Is there anything sweeter than a caramel apple in the fall? That crisp, crunchy apple wrapped in ooey-gooey caramel is autumn on a stick for me. I love visiting a nearby orchard every year for one of these tasty treats—but let’s be honest, I can’t limit myself to a single caramel apple per season. Psst! Here’s how to keep apples from browning.
Turns out that I don’t have to, because making this fall favorite is so simple. Our Test Kitchen shows you how to take just three ingredients (plus all those delicious toppings) and make your own caramel apples, perfect for snacking and entertaining all season long.
How to Make Caramel Apples
6 small Gala apples
6 wooden pop sticks
1 package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk
Step 1: Wax On, Wax Off
Start by removing the stems and thoroughly washing the apples. Store-bought apples can have a bit of a waxy coating on them to keep them fresh, so be sure to scrub them until that finish is gone and they look natural and dull. A dishcloth should do the job just fine. Once they’re clean, dry the apples and insert a pop stick into the top of each.
Line a baking sheet with greased parchment paper. (Greasing the paper is important so the caramel won’t stick later.)
Step 2: Melt Away
Next, prepare the caramels for all that sticky goodness. Unwrap the candies—a great job for little ones (along with these kitchen tasks)—and heat the caramels in a saucepan with the milk over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. It should take three to five minutes for the mix to be nice and smooth.
Step 3: Dip
Once the caramel is smooth, remove it from the heat and prepare for dipping. To fully coat the apple in sticky, caramelly goodness, tip the saucepan a bit and rotate the apple until the surface is completely covered. Allow the excess caramel to drip off before you place it upright onto the parchment-lined pan.
Test Kitchen tip: If you find that the caramel runs off the apples, don’t worry! The caramel might just be a touch too warm. Wait a minute and give it another dip.
Step 4: Store and Serve
If you’re looking to gobble up these sweet treats right away, let the apples stand until the caramel is set, about 10 minutes. Or, you can refrigerate them for a week or so—just be sure to take them out of the fridge 10 to 15 minutes prior to eating so the caramel can soften a bit.
Make It Your Own
- Go apple picking. Though our recipe calls for Gala apples (we love their sweet flavor!), feel free to use whatever apple you prefer for eating. Granny Smiths are a traditional option if you prefer more tartness and a good crunch.
- Roll on the toppings. You don’t have to limit yourself to plain caramel! After dipping and while the caramel is still sticky, roll the apples in nuts, sprinkles or candies. You can also drizzle with melted chocolate. If you like salty with your sweet, sprinkle a little sea salt on top when the caramel is just about set.
If this has you seriously craving more apples (I sure am), check out our top 10 apple desserts, and be sure to keep these tips in mind when you head to your local orchard for apple picking this season.