Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Incredible Edible Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Can we go ahead and just agree that one of God’s greatest masterpieces was the salted caramel flavor combination. Oh. my. goodness. Crystal clear blue waters and sunsets? Who needs em’, but if I see the words “Salted Caramel” on any food item I immediately have to have a bite of whatever it is or I will die a slow painful unmerciful death. Okay fine more like I’ll throw a tantrum until I get a bite and then I’ll savor every last second of the flavor and hope it lingers and saturates every single taste bud. I could write poetry about salted caramel and the beauty it beholds. Or I could just capture it in one single word. Yum.

These Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites are seriously the way to go. They are quick, easy, and decadent! I brought these in to work and they were a huge hit. I have this thing where I immediately have to get rid of all blog food otherwise I will eat it all. This means that my awesome co-workers get to be my taste test subjects. It’s actually a lot of fun to see what they think because there is such a variety of eaters in the office. There are the “We eat normal but relatively healthy” eaters, the “Foodies”, the “More processed and unhealthy the better” and lo and behold, there are actually two Paleans! Every aspect of the food eater spectrum we have here in the office so I like to see what both sides think. It’s like asking the Jedi’s and the Storm Troopers to sample food and give you feedback. Yes it is. Don’t argue with my Star Wars reference.

So how was your weekend?! I ran my 4th Half-Marathon of the year yesterday! It was such a great run you guys. I had some friends from high school running it with me, Marin, Meghan and Laura (it was Laura’s first Half and she did great!) and then my awesome and hilarious running buddy Bree. It was this whole huge festive event. Even my parents made it out! Bree and I completed the Triple Crown series this year which is where you run three local San Diego Half-Marathons and then at the end you get a special Triple Crown medal. 39.3 miles of gorgeous San Diego. This was probably my favorite and best run ever. There was no time PR or anything fancy like that, I was just properly fueled, had a great running mix in my iPhone that got me pumped, and I was just happy to be out there running with my friends in the city I love. Normally after a Half-Marathon I tell myself that I’m never running again. This time I felt I could have ran at least 5 more miles. I felt FANTASTIC! It also helped that the weather was unseasonably cool for late August. Oh my gosh it’s late August?! EEK! This year has flown by! This means two things, one my birthday is next month, and two it’s almost time for PUMPKIN FLAVORED EVERYTHING!!!! Until then, just make these Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites to hold you over.
Cheesecake bite3

Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites
*Makes 24 servings

For the crust:
1 heaping cup raw pecans
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup grade B
a few pinches of pink himalayan salt

For the filling:
1 heaping cup raw cashews (soaked at least for 4 hours, overnight is better)
1/2 cup raw zucchini, peeled and diced
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk, full fat, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, grade B
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
The juice of one medium lemon

For the caramel:
1/2 cup coconut milk, full fat, room temperature
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
4 tablespoons grass-fed butter (or ghee)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
few pinches of pink himalayan salt

1. Prepare the crust by placing the pecans in a food processor and grind them into fine meal. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process again until well combined. Line the bottom of a mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the liners. Place the pan in the freezer to set, while you prepare the filling.

2. In a high-powered blender, process the raw cashews until they are blended. Add in the zucchini, coconut oil, coconut milk,
maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and lemon juice. For the lemon juice go by taste as not to overdo it with lemon flavor. I started by juicing half of the lemon, mixing and tasting, and adding more. Add as needed to your preference. Then blend again until a super smooth and creamy batter is formed. If your batter is too thick try adding a little more almond milk or coconut water until the desired smooth creamy batter consistency is reached.

3. Pour the cheesecake batter into a decorating bag or ziplock bag, cut a hole in the corner and then pour the filling on top of the crust almost to the top, leaving some room for the caramel. Allow to set in the freezer for at least an hour. While the filling is setting go ahead and make your caramel.

