Introduction: Candy Apples

Picture of Candy Apples

Everything you need to know to make perfect candy apples every time! 

These easy tips and techniques are your ticket to amazing candy apples that are sure to wow any crowd.  Top off a classic red candy apple with your favorite candy pieces for a truly unique taste sensation!

The secret to a perfect candy apple is in pairing the sweetness of candy with the right apple.

In my opinion, it's a sure winner to pair a tart apple with a sweet candy exterior. Of course, if you can't stand tart apples, then pick a sweeter one - you have plenty of choices!  But stay away from mushier varieties like Red Delicious, or baking apples like Romes.  Check step 1 for my recommendations.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

Of course you'll need APPLES!!! 

But not all apples are created candy-worthy.  Here's a quick list of some great ones to look for:
  • Fuji: firm and sweet, my personal favorite all-around apple
  • Granny Smith: green and tart, awesome for candy apples for both of these reasons!
  • Braeburn:  firm and sweetly tart
  • Golden Delicious: firm and sweet
  • Jonathan:  firm and sweetly tart
  • Jonagold: A hybrid of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, firm skin, tangy-sweet
  • Lady: firm, sweetly tart
  • McIntosh: firm, sweetly tart
If you can, get your apples direct from an orchard (apple-picking is a perfect activity for friends and family!), and I'll tell you why.  Smaller apples make better candied snacks, and are hard to find in American Supermarkets.  Also, many apples you'll find at the grocery store have a wax coating that can inhibit the candy from sticking to the apple - bad news!  If this is your only option, though, you can remove the wax coating by dipping the apples in a bath of boiling water and rubbing the wax off.  And of course, it's always better to support your local growers - so buy locally! 

To candy-up 6 apples, you'll need:

  • 1/2 c (120mL) light corn syrup
  • 2 c (480 mL) sugar - your choice on brown v. white.  I use some of each, but all brown can be more susceptible to burning.
  • 3/4c (180 mL) water
  • Food coloring (opt.) - red is traditional, but any color works!
  • Toppings!!!  I used toffee pieces, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, candy corn, red hots, and gummi bears!  Just go crazy.  I mean, really, they're CANDY APPLES!

Additionally, make sure you have the following things at hand before you get started:

  • Candy apple skewers
  • Candy thermometer - essential for making perfect candy every time  - Make sure your thermometer's accurate: being off by just a few degrees can mean the difference between delicious and burnt. To check its accuracy, take the temp of a pot of boiling water. The thermometer should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius when the water is boiling. If not, note what temperature it reads at and adjust for the difference.
  • A pot for candy coating, worked best for me when it had a handle
  • Baking sheet lined with foil or silicone sheet for dipped apples
  • Pastry brush and bowl of water to keep near your pot (I'll explain why later!)
  • Bowls for your TOPPINGS!!!

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Step 2: How Do You Like Them Apples?

Picture of How Do You Like Them Apples?

Once you've chosen your perfect specimen, spear them wisely. 

I got these awesome round wooden sticks with perfect points, made exactly for this purpose.

For the most part, I tried to skewer them so the stick would point upright even when the apple was sitting slightly askew.

How important is this?

Not at all.  But you know me.  I can get particular about this kind of stuff.  Just have fun. 
Stabbing apples with tiny stakes is a perfect stress reliever.  You'll wish you were making dozens.

Step 3: It's Candy Time!

Picture of It's Candy Time!

Your recipe again:

  • 1/2 c light corn syrup
  • 2 c sugar - your choice on brown v. white.  I use some of each, but all brown can be more susceptible to burning.
  • 3/4c water
  • Food coloring (opt)


  • Cook over medium-high heat. 
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar - make sure the sugar dissolved before the mixture boils to avoid crystalization
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.  If using brown sugar, reduce heat to medium-low.  It will take longer to candify, but it will prevent burning.
  • Once the mixture boils, DON'T STIR IT ANYMORE!  This is why we have that nifty pastry brush standing by!  You can brush the pot's side with warm water to prevent crystals from forming!  (Boy how I wish I'd  known that handy trick the first time I set out to make caramels!)
  • Simmer the candy mixture until it reaches 290o F (~143o C) for a soft, slightly gooey shell. This took a surprising amount of time, so be patient.  
  • For a lighter, more brittle candy, heat the sugar to between 300o and 310o F (150 - 155oC).  If you heat the sugar to 310oF (155oC), place the pot in a cold water bath to stop the sugar from cooking further.  

