Homesteading Family Logo
This site contains affiliate links to products we recommend. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

How to Make Caramel Apples

This recipe teaches how to make caramel apples from scratch and customize them with chocolate, candy bar crumbles, crushed Oreos, chopped nuts, sea salt and more!

Decorated caramel apples on a tray.

Over 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in backyards in the United States and more than 30,0000 worldwide! All types of apples are edible and can be preserved in some fashion. With some experimenting, you will learn the best way to make the most of apple harvest season. 

Why I Love to Make Caramel Apples

Fall is my favorite time of year. The sun is still warm during the days, but the crisp breeze keeps me in cozy sweaters. And then there are the apples. You will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest if you learn how to prune fruit trees and tend to your orchard each year. 

Apples are a hardy fruit that can withstand a frost, but as a hard freeze sets in, we harvest them and store apples in our temporary root cellar, an unheated, uninsulated garage.

I can extend the storage life by freeze-drying apples or fermenting them in recipes like apple jalapeno sauerkraut, fermented cranberry sauce, apple scrap vinegar, and homemade sparkling apple cider.

For fresh eating, we make pies, Apple Brown Betty, this immune-boosting green smoothie, and, of course, easy caramel apples! Learning how to make caramel apples is such a fun way to connect with the kids in the kitchen. 

Yes, it’s a little sticky and sweet, but most of this treat is straight off a tree. 

And making my own caramel sauce allows me to avoid ingredients like corn syrup and food coloring, typically in store-bought caramel and candy apples. As a bonus, each kid (and adult) gets to make their own masterpiece! 

Two small children picking apples off the ground and putting them into a wooden crate.

Those with mature apple trees on their property are very fortunate, but if you don’t have an apple tree, you might find fresh local apples at a farmers market near you. 

If all else fails, apples are easy to access at the grocery store, and you can use this recipe to make this fun seasonal treat with store-bought apples, too.

Cover of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine apples edition.

In the Homestead Magazine

This caramel apple recipe was featured in issue No. 26 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. You can subscribe to start each month with new ideas and inspiration to bring your family together in your homestead kitchen.

No more digging through Pinterest or YouTube, scrambling at the last minute to find something that works. Just follow along with each month’s magazine to start making delicious, healthy, homemade meals for your family and find new ways to preserve food. 

As a bonus, you also get access to our Video Vault, full of tutorials and video training on useful homesteading skills. Subscribe today and get instant access!

What Are the Best Apples for Caramel Apples

Granny Smith apples are most commonly used to make caramel apples, but this recipe complements any variety of apples. The important thing is to pick a quality apple that is crisp, fresh, and free of bruises and blemishes.

How Do You Get Caramel to Stick to the Apples

Store-bought apples are often dipped in wax to help preserve their shelf life and increase their aesthetic appeal. While apples straight from the tree have a natural wax coating, also making it difficult for the caramel coating to stick to the apples.

You can remove naturally occurring wax by rinsing your freshly picked apples and drying them with a towel. But if you have artificially waxed apples, you need to first dip the apple in boiling water, which will melt the wax so it is easier to wipe off with a paper towel.

After you remove the wax, dry your apples thoroughly. Wet apples will cause your caramel to slide off your apples.

Finally, chill your washed and dried apples before dipping them in caramel. Chilled apples will allow the caramel to set up faster, sticking to the apple instead of pooling at the bottom of your pan.

Supplies to make caramel apples.

Supplies Needed

  • Popsicle Sticks – Heavy-duty wooden skewers also work if you don’t have popsicle sticks.
  • Large Stainless Steel Pot – I regularly choose cast iron for cooking, but stainless steel works best to make the caramel.
  • Silicone Spatula – I use and recommend these silicon spatulas.
  • Instant-Read Thermometer – A thermometer is critical when making caramel from scratch.
  • Heat-Proof Bowl – I use and recommend Glasslock Mixing Bowls.
  • Baking Sheet – Choose a large pan to accommodate 10-12 medium-sized apples.
  • Parchment Paper – Parchment paper makes lifting the caramel apples from the pan much more manageable after the caramel sets.
Ingredients to make caramel apples.

Caramel Apple Ingredients

  • Apples – You can use any variety of homegrown or store-bought medium size apples.
  • Water – Filtered water is best.
  • Sugar – You can use granulated or light brown sugar.
  • Salt Redmond Real Salt is our go-to for cooking and baking. Homesteading Hack: To make salted caramel apples, prepare caramel as usual and sprinkle additional coarse salt over the coated apples.
  • Chilled Heavy Cream – Learn the anatomy of raw milk and the differences between heavy cream, light cream, and coffee cream.
  • Toppings – There are all sorts of amazing toppings for your homemade caramel apples. Some of our favorites include chocolate chips, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cookie crumbles, dye-free sprinkles, or a drizzle of melted chocolate. 
Decorated caramel apples on a tray.

