Easy Caramel Apples

September 29, 2019

Easy Caramel Apples are one of the ultimate fall treats! This is a foolproof recipe thats nearly impossible to mess up and it makes perfectly tempting and tasty caramel apples that are great for holidays, parties and gifting. 

Caramel apples on a wooden cake stand. Apples are coated with various toppings.

Easiest Caramel Apples!

Caramel apples have been one of my all time favorite things to make since I first started cooking and baking. But that made from scratch recipe takes some time and it can be intimating so this year I decided to share the easiest caramel apple recipe ever!

It’s so easy you really don’t even need a recipe, it’s more of just a quick how-to teaching you the method and ingredients to use. And the best part – you only need 3 ingredients!

Then from there if you want an upgrade you can add some of your favorite toppings, then just let the caramel set in the fridge briefly and you’ve got a perfectly tempting treat that no one will be able to resist!

This simple no fuss recipe takes all the stress out of caramel apples (there’s not the extra worry of over cooking or under cooking homemade caramel, plus the extra mess and all the time it takes). This is just the fun hassle free method that everyone will want to help with.

This is how we celebrate the fall season, right?

caramel apple ingredientsCaramel Apple Ingredients:

  • Store-bought caramels – I recommend using Werther’s Chewy Caramels for best results. Some of the other readily available brands don’t taste as good and don’t set up as well.
  • Apples – I like to use Granny Smith so that bit of tartness balances out the sweetness of the caramel and toppings but practically any type of apple will work here.
  • Heavy cream – evaporated milk will work too if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Optional toppings – you can also customize these with optional toppings to take them over the top too (see below for some ideas). But if you want to keep them really simple they are also delicious without too.

adding cream to caramels in glass bowl

How to Make Caramel Apples:

  • Prepare apples: Rinse and thoroughly dry apples with a paper towel. Insert a caramel apple stick into center of each apple. Have toppings ready if you’ll be adding some to apples.
  • Prepare pan to rest apples on: Line a 13 by 9-inch baking sheet or baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper, spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray, set in the fridge.
  • Add caramels and cream to bowl: Place caramels and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl (about 5 cup size bowl).

melted caramel in a glass mixing bowl.

  • Melt in microwave: Heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well between intervals, until melted and smooth. This will take about 2 – 3 minutes. If it’s extra runny let it cool just briefly so caramel doesn’t run right off the apples.

Rolling granny smith apple on stick in melted caramel mixture.

  • Dip apples in caramel, roll in toppings: Dip apples one at a time into caramel on an angle so it covers nearly to the top center (or all the way to the top if you don’t care to have apple showing through). Rotate and turn to coat apple.
  • Lift apple and let excess caramel run off, then run bottom of apple along inside edge of bowl to remove excess caramel.
  • Lift apple and turn apple upside down to let caramel run up the apple a little, then immediately roll in toppings (or sprinkle with toppings) before caramel sets.

  • Repeat process: Turn apples upright and place on prepared baking sheet in fridge, repeat process with remaining apples. As needed reheat caramel in microwave in 15 second increments for a runny, dip-able consistency.
  • Let caramel set in fridge: Allow caramel to set completely, about 30 minutes in the fridge (you can eat them before this but if you want caramel to firm back up the wait the 30 minutes). Cut apples into slices just when ready to enjoy so they don’t brown.

Six caramel apples on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

What are the Best Caramel Apple Toppings?

After about 15 years of making caramel apples I can tell you these are the best topping options to pick from:

  • Crushed Oreos
  • Chopped nuts (I like peanuts or pecans)
  • Chopped candy bars such as Butterfinger
  • Crushed graham crackers with ground cinnamon
  • Shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Mini M&M’s
  • Sprinkles
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Marshmallow bits
  • White chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate bars melted for dipping, or good quality chocolate melts such as Ghirardelli.

If you go the route of dipping or drizzling apples in melted chocolate let the caramel set up first then dip in melted chocolate. If adding toppings to chocolate add right after dipping before the chocolate sets.

Close up image of stand full of caramel apples.

Can I Make a Double Batch or Small Batch?

I don’t recommend a double batch unless you have multiple people there ready to dip as the caramel does start to set and you’ll just have to keep reheating it. And yes I have made a small batch of these using only 1 (5 oz) bag of caramel, 1 Tbsp cream and dipping 2 apples, just use a small bowl.

