Easy Homemade Candy Apples

Take a step back in time when you bite into one of these classic homemade candy apples. Sweet on the outside and crisp on the inside, these candy apples are so easy and fun to make!

Cut open candy apple.

These old-fashioned candy apples are a family favorite we used to enjoy year-round. It definitely didn’t have to be a summer fair or fall weather for us to enjoy this sweet treat. Thankfully, it’s easy and fun to make these homemade candy apples. You don’t need any fancy ingredients and believe me, they’re much tastier than their store-bought counterparts.

The secret ingredient is the Red Hot Candies in the coating, which gives the candy apples an authentic cinnamon taste. Add in some red food coloring and you have Red Hot candy apples (literally) with an irresistibly crunchy sugar coating.

Enjoy your candy apples throughout the year, as a red candy apple makes the perfect take-home favor for your next kid’s birthday party. Simply wrap them in plastic tied with ribbon.

If you’re more into chocolate or caramel candies, you’re going to want to check out our deliciously sweet homemade caramel apples recipe.

Ingredients for homemade candy apples.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 apples
  • Sugar
  • Light corn syrup or golden syrup
  • Red hots (or cinnamon candy-like red hots)
  • Red food coloring
  • A candy thermometer
  • Wooden sticks such as popsicle sticks

Place sugar in saucepot.

In a medium-sized heavy saucepot, place sugar.

Add corn syrup to saucepot.

Add corn syrup.

Add rest of ingredients to saucepot.

Also add water, red hots, and red food coloring.

Stir up your sugar mixture a bit.

Boiling ingredients.

Place candy mixture over medium-high heat and boil, without stirring, until it reaches 290 degrees.

This is gonna take a while, probably anywhere from 20-25 minutes or so, depending on how hot your eye is.

Remove stems to place sticks into apples.

While the sugar syrup is cooking, remove the stems from your apples by holding the stem in one hand and the apple in the other and twist.

Now stick your sticks in each apple.

Boiling ingredients.This is what it will look like when it’s ready but the most important thing is to just watch that candy thermometer.

Cooked candy coating.

Now that our candy coating is done, remove it from the heat and place it on a hot pad because it is H O T. 

Dip apple into candy coating.

Quickly dip an apple in it and swirl it around a bit until it is evenly coated.

Like this.

Hold apple over coating.

Remove the apple and hold it over for a few seconds to allow excess to drip off.

Candy apples on parchment paper.

Complete with remaining apples and place onto greased or buttered parchment paper (or a greased baking sheet) to cool completely before eating.

Plate of candy apples.



I recommend storing your candy apples, covered, in the fridge for up to two days.

Recipe Notes

  • When it comes to candy apple sticks… if you have a hard time finding popsicle sticks for these candy apples, just go to the kid’s craft section and they have all sorts of wooden craft sticks that work very well. You can also use wooden skewers from the grilling section. I’ve even used forks from my kitchen drawer before! They work great and when you’re done just stick ’em in the dishwasher. Either way, there isn’t a need to go buy anything special or go on a wild goose chase because there is surely something on hand that will work just fine.
  • If you have sensitive teeth you can do what I do and make these for the kids and click here to get the candied apples I can eat with all the flavor but none of the dental bills.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the best apple to use for candy apples?

I recommend using tart apples like a Granny Smith apple in this candy apple recipe. But you could also use a crisp red apple, such as Jonagold, Honey Crisp, or Fuji.

You may also like these other appetizing apple recipes:

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Crockpot Baked Apples

Apple Spice Muffins by Mama

Apple Dapple Cake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Unbelievably Blissful

Apple Crisp in the Crockpot

Plate of candy apples.

Homemade Candy Apples

Take a step back in time when you bite into one of these classic homemade candy apples. Sweet on the outside and crisp on the inside, these candy apples are so easy and fun to make!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple
Servings: 4
Calories: 214kcal


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup Cinnamon Red Hot Candies
  • 1/4 tsp red food coloring I just give it a good splash
  • 8 wooden ice cream sticks
  • 8 small apples


  • In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, candies, red food coloring, and 1 cup of water.
    3 cups sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup Cinnamon Red Hot Candies, 1/4 tsp red food coloring, 1 cup water
  • Place mixture over medium heat and bring to a boil without stirring.
  • Set a candy thermometer on the side of the pot, making sure the tip doesn't touch the bottom. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 290 F. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, grease a cookie sheet. Remove stems from apples and insert a popsicle stick partway through each apple.
    8 wooden ice cream sticks, 8 small apples
  • When candy is ready, remove pan from heat and remove thermometer. Swirl each apple into candy syrup until it is coated and then hold over the pot for a few seconds to allow any drips to fall off.
  • Place candied apples onto parchment paper or prepared baking sheet to cool. If the syrup begins to stiffen while you're still dipping apples you can place the pan over very low heat while you finish.
  • Let apples cool at least an hour before eating. You can speed this up by placing them in the fridge if you like.
  • Best if eaten within two days.


Calories: 214kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. Oh, what memories came rushing back as I read this post! Like your Mama, I too saved those labels & got things for my family. I got my kids winter hats from saving Libby fruit labels! (that was a lot of fruit!) And a red, white & blue basketball. Among lunch boxes, sandwich boxes, Hot Wheels & carrying cases! I kind of miss those days. I saved the refund/rebate checks & whatever I saved using coupons to help buy Christmas presents. They got a little extra by doing that. I made candied apples with about the same recipe you have & they loved them. Sometimes I put chopped peanuts on them. (& my kids would eat the candy that run on the wax paper) I made them for school one year, had to make about 120 of them! Swore I’d never do that again! Lol! Thank you, Chrisy!

  2. The entire time I read this recipe, I couldn’t stop thinking, “What a dangerous thing to do while in a wheelchair!” I know how hot that stuff gets. It wasn’t until the end that I realized it is an older recipe. Thank goodness!

  3. I enjoyed these as a kid. My mom made them for me. Growing up in Memphis Tn, they were a tradition. Better than gummy caramel and very pretty. The hot tamales I added were a twist. Made good flavor. Maybe I wll make lollipops. I will experiment with more projects!

    Thank you for posting. I live where taffy apples seem to rule!

  4. I really enjoyed preparing and finishing this project. I hope it goes over well for the bake scale to support a family who lost their 9 month son.

  5. I had to use Hot Tamale candies, because I couldn’t find the Red Hots 🙁 BUT I believe they still turned out right……considering I’ve never eaten a candy apple……I used my candy thermometer, but goodness…….15 minutes later they’re still soft…..grrrrrrrrrowl! I sure hope they harden!

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