How to Make Red Wine Caramel Apples | Wine Enthusiast
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How to Make Red Wine Caramel Apples

This winey take on the caramel apple is scrumptious, jewel-like and still kid-friendly because all the alcohol burns off. If you can’t find unwaxed apples (organic apples are also usually wax-coated), Google ways to remove the wax, as it tends to make the caramel slide off. The quantity of apples will vary due to size, but this recipe should cover 8 large apples or 12 small apples.


1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
2 ½ cups sugar
½ cup corn syrup
2 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
8 to 12 unwaxed apples
Heavy wooden skewers (aka candy apple skewers)


Add wine and ½ cup sugar to a medium (2 to 3 quart) saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to ½ cup, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining two cups sugar, corn syrup, cream and salt. Stir sauce until smooth.

Return to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until the mixture reaches exactly 240°F on a candy thermometer. If the sides of the pan get burnt or gritty, you can wash them down with a pastry brush dipped in water.

Let caramel cool to thicken, at least 15 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the edge of an apple without most of it dripping off. Insert a skewer into each apple and dip in the caramel, swirling to coat, letting excess drip back into the pan. Place apples on sheets of parchment paper or nonstick Silpat mats to cool.

Dessert Fondue!

This sauce also makes a great fondue dip. Cook the sauce to 230°F before transferring to a fondue pot (its temperature will rise in the hot pot). Serve with a variety of fruits cut into large chunks.

Wine Pairing

Quevedo NV Bio Porto Reserve Ruby (Port); 88 Points.

The sweet red wine caramel calls for a sweet red wine. Ruby Port often takes a back seat to other Port styles, but it has both jammy richness and bright acidity, which echo the caramel and the fresh apple within. For the kids, pour generous amounts of sparkling red grape juice.

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!