Learn how to make a DIY sliced caramel apple bar. Served with all sorts of fun toppings, this make-your-own caramel apple bar is the perfect dessert station for Halloween or a Fall party!
This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for content.
During the fall, our family loves eating caramel apples. The kids especially love all the fun toppings, but they can be super messy! This sliced caramel apple bar is a fun variation that is much easier to eat.
Serve this fun dessert station for Halloween with a big pot of three bean chili, hot dogs and boozy bourbon apple cider!
🍎 Ingredient notes
- Apples - Choose your favorite apples for this caramel apple bar. Use sweet or tart apples or a combination of both!
- Sauces - I like serving both milk and white chocolate dippings sauces in addition to the caramel. If you don't want to make the sauces from scratch, you can buy pre-made dipping sauces from the grocery store instead.
- Toppings - There are so many different candy toppings that you can offer. I have listed some of my favorites, but you can choose what you and your guests would like. I suggest selecting toppings that are relatively small so they easily stick to the dipping sauces and stay on the apple slices.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Apple Nachos - Instead of placing the apple slices on skewers, they can be served in a bowl or on a platter instead. Guests can arrange the apple slices on plates and top them with the different sauces and toppings; just like nachos! To make it easier for serving, put the caramel and chocolate sauces in squeeze bottles.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Core and slice each apple into 8 slices. Place the apple slices in a large bowl with the water and lemon juice for 5 minutes to help prevent browning.
Remove the apples from the water, rinse them off and pat them dry. Place each apple slice on a bamboo skewer and set aside.
Combine ½ cup of the heavy cream in a pot on the stovetop with the caramel bits. Heat on medium low, stirring frequently, until all of the bits are melted into a smooth caramel sauce. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl or container for serving.
Repeat with the milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips until all three dipping sauces are completed.
Place all of the candy toppings into small bowls or containers. Allow the guests to dip the apple slices into the different dipping sauces and mix and match the toppings.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Soaking the apple slices in the lemon water helps to prevent them from browning too quickly. Make sure to pat them dry afterwards so the dipping sauces and candy will stick to them.
- Heat the heavy cream and chocolate chips over medium low heat and stir frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn. Remove it off of the heat just before all of the chips are melted and continue to stir until smooth.
- Serve candy toppings with small spoons so people can pour the toppings onto the apples instead of dipping them. This will help make sure the candy doesn't get messy with caramel or chocolate.
🍽 Serving suggestions
Serve the dipping sauces in heat proof bowls or containers such as ceramic bowls, baking dishes or wide mouth mason jars. The sauces will stay warm enough like this for about 45 minutes to an hour. They can be popped in the microwave for 15-30 seconds to reheat if needed.
Place a heating pad covered in a towel or tablecloth under the bowls of the dipping sauces to help them stay warm through serving time. Stirring them occasionally to keep them smooth.
If you need the sauces to stay warmer for longer without having to reheat, try using fondue pots or small food warmers set on the lowest setting to help keep them warm.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
The apples can be sliced, soaked in the lemon water, patted dry and skewered ahead of time, if needed. I suggest not doing this more than 1-2 hours ahead of time, so that they stay fresh.
The dipping sauces can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. Cool them completely and store in them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Reheat them in a small pot over low heat on the stove top, stirring frequently, until they are warm enough for dipping.
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this halloween caramel apple bar!
🍁 More fall desserts
If you loved this DIY sliced caramel apple bar, check out these other fall desserts that I know you will love too!
DIY Sliced Caramel Apple Bar
Sliced Apple Skewers
- 10 apples
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 package bamboo skewers
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 11 ounces caramel bits
- 11 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 11 ounces white chocolate chips
- chopped nuts
- crushed graham crackers
- mini marshmallows
- shredded coconut flakes
- crushed toffee bits
- mini chocolate candies
- candy corn
Sliced Apple Skewers
- Core and cut each apple in 8 slices and place in a large bowl with the water and lemon juice. Let the apples soak in the lemon water for 5 minutes to help prevent browning.
- Drain the water from the apples, pat them dry and place each slice on a skewer.
- In a small pot, combine the caramel bits with ½ cup of the heavy cream. Heat over medium low heat on the stovetop, stirring frequently, until the caramel bits are melted into a smooth caramel sauce. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove the finished sauce off of the heat and pour into a heat proof serving bowl or container.
- Repeat the first step with the milk chocolate chips and then the white chocolate chips to complete all three dipping sauces.
Caramel Apple Bar
- Place each of the candy toppings into shallow bowls, plates or containers.
- Set out the dipping sauces with the toppings and the sliced apple skewers. Dip the apple slices into the different dipping sauces and mix and match the toppings.
- When making the sauces, make sure to use medium low heat, stir them frequently and don't let them boil. Remove them off of the heat just before all of the bits or chips are melted and continue to stir until smooth. This will help to prevent burning.
- Serve the dipping sauces in heat proof bowls or containers such as ceramic bowls, baking dishes or wide mouth mason jars. The sauces will stay soft enough for dipping like this for about 45 minutes to an hour. They can be popped in the microwave for 15-30 seconds to reheat if needed.
- Place a heating pad covered in a towel or tablecloth under the bowls of the dipping sauces to help them stay warm during serving time. Stir them occasionally to help keep them smooth.
- If the sauces need to stay warmer for longer without reheating, try using fondue pots or a small food warmers, set on the lowest setting, to help keep them warm.
- Serve candy toppings with small spoons so people can pour the toppings onto the dipped apples. This will help make sure the candy doesn't get messy with chocolate and caramel sauces.
Substitutions and Variations
- Apples - Choose your favorite apples for the caramel apple bar. Use sweet or tart apples or a combination of both!
- Sauces - Dipping sauces can be purchased pre-made from the grocery store instead of made from scratch.
- Toppings - Different assorted candies can be used for toppings. Select pieces that are relatively small so they easily stick to the dipping sauces and stay on the apple slices.
- Apple Nachos - Instead of placing the apple slices on skewers, they can be served in a bowl or on a platter instead. Guests can place arrange the apple slices on plates and top them with the different sauces and toppings, just like nachos! To make it easier for serving, put the caramel and chocolate sauces in squeeze bottles.
I absolutely LOVED the caramel apple nachos idea at the end of your post! Typically when we've done caramel apples in the past it just creates a sticky mess everywhere. But the nachos were easy to make and relatively mess-free! I think this is the start of a new fall tradition in my house.
Awesome Lily! So happy to hear that.
The most adorable idea and my kids loved this! It is perfect for halloween, but honestly, when are caramel apples not fun to have? Whenever we have made caramel apples it seems to turn into a big gloopy mess, but just doing the slices seemed more manageable for the younger kids. I would definitely recommend this the next time you want a fun dessert activity.
Haha, so true! Caramel apples any time!
How long does the caramel stay liquified?
Amanda | Saporito Kitchen
The caramel should stay pretty liquified for about an hour. When I serve it in mason jars, if it starts to get too hard, I just place the jar in a bowl of hot water and that helps it soften back up.