Today I'm sharing How to Make Candy Apples Any Color! This Candy Apple recipe is easy and makes sweet and crunchy candy apples. These are a traditional fall treat - perfect for your Fall Fest or Halloween party. You can make them in under 30 minutes with just a few basic pantry ingredients!
Originally published April 2013, updated September 2023
- Candy Apples
- What are Candy Apples?
- What is a Toffee Apple?
- Ingredients to Make Candy Apples Any Color
- How to Make Colored Candy Apples
- Storage: How long do candy apples last?
- How do I package candy apples?
- Shopping for Candy Apples
- More Fall Dessert Recipes
- Looking for other Halloween Treats?
As I mentioned above, this is a from-scratch recipe. With the right ingredients, I'll share how to make this colored candy apple recipe. And unlike caramel apples, candy apples have a hard, crunchy candy coating similar to Life Savers!
My favorite part of these apples is that they're made with pantry staples and they can be ready in about 30 minutes. They're actually best served fresh, so this can be a "last-minute" treat and they'll be perfect!
What are Candy Apples?
Candy apples are a delicious treat, bursting with a mix of sugary and tangy flavors. The apples have a wooden stick for handling them and are coated in a smooth and glossy hard candy shell.
In general, candy apples are made by taking a whole, fresh apple, washing it thoroughly (and drying it thoroughly!) and sticking a wooden stick into its center.
Then the apple is dipped into a hot melted sugar mixture until it completely coats the entire fruit. Once the coating cools down and hardens, the result is a mouthwatering candy apple.
While most candy apples have a bright red candy shell, you can always try different colors to add more variety to your apple. Some even use flavored syrups or toppings to add an extra punch of flavor, such as cinnamon, chocolate, or sprinkles.
What is a Toffee Apple?
Candy apples and toffee apples are the same thing! In the United States, a hard candy-coated apple is called a candy apple. In England, it's called a Toffee Apple! So my recipe below is technically a candy apple recipe and a toffee apple recipe.
Ingredients to Make Candy Apples Any Color
The ingredients for this candy apples recipe are so basic - you may already have everything you need (except the coloring). To start making from-scratch candy apples, here's what you'll need:
- 6-8 medium apples (washed, dried & stems removed) *keep reading to see which kinds of apples I recommend!
- 3 cups of white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or another flavoring)
- 2 tablespoon white food coloring (I recommend AmeriColor Bright White Soft Gel Paste or Lorann White Food Coloring)
- 1-2 tsp. of gel coloring (whichever color you want your apples to be! - the more color you use, the brighter the apples will be!)
- Candy Apple Sticks (or craft sticks or popsicle sticks or even short dowels)
You're also going to need some special supplies to make colored candy apples. One of the most important is a thermometer. You can use a simple candy thermometer (like this one) or if you want to upgrade, I highly recommend a Thermoworks thermometer. I have this one, but this Dot thermometer would also be great!
How to Make Colored Candy Apples
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and food coloring (both the white and color you want the apples to be) in a heavy boiler (saucepan).
- Turn on medium to high heat and let the mixture come to a boil. Be sure to have a candy thermometer inserted into the mixture but not touching the bottom!
- Let the candy come to a boil and reach 302°F (hard crack stage). This will take about 20 minutes. There's no need to stir or disturb the mixture while it heats... just be patient!
- While that's going on... make sure your apples are ready (washed, dried, and on the sticks!), then spray a cookie sheet with non-stick butter spray. The "butter" flavor isn't necessary, but butter makes everything better, right? If you don't have butter, just use regular non-stick cooking spray.
- When the candy reaches 302°, immediately remove it from the heat and use a rubber spatula to stir in the vanilla (or other flavor). Stir it gently to get the flavor evenly incorporated but without mixing in too much air.
Note: Ignore the fact that my candy changed colors. I may have forgotten to get the final pictures of the purple apples.
- You'll want to work quickly because the candy will start to cool immediately. As soon as the flavor is evenly mixed in, begin dipping your apples.
- I usually tilt the pot so that I can dip as much of the apple as possible and then turn it to completely cover the apple in candy. Then lift it up and let any excess candy mixture drip off before placing the apples on the prepared baking sheet to cool.
- Once they are set and cooled (which happens quickly), you can begin to package them or enjoy them!
What color can you make candy apples? Well, the sky is the limit!
