Caramel Apple Recipe – The Easiest, Simplest, Most Basic Recipe Ever. All Made from Scratch!

by Irvin on October 28, 2013 · 26 comments

Caramel Apple Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love |

Apparently I’ve developed a reputation in certain food circles for developing EXCEEDINGLY complicated recipes. Which both baffles and amuses me. I mean, on the one hand I get it, as I do have a habit of reaching for a wide variety of whole grain flours (my gluten free ombre cake has seven different flours, not to mention two or three different binders and two different types of cocoa powder). But I do that because I think that’s how you’ll get the best results possible. On the other hand, I DO occasionally make the simple recipe (come one people, my Wordless Recipe series is told with photos! PHOTOS people!). But at the end of the day I get that not everyone wants to track down crazy flours, insanely obscure sweeteners and ludicrous ingredients that can only be bought on the internet. Which is why I present to you the easiest, simplest, most basic recipe for how to make caramel apples ever. EVER. Believe me when I say that ANYONE can do this. These are easy caramel apples. And it does NOT involve pre-made store bought candies. It’s completely from scratch! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Caramel Apple Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love |

The problem I’ve always had easy caramel apple recipes is they usually involve going to the grocery store and buying bags of caramel chew candies. I get the temptation. You don’t have to worry about cooking sugar on the stove, something that I know scares the heck out of most people. The fear of burning the sugar (or worse, burn yourself) is a huge leap to make. Plus when you have those candies around, it’s kind of fun to pop one in your mouth as you unwrap them for the caramel apples. One for the bowl, one for you. Everyone’s happy!

But here’s the thing. Turn the bag over and look at the ingredients list which includes strange things like partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, calcium carbonate, lipolyzed butter fat and the nebulous vague “artificial flavor”. Really now. Do you want to be feeding your kids that? But even worse than what’s in the caramels is what’s on the outside. Yep, I’m talking those REALLY annoying plastic wrappers. How many times have you had to pry those suckers open, as they stick the caramel, only to have it tear and find that there’s that annoying piece of plastic stuck to the candy that you can’t remove? Not to mention how my fingers cramp when I’m unwrapping more than two at a time. Do you really want to go through that AGAIN?

Caramel Apple Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love |

Thankfully I got your back. Making caramels for dipping apples is easy when you have a microwave and a microwave safe mixing bowl. You probably even have most of the ingredients in your cupboard, which means you don’t have to make that special trip do the store just to make caramel apples. Spontaneous caramel apples without the finger cramping – now that’s something to write about. Seriously folks. Go make these now.

If you like this caramel apple recipe, check out these apple recipes from around the web:

Salted Apple Caramel Hand Pies
Apple Pie Pull Apart Bread
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Caramel Apple Soft Pretzels
Caramel Apple Scones

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Mallory @ Total Noms October 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

This is embarrassing, but I’ve NEVER had a caramel apple. I love making caramel sauce from scratch though- and this recipe looks divine! Talk about easy!!


Irvin October 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Whaaattt??!? Never had a caramel apple? That’s crazy talk! Go make one now. They literally take 10 minutes. 15 minutes top with this recipe!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet October 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I had no idea you could make caramel from scratch in the microwave, so genius! Oh, and I agree with you on those caramels, they are a huge pain in the butt. Also, they don’t even taste a fraction as good as the real thing.


Irvin October 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm

It’s true! I used to love those caramel candies as a kid but I had one recently and I was all “Why does this taste so artificial?” Its as if I could taste the chemicals in the candies! Apparently my taste buds have shifted a lot since childhood. That or they’ve changed the candies so much from back when I was trick-or-treating.


Ruthy @ Omeletta October 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm

LOL I love this- don’t feel bad about your crazy complicated recipes, Irvin, and take faith in the fact that it makes them that more difficult to plagiarize!
And on the other hand, a good, simple, tooth-achingly yum caramel apple recipe- there is nothing wrong with that, either. :)


The Suzzzz October 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Sheesh, know I feel like an idiot for making caramel on the stovetop for my apples.

PS – have you ever tried rolling them in chopped up chocolate-covered cheetohs? Bizarre and good all at the same time and it looks awesome for Halloween.


