Popcorn Caramel Apples

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One of our favorite autumn treats is a caramel apple. That tart flesh covered with sweet caramel sauce and, ideally, some extra treats like peanuts or chocolate chips. So is it any wonder that our popcorn loving selves decided that was the extra treat we wanted on our apple? Hence, our popcorn caramel apples were born.

Of course you can buy fancy gourmet caramel apples but, have you seen the prices?? There’s always a display of them in the store, perfectly decorated and wrapped in cellophane. We always want it. So, we learned to make it ourselves and that’s usually better anyway. Because the caramel coating will be so sweet, we recommend you start with a tarter apple. But definitely choose a variety you’d like to eat.

As tempting as it will be to just buy store bought caramel sauce, the ice cream topping versions won’t stick well to the apples. Some of the gourmet sauces will but, again, homemade is better. We won’t lie – making caramel sauce from scratch takes some practice. But once you’ve done it you’ll have trouble going back to store bought again. The homemade taste is so much better. We’ve made many caramel sauces and ruined more than our share but it means we have tips to share.

  • Technically you don’t need the water at all but we find it’s easier to get a uniform melt on the sugar when we start with a little water.
  • Low and slow is the key to cooking sugar. Be patient.
  • Do not walk away. Really. We mean it. Sugar can go from too pale to burned smoke in the shortest amount of time.
  • Once your sugar is burned, there is no way to save it. The burned taste will never go away and you’ll have to start again.
  • There will be lumps and clumps and scary bubbling. All normal. Just keep stirring and watching and not walking away.
  • Even the most experienced caramel maker will still sometimes burn the caramel. It’s OK. The next batch will be perfect and taste heavenly.

Now that we’ve given you some caramel making tips, here’s our biggest tip for getting the caramel to stay on the apple. Most store bought apples have a wax coating on them and your sauce will just slide right off. Leave the apples unpeeled but rinse them thoroughly under water and scrub off the wax with a paper towel or cloth. Allow to dry completely before dipping into the caramel.

Our popcorn coated caramel apples are rustic and lack the perfect polish of those cellophane wrapped store offerings. But they’re delicious and fun to eat. We also sprinkle them with our salted caramel popcorn seasoning for an extra boost of deliciousness.


Category, , Yields6 ServingsDifficultyIntermediate
Prep Time15 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time25 mins


 6 Apples
 1 cup Granulated sugar
 3 tbsp Water
 1 cup Heavy cream
 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
 Sea salt, to taste
 2 cups Popped Dell Cove® Popcorn



Thoroughly rinse the apples under water and use a paper towel or cloth to wipe off any wax coating. Allow to dry thoroughly. Insert a popsicle stick into each apple. Use the tip of a paring knife to make a slit, if needed.


Add the granulated sugar and water to a heavy bottomed pot on low heat and allow the sugar to melt. Raise the heat slight, to medium low, and cook until it begins to color. Do not walk away because it can burn quickly. Pour in the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble up) and stir. If pieces of sugar clump up, continue stirring, on low heat, until they dissolve. Stir in the butter and sea salt. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.


Fill a bowl with popcorn. Dip each apple thoroughly into the caramel and then place in the bowl of popcorn. Use your hands to affix the popcorn up the sides of the apple. Sprinkle with the salted caramel seasoning.

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Nutrition Facts

Servings 6

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