How to Make Candy Apples

Nothing says delicious fun like a candy apples! This is your guide for how to make candy apples at home. Tips for success…every time.

Do you ever wonder what in the world to make for fall parties? Halloween brownies and m&m cookie bars might be the first thing that comes to mind, but candy apples are a traditional fall treat that kids are guaranteed to love.

Today we’re talking all about how to make candy apples.

candied apples on parchment paper

Where did candied apples originate?

Candy apples originated in the United States in the early 1900’s. There is a fun story about a candy maker dipping apples in his cinnamon candy at Christmas (source).

Americans traditionally eat candy apples during fall parties or Halloween. They are also known as toffee apples in other countries.

hand holding candied apples

Are candy apples the same as caramel apples?

No! Caramel apples are covered with caramel made with brown sugar. Candy apples are covered with a hard tack candy made with white sugar.

What apples are best for candied apples?

Do you ever wonder what are the best apples? For candied apples, a lot really depends on what color you want peeking out from under your candy. We love using Granny Smith apples with red candy coating. But you can also use Gala or Mcintosh.

candied apple ingredients

Tools for Candied Apples

There are a few things you’ll need in order to make candy apples easier:

**Important Tip: Start the day before! Scrub the apples with a brush and hot water and dry the apples. Dry the apples completely and allow them to sit at room temperature.**

How to Make Candy Apples

  • Remove and discard the stems. Poke skinny dowel rods or popsicle sticks into the top center of the apple.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, dissolve the sugar into the water then add corn syrup. Continue cooking till the candy thermometer reaches at least 302 degrees. This hard crack stage. This should take approximately 10 minutes.
syrup for candied apples

What if I don’t have a candy thermometer?

If you don’t have a candy thermometer grab a cup of very cold water. Drop a small amount (just a drop!) of sugar mixture into water. If the candy hardens immediately it is at hard crack stage.

  • At this point you will add the flavoring and white food coloring. Stir till combined. Add the food coloring (whatever color you’d like). Add the coloring a teaspoon at a time until it has reached the exact color you want. **A note about the color. If you want a clear, see through, glassy color (as in the plain red ones) as some of the pictures show, don’t use the white gel color. Only use the white gel color if you want the candy coating to be more solid and not see through (as in the patriotic ones).
  • Holding the dowels in the apples, dunk the apple into syrup until it is as covered as you’d like, then pull slowly up. Allow the sugar to drip for 5-10 seconds.
  • Place the apples onto the lined cookie sheet and allow to dry. Repeat with remaining apples until the syrup is gone.
red syrup for candied apples
  • Allow the apples to dry and then store in the refrigerator.

How to Make Candy Apples with Glitter

In order to have candy apples with glitter or sprinkles, you’ll want to allow the candied apple to drip for 5-8 seconds after dipping, then roll the apple in a bowl of edible glitter or your favorite sprinkles. Roll it back and forth to cover it, then place it on the parchment to dry completely.

patriotic candied apples

Why do I have bubbles in my candied apples?

The first few times I made candy apples I ran into a problem. The apples ended up having bubbles all over them. They made for a great “warty witch face” look, but they weren’t pretty and mirror smooth.

I found two things that help reduce the amount of bubbles.

  • Get the wax off your apples. Scrub apples clean and dry them. It’s best if you do this a day before you want to make the apples. Use a soft scrub brush and very hot water or an organic fruit cleaning. Another thing you can do is buy organic apples. They won’t have a coating on them.
  • Make sure apples are at room temperature. If you refrigerate the apples right before putting candy on them, they’ll produce condensation and make it hard for the candy to stick. Ask me how I know. 🙂
  • Dip the apples slowly. We’ve found that if we take our time, there will be less bubbles that form. Dip it low into the candy and then lift it up slowly.

How do you keep candied apples from sticking to wax paper?

We prefer to use parchment paper instead of wax paper. It’s a stronger paper and we haven’t had an issue with it sticking.

If you only have wax paper, smear a little bit of butter on the wax paper where you will set the apples. Allow the apples to cool completely (about 2 hours) before removing and they shouldn’t stick.

patriotic candied apples

Do you put candy apples in the fridge?

Yes! Store the apples in the refrigerator so that they keep longer.

How long do candy apples last?

Candy apples will keep about 3 days in the refrigerator. The issue with them lasting is with the hole that you poke in it for the stick. As air gets into the apple, it will cause it to turn brown.

If you seal the entire area around the stick with candy, the apple could last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

A close up of a candied apple with bite out

How do I clean candy out of a pan?

Looking at your sugar coated pan may make you wonder why in the world you ever decided to make candy apples. It’s easy to clean though!

Fill the pan with water, then set it over medium high heat to boil. As the water heats, it will melt the candy on the pan. Then remove the pan (being careful cause the water is hot!) and discard the water.

Other Apple Recipes

red candy apples
red candy apples

Candy Apples

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Nothing says delicious fun like a candy apples! This is your guide for how to make candy apples at home. Tips for success…every time.
Servings 10
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 10 medium apples (approximately)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cherry or strawberry extract (or other extract)
  • 2 tablespoons white gel food coloring (to make a coating that will not be see through)
  • 2-4 teaspoons food coloring to reach desired color (add slowly to reach desired color)
  • Dowel rods or popsicle sticks

Instructions
 

The day before (or at least several hours before):

  • Scrub the apples with a brush and hot water and dry the apples. Dry the apples completely and allow them to sit at room temperature.

To make the apples:

  • Remove and discard the stems. Poke skinny dowel rods or popsicle sticks into the top center of the apple.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, dissolve the sugar into the water then add corn syrup. Continue cooking till the candy thermometer reaches at least 302 degrees. This hard crack stage. This should take approximately 10 minutes.
  • At this point you will add the flavoring and white food coloring. Stir till combined. Add the food coloring (whatever color you'd like). Add the coloring a teaspoon at a time until it has reached the exact color you want. Holding the dowels in the apples, dunk the apple into syrup until it is as covered as you'd like, then pull slowly up. Allow the sugar to drip for 5-10 seconds.
  • Place the apples onto the lined cookie sheet and allow to dry. Repeat with remaining apples until the syrup is gone.
  • Allow the apples to dry and then store in the refrigerator.
  • Serve within 3 days.

Notes

**A note about the color. If you want a clear, see through, glassy color (as in the solid red ones above) as some of the pictures show, don’t use the white gel color. Only use the white gel color if you want the candy coating to be more solid and not see through (as in the patriotic ones above).
 
The calories shown are based on the recipe making about 10 apples, with 1 serving being 1 candy apple. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 92g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 375
Keyword apple recipes, halloween recipe
candied apples

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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