Can I Melt the Caramel over the Stove Instead?

If you don’t own a microwave or prefer not to use one yes you can definitely do this in a saucepan on the stovetop instead. Melt caramel with heavy cream over medium low-heat stirring constantly.

What About a Caramel Recipe From Scratch?

If you are looking to make the caramel from scratch you’ll love this recipe HERE. Or you can even use homemade Microwave Caramel too. So many options with caramel apples!

Single caramel apple rolled in shredded coconut sitting on a blue plate on top of a wooden plate.

More Apple Recipe Favorites to Try:

Easy Caramel Apples

The easiest caramel apple recipe! Made with just three ingredients, plus toppings if you want to make them extra special. One of the ultimate fall treats! Perfect for gifting and parties. Makes 7 caramel apples (about 3 servings per apple).

Servings: 21
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes

Ingredients

  • 7 small granny smith apples (about 2 1/4 lbs)
  • 15 oz. caramels, such as Werther's Chewy*
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • Various toppings, optional (see notes(**)

Instructions

  1. Rinse and thoroughly dry apples with a paper towel. Insert a caramel apple stick***. Having toppings ready if you'll be adding some to apples.

  2. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking sheet or baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper, spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray, set in the fridge.

  3. Place caramels and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl (about 5 cup size bowl)****.

  4. Heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well between intervals, until melted and smooth. This will take about 2 - 3 minutes. If caramel is extra runny let it cool just briefly so it doesn't run right off the apples.

  5. Dip apples one at a time into caramel on an angle so it covers nearly to the top center. Rotate and turn to coat apple. Lift apple and let excess run off, then run bottom of apple along inside edge of bowl to remove excess caramel. Lift apple and turn apple upside down to let caramel run up the apple a little then immediately roll in toppings (or sprinkle with toppings) before caramel sets.

  6. Turn apples upright and place on prepared baking sheet in fridge, repeat process with remaining apples. As needed reheat caramel in microwave in 15 second increments for a runny, dip-able consistency.

  7. Allow caramel to set completely, about 30 minutes in the fridge (you can eat them before this but if you want caramel to firm back up the wait the 30 minutes). Cut apples into slices just when ready to enjoy so they don't brown.

Recipe Notes

  • *Kraft caramels will work too Werther's just taste better. I don't recommend using Werther's "Soft" caramels. I've tried and the caramel melts off of the apples even if you refrigerate right away.
  • **TOPPING IDEAS: I like to use crushed Oreos, chopped candy bars such as Butterfingers, chopped nuts such as peanuts or pecans, crushed graham crackers with ground cinnamon, mini M&M's, sprinkles, shredded coconut, crushed pretzels, a little sprinkle of flakey sea salt, or marshmallow bits.
  • It's also delicious to dip in melted chocolate or white chocolate or drizzle chocolate over apples.
  • ***Lollipop sticks or popsicle work great too.  
  • ****The caramel mixture can also be melted on the stove top in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (if you'd prefer not to use the microwave or don't own one).
  • Nutrition estimate does not include toppings.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Caramel Apples
Amount Per Serving
Calories 115 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 49mg2%
Potassium 90mg3%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 55IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caramel Apples
Author: Jaclyn

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6 Comments

  • Liz

    Hi Jaclyn do you have any extra tips for not getting all the caramel to not slide off the apples during cooling? I’ve attempted to make caramel apples twice before and no luck ;(

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      If you use chilled apples it helps the caramel set up faster. It also helps for the caramel to be the right consistency before you start dipping, if it’s really runny I just like to let it cool a little. I also like to turn the apples upside down just briefly after I’ve dipped them so the caramel can slide the opposite direction (but not off) then turn upright and let set. And of course chill right away, at room temp the caramel will want to slide off. Hope something there helps!

  • Barbara

    Can the caramel apples be double-dipped in the caramel for a thicker coating? I’m guessing let the first coat of caramel set, then dip again for a second layer? I have never made them before, but am anxious to try your recipe!
    Thank you!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      What I recommend is just letting the caramel cool until it’s a little thicker and you’ll get a thicker layer. You just won’t be able to coat as many apples.

  • Melinda (Sprinkle and a Dash)

    Wow, I do love caramel apples! These look enticing! So many yummy options.