This easy Candy-Coated Caramel Apple recipe is one friends and family will be begging you to make again and again! A great way to use up Halloween candy too.
Fall is Caramel Apple season. They pop up in grocery stores around September and by December they are gone.
They are so easy to make at home! This Candy Coated Caramel Apple recipe includes a special twist you’ll want to make all year long.
Candy-Coated Caramel Apple recipe
Fresh, crisp apples coated with buttery homemade caramel are adorned with your favorite candy like sweet little jewels. They are dressed up and ready for a party anytime.
The addition of the candy coating makes them extra special. Any candy coating or nuts can be used!
It’s a fantastic way to use up leftover Halloween candy too.
Making Homemade Caramel
Caramel is one of those things people don’t realize can be made at home.
A simple combination of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt transform into a buttery, silky caramel.
Making the caramel is not difficult but takes some attention.
Monitoring the temperature is the important step. The homemade caramel must reach a temperature to be pliable enough for dipping without over or under cooking.
MUST HAVE EQUIPMENT
A trusty candy thermometer ensures the caramel turns out perfectly every time.
A traditional candy thermometer that clips to the side of a saucepan or an instant read both work.
What Type of Apples to Use in this Caramel Apple recipe
Granny Smith apples are the traditional choice for caramel apples. In my household they are not always the favorite variety.
Often the tartness is not accompanied with a depth of flavor making them a bit flat tasting.
I used a variety of red apples in addition to some Granny Smith and they all were delicious.
Honeycrisp Apples are a favorite. They have a wonderful tart and sweet flavor with a thinner peel so they are easy to bite into as well.
Caramel Apple recipe Ingredients
The ingredients in this Caramel Apple recipe are simple and easy to find.
For a detailed printable recipe refer to the recipe card at the end of the blog post.
- Unsalted Butter
- Light Brown Sugar
- Light Corn Syrup
- Kosher Salt
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Vanilla Extract
- Candy for rolling the apples (refer to the coating suggestions for ideas)
You’ll also need wooden popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks. Both should be available from craft stores or online.
Caramel Apple recipe Coating Ideas
Using different candy and nuts make pretty and exciting homemade caramel apples
The key is using smaller pieces to be sure they will adhere well to the homemade caramel coating.
Candy Coating Suggestions:
- Chopped bite-size Snickers bars
- Chopped bite-size Butterfinger bars
- M & M’s (regular or mini)
- Reese’s Pieces
- Candy Corn
- Chocolate covered Raisins (chopped)
- Chopped Nuts (chopped roasted salted peanuts are great)
It would be a great project for after Halloween too to use up some of the candy. Many candies can work for this.
How to Make Candy-Coated Caramel Apples – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Remove stems from apples and insert the stick into the top of the apple. NOTE: check that the apple is sturdy on the stick before beginning.
STEP 2: Put coatings in individual medium-size bowls (1 coating per bowl) with plenty of room for rolling the apple.
STEP 3: Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper sprayed with non-stick spray (for dipped apples to set).
Making the Caramel
STEP 4: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir together and allow to come to a boil.
STEP 5: Equip the pan with the candy thermometer (if it has an attachment to clip onto the saucepan rim).
STEP 6: Stir in the condensed milk. Allow to continue cooking until reaching 248 degrees (the ‘FIRM BALL’ stage).
STEP 7: Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla.
STEP 8: Holding an apple by the stick, insert the apple into the hot caramel; twist the apple to fully coat. Allow excess caramel to drip back into the pan.
PRO TIP: tipping the saucepan at a 45 degree angle may help to coat the apples faster.
Coating the Apples with Candy
STEP 9: Immediately place the caramel apple into one of the bowls of a coating candy or nuts. Rotate to to cover all desired surfaces of the apple.
STEP 10: Place the coated caramel apple onto the prepared baking sheet to set.
STEP 11: Repeat for all desired apples.
PRO TIP: if the caramel begins to set in the pan before all apples are coated, allow the pan of caramel to sit over low heat a few minutes to liquefy again.
How to Store Caramel Apples
Apples are best eaten right after making them.
They can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Eating the Caramel Apples
If refrigerated allow the caramel apples to sit 45-minutes to 1 hour at room temperature for the caramel to soften. NOTE: chilling causes the homemade caramel to be very hard.
The apples can be eaten on the stick or cut into wedges and served on a platter.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake – A Moist, Fudgy EASY Cake Recipe
- Best Halloween Recipes (all gluten-free)
- Caramel Apple Dip
- Witch Hat Halloween Cookies
- Candied Pecans
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Candy Coated Caramel Apples
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter
- 2 cups Light Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Light Corn Syrup
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 10 wooden popsicle sticks (or sturdy lollipop sticks)
- 10 Mixed Apples: Granny Smith and Red Apple variety
- Candy for rolling apples SUGGESTED OPTIONS: chopped roasted peanuts, candy corn, mini M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, chopped mini Snickers Bars, chopped mini Butterfinger bars, chopped chocolate covered raisins (2 cups per topping to allow ample to roll on the apple)
- Candy thermometer
- Remove the apple stems and insert the sticks into the tops of the apples. NOTE: Be sure the apple is sturdy on the stick.
- Add the candy and/or nuts to individual medium-size bowls to allow plenty of room to dip and roll the caramel apples.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray (for the dipped apples).
Making the Caramel
- In a large saucepan over medium heat combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir together and allow to come to a boil.
- Equip the pan with a candy thermometer.
- Stir in the condensed milk and allow the mixture to keep cooking until it the mixture reaches 248 degrees (the ‘firm ball’ stage). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Coating the Apples
- Holding an apple by the stick, inset the apple into the hot caramel and twirl the apple to fully coat.
- Hold apple above the saucepan allowing excess caramel to drip back into the pan. Note: tipping the saucepan at a 45 degree angle may assist quick coating of the apples as well.
- Immediately place the dipped apple into one of the candy or nut bowls, rotating the apple around to cover the surfaces desired.
- Place the coated apple on the lined baking sheet to harden.
- Repeat until all the apples are coated. TIP: if the caramel begin to set making dipping the apple difficult, allow the pan of caramel to sit over low heat for a few minutes to liquefy it again.
Storing and Eating Apples
- Ideally the apples would be eaten after making them however they may be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- When eating them out of the refrigerator, allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for the apples to warm up before eating (the caramel is very hard out of the refrigerator). The apples can be eat on the stick or cut into segments.
Originally published: October 25, 2015
After making this Caramel Apple recipe you’ll never buy them again!
Carol Bryant says
I always thought homemade caramel apples would be hard. You made this so simple to follow and I am generally not a good cook. I love that you put candy corns on the outside. I plan to try this.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
These are so fun! I love the one with the candy corn!
We had such a fun time making these as a family! Thanks for the great idea!
These were so fun to make! We made a big batch for a Fall festival we are attending this week.
Renee Butcher says
I have such a warm spot in my heart for caramel apples – they bring back some sweet memories of my childhood.
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
I was looking for a recipe like this, thank you for sharing!
I love candy coated apples! Great recipe- saving it for Halloween!
These are so fun! My kids had a blast picking out the candies to use and then dipping the apples into them.
Jessica Formicola says
We made these yesterday and the kids had so much fun making them! Thanks so much for sharing!
Such fun and cute treats! I usually just do the nuts version, but the candy ones would be an awesome way to use up all the Halloween treats that are sure to accumulate.