Irvin October 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I still make caramel on the stovetop but this microwave method is SO darn easy to do. And I’m both intrigued and slightly grossed out by the idea of chocolate cover Cheetos. But I can imagine they would look super Halloween cool!


Belinda @zomppa October 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

My issue with these is that I want to just eat and eat and eat them!


Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) October 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I’ve been looking for an easy caramel apple recipe – I just got given 100 apples from a friend’s tree and I was thinking this might be fun for my students on Hallowe’en. This recipe (with a lot of adult supervision) might just be the thing. You make it looks so easy!


Irvin October 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm

As long as you pay attention to the sugar and are careful about adding/mixing the butter and cream, the microwave method is way safer than the stovetop version. No real splattering of the caramel or super hot metal pans to worry about. But yes, you should definitely be careful regardless. Caramelized sugar is hot regardless of how you make it!


Jane Bonacci October 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Brilliant Irvin. Simple, easy, healthy … exactly what we all strive for! Bravo!!


Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) October 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Oh no absolutely – I am always super cautious and I’ll probably have to try this myself (oh the pain of it!) beforehand to see if I think it will be ok. Regardless of whether I use it with the kids, this s a great recipe and the photos are beautiful – thanks!


Deb October 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

Just adore this post! With gentle diplomacy and a tempting recipe you have traveled the thorn strewn path of explaining why cooking “from scratch” is a better choice!


Irvin October 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I’m definitely an advocate for cooking “from scratch” but I get the convenience factor – and have certainly resorted to pre-made/semi-made myself once in a while.

BUT when the from scratch is actually EASIER and FASTER than the pre-made/semi-made (unwrapping those caramels is SO time consuming) than I definitely think it’s the better choice!


Kristen October 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

These look amazing! I’ve never been a big fan of caramel apples but my kids love them! Thanks for breaking it down for us :)


Susan October 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I have to type and write rather than speak-mouth full of caramel apple!!! The BEST!!!


Sarah October 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi, Irvin!

These look so great! I am planning to make them tomorrow evening for a work meeting on Thurs. morning. Will they be OK stored at room temp for 12 hours or so, or should I refrigerate them until it’s time for me to leave for work?

Thanks for this recipe! I love making caramel, but have never tried it in the microwave!



Irvin October 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm

They should keep overnight without a problem at room temperature, just use fresh apples. The biggest issue with them is humidity though. The most moisture in the air, the more the caramel will suck it up (it’s hygroscopic) and then start to melt. I left my apples out for a few few days and the caramel just slid off the apples (it took a few days to do that though, so overnight shouldn’t be an issue).

If you use less fresh apples though (and are concerned about them spoiling) or you have an ant problem, you can buy some cellophane and use that to cover the apples. Cut the cellophane into squares, place the apples in the middle of the square and wrap the apple , tying the cellophane to the stick above the apple. Don’t do this with plastic wrap though, as it’ll stick to the caramel. Or just store them in the fridge overnight.

However, if you DO store them in the fridge, make sure to bring the apples to room temperature. The caramel gets REALLY hard when it’s cold!


Sarah October 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Thanks for your reply! I will post a pic on Instagram and tag you in the comments once they are done. I picked up apples at the Castro farmer’s market this evening–so excited!

Thanks for the recipe and for your storage advice!



Arthur in the Garden! October 30, 2013 at 11:54 am

My favourite Fall/State Fair food!


Irvin October 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I wish San Francisco had a Fall Stage Fair!


Abbe@This is How I Cook October 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Now I have to think of some kids to make them for. Oh. Never mind. There is a kid in all of us!


Shikha @ Shikha la mode October 31, 2013 at 11:24 am

I’ve never made caramel in the microwave – does it save any time?


Irvin October 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Yes. It not only saves time but it’s safer and easier to do than the stovetop method! You just put the ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl, turn it on, and watch it. Once it starts to brown (caramelize) you pull it out of the microwave, watch it darken and when it reaches the right color, add the butter and cream. Super easy!


Zaynab May 21, 2014 at 12:32 am

Hi! This looks amazing going to try it today, but can I use milk instead of cream? :)


Irvin May 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I don’t know. I’ve never used milk for this method, but it might work. You might want to increase the butter to 3 tablespoons instead of just 2 though, as the milk is thinner than cream. But try it and let me know how it turns out!


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