Homemade Caramel Apples are the ultimate treat for kids during the fall and halloween. Chewy caramels coated around crispy apples, this easy to make treat is always a family favorite!
Who doesn't have great childhood memories eating these delicious Caramel Apples? Pierced with a stick, usually at a local country fair or farmer's market. I remember they were quite expensive to buy as a kid, but homemade Caramel Apples are cheap and easy to make! I love them much more than the Red Candy Apples or Toffee Apples, probably because they won't break my teeth!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Economical - caramels are cheap to buy, easily found in dollar stores
- Easy to make - a fool proof recipe anyone can make
- Personalize it - keep the classic caramel recipe or roll in your favorite toppings
It only takes about 20 minutes to make homemade caramel apples, and all you need is a few ingredients!
- Caramel Candies - the square caramel candies, usually known as Kraft Caramels
- Whipping Cream - creamy emulsifier to help melt caramels
- Apples - easy to choose during apple season
- Popsicle Sticks or Craft Sticks - to pierce and to easy hold the apples
Kraft Caramel Apples
Chewy Caramel Apples are an American classic. I'm sure it was invented by Kraft foods, as this recipe is also known as Kraft Caramel Apples. You know the ones, little square candies, tightly wrapped in plastic that's hard to remove.
Big companies always find ways to incorporate their products into recipes, like Caramel Rice Krispies Squares, using caramels instead of marshmallows. Trust me, the struggle to remove the wrappers is worth it when you bite into these Caramel Apples. Similar caramels are easily found in dollar stores too.
Werther's Caramel Apples
You might be surprised that caramels aren't sold the same way all over the world. Globally, you can substitute Kraft with Werther's Caramels or Werther's Chewy Toffees.
They're basically the same thing, but cost more than Kraft and some think they have a richer caramel flavor. Of course, they are a great candy substitute for this caramel apples recipe.
Best Apples for Caramel Apples
I always say, use whatever apples are in season, fresh is best. However, some people have preferences. Granny Smiths which are traditionally used for caramel apples, are too sour for me, but others love the contrasting flavors. The video uses Granny Smith because they were on sale! I know I'm not the only person that shops items that are on sale!
- Pink Lady or Cripps Pink - developed in Western Australia. High in sugars and crispy
- Granny Smith - tart and acidic, popular in caramel apples
- Golden Delicious - very sweet with a slight honey aroma
- Honeycrisp - sweet with a slight tart flavor
Homegrown apples or apples direct from the orchard are best because they are usually unwaxed. Grocery store apple are usually covered in wax, which makes the sticky caramel harder to stick to the apples.
How to Wash Waxed Apples
It's always best to use unwaxed apples for best results. However, if you can't find them, here's some suggestions how to wash waxed apples.
- Wipe with apple cider vinegar, remember to rinse them to remove any vinegar residue before using.
- Dip apples in boiling water for a few seconds before wiping them with a paper towel.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of baking powder into some water. Dip and scrub the wax from the apples.
Always remember to rinse the apples. Super important that the apples are completely dry, so the caramel sticks to the apples. As you see in the video, I use the hot water method to remove wax from store bought apples.
How to Make Caramel Apples
- Wash and wipe the apples until dry.
- Remove the stems from each apple and insert a popsicle stick into the top of each apple.
- Place caramels into a saucepan, add whipping cream and place over medium-low heat. Cook until the caramel mixture is melted, stirring constantly.
- Dip the apples into the melted caramel sauce. Use a tablespoon to spoon over extra caramels over the apples if needed.
- Place on the prepared wax paper sheet to set the caramel.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
How to Melt Caramels
- Place unwrapped caramels and whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat in microwave in 30 second increments. Stir between intervals, it will take 2-3 minutes. If too runny, allow to cool until desired consistency is reached.
- Unwrap the caramels into a saucepan, add milk or whipping cream and place over medium-low heat.
- Cook until the mixture is melted, usually about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Caramel Apple Topping Ideas
After coating your apples in caramel (before they set), it's a great idea to roll them in your favorite toppings. This makes you homemade caramel apples more fun and your kids get to personalize their treat. Here are some suggestions!
- Chopped Nuts - recommend chopped pecans or chopped peanuts
- Crushed Oreos
- Chopped Pretzels
- Candy Sprinkles
- Smarties or M&Ms
- Shredded Coconut
- Crushed Candy Bars - like Twix, Snickers or Butterfingers
- Melted Chocolate - melt white or milk chocolate chips to dip your apples, after the caramel has set
Life Hack: Wax Paper vs Baking Paper
While the caramel apples are setting in the fridge, most recipes ask you to place them on wax paper. But, can you use unwaxed or parchment paper? Wax paper is used for cold foods and baking paper is for hot foods. Wax paper is hard to find here in Australia, so here is a bit of life hack.
If you only have baking paper or parchment paper, spray the surface with cooking spray. This allows you to place the Caramel Apples with minimal sticking. So don't rush out to buy extra wax paper.
- Dollar Store - Buy the popsicle sticks in the dollar store, or just save them when you eat popsicles
- Fruit - As you see in the video, use fresh strawberries or fruit to dip into leftover caramel sauce
- Save Money - buy square caramels at the dollar store
- Drizzle - melted chocolate over the caramel apples for a fancy effect
- Re-heat - If caramel hardens, re-heat over stove on low or in microwave for 15 second increments
Autumn Apple Recipes You'll Love!
- Hot Apple Cider Made From Scratch
- Apple Turnovers with Puff Pastry
- American Apple Pie
- 5 Ingredient Apple Cake
This Caramel Apples recipe is a family autumn favorite, perfect for halloween, parties or just a treat for the kids. An easy fall classic the whole family will love - Kraft Caramel Apples
- 6 apples unwaxed
- 14 oz /400g Soft Caramels
- 2 tablespoons milk or whipping cream
- 6 popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks
- Wash and wipe the apples until they are completely dry (not even a drop of moisture!). Remove the stems from each apple and insert a popsicle stick into the top of each apple.
- Unwrap the caramels into a saucepan, add milk/whipping cream and place over medium-low heat. Cook until the mixture is melted, usually about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Dip the apples into the melted caramels. Use a tablespoon to spoon over extra caramels over the apples if needed. Allow excess caramel to drip off, and scrape any excess caramel from the bottom of the apples. Place on the prepared wax paper sheet.
- Refrigerate the Caramel Apples for at least 30 minutes.