DIY Mini Caramel Apples


Yesterday was the official first day of fall, so to celebrate I decided to make a classic fall treat...but with a twist! I love caramel apples, but I hate trying to bite into them (they're so big!!) and when you cut them, they can get messy and aren't as cute anymore. So when I saw this picture on Pinterest, a lightbulb went off. Mini caramel apples--of course! I love miniature and bite-size desserts, like cake pops--they're adorable and the smaller portions mean you won't feel so stuffed (or just that you can eat more). Plus, they're less messy, since you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth!

DIY mini caramel apples | At Home in Love

Now, to be perfectly honest, I had some trouble with the caramel sliding off on these, but if you're planning to eat them quickly, they're adorable and lots of fun to make. If you're making these for a party or something where they need to hold up for awhile, try dipping them in chocolate first, so there's something for the caramel to grab hold of.

Mini caramel apples | At Home in Love

Here's what you'll need:
Extra-large apples (I actually only ended up using 3, to make 20 mini caramel apples).
Caramels + 2 Tbsp milk
Lollipop sticks
A metal Tbsp coffee scoop
Wax paper & plates or a cookie sheet (not pictured)

How to make mini caramel apples

First, prepare a cookie sheet or some plates with wax paper on top. Peel the apples, then scoop balls out of them with the metal coffee scoop. Push a lollipop stick into the middle of each ball. Pat them dry with a paper towel and put them in the fridge or freezer while you make the caramel.

Making mini caramel apples

Unwrap the caramels and melt them in a pot over medium-low heat, with 2 Tbsp of milk. You can buy bags of caramel bits too if you don't want to go through the trouble of unwrapping them. Once the caramel is smooth and melted, remove it from heat and dip the apple pops one by one, letting the excess caramel drip back off them into the pot. Place the dipped apples back onto the cookie sheet, and repeat.

Bite sized caramel apple pops

Warning: because peeled apples are a lot more slick and wet than apple skin, you might want to pat the apple pops dry with a paper towel one more time before you start dipping them, and you should put them back in the freezer right after dipping to let the caramel set. Otherwise, it will just slide off. Leave them in the freezer for about 15 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for another 30 minutes or until the caramel is hardened.

Caramel apple pops

Once the caramel is hard, take them out of the fridge and peel them off the wax paper. If you have a lot of caramel pooled around the bottom, you can cut it away with a knife. Then, enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor (hardy har).

You could also dip these in nuts, chocolate bits, crushed pretzels, or salt for fun variations. I think they would be really cute for a party! But don't wait too long to eat them, cuz the caramel will eventually slide off...

What did you all do this weekend? Did you do anything to celebrate the first official day of fall? Besides making these, we went for a walk through some crunchy fallen leaves, turned our new gas fireplace on for the first time, and read books by the fire with cozy throws over us. It really did feel like fall! We also visited my friend Jenn's new baby girl, who is adorable, and went to a sweet my dad stayed with us Saturday night. All in all, it was a fun weekend! Hope yours was too.

P.S. If you like this post, you may also like my summery version--star-spangled watermelon pops!

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  1. Posted by Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

    What a great idea! Definitely going to try this!
  2. Posted by kelsey on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

    definitely making these! great idea
    kw, ladies in navy
  3. Posted by Jenn V. on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

    Yay for Fall! I am finally ready now that it is actually Fall. :) I really love your caramel apple idea! So clever. I am curious if the sticks fell out easily from the apples. When we made cake pops, it was really hard to get them to stay!
    • Posted by Aileen on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

      I am ready now too--but I want it to be sunny and crisp like yesterday, not rainy like today!! The sticks stayed in great, at least at first. But eventually the apples started releasing juices and got softer, so the caramel slid off and the then the sticks were more loose. So basically, these are not a treat that you leave out have to eat them right away!
  4. Posted by Amy B on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

    I have been dying to make these! Been seeing them all over pinterest and LOVE how cute they are! Super cute :)
    • Posted by Aileen on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

      :) I think you pinned the first photo that I saw and was inspired by!
  5. Posted by Sarah D on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

    Omg I love these! I'm right there with you.. I hate how messy they are, but I love how they taste! This is the best idea ever!
  6. Posted by Erika on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

    Oh my gosh, what a cute idea! I would never have thought of that, but I have the same problem with caramel apples! I never eat them because they are sooo hard to eat! I can't wait to try this.
  7. Posted by Dina on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

    I agree. mini are a great idea!
  8. Posted by April on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

    What a fabulous looking treat for our upcoming potluck! Not good to leave out too long according to the comments, but could I make these the night before and stick them in the fridge, drive 20 mins to work and pop them back in the fridge or would the caramel still slide off?
  9. Posted by corrine on Monday, October 28th, 2013

    hi! i'm planning on making these for my daughter's 1st birthday this weekend, but i want to make sure i don't make them *too* early (so the caramel doesn't slide off and the sticks stay in!). how early would you make them, like how many hours ahead? thanks so much for this cute tutorial!
    • Posted by Aileen on Monday, October 28th, 2013

      Hi Corrine!
      I would try a small practice round if you have time...I'm not exactly sure because we went to dinner after we took the photos and didn't come back for several hours. When we got home most of the caramel had slid I'm guessing they didn't last more than a couple hours. If you think of a way to keep the apples from getting so wet, I think the caramel will stay on better--if you try anything that works well, let me know!!
  10. Posted by Kaeley on Monday, October 28th, 2013

    I am wondering where you bought your caramels. I'm having trouble finding candy without palm oil in it! Thanks!
    • Posted by Aileen on Monday, October 28th, 2013

      Hi Kaeley!
      They're from Trader Joe's.
  11. Posted by Stephanie on Sunday, November 17th, 2013