How to Make Caramel Apples

  1. Wash and dry the apples thoroughly. Homesteading Hack: If you use store-bought apples, dip them in boiling water and wipe them with a paper towel to remove the wax.
  2. Skewer the apples with the sticks so the sticks can work as handles. 
  3. Place apples on sticks into the refrigerator to chill. 
  4. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment and set it aside.
  5. Combine sugar, salt, and water in a large stainless steel pot. Whisk together over medium heat until boiling. 
  6. Once the sugar water is boiling, allow it to cook without stirring until golden brown (this takes 8-10 minutes). A light golden color will give a traditional caramel flavor, but you can cook it a moment or two longer for a richer taste. 
  7. When the sugar reaches your desired color, add the cream. It will bubble up and spit significantly! Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir constantly with a silicone spatula until the temperature reaches 248℉. 
  8. Scrape the caramel into your heat-proof bowl and cool briefly (but not below 215°F). 
  9. Then, take your skewered apples out of the refrigerator and dip them one at a time into the caramel to coat the top and sides. The cold of the apples should cause the caramel to harden quickly around the apple so it won’t drip much. 
  10. Roll the freshly dipped apples in toppings or place dipped apples onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with toppings as desired.
  11. Decorated caramel apples on a tray in the refrigerator.
  12. Return the dipped apples to the refrigerator for about half an hour to allow the caramel to set completely. Store caramel apples for up to a week in the fridge.

Did you make these caramel apples? We’d love for you to leave a star rating on the recipe card below, then take a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Kids outside eating caramel apples.
Decorated caramel apples on a tray.

How to Make Caramel Apples

This recipe teaches how to make caramel apples from scratch and customize them with chocolate, candy bar crumbles, crushed Oreos, chopped nuts, sea salt and more!
4 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 apples
Calories: 335kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Instant-Read Thermometer
  • Heat-Proof Bowl
  • Baking Sheet
  • parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 12 apples medium-size
  • 3/4 cup water filtered
  • 2 cups sugar granulated or light brown
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream chilled
  • toppings chocolate chips, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cookie crumbles, dye-free sprinkles, etc.

Instructions

Prepare the Apples

  • Wash and dry the apples thoroughly. Homesteading Hack: If you use store-bought apples, dip them in boiling water and wipe them with a paper towel to remove the wax.
  • Skewer the apples with the sticks so the sticks can work as handles.
  • Place apples on sticks into the refrigerator to chill.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment and set it aside.

Make the Caramel

  • Combine sugar, salt, and water in a large stainless steel pot. Whisk together over medium heat until boiling.
  • Once the sugar water is boiling, allow it to cook without stirring until golden brown (this takes 8-10 minutes). A light golden color will give a traditional caramel flavor, but you can cook it a moment or two longer for a richer taste. 
  • When the sugar reaches your desired color, add the cream. It will bubble up and spit significantly! Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir constantly with a silicone spatula until the temperature reaches 248℉. 
  • Scrape the caramel into your heat-proof bowl and cool briefly (but not below 215°F).

Decorate the Apples

  • Take your skewered apples out of the refrigerator and dip them one at a time into the caramel to coat the top and sides. The cold of the apples should cause the caramel to harden quickly around the apple so it won’t drip much. 
  • Roll the freshly dipped apples in toppings or place dipped apples onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with toppings as desired.
  • Return the dipped apples to the refrigerator for about half an hour to allow the caramel to set completely. Store caramel apples for up to a week in the fridge.

Notes

  • Nutrition Facts do not include the added toppings, only the apple and the caramel.
  • This caramel apple recipe was featured in issue No. 26 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. You can subscribe to start each month with new ideas and inspiration to bring your family together in your homestead kitchen.

Nutrition

Serving: 1apple | Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

Sign Up for Updates

Get the latest homesteading tips delivered to your inbox weekly.

Popular Posts

Read by Category

Healthy Healing at Home

Free 4 video workshop on how to confidently use homemade herbal remedies!

More to Explore

Continue Reading

A man standing in a barn with test result papers in his hand.

Our Journey With Glyphosate Toxicity

Carolyn and I have been working for over twenty years to help clean up our food supply and eliminate unnecessary toxins. So it came

Previous
Next

Homestead Kitchen Membership!

Join over 1,500 Homesteaders and grow together.

Become a Confident and Self-Sufficient Homesteader