Step 4: Dip, Dip, Dip

Picture of Dip, Dip, Dip
It's dippin' time! 

Work quickly to coat the apples, before it hardens!

  • Dip your apples, holding the wooden stick, and submerge completely in the candy.
  • Tilt the pot and swirl the apples for full coating.
If using additional toppings, dip apples one at a time in sugar coating, then in candy toppings (step 5)

Step 5: Candy, Candy, Candy!

Picture of Candy, Candy, Candy!

Time to get creative. 

While a classic candy apple is, well, classic, take this opportunity to show off your wilder side by dressing these beauties up in the topping of your dreams!

As soon as you've dipped your apple in the sugar coating, dunk it in the bowl of your choice of sweet candy goodness before the shell hardens!  Use your fingers to mash on as much topping(s) as it will hold.  Mix 'em up - my favorite was mini chocolate chips + sprinkles.  It looks like a kaleidoscope!

Place the finished apples on the prepared baking sheet.

Step 6: Behold

Picture of Behold

When all of your apples are ready, move the tray to the refrigerator to allow them to cool.

Check out some of the great creations we made!  Though I love the way the chocolate chips + sprinkles looks, I also spent a great deal of time creating the gummi sculpture.  Ok, not a GREAT deal of time, since the candy sets up in like five seconds, but still.  It looks neat.

While the original candy apple is a classic and a beauty to behold (and to be held!) the rest of these creations are gonna take a knife and fork to enjoy.



timetoknitagain (author)2009-11-07

I had to subscribe to you.  My son saw your candy apples and said, " OH my, we have to do this, who is this that can do something so good!"  LOL.

Oh wow!  Thanks!!

randomrachel (author)2009-11-06

I made some tonight - they turned out great!

scoochmaroo (author)randomrachel2009-11-06

Awesome! Do you have pictures??

watermelonhead (author)2009-10-28

OMG! I luuuurves the one with the candy corn!!!

...And, OMG, are those GUMMY BEARS??? You're apples are pure awesomeness, scooch!

OlympiaM made it! (author)2016-10-13

I have never made candy apples in my life, not even as a kid. Tonight was my 1st try with the simplist recipe I saw out of the many on the web. THANK YOU!!!! I think I will perfect them with a little more practice

HalimaS2 (author)OlympiaM2017-06-09

for your first time they came out beautiful

Phes167952 (author)2017-01-20

hi like your diy

boydz (author)2015-06-02

Awesome article! I would love to know how to make Red, SOFT n Chewy, taffy texture....candy apples.!!
Thank you!

AnnaN8 (author)boydz2015-10-10

Take the candy off of the stove at a lower temp.

CarolynL37 (author)AnnaN82016-09-12

Is that the key to not having to rush to dip them before the candy hardens? There's a shop on FB that makes BEAUTIFUL bubble free apples, but she won't share any tips and secrets unless you pay $100 smh. Thanks.

KarmaD9 (author)CarolynL372016-10-22

Could you give her page name? I wouldn't mind the fee

GeraldineH2 (author)KarmaD92016-10-30

I think one hundred dollars is a bit stiff, for a tip.

jakesgermaine (author)2016-10-26

I need a recipe on how to make sixty pink candy apples. I have made the red ones plenty of times, but for this I need help,!

janoori (author)2012-05-03

i really want to do this..looks yummy...but the idea of the coating to be just of water,sugar and corn syrup??!!!! i feel its gonna be tasteless. too sugary and that sugar is the only thing u would what do u think??

