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Homemade Candy Apples like at the fair

    Make your own homemade caramel apples! It is not hard. To add a bit more fall flavor to your apples, you can add some cinnamon flavored graham cracker crumbs. Can Christmas get any good without these candy apples?

    Homemade Caramel Apples

    To go with the Apple Cider we made in the last post, we’re going to add some delicious caramel apples to the bunch! I used Granny Smith apples because I wanted the tart, crisp flavor to balance out the sweet caramel.

    If you are nervous about making them, don’t be. This was honestly my first time making real candy apples without the caramel sliding completely off ending up in a puddle on the cookie sheet. Give it a try!

    Tips to make the best Homemade Caramel Apples. It's all about clean apples and homemade caramel.

    Tips for Candy Apples

    • Prep Your Apples: Ensure the apples are washed, dried, and free from wax. The caramel will adhere better to a clean, dry surface. Also, chilling the apples in the refrigerator before dipping can help the caramel set faster.
    • Use Sturdy Sticks: When inserting sticks into your apples, make sure they are sturdy and go at least halfway into the apple to support the weight.
    • Set on Parchment: Place your dipped apples on a parchment paper-lined tray. The parchment prevents the apples from sticking and helps in easier removal.
    • Quick Decorations: If you’re adding any decorations like nuts, sprinkles, or chocolate chips, do so quickly before the caramel sets.
    Tips to make the best Homemade Caramel Apples. It's all about clean apples and homemade caramel.

    The perfect caramel

    1. Clean Sugar: Ensure that the granulated sugar you use is free from any impurities or particles to prevent any unwanted graininess in your caramel.
    2. Avoid Stirring: Once the sugar begins to melt, avoid stirring it until it is fully melted. Over-stirring can cause the sugar to crystallize, resulting in a grainy caramel.
    3. Water and Corn Syrup: Start with a mixture of sugar, water, and a little corn syrup. The corn syrup prevents crystallization, ensuring a smooth caramel.
    4. Watch the Temperature: Use a candy thermometer. You want to heat the caramel to the “hard crack” stage, which is usually between 300°F (150°C) to 310°F (155°C). This ensures the caramel sets firm and glossy on the apple.
    5. Clean Sides of Pan: As the sugar mixture cooks, sugar crystals might form on the sides of the pan. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to gently wash down the sides. This prevents unwanted crystallization.
    6. Cool Before Dipping: Once your caramel is ready, remove it from heat and allow it to cool slightly before dipping the apples. If it’s too hot, it can slide off the apples.

    Extra red candy apples

    You often see the bright red candy apples. You can only achieve this with glossy food coloring.

    Tips to make the best Homemade Caramel Apples. It's all about clean apples and homemade caramel.

    How many days in advance can you make candy apples?

    As they are fresh fruit and caramel is applied hot, do prepare them no more than one day before you want to serve them.


    Store the caramel apples in a cool place. If it’s too warm, the caramel can become too soft and start to slide off the apple. Eat within 2 days.

    This recipe is part of a series including Spiked Mulled Apple Cider and Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples.

    Tips to make the best Homemade Caramel Apples. It's all about clean apples and homemade caramel.
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    Homemade Candy Apples (caramel)

    A fall and Christmas favorite: homemade caramel apples. They are really easy to make, give it a try.
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
    Course Sweets
    Cuisine International
    Servings 6 apples
    Calories 543 kcal


    • 6 small Apples e.g. Granny Smith
    • ½ cup butter
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup corn syrup
    • 3 oz sweetened condensed milk weight – not volume: ½ a 14 oz can
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • Graham Crackers optional


    • Wash the apples thoroughly. Push the wooden skewers securely into the apples from the bottom side.
    • Boil a cup of water and dip the apples into the water for 30 seconds to ensure that all the wax has been removed. Dry off and set aside.
    • Prepare a drying surface for the apples: Place parchment or wax paper on a cookie sheet and thickly coat with butter. Prepare all of your desired toppings, as crashing your crackers or nuts.
    • Place the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and milk into a thick bottomed pot. Cook over medium high heat until the butter is melted and the syrup and sugar are mixed together.
      Swirl the pan around gently, but do not stir before the sugar has dissolved completely.
    • Continually stir the mixture, reduce the heat to medium and use a candy thermometer. Watch for the temperature to come up to “Soft Ball” or 235 °F.
      If you do not use a thermometer, you can test the caramel in a bit of cold water. Drop a small amount of your caramel into it, it should harden immediately. If not it needs a little bit more of cooking.
    • Turn off the stove and continue to stir for another 2 minutes, then add in the vanilla.
      If you use food coloring, like for really red candy apples, drop it in just before you cover the apples, not before.
    • Working quickly, dip your apples and let the excess drip off and scrape off the bottoms. Add any topping while the caramel is still hot and sticky. Set the caramel apple on the buttered parchment.
    • Wait 1 – 3 hours for the the caramel to completely cool at room temperature.


    Do not try to dry the caramel in high humidity. It will be sticky.
    Same thing applies to the fridge, it can get very tacky when you want to sever it. Wrap the caramel apples in plastic bage before you put them into the fridge. Cut and serve the apple at room temperature. You may have to put some force into it depending on how thick your caramel is.


    Serving: 1apple | Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 91g | Vitamin A: 641IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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    Author: Susan Queck

    Images, text and all other content Copyrighted©Karyn Granrud, Susanne Queck and Wunderlander Verlag LLC, or ©Pro Stock Media via Unlicensed republishing permitted. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn on qualified purchases.

    Susan Queck

    Susan Queck

    I'm Suzy, the baker and dessert maker behind this blog. Baking is my lifelong passion, where I find the magic in transforming basic ingredients into delectable works of art. Join me in my sweet journey of culinary exploration and celebration! More about me.

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