Paraguay. Read more about stevia on Wikipedia, Medical News Today, and HealthLine.
Can Stevia Replace Sugar?
For the most part, stevia has a very intensely sweet flavor. However, it can also have a bitter aftertaste at high concentrations that some people can detect more easily than others.
Stevia can replace sugar to sweeten many different things, such as:
- Hot and cold drinks, such as coffee and tea
- Sprinkled on toast
Stevia is also a good choice for baking, but it requires a bit of finesse because it doesn’t act the same way sugar acts. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so not only will you have a sweeter flavor if you don’t compensate, but you also won’t have the bulk that sugar adds when baking. Additionally, stevia doesn’t brown the same way sugar does. Because of this, if you’re not familiar with baking with stevia, I recommend following a recipe as-written that has been tested if it calls for stevia.
Can You Caramelize Stevia?
No, stevia will not caramelize the way sugar does.
How Do You Make Caramel Sauce with Stevia?
Because stevia doesn’t caramelize, if you want to use it to sweeten sugar free or Low Carb Caramel Sauce, I recommend using stevia in combination with another sweetener, such as erythritol. This is why I used a stevia/erythritol blend to make my Low Carb Caramel Sauce recipe.
What is Erythritol?
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol with negligible calories and carbs, which is frequently used as an alternative sweetener to sugar. I talk more about what erythritol is in my post on Vanilla Bean Low Carb Cheesecake Frosting.
Does Erythritol Taste Like Sugar?
Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar. The issue with erythritol’s flavor is the fact that it can have a slightly cooling effect. The best way I can describe it is a menthol or peppermint-like effect.
How to Reduce the Cooling Effect of Erythritol:
Through a lot of experimentation, I’ve found that there are two ways that work fairly well to reduce the cooling effect that erythritol can have:
- When possible, use powdered erythritol instead of granulated, or dissolve erythritol in liquid.
- Instead of using only erythritol to sweeten a recipe, use a combination of erythritol and stevia. Erythritol cuts the bitterness of stevia, and stevia reduces the cooling effect of erythritol.
Does Erythritol Caramelize Like Sugar?
Yes, erythritol caramelizes and browns like sugar. This makes it a very good option to make Low Carb Caramel Sauce!
How to Use this Low Carb Caramel Sauce:
- On top of ice cream
- Drizzled on a low carb brownie
- As a dip for apple slices
- To flavor hot chocolate or to drizzle on top
- To sweeten low carb oatmeal
More Sugar Free Caramel Recipes:
- Sugar Free Cheesecake with Caramel
- Low Carb Turtle Recipe (Sugar Free Candy)
- Healthy Snickers Protein Bars (Low Carb)
Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic and #healthysweeteats on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith
Low Carb Caramel Sauce
- Add the butter and granulated erythritol to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then cook until it turns light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, swirling the saucepan occasionally.
- Add the cream, molasses, vanilla, cream of tartar, stevia glycerite, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then cook until the sauce is thickened slightly (it should coat the back of a wooden spoon), about 3 to 5 minutes. (Don’t overcook it, because it’ll thicken more as it cools and it will set into a thick caramel paste if refrigerated overnight.)
- Serve hot.
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