You'll love these caramel apples to the core!

October is almost here, which means caramel apple time! It took several botched tries before I figured out how to make the perfect caramel apple. It’s an apple dipped in caramel—easy, right? Wrong. Gravity is an enemy that makes making a beautiful caramel apple tricky. Here are some tips to make this unique, low-fat, and nutritious treat.

The Apples

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Any crisp apple can be used for a caramel apple. Some people like the tartness of a Granny Smith and some like the sweetness of a Fugi, Envy, or Honeycrisp apple. I don’t recommend soft cooking apples. The first thing you need to do is scrub your apples gently with a new plastic scouring pad and warm running water to get the wax off that inhibits caramel adhesion. Refrigerate apples after scouring. Caramel will not stick to warm or room temperature apples! The colder the better.

The Caramel

Buy Kraft Caramel Bits to make your life easy. I find them at Target. Unwrapping 200 individually wrapped caramels takes a lot of time and you touch each and every one. These bits also melt much easier and quicker. Use a heavy 3-quart pan to heat the caramel bits over medium heat stirring constantly. 

The Stick

Caramel apple sticks can usually be found near the produce apples this time of year along with caramels. If you can’t find any, you can break wooden shish-ka-bob or s'mores roasting sticks in half. Make sure you push the stick into the middle of the top of the apple starting next to the stem at least 1.5 inches prior to putting caramel on it. 

The Toppings

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You can’t fight gravity so the lighter the candy decoration or topping, the better. Mini M&Ms, colored sugars, sugar pearls, and white or chocolate drizzle make perfect caramel apple decorations. A large piece of candy corn will only slide down the apple within a day. Wait until the caramel has hardened before adding candy decorations and use melted white or dark chocolate drops as the glue to adhere them. Do not press decorations into the caramel—most won’t stick anyway and it displaces the caramel to make ridges on the apple.


Here’s a tip I had to learn the hard way. I made 16 beautiful caramel apples for my daughter’s soccer team. I decorated each one and then wrapped each separately in a cellophane bag which I tied with a pretty ribbon. When I opened the box, each apple’s caramel was pooled around it at the bottom in an ugly blob. NEVER put cellophane around a caramel apple and NEVER put it in an air-tight container. Just like they do at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory– an apple needs to be in a paper bag or an uncovered plastic bowl/plate if given to someone. If presenting at home, put them on an uncovered plate and refrigerate until you serve them.

Photo by Carol Jacoby

The How-To

  1. Put down parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  2. Melt your caramel bits in a heavy pan over medium heat—stirring constantly.
  3. Take your cold apples out of the fridge and insert sticks into the holes near the stem pushing about 1.5 inches onto the apple. Place the apples at least 3 inches apart on the parchment paper.
  4. With a tablespoon, ladle caramel over apples slowly. Let the caramel run down apple in a light layer. Let the first layer settle, while you do the same to another apple. When you’ve got a layer on every apple, start again with another layer until they are covered to your satisfaction. 
  5. Put baking sheet with caramel covered apples in the fridge immediately so caramel hardens, and gravity doesn’t do too much damage.
  6. Once apples with caramel are cooled, melt white or dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir until smooth and then use spots of chocolate to adhere any candies you’d like to add and drizzle over apples if desired.
  7. Return apples to fridge and serve when ready.

Do you have any caramel apple-making tips?  Let us know in comments.