Trick or Treat – Top Tips for Making Caramel Apples

Last week for a youth activity at church we made caramel apples.  That was the first time I had made caramel apples in 12 years.

You see the last time I made caramel apples – this is what happened….

cali  tooth

Yes – my sweet, then 7 year old daughter bit into one of the caramel apples and it ripped a tooth right out of her mouth.  The tooth was not even loose!  Yikes!

I am not sure what recipe I used but I think I threw it away right then and there.  Since that day I have only purchased caramel apples at my favorite candy store – Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. My favorite caramel apple they make is the apple pie one – dipped in caramel, covered in white chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar!

Well, after a somewhat positive experience last week with the church kids – at least no one lost a tooth, I decided I needed to conquer caramel apple making!

We had made caramel from scratch and it tasted great – we just had a hard time getting it to stick to the apples.

During a Facebook conversation (yes, I am one of those cool moms that has their own Facebook page) with my blogging friend Rhonda I discovered the secret to successful caramel apple making.

You see, Rhonda is experienced – she made dozens of caramel apples for her daughter’s wedding reception last year.

The top tip for making caramel apples according to Rhonda, who got the tip from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, is to sand the apples before dipping.  Yes – use sandpaper to rough up the apple.

Guess what – it works!!  I used a fine grade of sandpaper and then washed them and the caramel stuck great!!

If you are not up for caramel apple making be sure and try my recipe for Apple Dip!

So here are my Top Tips for Making Caramel Apples:

Step One:  Rough up the apples with a fine grade of sandpaper, wash and insert stick (I used Popsicle sticks).  Place on a cookie sheet.  I lined mine with wax paper but did have a bit of a problem with the wax paper sticking – wax paper is edible, right?!  Next time I would just place them directly on the cookie sheet.

caramel apples

Step Two: Make caramel. (recipe below) This time I tried a recipe for caramel shared by another blogging friend, Rachel.  It was great!  It uses brown sugar instead of white sugar.  It made a nice smooth caramel.   You must have a candy thermometer to make caramel from scratch and stir the pot constantly to prevent it from burning on the bottom.  I also use a nice heavy pan – an older pressure cooker of my mothers works great!

We call caramel “patience candy” because you have to have patience stirring it and waiting for it to hit exactly the right temperature.  But it’s worth it!

caramel apples (1)

Step Three: Dip apples into caramel and allow to cool. (I placed mine in the refrigerator)  I noticed as I was dipping and the caramel cooled that it stuck better to the apple so you may want to let the pot sit for a few minutes before you start dipping.  Any left over caramel can be poured into a buttered pan and eaten as candy!

caramel apples (2)

Step Four: Melt chocolate and/or almond bark and dip or drizzle on apples. I used milk chocolate and white chocolate.  Quickly, after applying chocolate, sprinkle on the desired toppings.  I used mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, rainbow sprinkles, crushed Oreo and chopped up Snickers.  Nuts would also be great!

caramel apples (4)

Step Five: Return to the refrigerator to set up

Step Six: Eat and enjoy!

caramel apples (5)

caramel apples (8)

caramel apples (7)

and here is my personal favorite – the Apple Pie Caramel Apple!
caramel apples (10)

gourmet caramel apple

Trick or Treat – Top Tips for Making Caramel Apples
  • I was able to dip 10 medium size granny smith apples and had enough caramel left over to fill an 8 x 8 greased pan.
  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 1 C corn syrup
  • ½ C butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients
  2. After butter is melted stir in the milk
  3. Cook to soft ball (234degrees)
  4. Stir constantly
  5. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla
  6. Remove from heat
  7. Dip apples into the caramel, then roll in nuts if desired
  8. Let set up on a cookie sheet
  9. Place in refrigerator if needed
  10. After completely cooled you can drizzle with chocolate and cover with toppings
  11. Suggested toppings: sprinkles, crushed Oreos, mini M & M's, mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, crushed candy bars.
Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. says

    Beautiful photos! YUMMMMMMMM….Seriously, do you have an extra room DJ and I can just come stay for the weekend or something? :)

    p.s. your baby girl losing her tooth is too cute because she is NOT letting go of the apple at all 😉

  2. says

    Stephanie and LisaJanelle – Thanks for the virtual Boos! What a fun idea.

