These homemade caramel apples are made with just 3 simple ingredients and can be made extra special with toppings. The combination of crisp, juicy apples and sweet, chewy caramel makes them the perfect autumn and Halloween treat.

Six caramel apples on a live edge wooden board.

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Only 3 ingredients – All you need are apples, caramel candies, and milk or cream. These caramel apples are delicious as is, but they are even better with a few extra toppings.
  • No candy thermometer needed – Making caramel usually requires a candy thermometer. However, this shortcut recipe uses caramel candies to make things easy.
  • Great for kids to help make – This is an excellent and fun recipe for your kids to help out with, especially the unwrapping all the candy part. Little fingers are great for that. Adult supervision is needed with the process of melting and dipping the apples in the hot caramel, but once that is done, the kids can have fun decorating their own apples.

A caramel apple dipped in coconut on a quartz coaster.

How to make caramel apples:

Preparing the apples:

Unwaxed apples are best. You can find unwaxed apples at your local farmer’s market or PYO apple orchards. To wash them, simply use a damp paper towel to wipe the apples clean and then wipe them dry.

If you are using store-bought apples, soak them in a pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and wipe them completely dry with a paper towel. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to cool the apples.

Before you start to prepare the caramel, remove the stems from the apples, insert the candy stick into the center of the apples, line your baking tray with a greased liner, and have all your toppings ready if using.

Melting the caramel:

Stovetop method – Melt the caramel candies with 2 tablespoons of cream or milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until completely melted and no lumps remain.

Microwave method – Place the candies and cream or milk in a microwave-safe bowl, heat in 30-second increments, stirring in between until completely melted. This will take about 2-3 minutes in total.

A picture collage of how to make caramel apples.

Dipping the apples:

Tilt the pot or bowl if it’s not deep enough to dip each apple and rotate it at an angle until it’s coated all around. Hold the apple upright and allow the excess caramel to drip off for a few seconds, then scrape the bottom of the apple against the edge of the bowl or pot. Work quickly, as the caramel cools down and re-thickens fast. Reheat the caramel as needed.

Toppings:

Immediately roll the caramel-dipped apples in additional toppings if using. Then transfer the apples onto a baking sheet lined with a lightly greased silicone mat or wax paper. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes for the caramel to set. Some suggested toppings are sprinkles, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut, crushed Oreo cookies, toffee bits, and other small candies. A caramel apple cut in half with four whole caramel apples behind on a wooden tray.

Best types of apples to use:

Select firm and crisp apples. You can use a sweet or tart variety. I personally prefer a tart variety like Crispins or Granny Smith to balance the sweetness of the caramel.

Best type of caramel to use:

I recommend using Kraft original caramels or Werther’s chewy caramels for the best results and best taste. Do not use Werther’s soft caramels – I heard they don’t set as well.

How to store:

Place the caramel apples on a plate and tent in saran wrap or place them in a tall enough container with a lid. Store in the fridge for up to a week. You can also individually wrap them in cellophane if you plan on gifting them.

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Caramel Apples {Just 3 Ingredients}


  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: makes 6 caramel apples

Description

These homemade caramel apples are made with just 3 simple ingredients and can be made extra special with toppings.


Ingredients

  • 6 apples, unwaxed and completely dry (*see notes below)
  • 6 candy sticks
  • 14 oz/400g chewy caramel candies
  • 2 tbsp cream, milk, or water
  • toppings such as sprinkles, chopped nuts, and candy bits (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove the stems from the apples and insert the candy sticks into the center. Line your baking tray with a silicone baking mat or wax paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Have all your toppings ready if using.
  2. Unwrap caramels into a small saucepan, add the cream, milk or water. Place on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until completely melted and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). **See notes for microwave method.
  3. Tilt the pot or bowl if it’s not deep enough to dip each apple and rotate it at an angle until it’s coated all around. Hold the apple upright and allow the excess caramel to drip off for a few seconds, then scrape the bottom of the apple against the edge of the bowl or pot. Work quickly, as the caramel cools down and re-thickens fast. Reheat as needed.
  4. Immediately roll the caramel-dipped apples in additional toppings if using. Then transfer the apples onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes for the caramel to set. 

Notes

*You can find unwaxed apples at your local farmer’s market or PYO apple orchards. To wash them, simply use a damp paper towel to wipe the apples clean and then wipe them dry. If you are using store-bought apples, soak them in a pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and wipe them completely dry with a paper towel. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to cool the apples.

 

**Microwave method – Place the candies and cream or milk in a microwave-safe bowl, heat in 30-second increments, stirring in between until completely melted. This will take about 2-3 minutes in total.

Best types of apples to use:

Select firm and crisp apples. You can use a sweet or tart variety. I personally prefer a tart variety like Crispins or Granny Smith to balance the sweetness of the caramel.

Best type of caramel to use:

I recommend using Kraft original caramels or Werther’s chewy caramels for the best results and best taste. Do not use Werther’s soft caramels – I heard they don’t set as well.

How to store:

Place the caramel apples on a plate and tent in saran wrap or place them in a tall enough container with a lid. Store in the fridge for up to a week. You can also individually wrap them in cellophane if you plan on gifting them.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: caramel apple recipe, easy caramel apples, Kraft caramel apples

Recipe very slightly adapted from Peter’s Food Adventures.

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