Suzjag05 (author)janoori2016-09-27

What I do is take 2 cups of hard cinnamon candy (those cheap cinnamon discs or Jolly Ranchers), and about 6 Tb of water, and I bring to a boil, when it gets to that hard brittle crack stage, quickly dip your apples and put it on buttered wax paper. They are amazing.

CarolynL37 (author)janoori2016-09-12

Add flavoring. I use vanilla, and Lorriann's flavors. So far I've done bubble gum and cotton candy. My family and friends LOVE the cotton candy the best.

TreB2 (author)2015-09-12

How do I avoid the bubbles? What am doing wrong?

CarolynL37 (author)TreB22016-09-12

What I did from piecing together information from different sites was dipped the apples in boiling water and dried them off before I started. Then once the syrup reached the right temperature I put a teaspoon of salt in the syrup, and stirred it until all the bubbles disappeared before I dipped my apples. Only problem is you have to do it really fast or the syrup hardens. Does anyone know if I take it off the stove at a lower temperature will it still harden?

 Awesome! But I have one question: What are those white-orange-yellow lollies called? I live in New Zealand and have never seen them before

Candy corn!!!
Oh man, you don't know what crazy sugary sweetness you're missing.
Plus they're seasonal, so it only makes you crave them more!

KimberlyT30 (author)scoochmaroo2016-05-31

I made candy apples last night and the apples got a little cooked after I poured the candy can you help

Kids who ring Alton Brown's doorbell on Halloween don't get the usual fun-sized candy bar. Over the years, the Browns have handed out homemade taffy, candied apples, headless marshmallow bunnies, you name it. But of ale.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 or 3 drops of yellow food coloring to one piece and knead until the color is consistent throughout. Add 2 or 3 drops of orange to the second piece and knead until the color is consistent throughout. Leave the third piece white.
Roll each piece of dough into a strand about 18 inches long. Cut each strand in half and roll each piece into a strand that is about 1/2 inch thick and 22 inches long.
Lay the strands side by side (orange, yellow, then white) and press them together using your fingers. Cut into 4-inch pieces. Then, using a ruler or bench scraper, press each piece into a wedge, keeping the orange section wide and making the white part come to a tip.
Use a wire butter slicer, knife, bench scraper or pizza cutter to cut each wedge into individual candies. Lay the candies on a piece of parchment until dry, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container with parchment between each layer.
Coming up Sweet Candy Corn Ideasll of Alton's Halloween creations, nothing tops his candy corn.
Get the Recipe
Combine the confectioners' sugar, dry milk and salt in a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2-quart pot. Place over medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the butter, clip on a candy thermometer and bring the sugar syrup to 230 degrees F, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the thermometer.
Add the vanilla and the dry mixture and stir continuously with a silicone spatula until well combined. Pour onto a half sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is cool enough to hand

The white-orange-yellow candies are candy corn. They're cheap & a good Halloween candy to leave out during a party.

CandyR7 (author)2016-04-25
CandyR7 (author)2016-04-25

Make The Perfect Candy Apples - السلام نيوز

KristieL3 (author)2016-03-31

How to avoid the bottles?

jakerios (author)2016-02-08

i want to these apples.

sheshe2101 (author)2015-11-08

I made the mistake of not stirring the sugar and water mixture, boy what a mess, and I should have known better, I make them all the time, . The only thing about making them is, you have to be patient or it will burn. You have to let it reach that temp good temtemperture or kiss

PikaPOkemonHAHER (author)2015-10-28


MixmasterFred made it! (author)2015-09-22

Thank You! It was perfect!

DominiqueB6 (author)2015-08-25

Awesome recipe. Easy to follow. My candy apples came out flawless

sarahhanahghan (author)2015-02-23

Oh lovely.

IsabelleO (author)2015-02-20

I made these and they were delicious! I took the candy off the stove at about 309*F. Be warned: they WILL have the ability to break your teeth. I didn't, but it hurt when I bit into it. However, after a good number of licks (taught to me by the wise tootsie pop owl himself) I was able to devour it. :) Definately will make again but next time, maybe at a lower temp to make it more sticky. Loved making these though and thank you so much for the recipe!

