Starting the weekend off on a sweet note with these Sweet and Salty Chocolate Drizzled Cider Caramel Apples. Crisp autumn apples dipped into homemade apple cider caramel…made with cider, honey, and a touch of bourbon. Each caramel apple is then drizzled generously with chocolate, and finished off with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. The most perfect fall treat, that’s fun for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. Trust me, your weekend needs these apples.
Sometimes I know exactly what recipes I want to make, and when I want to share them. Other times I’m totally winging it and testing (and re-testing) recipes just a few days before I share them with you guys. I much prefer to know exactly what I want to share and to be a little more planned out with my content. But the bottom line is that sometimes it’s not possible. You just have wing it and go with what’s inspiring you on that given day. It makes things slightly chaotic, but that’s kind of life these days.
That said, there are certain times, that I know exactly what recipe I want to share. And I save it for just the right time. Enter these caramel apples. I’ve known since early September that I wanted to share a new caramel apple recipe this October. It’s been forever since I made caramel apples, and this year needed to be the year that I made more.
Not only are caramel apples cute and fun, but they’re some of the most delicious autumn goodies you can mix up.
Caramel apples are definitely one of the sweets I grew up eating. My mom used to buy caramel apple “wraps” (these are the exact ones she bought), which are basically just sheets of caramel that you wrap around apples. Pretty sure they were one of the most processed things we ate growing up, but we’d only get them in the fall and it was always such a treat.
Although, I remember that caramel getting stuck to my braces and then swearing off caramel for years and years…
Once I made homemade caramel, I realized that homemade is the only way to go. Because it’s better. Obviously.
Anyway, point is that caramel apples are one of those desserts that will always make me feel like a kid again, and I love that. They’re fun to make, super sweet, and so delicious. I’ve only made caramel apples a couple of times before, but was dying to try out an apple cider caramel. It sounded so good with its hints of cinnamon.
Here’s the deal.
I had a lot of trouble with this recipe, almost burnt off my hair (not exaggerating), and spent an entire day testing out caramel apples. I was so close to giving up, but finally at the very end of the day, I got the recipe right. Thank God.
These might have taken a while for me to perfect, but I’m so glad I stuck with them. And just to be sure the recipe was perfect. I re-tested them again yesterday for like the sixth time.
Verdict? These are simply the best and you’re going to love them.
To start off, you’ll need a good candy thermometer. I know some of you might not have one, but if you’d like perfect caramel apples, I highly recommend investing. The thermometer really just takes the guess-work out making caramel.
Before you begin making the caramel, prep your apples. I used twigs from outside to stick into my apples. Twigs are really fun, but you can really use any kind of stick. Just something that’s 4-6 inches longs. These would great too.
Once you’ve got the sticks in place, it’s time to make the caramel. Take some good apple cider, cream, sugar, and honey, add to a large pot, and bring to a boil. You’re going to cook this until it turns a nice golden caramel color. Then add some butter, bourbon, and vanilla, and continue cooking until the caramel is thick, creamy and delicious.
Really simple, but just follow the directions. Nothing scary about it…just don’t put your head too close to the pot when smelling the delicious caramel. Trust me, not a smart move.
From here, you have to work kind of quickly, and start dipping the apples through the caramel. As the caramel cools, it will start to thicken, and become hard to dip the apples. If the caramel cools too much, just warm in the microwave for a few seconds.
Now let the caramel harden, and then drizzle each apple generously with chocolate. Finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and you’ll have the perfect sweet and salty caramel apple.
I love that the cider adds a spiced flavor to the caramel with hints of cinnamon and cloves throughout. It makes the apples feel really fall like and gives them an extra sweet touch that’s lacking from other caramels. And that chocolate drizzle and flaky sea salt? Well the combo of those two ingredients just makes the apples over the top GOOD.
These are a really fun recipe to make with kids, or even for a girl’s night in. You can set up an assembly line of caramel, chocolate, and salt. Then make the apples together while chatting or watching your favorite Halloween movie. You could even add some yummy add-ins like toasted nuts or chopped candies. I’m all about the salt, but use what you love!
