Easy Candy Apples Recipe

If you've ever set foot in a fair or carnival, there's a good chance you've enjoyed or have at least seen a candy apple. The delightful treat is a carnie staple, transforming the classic fruit into a simple but delicious handheld treat. There are quite a few varieties of candy apples, with the term caramel apple more accurately describing a fair lot of them; a genuine candy apple, however, is easily distinguishable thanks to its vibrant red hue and hard, sticky outer coating.

Believe it or not, you don't have to so much as think about a carnival to enjoy a candy apple. Thanks to this recipe from developer Jessica Morone, you can enjoy all of the sweet fun in your own kitchen, with only a handful of ingredients. "These candy apples remind me of my favorite time of year: autumn," Morone says. "They make me think of fall festivals, apple picking, and cool weather, and they are just such a fun item to make and eat. But you aren't limited to only getting these in the fall, you can make them anytime you want!" If you too, like Morone, want to embrace fall festivities even during the off-season, then this easy candy apple recipe will have you reaching for that flannel in no time.

Gather the ingredients for easy candy apples

The ingredients list is pretty short here — for starters, you'll need apples, and Morone opts for Granny Smiths. "You can use a different type of apple if you prefer, but Granny Smith[s] are the best because they are firm enough to hold up to the hard candy shell, and are also a tart so the sweet candy shell goes well with them," Morone explains. Aside from the apples, you'll need granulated sugar, water, lemon juice, and some red food coloring to get that recognizable hue. As for non-edible necessities, have some wooden skewers, popsicle sticks, or lollipop sticks handy to truly make these apples a handheld treat.

If you were expecting corn syrup to be on this list, Morone explains why the staple isn't necessary in this case. "The special ingredient here is the lemon juice," says Morone. "A lot of candy apple recipes use corn syrup, but the acidity in the lemon juice works to keep the sugar from crystalizing the same way corn syrup does, so you don't need corn syrup here."

Prep the apples

Start by washing and thoroughly drying each of the apples. Then, using your skewer of choice, insert one into the center core of each apple. You can use the little stem on top of the apple to help you find the center. As you work, place each skewered apple onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. 

Make the candy coating

With the apples ready to go, you can focus on making the candy coating. Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat and add in the water, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and once it does, lower the heat so it comes to a simmer. Continue simmering until the candy mixture reaches 300 F — a candy thermometer is pretty crucial here to ensure you reach that hard crack stage. And do be patient, as it will take the candy 20 to 30 minutes to reach the right temperature. Once it does reach 300 F, remove the candy from the stovetop and gently stir in the red food coloring.

Dip the apples in the candy coating

Grab an apple and dip it into the candy mixture, swirling it in a full loop to ensure that the entire surface is covered. Once dunked, hover the apple above the pan to allow any excess candy to fall back in. Then, place the candy apple back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until each apple is coated.

Now, a classic candy apple just has the red candy shell, but there is room for creativity here if you so choose. "Once the apples have been dipped in the candy coating, you can add other toppings if you want, like crushed up nuts, sprinkles, or shredded coconut," Morone says. "You will want to dip the apples in your topping of choice as soon as the apple is dipped in the candy and before it gets too hard for any additional toppings to stick."

Enjoy these easy candy apples

Once the candy shell has hardened, there's only one thing left to do, and that's to enjoy these festive little treats — but probably don't bite directly into one. As Morone advises, "These are great any time as a treat, you just want to make sure you cut these into pieces rather than trying to bite right into them!"

If you happen to have leftover apples, there's a good chance that they'll last you a while. "If the apples are completely coated in candy they can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge," Morone explains. "If there is a gap in the candy and the stick they will last about 3 days in the fridge before starting to turn brown inside."

Easy Candy Apples Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
It's easier than you think to make these candy apples in your home kitchen for a classic sweet snack.
Prep Time
Cook Time
four candy apples
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 6 granny smith apples
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon red food coloring
  1. Wash and dry the apples. Insert a stick of choice into the center of each apple. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, place the apples onto the cookie sheets, and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture reaches 300 F (the hard crack stage) on a candy thermometer. This will take about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the red food coloring.
  4. Carefully dip the apples one at a time into the candy, swirling to coat the apple, and allow excess candy to fall back into the pan. Put the apples back onto the prepared cookie sheet and let them sit until the candy has completely hardened, then cut and serve.
Calories per Serving 362
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 91.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Total Sugars 83.5 g
Sodium 4.1 mg
Protein 0.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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