Apple Cider Caramels

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gluten free, quick-n-easy
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 64 caramels

Recipe photo

Apple pie meets caramel in these soft, chewy candies. When wrapped in parchment they're the perfect homemade treat to hand out on Halloween.

Apple Cider Caramels

star rating (56) rate this recipe »
gluten free, quick-n-easy
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 64 caramels
Published: 06/26/2012


  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1/2 cup boiled cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice*
  • *No Apple Pie Spice? Substitute 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice

Tips from our bakers

  • For softer caramels, boil the mixture until it reaches 242°F to 245°F. You'll need to refrigerate the caramels once they're completely cool. Remove them from the refrigerator about 15 minutes prior to cutting and wrapping. Wrap in squares of waxed paper or parchment.
  • To make apple cider caramel sauce, start by cutting all of the ingredient amounts in half. Boil the mixture to about 226°F to 230°F ("thread" stage on your candy thermometer). The sauce will be a spreadable consistency (like peanut butter) direct from the fridge; softer at room temperature; and will become pourable when you heat it. Store sauce for a few days at room temperature; refrigerate for longer storage. Yield: about 1 3/4 cups sauce.
  • For a "salty caramel" experience, sprinkle the caramels with large-grain (moderately coarse) sea salt about 20 minutes after pouring the caramel into the pan. The salt will disappear from view, but you'll taste it in the finished candy.


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1) Lightly grease an 8" x 8" baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides.

2) Combine the cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and boiled cider in a heavy-bottom, deep saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to medium-high heat and cook until the mixture reaches 248°F on a candy thermometer, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your particular stove. Want to make a softer caramel? See "tips," at left.

3) Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the salt and spice.

4) Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan. Let it stand for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature before cutting into 1" squares.

5) To wrap the caramels, use 6" squares of parchment paper. Place one caramel in the center of each square; wrap the opposite edges of the paper around the caramel and twist the exposed edges to close.

Yield: 64 caramels.


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  • star rating 01/22/2015
  • Dearaewi from KAF Community
  • Have been wanting to try this for a while. Made a couple quarts of my own boiled cider from gallons of local cider this fall and finally made this yesterday... haven't done any candy making in quite a while, first time for caramels and found this recipe to be very easy to follow and the finished product was a major hit! Didn't have the patience to wait the 12-18 hours for the set so cut and wrapped after about 8 hours... came out beautiful. Caught a comment about using maple syrup instead of boiled apple cider and since I have some local decided to try that today. Boiled up beautifully and is setting now. Just based on the result on the spatula, this is going to be another hit! Will probably be cut and wrapped tonight to share tomorrow... :) Would heartily recommend!
  • star rating 12/23/2014
  • Kristi from Buffalo, MN
  • Delicious. Next time I will use a slightly larger pan and cut them into rectangles instead of the recommended thick squares.
  • star rating 12/21/2014
  • Margaret from Welches, Oregon
  • My granddaughter and I made these yesterday and they are wonderful and wonderfully easy for beginning candy makers. We cooked them to the temperature for softer caramels, and they turned out just the way I like them; firm enough to cut but soft and chewy. We will add this recipe to our Christmas 'have to make' list.
  • star rating 12/20/2014
  • Kaija from Arizona
  • I had two candy thermometers in the pot, both registering different temps. I was in a total panic. I had to revert to the old fashioned drop-into-ice-water method. But they were AMAZING! I could have even cut them smaller. In fact, the most difficult part about making these was cutting up squares of parchment. (Note to self: add 3x3 wrappers to my next KAF order.) My only issue was that the spices didn't distribute evenly and I had a couple of caramels with little nuggets of spice. Otherwise, these were a huge hit.
  • star rating 12/17/2014
  • Megan from Baltimore
  • I just tasted one from my first batch and they were delicious, but a little too soft. I tested my thermometer before starting the recipe, and it read 210 after 10 minutes in boiling water. I tried to adjust for that, but my 40 year old eyes were perhaps not up to the task. I had a little trouble with the spices clumping in the hot caramel; next time I'll stir them a little with a fork and sprinkle them in rather than dumping. I didn't think I'd like apple and spice flavors 'interfering' with the taste of caramel, which I love, but I was wrong. These taste really, really, divine! I'll make another batch soon so I'll know where I like the thermometer to read for soft but not too-soft caramels. I'm still giving them as gifts today and I think they'll be well-received!
  • star rating 12/11/2014
  • Karen from California
  • I love the taste but mine are too hard to cut. I cooked them to 248 degrees and checked with my candy thermometer and instant read thermometer. They were soft when they came out but hardened into toffee. There was a lot of humidity. Did that affect the outcome? Did I cook them too long? Is here anything I can do to save these besides hammering them into toffee bits?
    Hi Karen, I'm afraid once the caramels are cooked you can't change their consistency, but toffee bits sounds like a great idea! You might want to double check your thermometers to see what they read when you boil water for 10 minutes. Normal boiling temperature is 212 degrees F, unless you live at altitude. If your thermometers read a few degrees off one way or another, you need to adjust the final temperature you are aiming for accordingly. If your thermometers are reading accurately then I would just aim for a lower temperature next time. You could shoot for 245 degrees and this will yield a softer caramel. I haven't noticed that humidity makes a whole lot of difference in my candy making, as long as I test the temperature accurately. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 12/07/2014
  • Emily from Grand Blanc, MI
  • I made these caramels yesterday, and they're wonderful! I didn't have boiled cider, so I made some myself using organic, unfiltered, not from concentrate apple juice I found at the grocery store (no cider available here in December). I just boiled it down until it was about 1/3-1/4 of the original volume. Making the caramels was very easy. I just put everything in the pan and boiled away. My stove must be a lot stronger than others because it only took 17 minutes to surpass the temperature I needed. It happened so quickly, I didn't notice until my candy thermometer read 255 degrees. Oops! Now I know for next time, I suppose. The caramels still taste good, of course. They're just a bit harder set than they should be. I sprinkled some Kosher salt on the top as they were setting, just as the blog post suggested. Definitely an awesome suggestion. I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper to the spice mixture you stir in at the end--not enough to taste, but enough to make your mouth a bit warm. Since I overheated my caramels, I had some issues cutting them because they were just one hard block, and this was after only three or four hours of cooling. I ended up microwaving the block on the parchment paper on 15-30 sec intervals to soften them, which worked pretty well. I worked in stages and used a combination of kitchen scissors and a pizza cutter to cut them.
  • star rating 12/02/2014
  • MomT from KAF Community
  • I made these, mainly for my husband - the caramel lover, when we were "snowed in" two weeks ago for six days (along with several loaves of bread!) and they turned out wonderful. I followed the recipe exactly as written - it's a keeper!
    Snow days can be opportunities for new culinary adventures - sounds like you made the best out of these days. Happy Baking in any weather - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 11/30/2014
  • Kathryn from Otter Lake, NY
  • My daughter and I made these yesterday. We used regular apple cider, starting with 1 & 1/2 cups, boiling it down to 1/2 cup. We adapted for the "softer"caramels by boiling to 242 and putting them in the refrigerator after they cooled to room temp. It took more than 15" back at room temp the next morning before they were ready to cut (maybe 30"?) and cutting them was made easier by taking them out of the pan by the parchment paper "handles" and cutting them with a big knife on the cutting board. They set up perfectly. They taste great! I don't think I've made candy before, and this was easy, yummy, and fun!
  • star rating 11/02/2014
  • Janet from Montreal, Qc
  • Just made these, they are delicious and very easy to make.
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