I also had some candy left over so I tried making candy apple wedges. Did not turn out well. The candy wouldn't stick to the fruit of the apple wedge and it kept solidifying before I could even coat the wedge evenly. I was experimenting to make some finger-sized candy apple snacks, but I guess the apples would have to be drier for it to work out.

xodredxo (author)2015-01-11

I wanted to make this for my mom since it's her favorite & there isn't a place even close by to order them from so I just wanted to do something special for her & her favorite is the red candy on a green apple with coconut as her extra topping but I saw on the real that they had made these on the show a while back but they also used glitter to top it off & that just brought it to the next level especially with all the winter sparkle around so I wanted to sprinkle a little white & silver as my last steps but I can't find if they make an eatable special glitter that u can eat cuz I just can't picture going to the craft department to throw it on such a masterpiece to find out like I ruined it once I had decided to bling it out thinking I'm doing something good for her but instead make her sick or something cuz then I'd feel so horrible so I was wondering if anyone knew where to get some eatable glitter these days or do u think I should just skip that step cuz it will already be special enough so it doesn't even really matter & it's better to be safe than sorry? I don't know, What do u think?

scoochmaroo (author)xodredxo2015-01-13

Definitely only use edible glitter - do not use craft glitter!!!!! Here's a link to help you out, but I'm sure she'll think the fact you made them for her at all will be special enough.

Gold + Silver EDIBLE Glitter

Edible Stars and Hearts 

Be sure to let us know how they turn out! 

MichelleR1 (author)2014-10-21

Hi, I want to make this with a group of teens in a healthy lifestyle program for a Halloween treat, and I don't want to use red food dye or red hots. Can I use 100% cranberry juice in place of the water? Is it possible to reduce the sugar at all? Any other suggestions for how to make this recipe a smidge healthier?

hmacmanus (author)2012-10-07

Thank you! This was the best Candy Apple recipe! Your input was spot on...thank you again for providing such great advice & a wonderful afternoon of fun for me & my granddaughter!

BLASTFEMI (author)2012-09-01

Yummy! You can throw in a few cinnamon candies into the hot sugar to flavor the coating! Thanks for the nice recipe.

Josielovesdesigning (author)2011-10-22

EPIC CANDY APPLES!!!!!!!!!!!!  Lol, these look soo good but I can't find any candy corn in Brisbane :( anybody know where I could buy them? Thanks guys.

hey i'm not sure about Brisbane but i know that you can get them from the sunshine coast. there is a little shop on the wharf near underwater world that has american candies including candy corns and doctor pepper. You could also look up google, i found plenty of results that might help you.Hope this helps.

Mauigerbil (author)2012-02-12

You're killing me! I would coat mine in rainbow caramel and teal sprinkles. Anyone who sees what I did there also saw something about the apple names

Shany120 (author)2011-10-30

GUMMY BEARS! CANDY CORN! Give me one, please!

Flying_MashedPotatoes (author)2011-03-20

Glad to see that razor blades ISN'T one of the ingrediants

bloods (author)2011-01-08

Oh wow! Thanks!!


Starsghost (author)2009-11-11

 I made these, but they turned out like mouth death traps.
I think it cooked too long or something.  I brought it to the right temperature, but the coating I did must have been too thick.
I am going to try it again soon though, like in the next couple days again, and see if I can be more successful.
Thanks for the instructable.

Starsghost (author)Starsghost2009-11-11

 On a side note, it made very nice hard candies though :)

because you can totally fit a whole apple in your mouth....

h3idi (author)2010-11-03

I agree, green apples are awesome. I'm wondering if i'd find them as delicious if i used green food colouring. Thinking of trying.

Another thing that I've seen done is using candy shell (thank you for your recipe) and nuts OVER the candy. Holy OMG Mmm.

Screamo (author)2010-10-23

Cool and razor blade free <.< >.> X(♫ S⊂R∃AMO ♫ )X

About This Instructable




Bio: Former Living &amp; Food editor here at Instructables, now running! Follow me @sousvidely
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