The first time I got an order for candy apples, my client requested that I do hot pink and bright orange candy apples. How to make orange candy apples? I wasn't sure but I did some research and figured it out! I didn't have any special flavors to add - so I just used some vanilla extract! Here's how they turned out:
I've even made some glittery, shiny and sparkly... you can find some details here about these glittery apples!
Can you change the flavor of candy apples?
Yes! You can exchange the vanilla for any flavoring oil you like... strawberry, cotton candy, bubble gum, watermelon, cinnamon (bet that would be good on an apple)... there are dozens of LorAnn flavors to choose from!
Candy apples don't require a lot of special equipment but having a few quality items will make life so much easier.
Storage: How long do candy apples last?
I'm often asked, "How long do candy apples last"? I've read several articles online that say candy apples will last anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Well, I'm going to disagree.
In my experience, candy apples are best if consumed in the first 12 hours. After that, the candy begins to get sticky and the apple begins to brown around the stick. So if you can't or won't be eating them immediately, I'd keep them at most for 3 days, at room temperature, in an airtight container.
And I've never had any luck refrigerating candy apples. They always get condensation on them and get sticky. For that reason, when ordered, I try to do them no more than 24 hours in advance and always store them at room temperature.
Granny Smith Apples are the most popular and common choice for Candy Apples. They are firm, tart, crisp apples that are a great contrast to the hard, sweet candy coating. They also hold up really well to the hot candy coating and any heavy toppings (if you choose to add them). If you want your apples to last as long as possible, this is your BEST option!
If you do not want to use Granny Smith apples, here are some other options. Just keep in mind that you'll want to make these pretty close to the time you intend to eat them!
Fuji Apples might be your choice if you want to make traditional red candy apples. The red skin really gives the red candy coating a gorgeous background. They're also a firm, crisp apple, but significantly sweeter than Granny Smith apples.
Jazz Apples are another popular choice - they're crispy and usually smaller, which will be a bonus when you realize that candy apples are not always easy to eat u0026#x1f62c;. Again, these are sweeter than Granny Smith apples.
Gala Apples are my kids' favorite apples to snack on and also do well when making candy apples. They're a sweeter apple but hold up well under the candy layer and possible toppings.
Yes and no. The white food coloring is what makes the candy opaque so that it's not affected by the color of your apples. If you skip the white coloring, the green or red of the apple will shine through the clear candy and affect the color you see.
For example, if you make clear pink candy on a green apple, it'll likely appear brown. But by adding the white food coloring, the candy becomes opaque and you can't see through it to the green apples so you get a bright, vibrant pink apple.
You can skip the white food coloring if you're making red (on red apples), green (on green apples) or black candy on any color apple. Because the clear candy will just reflect the color underneath, and it won't be a big deal. But for every other color, not so much. So go ahead and grab some white food coloring u0026#x1f60a;
YES, YES, AND YES!!! I emphasize this because if you read through the comments on this post or any of my other candy apple posts, you'll see many comments about the candy apples being too hard to eat. That means they were made exactly right! Let me repeat: this recipe makes the candy on the candy apples hard.
These are not caramel apples, soft or chewy, or sticky. They are hard. I'm telling you this just in case anybody tries them and then decides they want to send me a nasty email about how they're hard and you can't eat them ... don't bother. Yes, they're hard. yes, you can eat them... and I already know 😉
You know... u0022hard candyu0022 - the same as Life Savers or Jaw Breakers. For my whole life, we've bought candy apples at the county fair and they're hard ... as in tooth-breaking, super-hard, gotta-lick-them-to-get-to-the-apple HARD.
So glad that's all cleared up u0026#x1f609;
This is the most common problem with candy apples and the answer is too long for here. To address that problem, I wrote an entire post: How to Make Bubble-Free Candy Apples. Be sure to click through and read that for all the tips on making flawless apples!
How do I package candy apples?
Do you need packaging supplies for candy or caramel apples? Check out this post! I personally like to wrap my candy apples in cellophane bags with a twist tie or ribbon OR put them in fancy boxes. I have all the details in this post.
Update 9/14/2015 - I am disabling comments on this post. As of today, there are over 400 and most of the replies are repetitive! If after reading the entire post and comments, you still can't find your answer, feel free to email me at rose (at) rosebakes (dot) com.
More Fall Dessert Recipes
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