4. To make the caramel, combine coconut sugar, coconut milk, and butter or ghee in a medium sized heavy-bottomed saucepan (2.5qt./2.3L). Over low heat, whisk gently in one direction so the butter doesn’t separate, until the butter has melted, the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is combined. Then turn the heat to medium until it reaches a soft boil. Add vanilla extract, and salt and whisk until combined. Then bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk gently until the mixture becomes a smooth liquid again. Place back over heat and boil for an additional minute to thicken further. Remove from heat, whisk until mixture becomes smooth liquid again. Repeat a third time for even thicker caramel. The caramel will continue to thicken as it cools. Refrigerate or freeze to cool and thicken completely.

5. Once your cheesecake bites are hardened, fill a decorating bag or a ziplock bag with the caramel and cut off the tip. Squeeze a dollop of caramel on the top of eat cheesecake bite and use the flat side of a spoon to evenly spread over the top. Once the caramel has set sprinkle pink himalayan salt on the tops. Store cheesecake bites in the freezer in between eating sessions and remove about 15 minutes or so before serving so they can thaw a bit. Enjoy!

Cheesecake bite2

So how were your little bites of Heaven?! Speaking of, I LOVE to hear all the feedback you guys give me about the recipes you try. I also like to help you guys problem solve, so if something doesn’t turn out, let’s figure it out! New slogan. Yes. Most of these recipes I’ve made numerous times, so feel free to ask, and if you messed up, trust me, I probably did it too at some point. I really just want you guys to have the best experience possible making healthy food. I don’t want you to get frustrated and have a stage 3 meltdown like I normally do. It’s not pretty people.

So until next week, enjoy! Enjoy your friends, your loves, your sport, your life, your salted caramel, whatever you enjoy…just enjoy it. Whoa, salted caramel makes me say deep things. Oh and by the way I would just like to point out for the record that this is the second non-chocolate recipe in a row! I enjoy you though my Weirdos! (Non-Chocolate lovers) I don’t understand you, but I enjoy you. I also enjoy that next week’s recipe has chocolate in it. Boo-ya. Did I just boo-ya? I’m hanging up now.
Cheesecake bite4

Vanessa Barajas
Vanessa Barajas


  1. Great recipe! Delish! I can see why you left the making of the caramel sauce til last. After tasting it, who would bother with the rest? Just make the sauce and eat it straight out of the saucepan. Yum! Thanks for sharing your genius.

  2. Hi, you might want to remove ghee on your list of ingredients. I had butter, but used ghee because I had a jar I had just opened. Bad choice… the caramel separated and I have hardened sugar stuck to everything

    • Yikes. I have actually used ghee several times for the caramel. I have found that both butter and ghee will break if the temperature of the mixture rises too fast. I will update the recipe right now so hopefully it works better next time! Sorry about that, don’t give up!

  3. Maybe so, though today I used butter instead and it seemed to boil faster. It turned out great though…yummy. I’m glad you said you were going to update it because as I made it today, the instructions didn’t read the way I remembered from yesterday…I thought I was losing it

  4. So I made this yesterday, but my caramel crystalized! It was good though, I made two batches but both had the same problem! What did I do wrong? Thanks!

    • Crystallized?! Like it was dry and rocky? Can you explain a bit more? Do you live in a very humid area? So weird, I’ve never heard of that! I think the most important thing with this recipe is just to make sure that you don’t raise the temp to fast. I get my mixture to a soft boil on low and then turn it up to medium-high (about 5). Really make sure that you time the mixture once it gets to a hard boil. I’ve made this recipe at least 20 times with no problems. Occasionally my butter will break, but usually only when I’m trying to rush or not paying attention. Doh!

      • It was still liquidy but it had crystalized grains in it. I do live in a very humid place so maybe that was it? I followed the directions as well as I could but for some reason it took about 25 minutes to get to a soft boil. Maybe I cooked it too long? Thanks again for your help!

      • Humidity could definitely be a factor. I usually start on low heat at about a 2, it takes about 5-7 minutes to get to a soft boil then I turn it up to 5/6 for the high boil for 1 minute. It could be because it cooked too long too. So crazy. When you make maple sugar, you start with maple syrup in a liquid state and then you literally cook it until it crystallizes. This could totally be what happened! You could maybe try honey in place of the coconut sugar too, maybe 1/3 cup, and try it again. Honey tends to boil pretty quickly. It will rise quickly in the pot so just don’t pull a me and stop paying attention. Haha.