    Thanks to all of you for your sweet comments! I must admit I am proud of my self for conquering the caramel apple!! Now if I could just quit eating that extra caramel I poured into the pan – it is SO GOOD!!!

  3. says

    that tip is going to change my life for sure! sanding the apples. that is hilarious! can’t wait to try it. and did your apple pie apple turn out like RMCF? i love key lime version~ whaddya think? lime jello mix over white choc?

  4. says

    Well dang. Wish I would have checked here first. I attempted some last night for the first time in a few years, and they were only semi-successful. The sanding tip is a great idea.

    One thing I’ve learned to use as a cooling surface is Reynold’s Release wrap foil. It works much better than wax paper in my experience. I’ve also found that when I’m in a hurry and need the caramel to peel off, I stick a large ice pack underneath and it chills the bottoms quickly so that I can do the next layer of dipping.

  5. says

    Heidi – Thanks for the great tips – I am going to try my Silpat next time too so I’m not eating wax paper! You’ll have to try it again using sandpaper!

    Rachelle – I think my apple pie caramel apple was just as good as any I have had at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and I am definitely going to try the key lime version next time – I love key lime!!

  6. says

    After you sent me a note yesterday about the caramel apples, I rushed over and could not get on the site. I was SO BUMMED! However, here I am and I am absolutely LOVE your beautifully masterpieces. Oh dear they are yummy looking!

  7. Evelyn Pulley says

    I make carmel apples aslo, and I find that the Silpat works great for any king of candy. I have used the Silpat with chocolate also. It makes making millionaries a breeze.

  8. says

    Wanted to let you know that I used your recipe for caramel popcorn. It was wonderful!

    I’ve been following your blog and finally realized you are Logan’s mom. He worked for us this summer as a counselor. You have a great son!

  9. says

    Jenn »
    What a small world – how fun that you know Logan. We think he is pretty terrific. Glad you found my blog and that you enjoyed the caramel popcorn! Just got back from visiting him in Provo and seeing the Young Ambassador show!

  10. Chantel says

    I just came across this website and plan to try your caramel apples. I have a question since you seem so knowledgable about caramel apples. I have recently become addicted to Rocky Mountain’s caramel milk chocolate apples. The chocolate they dip the caramel covered apple in seems different than if I were to melt chocolate and just dip in that. It seems to me the chocolate would just crack and fall off in chunks. The chocolate on their apples almost seems like a caramel type chocolate. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Good Question Chantel. I have used the “melts” you can buy in bulk at the grocery store or at the cake decorating shops and they are a “softer” chocolate. They don’t tend to get as brittle and crack like when I used chocolate chips etc. Hope this helps!

  11. Chantel says

    I am making the caramel right now and it says to stir in the vanilla … HOW MUCH? You don’t say how much vanilla. I think I will try 1 tsp and hope for the best!

  12. Angelia S. says

    Came across your Blog! Thank you so much for the tips!
    Your apples look so yummy and professional!!!

    Thank you!

  13. a.c.macdonald says

    really liked your recipe,but i have but one question….as i notice when making caramel apples,one has a tendency to use corn syrup, – can i substitute this with something else or is there another way to make corn syrup without having to buy it at the local store?

  14. Tammi Beames says

    I am going to be making caramel apples for my son’s reception. That was how I found this site—while searching for recipes. What is the key lime caramel apple?? Also I would like to know what else was served at the reception with the caramel apples? I was thinking meat and cheese platters and fancy breads (banana, pumpkin, cranberry, chocolate, lemon) Actually we are having a couples engagement shower prior to the wedding instead of a reception since they are getting married 4 days before Christmas-such a busy time. We will have the party in November. Anyone with ideas or suggestions please send.

