National Caramel Apple Day – Plus a Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

If you love Halloween treats, get excited, because National Caramel Apple Day honors both caramel apples and Halloween! Read on to learn more.

A rustic flatlay of autumnal items with a text overlay reading "National Caramel Apple Day".

When the temperatures drop in the fall, and everyone starts putting up Halloween decorations, you know it’s time for caramel apples.

In addition to being a tasty treat for the entire Halloween season, caramel apples actually have an entire day dedicated to them! Let’s learn more about it.

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What is National Caramel Apple Day?

If you need the perfect excuse to indulge on Halloween’s favorite dessert, the caramel apple, look no further than National Caramel Apple Day.

Two caramel apples on plates with caramel candy beside them.

This day falls annually on the 31st of October – the same day as Halloween! It’s no coincidence that these two holidays share a date, because caramel apples wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Halloween.

Just as black cats, jack-o-lanterns, and spooky costumes (for kids and for adults), remind us of Halloween, so do caramel apples.

History of National Caramel Apple Day

To understand the history of caramel apples, I must bring up their older cousin, the candy apple. While the two terms are similar and sometimes used interchangeably, the two desserts are actually very different.

Three caramel apples covered with peanut toppings on a plate with plain apples and caramels in the background and foreground.

The candy apple was invented almost fifty years prior, and is actually a symbol of the Christmas holiday. The caramel apple, invented in 1950, is a symbol of Halloween.

Check out my guide on both of these treats to learn more about the differences of candy apple vs caramel apple. For the rest of this post, I’ll be talking specifically about the caramel apple.

Dan Walker, an employee of the Kraft foods company invented the caramel apple shortly after Halloween in the fall of 1950.

He was experimenting with the surplus of Halloween candy, and melted down some of the caramels. He then dipped an apple into the caramel, and thus the caramel apple was born!

Fun Facts About National Caramel Apple Day

Brush up on your knowledge of National Caramel Apple Day with these fun facts.

Fun caramel apple slices with different toppings surrounded by caramel apple toppings and apples.

  • While Dan Walker is widely thought of as the inventor of the caramel apple, the Chicago based company Affy Tapple claims to have invented this treat two years earlier. 
  • For the first 10 years that caramel apples existed they were all hand dipped. It wasn’t until 1960 when Vito Raimondi (and his Uncle William Raimondi) invented and patented the first automatic caramel apple machine.
  • Caramel apples are sometimes confused with candy apples, but the two are actually very different desserts.
  • Granny Smith apples are most commonly used to make caramel apples. Their tart, crisp flavor pairs well with the sweet caramel topping.
  • The best time to make caramel apples in in the fall. The apple crops are yielding their tastiest apples in the fall – and after all, the apple is the base of this dessert!

How to Observe National Caramel Apple Day

There are lots of obvious ways to celebrate National Caramel Apple Day. Here are a few other creative ideas to help honor this day.

A father and son apple picking at dusk. The father is holding his son on his shoulders while the son reaches for an apple on a tree in an apple orchard.

  • Take a look my caramel apple toppings guide, pick your favorite, and make a decadent caramel apple!
  • Go to an apple orchard, and pick some apples! Bonus points if you decide to make caramel apples with them afterwards.
  • Try one of the caramel apple themed recipes I rounded up below. There are so many great options!
  • Host a caramel apple decorating party! Instruct each guest to being their favorite caramel apple topping, and set up a caramel apple dipping station.
  • Drink a glass of warm apple cider to go along with your caramel apple.
  • Get outside and plant a tree! Not only is it great for the planet, but it can also be a great way to celebrate National Caramel Apple Day if the tree you plant an apple tree!
  • Use the hashtag #NationalCaramelAppleDay to spread the word about the day on social media. Here is a tweet to get you started:
There's nothing that symbolizes Halloween more than the Caramel Apple. To find out why, and learn all about National Caramel Apple Day, head over to Always the Holidays! #NationalCaramelAppleDay 🍎 👻 🎃 Click To Tweet

Recipes To Celebrate National Caramel Apple Day

Are you looking for some caramel apple themed recipes to celebrate National Caramel Apple Day? You’re in luck, I’ve got some to share!

A plate of homemade caramel apples with an almond topping.

