Made-From-Scratch Caramel Apples Recipe

Homemade caramel apples are best with a caramel that's thick enough to generously coat, but soft enough to bite through.

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Using a two-stage cooking method lets you customize the degree of caramelization without sacrificing consistency.
  • A 1:1 ratio of sugar and cream keeps the caramel tender, so the apples are easy to eat.
  • Cold apples shock the caramel, for a thick, quick-set coating.

To make the best caramel apples at home, you need the right sort of caramel for dipping—pale gold, so you can still taste the nuance of your favorite apple, but with plenty of toasty depth and a hint of salt to temper its sweetness. This caramel's thick enough to generously coat each apple, but tender, so you don't have to worry about dislocating your jaw with every bite.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 8 to 12 servings

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  • 8 to 12 small apples, refrigerated until cold

  • 4 ounces water (1/2 cup; 115g)

  • 9 ounces sugar (1 1/3 cups; 255g)

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight

  • 9 ounces heavy cream (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons; 255g), chilled (see note)


  1. Skewer apples with popsicle sticks, then return to fridge. In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, combine water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir with a fork until sugar is fully dissolved and syrup comes to a rolling boil, about 4 minutes. Simmer, without stirring, until syrup is honey-gold, roughly 9 minutes.

  2. Immediately add cream (the mixture will sputter) and reduce heat to medium-low, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula, until caramel registers 250°F (121°C) on a digital thermometer, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a small heat-resistant bowl and cool to about 212°F (100°C).

  3. Dip cold apples in caramel, letting excess drip off before transferring to a parchment-lined cutting board. Let stand at room temperature until fully set, about 10 minutes, and serve.

Special equipment

8 to 12 wooden popsicle sticks, 3-quart saucier, heat-resistant spatula, digital thermometer with clip-on attachment


If you have fond memories of apples dipped in the sort of super-thick and chewy caramel that can really work your jaw, reduce the cream to 6 ounces (3/4 cup; 170g). Otherwise, proceed exactly as directed.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
206 Calories
8g Fat
36g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 206
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 137mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 5mg 23%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 127mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)