Homemade caramel apples are an easy, fun, and delicious fall treat.

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

I’ve been a little addicted to caramel lately, if you hadn’t noticed. And I hope you don’t mind the back to back caramel recipes here, because— if I’m being honest— I’m not really sorry at all. ‘Tis the season!

Today I’m going to show you how to make caramel apples with homemade caramel. Sure, you can cheat and melt down caramel candy, but the homemade stuff is so much better. And it’s really not all that difficult. I’ll show you how!

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

First, start with clean apples. If the apples are from a traditional grocery store, then it’s likely that they have been coated in wax. To remove, soak apples in a sink filled with 4 inches of water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon baking soda, and scrub clean.

Remove the stems and insert wooden skewers or craft sticks.

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

Combine the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat. The mixture will caramelize and turn golden as it cooks. When the mixture reaches 248 degrees F, remove it from the heat.

It’s important you stop cooking the caramel when it reaches exactly that temperature in order for the caramel to be just right. If it’s not cooked to a high enough temperature the caramel won’t be firm, and if it’s cooked too much the caramel will turn rock hard and be impossible to eat.

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

After you’ve taken the caramel off the stove, stir in the remaining cream, salt and vanilla extract. Immediately dip the apples into the caramel, rolling them until they are covered in caramel.

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

Let the excess caramel drip off of the apples.

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

Then roll the caramel-coated apple in whatever toppings you’d like (toasted nuts, coconut, chocolate, crushed candy bars, etc) or leave them plain.

Set the apples on a parchment or wax paper-lined sheet pan and chill in the fridge until firm.

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

And that’s it! Now see if you can resist devouring all of these caramel apples on your own.

(A quick note: I tested this recipe several times and on the version that I photographed the caramel was very bubbly, as you can see. I think this is because I was too enthusiastic in stirring the caramel while it cooked, incorporating air into it. If you stir occasionally as directed and not frequently like I did, you should be fine. Also, toppings are really good at covering all sorts of caramel apple goofs.)

How to Make Caramel Apples // completelydelicious.com

How to Make Caramel Apples

How to Make Caramel Apples


  • 1 cup (237 ml) + 1 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 (60 ml) corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 small apples, washed thoroughly
  • 6 wooden skewers or craft sticks
  • Nuts or other desired toppings, optional


  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the 1 cup of cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth and mixture begins to boil.
  2. Insert a candy thermometer and let mixture cook to 248 degrees or firm-ball stage, while continuing to stir occasionally. Mixture will caramelize and turn golden brown as it cooks. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn.
  3. As soon as it reaches 248 degrees, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the 1 tablespoon cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Mixture will bubble violently at first. Stir until smooth.
  4. Working quickly, immediately begin dipping the apples, letting the excess caramel drip back into the pan. Roll the apples in the nuts or other toppings, if using. Set the dipped apples on a parchment-lined sheet pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. The caramel apples will keep stored at room temperature for 2 days, but are best the day they are made.

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14 Responses to How to Make Homemade Caramel Apples

  1. Oh my, caramel apples are one of my favorite fall-ish desserts! I fell in love with them the first time I watched the Disney movie: Mary Poppins! I’ve already tried to make them from scratch at home myself and even posted the recipe on my blog! I’ll try out your version, as well, as soon as I get a new box of juicy apples from the farmers’ market next Saturday :)

    xo, Elisa

  2. These are one of my all time favorite treats! Love this!

  3. So pretty! the best part about caramel apples that if you have left overs; they make for awesome apple caramel bread or cookies.

  4. of course your caramel apples look perfect :) I’ll be trying your tips next time I make them. Mine always look strange but taste good!

  5. A classic fall treat! These look so delicious, and your photos are beautiful, Annalise! Lovely recipe.

  6. Caramel apples are seriously the most fun fall treats!! Beautiful photos, Annalise!

  7. So…..when I visit in December can you show me your caramel making ways? These are beautiful!

  8. Kristi says:

    Yummy! These look amazing! I am making these this weekend for sure!

  9. Heather says:

    I’ve been dabbling in caramel apple recipes lately. My biggest problem is that all of the caramel slips down the sides of the apples into a big puddle. I’ve washed the apples, scrubbed the apples, soaked them in a water/vinegar bath. Still the caramel puddles. What am I doing wrong?

    And your apples look perfect-well done!

    • Annalise says:

      If the apples are truly wax-free and not to blame, then it sounds like you’re not cooking the caramel long enough in order for it to be hard enough to firm up before it has time to run down the sides. At least that’s my best guess.

  10. I love making caramel apples at home! I am IN LOVE with your photos!

  11. Karen says:

    I am doing caramel apples for a festival. And wondered if I could keep this caramel just on warm in a crockpot so the kids could make there own caramel apples. Would you have any ideas?

    • Annalise says:

      You know, I couldn’t say for sure since I haven’t tried it myself. But if you have a crock pot already warmed and ready to go and dumped the caramel straight in there from the pot exactly at the right temp, it just might work. Good luck! Let me know if you try it!

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