Carnival Caramel Apples Recipe
Carnival Caramel Apples Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Carnival Caramel Apples Recipe

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With four kids (one child whose birthday is November 1), we celebrate Halloween in style around our house. These caramel apples are a tried-and-true favorite year after year. —Gail Prather, Bethel, Minnesota
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 25 min. + cooling
MAKES:10-12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 25 min. + cooling
MAKES: 10-12 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • Dash salt
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 to 12 Popsicle sticks
  • 10 to 12 medium tart apples, washed and dried
  • 1 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 526 calories, 17g fat (7g saturated fat), 32mg cholesterol, 231mg sodium, 94g carbohydrate (82g sugars, 4g fiber), 6g protein.


  1. In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter; add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in milk. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 248° (firm-ball stage). Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.
  2. Insert Popsicle sticks into apples. Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture; turn to coat. Dip bottom of apples into peanuts. Place on greased waxed paper until set. Yield: 10-12 apples.
Editor's Note: We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
Originally published as Carnival Caramel Apples in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2005, p244

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Rebecca User ID: 8974434 257189
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2016

"Wow!! I followed the directions exactly and this was my first attempt with a candy therm. Holy cow! This was perfect. The consistency was perfect/thick/flavorful. I decorated with mini-chip/mini M&M's, crushed Oreo's and drizzled colored coating on them for Thanksgiving. So perfect! I think I might use this recipe to make actual caramels dipped in chocolate with sea salt."

Chellahd User ID: 8961955 256225
Reviewed Nov. 1, 2016

"Oh my goodness....this was such an easy thing to make :-) Soaked apples in white vinegar to remove residue as suggested to make the caramel stick. I followed the recipe to the letter and used my candy thermometer for the first time which worked well. All I have to say is wow...found another recipe off food network but was a complete failure. This one was the best I have found. I think it makes a difference using the sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar to make this. I did slice up the apples and poured caramel over them vs putting them on the stick which made it easy for people to eat. Very pleased with how they came out and I'm definitely saving this one! I am at a higher altitude (in CO) but I did not have to modify the cooking time."

Lnjo21 User ID: 8911392 252550
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2016

"I made this today as a trial run for a fall festival chutch fundraiser... the texture is sorta lumpy... what could I have done wrong? I followed the instructions or thought I did ;-)"

thegatheringgarden User ID: 8575887 235074
Reviewed Oct. 16, 2015

"The caramel tasted amazing and the apples look just so beautiful, but I think I lost a filling biting into them, I must have done something wrong:( any suggestions, or is this how they are suppossed to be? super fun making them though, used a candy thermometer and all seemed perfect just texture not right."

hummingbird2257 User ID: 2580324 234269
Reviewed Oct. 9, 2015

"Have used this recipe for years with no failure! LoveThis Time Of The Year!

To Smithian. Making caramel is easy if you follow the directions. Plus, always wash apples with hot water to remove any wax they may have on them from processing. If not, thecarmels won't stick right! Just a note. Good Luck! Give it another try! Patience-Youll get it!"

taya_k User ID: 2613308 233413
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2015

"Absolutely loved this recipe! I make caramel apples every year and this recipe really has the richest tasting caramel yet! It's really important that you let the caramel boil for several minutes before adding the sweetened milk. Then let it lightly boil after you add the milk until it reaches your desired temp. I didn't quite let it get to 248 because it started browning before then. I made 2 batches and they both turned out wonderful!! Really helped to spray the paper with cooking spray to keep them from sticking too."

wakesk8 User ID: 8064261 158560
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2014

"Made these last night. The caramel was a bit stiff, but I'll adjust the cooking temperature next time. Everybody loved the apples!!

In response to the one-star review below - you need to be careful when making caramel that it doesn't drop below the boiling point as you are adding the Milk/Cream. I've had that happen before and it ruins the caramel. You just have to throw it out and start over. At least that is my experience. :)"

Catherine69 User ID: 5025459 110459
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2014 Edited Oct. 29, 2014

"We tried this recipe again with much better results. We cooked the caramel to 220? instead of 248?. It was not as thick but we let it cool for a minute or two before dipping the apples."

ElsieCA User ID: 8055241 140555
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2014

"I had never made caramel before, but I followed these instructions and it turned out great! It took me a while to get it to the "firm ball" stage (I didn't have a thermometer so I looked up instructions for testing for "firm ball" stage) -- but the apples look perfect. Maybe I was just shy to heat it too fast. I used dark brown sugar, which has a little more of a molasses taste and makes darker caramel -- for a more run-of-the-mill caramel apple you may want to use light brown. Thanks for the great recipe -- much more fun than unpeeling all those stupid little store-bought caramels!"

smithian86 User ID: 8031571 163733
Reviewed Oct. 11, 2014

"This does not even deserve a star it was liquid it never set up it wouldnt stick to the apples nothing just a gritty runny sauce not even thick enough for dipping or anything"

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