Can’t wait to make these apple for both Halloween and Thanksgiving this year, as I know they’ll be quickly devoured by family and friends.
If you make these caramel apples please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Drizzled Cider Caramel Apples.
Servings: 8 apples
Calories Per Serving: 1223 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 6-8 apples, I love using honeycrisp
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted
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- 1. Insert wooden twigs into the apples. Line a baking sheet with parchment.2. In a large saucepan, combine the apple cider, heavy cream, sugar, and honey. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F. on a candy thermometer, about 12-14 minutes total. 3. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the butter, bourbon, and vanilla. Return to high heat and bring the mixture to 235-245 degrees F. Remove from the heat.4. Very carefully transfer the caramel to a heat proof bowl and let stand 2-3 minutes. 5. Swirl apples in caramel, allow the excess caramel to drip off. Place each apple on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples.6. Let the caramel apples set for about 15-30 minutes (in the fridge or on the counter), then drizzle each apple with melted chocolate. Dig in and get messy! Apple will keep for about a week in the fridge.
This is an excellent recipe and looks beautiful but the temperature listed is incorrect. You need to let the caramel get to 345 (most candy thermometers will say caramel at that level). For those saying it slipped off, this is likely the problem! Love all your recipes, Tieghan. Thank you!
Hey there! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! ? xTieghan
Hi! I would love to make mini caramel apples bites. Would this recipe work if I peel and cut the apples into slices? Or would it just slide right off? Thank you!
I am sure that would work just fine. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan
Can you sub the heavy cream for coconut cream if you’re dairy free? Looks amazing!
Hey Meg! Coconut cream works great! Love that idea! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan
Hello, i am from Australia what sort of apple cider do you use? We only can buy a sparkling apple cider at the grocery store.
Hey Laura! I would recommend using apple juice! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much and happy Thanksgiving! xTieghan
Your images are just beautiful! I love the love look of of the stem twigs and the flakes look like a first snow.
Thank you Tamara!
Just made these with a thermometer. The flavor of the caramel is so good. Two questions:
1. Do you prepare your apples at all? My caramel slid off and the internet suggested chilling the apples beforehand and also trying to get any wax off via a hot water soak.
2. What flaky sea salt do you recommend?
Thanks for the inspiration and recipe!
Hi Kari! I just rinse my apples off, but I am also buying organic honeycrisp apples. I am using chilled apples from the fridge (mostly because I just keep apples in the fridge). My favorite salt is below! Please let me know if you have any other questions. So glad you love this recipe. Thanks so much! ?Tieghan
I make caramel apples as well and YES…use refrigerated apples as the “chill” of the apples allows for the caramel to stick better!!
Thanks for the tip Jennifer!!
Just gorgeous, I love these apples!
Thank you so much Laura!
Hi Tieghan! Two quick questions- is it necessary to transfer the caramel to a bowl before dipping the apples, or can I just dip them straight out of the pan? Also, I am in Colorado too and am wondering if your instructions are for making the caramel at high altitude…? I’m at about 6000′ and have not had good luck yet making caramel successfully. Thanks so much, and can’t wait to try this recipe – I’m going to the farmers market tomorrow to get some lovely organic cider and have a go at making your gorgeous dessert!
Hey Laura! You can dip the apples out of the pot, but I do find it easier to transfer the caramel to a smaller bowl. These will work great at an altitude! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! ?Tieghan
wow, it is so beautiful. congratulations
Thank you so much!
I like to make/bake gifts from my kitchen for the holidays.Was thinking of doing of bourbon caramel sauce, and I like the idea of adding cider….Does this caramel, if cooled become solid(and needing to be reheated to use?) or loose flowing ?
Hey Susan! I actually have apple ciders caramels already on the blog that would work perfectly for gifts. Recipe is below. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan
Your hard work and potential hair loss (yikes!) paid off – your continued dedication to creating phenomenal recipes is so inspiring, and these caramel apples are truly perfect!
Thank you so much Liz! I am so glad you like this!