      • Thanks so much for your help! I’ll try again, and make some of your suggested changes! 😀

    • Hi Izzie….this is a common problem actually so don’t feel bad. Crystallization occurs when your “sugar”, or any sweetener that has a crystalline structure (palm sugar) is not completely dissolved before boiling to soft or hard ball stage. All sugar crystals need to be dissolved before boiling so it doesn’t revert back to it’s original crystalline state. Keep stirring on low heat until all “sugar” is dissolved (remembering to also dissolve anything on the inside sides of the saucepanj), and only then do you raise the heat to medium or medium high for soft or hard ball stage.

      This applies to ALL crystallined structured sweeteners (sucrose, palm sugar, jaggery, etc) when making caramel sauces, fudge, etc. I often place a lid (steams the side of the pot)and simmer very gently stirring often until everything is dissolved. Then remove cover and reduce to the stage I am seeking.

      Humidity only affects reduction. in other words, you would be hard pressed to reduce to hard ball or crack stage on a muggy day as this is a result of evaporation…which is difficult on a muggy day.


  5. Can the butter be replaced with coconut oil and still turn out? Thanks!

  6. […] Caramel Cheesecake Bites found here, SERIOUSLY! Oh my god, I need these […]

  7. This recipe sounds great but in a true paleo diet no salt no sugar no dairy, but we do live in 2014 so I guess it’s ok to deviate a little. I’m gonna try it. Thanx TW

    • I’ve never heard of a paleo diet where you can’t use salt and there isn’t any dairy in this recipe because ghee is clarified butter. And alternative natural sugars are usually ok in small amounts unless you are trying to do Whole 30.

    • Technically trying to hack a salted caramel cheesecake bite isn’t “paleo” either lol! But, it’s a healthy version of a treat, a special occasion food, not to be consumed daily or for weight loss, cutting or ketosis :) make them, enjoy them, and don’t sweat the classification.

  8. […] caramel toffee, salted caramel pieces, caramel chocolate fudge… the list is endless. Here’s a recipe that will knock your socks off (it even follows the new Paleo […]

  9. I am allergic to pecans, but would love to try these. Can you recommend a different nut to use instead? Generally I use cashews, but didn’t know if that would be too much cashew (since they are already in a another layer). Thanks!

    • Oh sorry to hear about your pecan allergy, but so happy to hear you can still eat nuts! Walnuts would make a great sub! Even like a walnut almond mix might be good. Maybe 1/2 a cup of each. Let me know how it goes! :)

  10. peakfitnessaustin Says: September 26, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Reblogged this on Peak Fitness Austin and commented:
    This no bake salted caramel cheesecake bites recipe by Cleaneatingwithadirtymind had me salivating – and guess what? .. it is made with all wholesome ingredients that are actually good for you! I know what treat I’m making this weekend :)

  11. […] Date Rolls (AIP Recipe) Decadent Chocolate Cake (Yeah, it’s really Paleo!) Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites (Can’t wait to try these!) Shortbread Cookie Bars Blueberry Bliss […]

  12. Just a few comments:
    – for anyone living in the UK/somewhere equally unexotic – the ingredients are hard to find and very expensive.
    – for anyone who does not follow the paleo diet, this is nothing like cheesecake. Only cheesecake is really like cheesecake. It tastes of what it is, nuts, coconut and a bit of sweetish stuff like maple syrup. Just don’t think these ingredients will magically replace your mars bar or after dinner pudding in terms of taste!

  13. Kim Campbell Says: October 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

    These look absolutely delicious!! I just wonder if there is an alternative for the lemon juice. I have a severe citrus allergy but am able to use pineapple. Do you think that would work? Or do you have another suggestion? :-)

    • Hey! Oh sorry to hear about your citrus allergy. I think pineapple would probably work just fine, I would maybe cut back a little on the coconut sugar or maple syrup because pineapple is so sweet. The lemon just gives it that tart cheesecakey like flavor. Can you use extracts at all? A lemon extract may work. If you don’t have any dairy issues you could probably get away with using some sour cream. Also maybe like a natural lemonade powder may work, think like Crystal Light but without all the chemicals and Splenda. I don’t know if you can use that either though with your allergy. :) Let me know how it goes!

