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Caramel Apple Recipe

Last updated on 8/31/2021

Perfect for autumn festivals, concession stands, and Halloween markets, caramel apples delightfully combine classic fall flavors. These goodies satisfy sugar cravings, but they also feature a vitamin-packed seasonal fruit. Best of all, caramel apples are easy and inexpensive to make, giving you the potential for a high profit margin. Boost your fall sales with our professional caramel apple recipe and caramel apple video tutorial.

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How to Make Caramel Apples

Make caramel apples by coating whole apples in caramel. Preparing caramel apples is easy, but waiting for the caramel to heat and cool is time consuming. The caramel takes 1-2 hours to melt and another 1-2 hours to dry. Block off enough time before getting started, and use a work space that accommodates multiple apples without bunching. For the perfect finishing touch, roll the apples in your customers' favorite fixings, such as nuts, sprinkles, or chocolate chips.

Caramel Apple Ingredients and Supplies

Caramel apples only require a handful of supplies, making them quick and easy to prepare. Here are the items you'll need to get started:

Large Batch Caramel Apple Recipe

Follow the simple steps in our easy caramel apple recipe to make a large batch of profitable fall treats.

  • chef removing inset from soup warmer1.

    Remove inset from soup warmer.

  • water pouring into warmer2.

    Add 32 oz. of water.

  • turning warmer onto medium-high heat for making caramel apples3.

    Preheat the soup warmer to medium-high heat.

  • label ripping off of caramel dip before making caramel apples4.

    Remove the label from the can of caramel dip.

  • hands placing caramel dip into water bath5.

    Open the can and gently place it in the water bath.

  • hand covering lid to water bath6.

    Cover.

  • thermometer in melted caramel for caramel apples7.

    Heat until the caramel temperature reaches 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take between 1-2 hours.

  • hand inserting skewer into red apple8.

    While the caramel heats, skewer your room-temperature apples.

  • apple with skewer dipping into melted caramel9.

    Dip one apple at a time into the caramel.

  • melted caramel dripping off apple into can10.

    Wait a few seconds for any excess caramel to drip off.

  • hand placing caramel apples on sheet pan11.

    Place your caramel apples on a sheet pan covered with a non-stick liner.

  • close-up of caramel apples cooling12.

    Cool for 20 minutes.

  • caramel apples with skewers in a row13.

    Serve!

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Caramel Apple Toppings

candy apples with different candy apple toppings

If you want to upsell your caramel apples, simply roll the freshly coated apples in the toppings of your choice. While caramel apples with nuts are a classic, mix up your caramel apple flavors this fall with these fun toppings:

  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate toppings
  • Coconut flakes
  • Cinnamon chips
  • Toffee
  • Nuts (peanuts, pecans, walnuts, or almonds)
  • Pretzels
  • Mini marshmallows

Candy Apple Ideas

Looking for a gourmet caramel apple recipe? Try these candy apple ideas and make low-cost treats you can sell at specialty prices.

  • Smores Candy Apple - mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, Graham cracker crumbs
  • Apple Pie Candy Apple - crumb topping (serve in slices with vanilla ice cream to create an a la mode caramel apple)
  • Cookie Monster Candy Apple - Oreo cookie pieces, Chips Ahoy cookie pieces, cookie dough topping
  • Dutch Breakfast Candy Apple - Stroopwafel cookie pieces, chocolate-covered espresso beans
  • Tutti Frutti Candy Apple - diced dried apricot, dried blueberry, dried cherries, coconut flakes, white chocolate drizzle
  • Brigadeiro Candy Apple - mix cocoa powder into your caramel coating and roll dipped apples in chocolate sprinkles
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Apple - chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate sauce drizzle, Reese’s peanut butter sauce drizzle

Shop All Gourmet Candy Apple Toppings

Tips for Making Caramel Apples

We provide tips for making caramel apples and answer common caramel apple making questions below.

Best Apples for Caramel Apples

Granny Smiths are the best apples for caramel apples because their tart flavor contrasts with sweet and creamy caramel. Other tart apple varieties that work well for caramel apples include pink lady apples, McIntosh apples, and Cortland apples. However, you can whatever apple variety you prefer.

Candy Apple vs Caramel Apple

The crucial difference between caramel apples and candy apples is their coating. Confectioners coat candy apples in a red sugar topping that hardens into a shell around the apple, and they dip caramel apples in a soft toffee or caramel coating that semi-hardens on the apple for a chewy consistency.

How to Store Caramel Apples

For short-term caramel apple storage outside of a refrigerator, the following methods will work:

  • Cover your caramel apples with tin foil to protect them from dust and other elements.
  • Wrap in cellophane.
  • Place in a covered container or Tupperware. If transporting, use wax paper, which keeps your apples from touching and sticking together.

For long-term caramel apple storage, the following methods are best:

  • Place in a container separated with wax paper
  • Place in an airtight container
  • Use individual plastic bags
  • Avoid using plastic "cling" wrap for long-term storage, as it can leave a plastic taste on the caramel

Note: If storing in the freezer, it's essential to prevent air from touching the caramel apples, which can cause freezer burn. Always use an airtight receptacle when keeping caramel apples in the freezer.

How Do You Package Caramel Apples?

candy apples with different candy apple toppings

You need to package your caramel apples in a way that encourages impulse buys and doesn't strip the caramel off. For easy removal of your caramel apples, place wax paper circles on the bottom of your packaging to minimize sticking. Use ribbon, rubber bands, or twist ties to close the bags. If selling or serving in real time, you can place your caramel apples with the stick up onto cupcake cups, doilies, or wax paper.

These caramel apple packaging supplies keep your candied apples visible, transportable, and fresh.

How Long Do Caramel Apples Last?

Caramel apples last about two weeks in the refrigerator. You can store them in the freezer for about 10-12 months at their peak quality. If storing in the freezer, let the apples sit out for several hours before enjoying, so they have time to thaw.

Do Caramel Apples Need to Be Refrigerated?

If you won't eat the caramel apples within a few hours of making them, we recommend you store them in the refrigerator. This prevents the apples from over-ripening or softening.

How to Eat a Caramel Apple

You can eat a plain caramel apple by holding its stick and biting it. If the caramel apple has toppings, we suggest you cut it in half or in smaller pieces of four, six, or eight to prevent its toppings from falling off.

Allow refrigerated caramel apples to come to room temperature for about 20-45 minutes before eating them. If you stored the caramel apples in the freezer, allow the caramel apples to sit out for several hours. This ensures that the caramel coating will soften, making the apples easier to bite or cut.

How to Cut a Caramel Apple

With the stick facing up, cut your apple into as many pieces as desired. If cutting into eight pieces, the middle part will resemble a square from a bird's-eye view. You can also cut your apple in half, fourths or sixths.

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Caramel apples are an easy and cost-effective way to offer a seasonally appropriate treat at your town’s fall festival or football game. They pair perfectly with your favorite fall hard cider. Caramel apples are a classic that entices customers’ sense of nostalgia, so they’ll appeal to a wide range of guests!

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