How to Make Candy & Caramel Apples

September 23, 2013

How to Make Candy & Caramel Apples

Fall is apple season, which means there’s no better time than right now to make those super-fun combos of healthy food and candy–candy or caramel apples.

Never attempted to make one of these classic autumn treats? It’s easier than you might think. Here’s an easy step-by-step for making candy and caramel apples.

Pick Your Apples

Not all apples are created equal when it comes to candying, and every apple/candy-coating combination has its own unique flavor. You might want to experiment with several different apple-types in your first batch, to see which is your favorite.

Look for apples that are described as crisp, rather than soft varieties like the ubiquitous Red Delicious. Some great options include:

  • Braeburn: A sweet-tart apple with red and green skin.
  • Fuji: This is a sweet, crisp, primarily red apple with some yellow markings.
  • Gala: Firm apples with a sweet, mild flavor. This variety has thin skin that’s yellow and red.
  • Granny Smith: Crisp, tart-tasting fruit with bright green skin.
  • Jonathan: Red apples with yellow-striping that is firm and has a sweet-tart flavor.
  • Jonagold: This sweet yet tangy apple has a firm skin and red coloring with yellow spotting.
  • McIntosh: Red apple with green markings. It has a firm skin and is a tart and sweet combination.

Apples that have been waxed for a pretty, shiny presentation in the grocery store don’t hold a candy coating well, so try to find apples that are unwaxed.

Prep Your Work Area

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Remove stems from apples and wash and pat dry (any moisture on the apples will cause bubbles during coating).

Insert lollipop sticks into the areas where the stems were removed, about halfway through the apples.

If you plan to dip your candied apples into additional toppings–chocolate chips, nuts, candy corn, jelly beans or cookie crumbs–place bowls of toppings out now.

Make the Candy Coating


1/2 cup corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon of flavor extract, such as cinnamon, raspberry or cherry
3/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)


In a heavy-bottom saucepan, mix all ingredients over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a low, rolling boil and turn down to simmer. Stop mixing at this point and insert a candy thermometer, continuing to heat until the mixture reaches 290 degrees F. Remove the pan from the heat.

Dip the Apples

Work quickly, as the mixture will cool fast. Tilt the pan and insert each apple, twirling to coat all sides. Dip the apple into additional toppings, if desired, and place the fruit on the cookie sheet with the stick upright. Repeat until all apples are coated.

Caramel Apples

To make caramel apples, follow the same procedure in terms of preparation, but instead melt one 14-ounce bag of caramel candies and 2 tablespoons of milk in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring once. Coat the apples using the same method as candy apples.

Let candied and caramel apples cool for 20 minutes before eating them.

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