      • Kim Campbell Says: October 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

        Thank you so much! I am planning to make these very soon and I will for sure let you know :-)

  14. […] Hoping to make these: […]

  15. Does the zucchini just have to be steamed?

  16. Almond milk in place of coconut??

  17. Just made this cheesecake and poured all the sauce on top so it sets as a layer of the cheesecake! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  18. […] 5. Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites via Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind […]

  19. […]  recipe here […]

  20. Nicole Darling Says: November 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I made this and got so many compliments. In wondering if there is any way to make it into a full pie size though? Would it be too hard to thaw and unthaw?

    • You could totally make it into a full size! I would use an 8″ springform pan. Press the crust into the bottom and then just pour the batter on top instead of into the mini cups. You may need to thaw for a little longer but it will be fine, then just cut and serve! :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  21. Hi There,
    for some reason my caramel is still a little runny. It’s been in the freezer for a good few hours. Any tips to rectify this? :-S

  22. […] Paleo Nachttisch nicht auf meinen eigenen Mist gewachsen ist. Ich habe mich von einem Eintrag auf inspirieren lassen und das Originalrezept nur ganz leicht verändert. Ich will auch gar nicht lange […]

  23. my caramel didn’t harden enough either. Is coconut palm sugar different than just coconut sugar? That was the only difference. My caramel is darker too, possibly because my coconut sugar is a brownish color. After being in the frig for a few hrs, and seeing your comment to the woman about hers being thin, i put it back on the stove. We’ll see what happens. Looking forward to trying these when completed though. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey there! Coconut sugar and coconut palm sugar are the same thing. I think what’s happening is that the caramel isn’t being boiled down long enough so it stays thin in consistency. I will update the recipe to reflect this. Sorry you are having trouble too! I also really want to do a video for the caramel. I’ve made it so many times without issue. The issue that I usually get is my butter separates because the temperature changed too rapidly. I also really like to use maple sugar in my caramel too, have you ever used maple sugar before? I like to use a combo of maple sugar and coconut sugar. :)

  24. […] Edible Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites from (how did I not think of that web address? […]

  25. […] Recept és fotók forrása: Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind […]

  26. […] Date Rolls (AIP Recipe) Decadent Chocolate Cake (Yeah, it’s really Paleo!) Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites (Can’t wait to try these!) Shortbread Cookie Bars Blueberry Bliss […]

  27. Tried these for a going away party for my paleo friend. ..didn’t like the crust texture on my trial run (too mushy) but baked the crust for 6 minutes at 350 on my second Try and liked them much better! Party is tomorrow. .hopefully they’re a big hit.

  28. […] Incredible Edible Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites … – Can we go ahead and just agree that one of God’s greatest masterpieces was the salted caramel flavor combination. Oh. my. goodness. Crystal clear blue waters and …… […]

  29. Love them :)

  30. What are we supposed to soak the cashews in? Water?

  31. Just fyi- they were awesome and delicious. I did not stray from the recipe used everything exactly as prescribed. My hats off to you and your great work.

  32. Ann-Marie Says: January 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Awesome recipe! I added a bit of almond extract to the cashew butter and it was very delish! Agree about all the comments re: the caramel…I had a hard time getting it onto the cheesecakes! I disagree with the above comment re: won’t replace your cheesecake or regular pudding. That is nonsense. These taste just as yummy as any cheesecake I have eaten and I am a HUGE fan of the cheesecake! Carry on…

    • Almond extract! What a fabulous idea! This year I’ve recently become obsessed with almond extract…and lemon. I’m a huge fan of extracts, you get so much flavor bang for your buck. There will be some cake recipes in my cookbook that use it, so I hope you try those as well! You’re a genius! I’m so happy to hear the recipe was such a success, thanks for commenting! :)

  33. Just made these and couldn’t even wait for the caramel to thicken…I had to try them! They are WONDERFUL! This definitely rates as one of my favorite paleo desserts EVER. My husband loves them too! I can’t wait to try them on the kids after school today.

