Sweet. Sticky. Crisp. Gooey. Gonna go back for another one. These are the sorts of things that meander through our thoughts as we lose ourselves in the autumnal classic from childhood that still satiates, no matter the age. Go on. Try one. We dare you to defy the urge.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our recipe testers love that these caramel apples have a deep maple and caramel flavor, thanks to the addition of molasses and maple syrup. They also discovered that any leftover caramel sauce makes a great dip for apple slices.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Apples–the caramel coating on these apples is quite sweet, so it’s best to use an apple that has some tartness, such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or McIntosh.
  • Butter–unsalted butter is best here, but if you do need to substitute salted then skip the added pinch of salt.
  • Maple Syrup–you can use whatever maple syrup you have on hand, but if you are specifically purchasing it to make these candy apples, keep in mind that the type of maple syrup you choose will have an impact on the flavor. Grade A, Grade A Light, or Grade A Amber will have a lighter, sweeter flavor. Grade B, Grade A Dark, or Grade A Very Dark will have a richer, more robust maple flavor, and tends to be less sweet than the lighter-colored varieties.

Caramel Apple FAQs

How do I make dark-colored caramel apples?

To achieve a devilishly dark caramel apple, like half of the ones pictured, add the teeniest drop of black food gel to the caramel and swirl or stir until no streaks remain before dipping apples.

My caramel became too thick before I coated all the apples. What should I do?

You can reheat the caramel over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Once it reaches a dipping consistency, proceed with coating the remaining apples.

Helpful Tips

  • Use the bottom of a sturdy mug or a meat pounder to push the sticks into the apples. Take care not to drive them all the way through the apple though.
  • When you are dipping your apples in the caramel, use a wooden spoon to prop up one side of the saucepan to allow for easier dipping.

More Spooky Halloween Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Caramel apples with branch sticks sitting on a metal dish, with more in the background.

Halloween Caramel Apples

5 / 4 votes
These caramel apples are enrobed in a buttery caramel coating made with butter, sugar, cream, maple syrup, and dark molasses. A great Halloween treat for the kids.
David Leite
Servings10 to 12 apples
Calories322 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 10 to 12 popsicle sticks or twigs sharpened to a point at one end


  • 10 to 12 medium apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap or other dark molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt


  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Butter the foil or paper lightly. Insert a stick into each apple at the stem end. (I use the bottom of a heavy mug to “hammer” in the sticks, but be careful not to drive the handle all the way through the apple.)
  • In a deep, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, butter, cream, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and salt. Stir gently with a wooden spoon from time to time to make sure no sugar is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture registers 236°F (113°C) on a thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool to 180°F (82°C).
  • Working with 1 apple at a time, dip it into the hot caramel, let the excess drip off the bottom of the apple, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. The caramel should cling to the apple. If the caramel slides off the first apple, let the rest of the caramel in the pan cool for a minute or so and try again. You may need to tilt the pan to dip the last few apples.
  • Let the caramel apples cool completely so the caramel sets. The apples will keep, uncovered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (But who are we kidding? They'll never last that long.)


  • When dipping your apples, use a wooden spoon to prop up one side of your saucepan for easier dipping.
  • If your caramel thickens too much before all your apples are dipped, rewarm it over low heat, frequently stirring to prevent scorching.
  • Any leftover caramel sauce makes a great dip for apple slices.

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 appleCalories: 322 kcalCarbohydrates: 56 gProtein: 1 gFat: 12 gSaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 35 mgSodium: 13 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 49 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2006 Elisabeth Prueitt | Chad Robertson. Photo © 2018 Brent Hofacker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These caramel apples were delicious! The addition of molasses gave the caramel a depth that is not usually present in a caramel apple. I was able to purchase some fresh beautiful apples and maple syrup at the farmer’s market.

My apples were a bit smaller than what was called for in the recipe, and I probably could have made a few more with the extra caramel I had left, but I had run out of sticks. I used the remainder as a dip for apple slices. I’ll be making this again!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Samantha, you want them chilled, if possible. This will help the caramel cool quickly and stick to the apples.

  1. 5 stars
    I made these today in preparation for a little Halloween party for my grandsons and had to try one for “quality control.” They are awesome! Mixed the leftover caramel with some walnuts and dropped spoons full on parchment paper. This is definitely a new autumn tradition.

    1. Wonderful, BJ! A little quality control is always a good idea and we’re so thrilled that you love them.

  2. 5 stars
    I would like to tell you that this recipe is absolutely delicious! I tried it over the weekend and it turned out perfectly – and the picture makes it impossible to not try this yourself!!