  15. says

    Hi…your apples look beautiful! I am committed to making 50 for my daughter’s school carnival. I am going to try your recipe. Can you please tell me your white glaze recipe and what type of chocolate you used for dipping? Thank you!!

  16. says

    Hi Leigh,
    I made test apples this afternoon and used milk chocolate Quick Candy Melts and they turned out fantastic. I made a Snickers apple, M&M apple, and Rocky Road apple. They look just like Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory apples. I’m very happy. Thank you for your help!

  17. kristin says

    I made these yesterday and the caramel slid right off…I followed all your instructions…my kids and I were so disappointed :(

  18. elaine says

    Thanks for the recipe can’t wait to try them. I’m planning on making them for the office on Friday. How id you make the apple pie one. Thanks

  19. says

    Mine were a disaster this year, my first time and in the trash they went after trying to pry them off the wax paper, the carmel was like glue, the topping slid off into a neat pile around the bottom, hence gluing them to the wax paper, sad family needless to say, we tried to cut off a few pieces, yuck! I’ll try this one more time, with your recipe, thank you! Other wise, I too will be hitting the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at oru mall when the urge hits for Carmel apples, well worth the 7 bucks!

  20. Amber says

    I am so excited to try these! But could you tell me what size can of sweetened condensed milk you used? (I think they have different sizes between the USA and Canada).

  21. Chin says

    Im Only 12 but I love to cook and back and make sweets for my freinds and family and its the beggining of the year so im trying to get to my teachers sweet tooth and this is the perfect recipe!! =D

  22. Amanda Angel says

    Good job on making these! They look really professional, and VERY well made. I can’t imagine eating them though. God, the thought makes me sick. ONLYYYY because I’m allergic to chocolate. And most citrus. I just wanted to let you know what a great job you did on them! Keep up the awesome work!!

  23. says

    Hello! Your poor daughter! These apples can be dangerous! I made some for the first time tonight (not your recipe) and I burned my finger pretty bad. Totally dumb on my part….do not drizzle the caramel on your finger. My caramel was pretty thick. I did some looking and found your post, and I’m going to try your recipe next time around. Yours look gorgeous! :)

  24. Lisa says

    I was wondering if the brown sugar is packed or not? Also I have a 100 of them to make for a wedding can I do 5 batches at a time?

  25. Andrea says

    I really want Carmel apples for my wedding favours next September, but after researching purchasing them who the heck can afford that! I decided to try and find a good easy recipe to try, as I am not a baker by any means and I probably need 140 of them. I found your recipe and it looks awesome! I have one question do these have a shelf life? How many days ahead do you think they can be made? And obviously they have to be kept cool, any idea if they can be frozen? Thanks 😄

  26. Annisa Larsen says

    I’m so glad to see this post! I made some beautiful Caramel Apples last Saturday for our family Halloween Party. We made 20 of them, we decorated some of them with Mini Reese’s pieces, some with dark chocolate and orange chocolate, white chocolate chips and some gummy worms, they looked so great! Well, by the time we got to the party (45 min away), the caramel was mostly in a puddle around each apple! It was so sad! I said right then and there that I would never make Caramel Apples again…but your post gives me hope! I’m going to try it again….Thanks for sharing!

  27. Leann Wigner says

    I nee help! I made these. They looked great! I put them in the fridge to set. They still looked great. I took them out of the fridge for 7 hours to cool, and the caramel melted. What did I do wrong?

      • Leann Wigner says

        I boiled them, scrubbed them and sandpapered them. Should I leave the apples in the fridge overnight after they are decorated? I think that might have been my problem.

      • Leann Wigner says

        Also, most other recipes suggest a temp of 236-250 for the caramel. Do you think I cooked my caramel long enough if I cooked it to only 230?

  28. Lisa says

    When I make Caramel/chocolate covered apples, I use the wax paper, but spray with non stick cooking spray (Pam for me). It works great! I cover in caramel, stick in the fridge for a bit, then dip in chocolate. Both are fine sitting on cooking spray.


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