  34. Everyone that I’ve shared these with has loved them. (I also have to get rid of blog food — especially these!) Somehow my caramel stays very hard even after thawing… but they are still heavenly! Re-blogging to my new site! Thank you!!

    • Yay! Kelly, so happy to hear everyone loved them! I have the same problem, I give them to my co-workers! That caramel can be finiky but all’s well that ends well I guess! 😉

  35. Both of my kids are allergic to cashews. Any replacement that would be as good?

    • Are they allergic to just cashews or all nuts in general. You could try almonds or macadamia nuts, something light colored without a huge flavor profile. I’ve never tried it with any other nut besides cashews, but almond would probably work best.

  36. This looks heavenly! Salted caramel is my favorite combo, as well.

  37. Hello! I am gathering the ingredients to make these and I see there’s raw zucchini and cashews in the mix, any suggestions on substitutes as I am allergic to raw nuts and raw veggies? Thanks!

    • You could definitely omit the zucchini, it just helps to make the batter creamier. Do you tolerate dairy? If so I would sub for a nice full-fat grass-fed yogurt. You could also try full-fat canned coconut milk. Let me know how it goes or if you need help figuring out amounts!

      • Thank you!!!! I have both yogurt and canned coconut milk, I’m going to play around with this recipe this weekend and let you know how it turns out!

  38. […] got this recipe from Vanessa over at Clean Eating With a Dirty Mind. (Go take a look at her photos. Mine don’t to these justice!) She has a couple other […]

  39. […] Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites […]

  40. […] salted caramel cheesecake bites are […]

  41. Kate Poulton Says: February 14, 2015 at 9:42 am

    judt made these OH MY GOD they are amazing really sweet when ive not had any sugar for 45 days lol x

  42. What could I do to make a nut free version of this? We are nut completely and dairy free for the most part.

  43. These tasted amazing!! My proportions were a bit off though. I had an extra 5 or so cupcakes that I could have made. I put the crust in 24 mini cupcake tins thinking they would be proportianate to the cheesecake and carmel but I could have made an extra 5…oh well, they still tasted great!

  44. Hi,
    These look divine, I gathered all the ingredients and I can wait to start. However I’m not a fan of coconut flavor, can I use hazelnut milk for the caramel instead?

    • In all honesty you can’t taste the coconut flavor at all in the caramel. I’ve never used hazelnut milk before, I’m sure it would work fine, maybe try using a little less since it’s thinner than coconut milk.

      • I tried it with the hazelnut milk, followed your advice and used less than a cup. it turned out amazing! The smell and taste of the caramel infused with hazelnut flavor was mouthwatering.
        This caramel is to die for !
        Thank you so much all the way from Saudi Arabia for sharing this divine recipe with us..

  45. […] Find the recipe at […]

  46. I bought everything to make these EXCEPT the cupcake liners.
    Will they stick if I soray the pan with coconut oil?

  47. These look absolutely amazing I can’t wait to try them!! I have a question for you. The desert I miss most is lemon raspberry cheesecake do you think I could just added lemon zest and extra lemon juice to the cheesecake filling and then put a homemade raspberry jam on top and it would be good?
    Thanks a bunch!
    PS so glad I discovered your blog I haven’t had desserts in two months, I worked in a bakery for a couple of years before I was diagnosed with my autoimmune disease and when I was diagnosed thought I could never have dessert again because how do you make dessert with no gluten, grains, dairy and very limited sugar? Because I sure didn’t know. So I’m glad you do and I love that your sharing all these treats! Thank you!!!

    • Hey Riley! Check out the Strawberry Cheesecake Jars recipe on my site. It’s just what you are looking for! Add more lemon and sub the strawberries for raspberries. Also in my book I will have a Key Lime Cheesecake version as well if you’re into that sort of thing. :) So happy you’ve found somewhere to get gluten and grain-free treats from!

  48. […] two of our dessert faves; salted caramel and cheesecake, these dessert bites are perfect for an after-dinner sugar hit. This recipe makes 24 servings. We wont eat the whole […]

  49. Destiny Says: June 2, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Hey! Is there any chance you’d know how many calories are in a singular serve?

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