How to Make Candy Apples

Learn how to make candy apples with us. It’s not hard. It’s actually crazy-easy. Promise!

How To Make Candy Apples, a Step-by-Step Guide

Candy apples – sweet, tart and crunchy. Brilliantly, brightly red. Sooooo shiny. Geez, they’re just plain freaking fun.

It turns out they’re easy to make too. Don’t let the candy-making process scare you. Really, you’re just going to mix together a few ingredients and then put them over high heat on the stove until they reach the right temperature. Stay close but there’s no need to even stir. Then dip your apples in and set them down to dry. Done! (If you’re hooked on candy-making after that, next step…learn how to make Classic Popcorn balls!)

I’ve included a little bonus below for you. To make your apple bottoms special you pour demerara sugar onto a baking sheet. Set the wet candy-covered apples down in it. It gives the bottoms of the apples this cool sparkly look. You can even mix some pumpkin spice in with the sugar for some Fall flavor too.

How to get sparkly golden sparkles on the bottom of your candy apples

OK, let’s get on with it.

How To Make Candy Apples:

Step#1

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan mix together 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cups water, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (I use the gel kind, like this) and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon extract (optional).

How to Make Candy Apples

The mixture will be bright red like this.

How to Make Candy Apples

Step#2

Set up your candy thermometer so that the tip is in the mixture and is not touching the bottom of the pot. Put it over high heat and bring it to a boil. Leave it bubbling on high. It’ll look like this.

How to Make Candy Apples

You keep letting it bubble like that on high until it gets to be between 300ºF and 310ºF. You’re going to do some other stuff while the mixture is heating, but beware! It might seem like it’s taking forever to heat but once it gets to the 230ºF everything speeds up. So keep your eye on it while you’re multi-tasking. The whole thing will take around 20 minutes.

Step #3

While the sugar mixture is coming to temperature, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with baking spray. This is so your hot candy doesn’t stick while it’s hardening.

How to Make Candy Apples

Step#4

Wash and dry your apples.

How to Make Candy Apples

Step#5

Get your sticks ready. I’m using some twigs here. Here are some other ideas for sticks. You can also get specialized sticks that are just for candy apples online here.

How to Make Candy Apples

Step#6

Stick the sticks down into the tops of the apples. You want to get a good ways in. If your sticks are long, go all the way but not through the other end. If they’re shorter, getting halfway into the apple is good enough.

How to Make Candy Apples

Apple on a stick!

How to Make Candy Apples

Step#7 (optional)

Mix together 1/4 cup demerara sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (you can leave out the pumpkin spice if you want. What’s crucial is the sugar).

How To Decorate Candy Apples

Step#8 (optional)

Sprinkle the sugar mixture onto your prepared pan.

How To Decorate Candy Apples

Step#9

When your candy mixture is at 310ºF, take it of the heat. Tilt your pot to the side and hold the apples by the stick to roll them one at a time in the mixture. Be careful because that sugar syrup is seriously hot. After rolling the apple around, hold it up over the saucepan and shake it gently to let some excess syrup drip off.

How To Make Candy Apples

Step#10

Then put the apples on your prepared pan to harden. They’ll be hard and ready to eat within 10 minutes. It’s kind of amazing how fast it happens. And it’s amazing how good they taste!

How To Make Candy Apples

If you want to print out these instructions, click print in the recipe box below. Or you can get the instructions and all kinds of other candy apple tips, tricks, ideas and recipes in our Candy Apple Ebook here.

How To Make Candy Apples

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. red gel food coloring
  • baking spray
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice (optional)
  • 6 medium apples

Special Equipment

Directions:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan mix together sugar, water, corn syrup, food coloring and extract (if using). The mixture will be bright red.
  2. Set up your candy thermometer so that the tip is in the mixture and is not touching the bottom of the pot. Put it over high heat and bring it to a boil. Leave it bubbling on high until it gets to be between 300ºF and 310ºF. It will take around 20 minutes but keep your eye on it. It gets really fast at the end.
  3. While the sugar mixture is coming to temperature, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with baking spray. Wash and dry your apples. Stick the sticks down into the tops of the apples. You want to get a good ways in. If your sticks are long, go all the way but not through the other end. If they're shorter, getting halfway into the apple is good enough.
  4. For sparkly apple bottoms, mix together 1/4 cup demerara sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (you can leave out the pumpkin spice if you want. What's crucial is the sugar). Sprinkle the sugar mixture onto your prepared pan.
  5. When your candy mixture is at 310ºF, take it of the heat. Tilt your pot to the side and hold the apples by the stick to roll them one at a time in the mixture. Be careful because that sugar syrup is very hot. After rolling the apple around, hold it up over the saucepan and shake it gently to let some excess syrup drip off. Put the apples on your prepared pan to harden. They'll be hard and ready to eat within 10 minutes.

Video by Leigh Olson. Article, recipe and pictures by Christine Pittman.

How to make candy apples

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Cookful. She also blogs at COOKtheSTORY where she specializes in easy healthy homemade recipes. Healthiness aside, she has been known to shred cheese onto a dinner plate, microwave it for 30 seconds, and then eat the messy goop with a spoon.