    These are so cute!! I have to make these because my kids LOVE caramel apples but can never actually eat a whole one!
  12. Posted by belinda scott on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    well tooth picks do for the caramel minis apples
    • Posted by Aileen on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

      I don't see why not!
  13. Posted by Manon on Friday, January 10th, 2014

    You're a caramel lover, and make me to be it too !!
  14. Posted by stacy on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

    has anyone tried freezing these? i want to make them for my wedding shower but wont have time the couple days before?
    • Posted by Aileen on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

      Hi Stacy! I haven't tried freezing them. One thing you could do to help the caramel stay on is to dip them in chocolate first, then caramel. They might even hold up in the fridge then. I'd definitely do a small trial run with a couple of them before you make a whole bunch for the shower (congrats, by the way!)
  15. Posted by Carole on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

    Any thoughts on the use of the Red Candy rather than the Caramel? Wonder if the candy would also fall off..
    • Posted by Aileen on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

      I don't know! That's a good idea--let me know how it works, if you try it.
  16. Posted by Jo on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

    how do you get the caramel to not slide off? i made these an hour before a party and by the time I got there I had a plate full of wet caramel and naked apple balls :(
  17. Posted by Brenda on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

    Love them! they are very good, yum yum. But can you tell me how do you keep the apples from turning brown before you dip them in the carmel?
  18. Posted by sherri acero on Sunday, September 28th, 2014

    thats great my mom is going to make those for children at school where my mom work :)
  19. Posted by Ann on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    I wish you would include a written directions only version.
  20. Posted by Barb on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    How long is too long? if I make them the night before a wedding will they still be good around 2 pm?
    • Posted by Aileen on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

      Hi Barb, I LOVE this concept and I still think it is really cute, but I'd feel nervous recommending these for a wedding or anything where you can't eat them day-of. I would say, give it a try ahead of time (on a small scale) to work out the kinks first and try some other variations. I know stores also sell caramel apple wraps (sheets of caramel) which might stay on better. Or I've heard the recommendation to dip in chocolate first. I haven't tried either of those, so I'm not sure! But I know the way I made it, they probably would not last for a full day. Hope that is helpful!
  21. Posted by Roxi Summers on Friday, October 10th, 2014

    This is so fabulous and so cute I absolutely love it!

    Everyone seams to be wondering about how to make the caramel stay, I haven't tried the theories in this article yet but they sound very similar to what you've recommended so I thought I'd share the link.

    I will be attempting these myself in a few weeks and will let everyone know how it goes!

    Thanks again for this adorable idea =)
  22. Posted by HappyCampers on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    Hey...check out Mom's Got Ink on FB. They stole your photos from this post.
  23. Posted by Narnie on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    Great idea, and will probably try the caramel idea or other melt downs on other things too.
  24. Posted by jenna on Friday, November 14th, 2014

    Made these. They were awsome. Only suggestion I have is use parchment paper instead of wax because some of my hot carmel melted the wax paper and we could get them off. ): Thank you for the recipe though they were great!!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, November 14th, 2014

      Aww, yay! So glad to hear that Jenna. And thanks for the suggestion :)
  25. Posted by CarleyP on Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

    This is completely ingenious! I made traditional caramel apples for a party, but made these the next time! It is completely perfect, especially for kids and keeping things less messy!
  26. Posted by Lisa on Thursday, November 27th, 2014

    I just made these for thanksgiving. First, I tried very hard to make sure apples were completely dry. Still, the caramel slid off before I could even get them to the freezer. None of them came out looking even remotely good. Now I wish I had at least bought a pie, as we have nothing for dessert except for some apples sitting in a pool of caramel.
  27. Posted by Sabrina on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

    I made these and had the same problem with the caramel sliding off. It was just my brothers family and my kids so we ate them anyway (didn't have to impress anyone lol) and everyone LOVED them!! Now I just must the caramel, put it on the table with the apple balls and people just dip their own as they eat them!
  28. Posted by Khearra on Thursday, March 5th, 2015

    It just says "caramels" above. Does that mean a whole bag? I'm making these for a huge party and definitely want to make sure I buy enough bags to coat all the apples! I can't wait to see how these turn out!
  29. Posted by kathy on Monday, March 9th, 2015

    great way for the kids to eat more fruit....and me!
  30. Posted by Lupe on Thursday, May 14th, 2015

    WOW!! Thank you, this is just the right size for children. They actually enjoy them. :)
  31. Posted by alda on Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

    I think someone took these same photos you got?
  32. Posted by Tina on Saturday, September 5th, 2015

    I wanted to thank you for sharing. I am going to try making these. I wonder if drying the apples a little with paper towel will keep caramel from falling off. We will see.
  33. Posted by Margaret Parnaby on Friday, October 2nd, 2015

    how many caramels for the amount of milk .
  34. Posted by laura on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

    Well, my granddaughter and I spent way too long working at these cute little treats. After melting 2 small bags of Kraft caramels, allowing it to cool, then dipping apples in, just as mentioned the caramel slid off. Tried putting apple balls in freezer for 15 luck. Tried dipping in granulated luck. So we got the brainy idea to turn our caramel into a dip with 4 oz of neaufchatel cream cheese blended in. No need for sucker sticks or even a melon baller. Of course the balls looked cute but. So tomorrow we'll just slice some apples and use the dip that way instead.
  35. Posted by Jose on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

    these apples taste like crap
  36. Posted by Isabel on Thursday, October 29th, 2015

    I am trying these tonight!
    How many balls do you think you can get out of 1 apple? I am not sure how many apples I need to buy...
  37. Posted by Mariah on Monday, October 17th, 2016

    This was a huge fail. I followed the directions and ended up throwing it all away after piles of sticky caramel and nothing would stick to the apples. Disappointed kiddos!