This is the ultimate guide to homemade caramel apples! We’ve included tips on picking the perfect apples, different caramel options, and our favorite toppings. You’re going to love it!
We are so excited to bring you our ultimate guide to homemade caramel apples! We have tested and troubleshot to make this the only guide you will ever need to make the most perfect caramel apples. We made this as simple as possible, so you can have a stress-free experience and just enjoy the process, and of course, the end result! You can make these just because, or give them out as gifts. It’s always a good day for a caramel apple!
Apple Choices for Homemade Caramel Apples:
By far, the very best apple to use is Granny Smith. It is crisp and tart and the absolute best match for that super sweet caramel. Other good apple choices are Honey Crisp and Fuji.
How to pick the best apple:
In order to have that correct ratio of tart apple to sweet caramel, you should choose a small to medium-sized apple. None of those jumbo apples here, please. Make sure it is firm, without any holes or soft spots.
Do I have to dip a whole apple?
Absolutely not! We love the look of a whole caramel apple, but you can always dip apple slices or wedges. Simply slice or wedge your apple, and let your slices soak in cold water with a small amount of lemon juice to prevent browning while you are dipping all of your cut apples.
What kind of sticks can I use?
You have so many options on the type of stick to skewer your apples with. We love sturdiness in thick skewers, but you could always use popsicle sticks, or really any other stick option you can find!
You have a few options of caramel to use for caramel apples.
- Peter’s caramel and caramel pellets
- Wrapped caramels
- Homemade caramel
Caramel that is too hot or too cold will not stick to your apple well. Once your caramel is at the right temperature, pour it into a slow cooker and turn to the low setting. This will keep it at a consistent temperature, ready for dipping!
There are no rules to topping your caramel apples! Nuts, candy, mini chocolate chips, double-dipped in white chocolate, and crushed candy bar are just the tip of the iceberg!
Troubleshooting Tip: Why is the caramel sliding off?
If the caramel is too warm when you dip it, it will just slide right off. We found the best temperature for dipping is between 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a digital thermometer for 100% accuracy, and allow your caramel to cool back into that range before trying to dip again.
Troubleshooting Tip: Why are there bubbles in my caramel?
Over-stirring can certainly lead to bubbles in your caramel. Stirring adds air into the caramel causing the bubbles, making it impossible to correct after the fact. You can, however, use a knife to pop the bubbles on your apples before hiding those bubbles with your toppings.
Troubleshooting: Caramel is too thick
If your caramel has thickened too much and become hard, you can thin it out with a few tablespoons of milk.
The best place to store your apples is in the fridge, preferably wrapped in a bag or in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. They can be stored on the counter, however, your toppings could melt depending on how warm you keep your home.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious dessert recipes:
Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Ultimate Guide to Homemade Caramel Apples
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 (14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8-10 whole apples Granny Smith, Fuji, or Honey Crisp
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, pour in sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and brown sugar.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it starts to simmer, scraping the sides and bottom regularly.
- Once simmering, continue at a constant simmer, stirring constantly until caramel reaches the softball stage of 235- 240 F, with higher elevations using the lower temperature range, and lower elevations using the upper end of the range.
- At the soft-ball stage, immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt. May leave caramel in this pot or transfer to a small crock pot to help it stay warm as you dip apples.
- Clean apples thoroughly. Use warm water and scrub to make sure all excess wax coating is removed.
- Make sure apples are dry and at room temperature.
- Push the skewers into the top of the apple where the stem used to be. Make sure the stick is on tight.
- Gently press the apple into the pot of warm caramel and use a spoon to ladle the caramel around the apple so that the apple is evenly coated.
- Let any excess caramel drip back into the pot and use a spoon to get any excess off the apple. Tip the apple upside down while the caramel continues to set for a few moments.
- Place the caramel dipped apples on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Press in larger toppings while the caramel is still warm.
- If double-dipping the caramel apples into chocolate, let the apple first cool completely.
- Melt chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each session. Dip, scrape excess, and flip apple upside down until set.
- White Chocolate
- Milk Chocolate
- Reese’s Pieces
- Coconut Flakes
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Chopped Nuts
- Oreo Crumbles
- Toffee Bits