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Carnival Caramel Apples

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
    12 apples


  • 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


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

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  • hennigan
    Nov 23, 2019

    Great tips in the reviews! LOVE this recipe.

  • Lisa
    Oct 23, 2018

    Great recipe and so tasty! I used this recipe to make a caramel dip for apples to serve at a concession stand that I was in charge of. We had many compliments on how tasty it was. I didn't boil it to firm ball as I wanted it to remain soft for dipping. I just kept it on low in a crock pot. We are making a larger batch for tonights game!

  • Debra
    Sep 28, 2018

    Awesomeness! The Carmel is nice and gooey, and has a slight vanilla twang to it! I made a full recipe, and covered a 3 lb bag of red delicious, about the size of a human fist each, 13 apples. I had enough left to do at least another 3 or 4 apples. I let it cool a bit on wax paper and just rolled snack bite balls. It's that yummy! You must stir constantly while boiling 10-12 minutes, and add milk slowly so temp don't drop! I scorched it a bit, so next time I'm trying a double boiler...but, mmmmmmmm!

  • Ann
    Oct 27, 2017

    Excellent recipe. I halved it and still covered eight small Spartan apples. So easy and so good.

  • Maureen
    Sep 17, 2017

    Followed recipe exactly but cut in half and had enough for 6 small to medium apples. Tastes so yummy! We used a meat thermometer and stopped cooking at 222 and was a success!

  • Rebecca
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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!