  • Can’t decide between breakfast and caramel apples? At Always the Holidays, we don’t think you should have to choose! These Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins are the best of both worlds!
  • Are you looking forward to happy hour? If so, check out this Caramel Apple Martini recipe – it’s sure to make your mouth water, and your taste buds sing!
  • These Caramel Apple Bars combine a sweet oatmeal apple bar with a caramel topping, and the result is pure perfection!
  • These Caramel Baked Apples sound like the perfect warm dessert for a crisp fall day. I’d love to enjoy them at the end of a long day snuggled up by a fire!
  • If you’re looking for a Halloween inspired spooky apple recipe, check out these Monster Mouth Apple Snacks. They’re a kid friendly recipe that, like the caramel apple, share a base of fresh apples!
  • If caramel is too decadent for you, but the fall flavor of cinnamon is just right, look no further than these Cinnamon Baked Apple Slices. Whether you serve them as a side dish, or a dessert à la mode, they aim to please! 
  • Check out this Caramel Apple Recipe Roundup if you’re still looking for more caramel apple treats!

What Are National Days?

National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate odd and unusual foods, animals and items that you come into contact with. Be sure to check out my National Day’s Guide for more fun days to celebrate.

A flatlay of celebratory items with a text overlay reading "National Days of the Year".

There are close to 2000 National Days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in October. To see them all, have a look at this post to discover more about the National Days in October, as well as the October Printable Calendar of National Days.

Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find that there are many food holidays that fall in October.

More National Days in October

Be sure to also check out these other National Days in October. Some are spooky, and others delicious, but they all embody the themes of the biggest holiday of the month – Halloween!

An October calendar with paperclips and pencils surrounding it.

Black cats and Halloween are practically synonymous. Check out National Black Cat Day. This day in October honors black cats, that have a long history of association with all things spooky. Check out the history behind the day, and why these cat’s aren’t actually unlucky!

Looking for more desserts? Make sure you check out National Cake Decorating Day, it has tips for cake decorating, ways to celebrate the day, and some yummy cake recipes!

If you like pumpkin cheesecake, (and who doesn’t?!) then National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day is for you. If you try the pumpkin cheesecake muffins recipe on that page, let me know how you like it! I think they’re delicious!

Pin This Post On National Caramel Apple Day For Later

Would you like a reminder of this post for National Caramel Apple Day? Just pin this image to one of your recipe boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Autumnal caramel apples on a wooden slab with a text overlay reading "National caramel apple day, ways to celebrate, history of the inventor and a recipe for homemade caramel apples".

For the perfect way to celebrate National Caramel Apple Day, try this homemade caramel apple recipe.

Yield: 8

Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

A plate of homemade caramel apples with an almond topping.

There is no dessert more Halloween appropriate than homemade caramel apples. As a bonus, they're easier to make than you'd think!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
  • 8 caramel apple sticks
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • any toppings you like!

Instructions

  1. Measure all of your ingredients ahead of time for this recipe (including any toppings you may later want to coat your caramel apples with).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat.
  3. It is important to clean your apples thoroughly to remove any waxy reside. This will help the caramel stick to your apples. To clean the apples, bring a pot of water to a boil. Stick the apple in the water for a few seconds, remove, and wipe off any residue.
  4. Make sure to thoroughly dry the apples.
  5. Once the apples are cool, insert a caramel apple stick 3/4 of the way through the apple.
  6. Put the skewered apples into the fridge until you're ready to dip them into the caramel.
  7. In a medium saucepan, over medium to medium high heat, melt the butter, and stir in (with a wooden spoon) the light corn syrup, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk.
  8. Continue stirring the entire time until when measured with a candy thermometer, the temperature reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) .
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  10. Take your apples from the fridge, and dip into the caramel, thoroughly covering them.
  11. Remove the apple from the caramel while twirling slightly.
  12. If you are putting toppings on the apples, do so now, and then set down on the parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
  13. If you are not using toppings, place the caramel apple directly on the silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.

Notes

  • This homemade caramel will need constant attention while cooking, and as it cools it will be harder to coat the apples, so it's a good idea to get all your ingredients measured ahead of time, and your toppings set up. This makes the whole process more efficient, and will yield better caramel apples.
  • Do NOT use wax paper instead of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, the hot caramel will melt the wax, and result in a caramel-apple-disaster.
  • It is necessary to use a candy thermometer for this recipe to avoid under cooking or over cooking the caramel.
  • The "cook time" for this recipe is approximate, you should adhere to the temperature on the candy thermometer, not the amount of time on the stove, since each stove varies slightly.
  • If you're unsure of what to use for caramel apple toppings, check out this creative list of toppings.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 881Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 560mgCarbohydrates: 175gFiber: 7gSugar: 164gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess Speake has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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