Candy Apples (also called Toffee Apples) are a classic Halloween treat made with just a few simple ingredients! We’re cooking together a few simple ingredients to make a sugar syrup for dipping our apples. The addition of cinnamon & vanilla adds depth of flavor to this easy, old fashioned treat. Serve this spooky treat at a Halloween party!
Why you’ll love these Candy Apples:
- Classic Halloween Treat – These classic apple treats are fun to serve at a Halloween party!
- Easy to Make – All you need are a few simple ingredients to make this recipe – and it’s relatively easy, too!
- Delicious Treat – These are a delicious treat, especially if you don’t like the alternative – regular caramel apples.
Candy apples are a fun treat to enjoy during the fall season. They’re super simple to make, and will leave you feeling like Martha Stewart. Let’s get to it!
As always, the full recipe with measurements & directions can be found at the bottom of this post.
- Apples – Use medium apples. Pick-your-own (or organic) apples are best, since they won’t have the food grade wax coating that grocery store apples often have. This can make it difficult for the sugar coating to stick. You can use a crisp apple like honeycrisp, you can use tart apples, or any type of eating apple you like!
- Corn Syrup – Corn syrup is a crucial element for the sugar mixture in this recipe. It’s needed for the sugar syrup to cook to the correct consistency. If you absolutely needed a substitution, I’d guess that Brown Rice Syrup would be your best bet, but I have not tested it myself.
- Granulated Sugar – Yes, you need both white sugar and corn syrup to make these candy apples. Do not substitute brown sugar.
- Cinnamon – A little cinnamon adds flavor!
- Vanilla Extract – This also adds flavor to this recipe, making these the best candy apples!
- Food Coloring – This is completely optional! Use red food coloring and a tiny bit of black food coloring to make a poison apple color for Halloween. If you don’t use food coloring, you’ll just see more of the color of your apples through the candy coating. So red apples will make the coating look red, green apples will make it look yellowish, and so on.
- Dairy-free – This recipe is naturally dairy-free and vegan!
- Gluten-free – This recipe is naturally gluten-free!
How to Make this Candy Apple Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make Sugar Syrup. Add the corn syrup, sugar, cold water, and cinnamon to a medium pot over medium heat. Add food coloring if using. Stir until combined, and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, stop stirring. Use a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the mixture – it needs to reach 300℉, or hard crack stage. This will take 5-8 minutes or so.
Step 2: Let Syrup Rest. Let the syrup rest off the heat for a few minutes so the air bubbles can dissipate. This will ensure you don’t have air bubbles in the candy coating on your apples.
Step 3: Dip Apples. Dip the whole apple, leaving a tiny opening at the top, in this sugar syrup and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Tilt the pot to pool the sugar syrup into one spot, making it deeper so it’s able to coat more of the apple.
Place the dipped apples on a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper, sprayed with cooking spray, to prevent sticking.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Place dipped apples on your prepared baking sheet. Remember to spray the parchment or wax paper with nonstick spray, or the candy coating will stick. Once the candy coating is solid, dig in! These are best fresh – I recommend eating them shortly after you make them.
Use these candy apples to top my Caramel Apple Cake for a spooky Halloween dessert!
Expert Success Tips:
- Don’t Stir – Make sure not to stir the sugar syrup during the boil time, as specified in the recipe card below. If you do, it can ruin the outcome of the syrup.
- Candy Thermometer – Don’t skip the candy thermometer! It’s essential for knowing when the candy mixture is at the right temperature.
- Dry Apples – Make sure your apples have been rinsed and dried well before dipping, or the coating will not adhere.
You can halve it, but you may want to pour the syrup into a smaller container for dipping your apples, as the amount in the pot will be shallower and hard to dip apples into. You’ll still want to use a similar size pot because the sugar syrup bubbles up during the cook time.
No, I don’t recommend making these ahead. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water. So, if you make these and store them in the fridge, the sugar syrup will lose some of it’s hard-ness and become weepy and watery. These are best made and eaten shortly after!
Caramel is made with sugar, butter, and cream. The coating for candy apples or toffee apples (essentially the same thing) is made with corn syrup, sugar, and water and makes a hard crack candy coating instead of a sticky caramel. The term toffee apples is more commonly used outside of the United States.
- Food Coloring – Feel free to add a little red food coloring to give these a deeper red hue, if you want a spooky poision apple look.
- Corn Syrup – If you want to make these without corn syrup, I *think* brown rice syrup may be your best bet. HOWEVER – please note that I have not tried this myself so I’m not officially recommending it. I do use brown rice syrup in place of corn syrup in pecan pie and it works as a 1:1 swap but again, I have not tested it here.
- Candy Thermometer – You’ll need a candy thermometer for this recipe to know when the sugar syrup has reached the proper stage.
- Saucepan – You’ll need a medium saucepan to cook the sugar coating in.
- Treat Sticks – You’ll need a wooden stick for each apple.
More Halloween Recipes to Love:
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Caramel Apple Cake
- Ultimate Pumpkin Cake
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Bakery-Style Monster Cookies
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cookies
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Homemade Candy Apples
- 6 wooden treat sticks
- 1 candy thermometer
- 6 medium apples Organic or freshly-picked are best here – *see note
- 6 tbsp light corn syrup
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- red food coloring, optional See note
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Prep: Rinse your apples in hot water and dry well with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Insert treat sticks into the tops of each apple – where the stem is.
- Make Candy Apples: Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and cinnamon to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add food coloring if using. Stir until combined, and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, stop stirring. Use a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the candy mixture – it needs to reach 300℉, or hard crack stage. This will take 8 to 15, minutes or so. Once it's there, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes so the bubbles disappear. This will prevent air bubbles in your apples. Dip the apples in this sugar syrup and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Serve & Store: Enjoy once the candy coating has hardened! These are best enjoyed shortly after they're made, or at least on the same day. If try to store them in the fridge, the candy coating will become watery because of the moisture in the fridge – sugar attracts water. You can keep these in an airtight container for a few hours before eating.