In the fall, I am absolutely in love with all things pumpkin spice, but I also enjoy taking advantage of the abundance of apples. This caramel apple dip is one of my favorite ways to make a quick dessert to pair with them.
Dessert Dips for the WIN!
As an adult, while I still enjoy those I realize what a mess it can make in the kitchen! I wanted to recreate those flavors and textures but without all of the clean-up afterwards.
This homemade caramel apple dip recipe is the perfect substitute. It’s a one-bowl preparation process and you can assemble, serve it, and store it in one dish.
It’s also a bit of an upgrade on traditional caramel apples since it features a sweetened cream cheese mixture for the base layer. It also includes chunks of toffee which add sweet flavor and just a touch of crunch.
The next time you’re look for easy dessert recipes to take to fall gatherings or just a sweet snack to have at home, try this delicious caramel apple dip. I guarantee you it will be a huge hit!
Why You’ll Love Caramel Apple Dip
There’s no shortage of reasons to love this creamy caramel apple dip! But here are some reasons it could be your new go-to dessert recipe.
- Easy – There’s no need to turn on the oven for this dessert and clean-up is a cinch since you’re only using one bowl.
- Quick – With only a few steps and a handful of simple ingredients, this recipe comes together in no time.
- Delicious – This sweet dip is a great way to get kiddos or picky eaters to snack on fruits.
- Convenient – Since it can be made quickly but also stored for several days, it’s a perfect make ahead dessert for parties or an after school snack.
The ingredients for this caramel apple dip are simple, and easily found at your local grocery stores.
- Cream cheese – Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature so that it is softened.
- Sugar – Plain white sugar will work well for this recipe if you want to retain the color of the cream cheese.
- Vanilla or almond extract – The vanilla extract will round out the flavors and bring out the sweetness. The almond extract will add a slight nuttiness.
- Kosher salt – Salt helps to balance out the flavors in sweets. If you like a sweet/salty dessert you can adjust this to taste.
- Caramel sauce – You can easily purchase your favorite brand at the store or make your own homemade caramel sauce.
- Toffee bits – Buy these already crushed or you can also crush up toffee candy bars (like Heath bars or Skor). Just unwrap them, throw them in a ziploc bag and roll over them with a rolling pin or beat them with a mallet or meat tenderizer.
- Pecans or walnuts – These are optional but if you choose to use them, toast them and then chop them finely.
- Mini chocolate chips – These are also optional but add chocolate flavor to the dip. Shaved chocolate, peanut pieces or just toffee pieces are also an option.
- Fresh apple slices – You can use any type of apple — I particularly like the taste of crisp Granny Smith apples with this dip. If you want to slice them ahead of time, just coat the sliced apples with a little lemon juice to keep them fresh in the fridge.
How To Make Caramel Apple Dip
My favorite part about dessert dips is how easy they are to make. Follow these simple steps to make the best fall dessert dip.
- Beat cream cheese. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer or a food processor. Briefly beat the cream cheese until it’s silky smooth.
- Add sugar, vanilla and salt. Next, add the sugar, extract, and salt. Blend the cream cheese mixture until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
- Top with caramel. Then, use a spatula to evenly spread the mixture into a small casserole dish. Top the cream cheese layer with the caramel sauce.
- Add toppings. Then, sprinkle the toffee bits over the caramel layer. Next, add any of the optional toppings like nuts and chocolate chips.
- Chill and serve. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Chill the dip until you are ready to serve.
Best Apples for Caramel Apple Dip
When choosing apples for caramel apple dip, you’ll want to select varieties that offer a balance of sweetness, tartness, and crispness- I like to serve several kinds. Here’s a list of some of the best apple varieties for caramel apple dip:
- Granny Smith: These tart green apples provide a nice contrast to the sweet caramel dip.
- Honeycrisp: Known for their sweet, juicy, and crisp texture, Honeycrisp apples are a popular choice.
- Fuji: Fuji apples are sweet and firm, making them great for dipping in caramel.
- Gala: Gala apples are sweet and slightly tart with a crisp texture, making them a tasty option.
- Pink Lady: These apples are both sweet and tart, and their firm texture holds up well with caramel.
- Jonagold: Jonagold apples have a sweet-tart flavor and a firm, juicy flesh that pairs nicely with caramel.
- Crispin (or Mutsu): Crispin apples are sweet and juicy, making them a delightful partner for caramel.
- Braeburn: With a balanced sweet-tart flavor and crisp texture, Braeburn apples work well with caramel.
- Empire: Empire apples are moderately sweet and slightly tart, making them a versatile choice for dipping.
- Ambrosia: Ambrosia apples have a sweet, honey-like flavor and a crisp bite, perfect for caramel dip.
Remember that personal preference plays a role in your choice, so you can experiment with different apple varieties to find your favorite combination with the dip.
There are tons of ways to customize this dip to make it your own signature dessert. Try these variations or get creative with your own ideas for add-ins.
- Brown sugar – Instead of standard white sugar you can use light or dark brown sugar to impart the flavor of molasses.
- Peanut butter – If you love peanut butter on apples, you can melt a bit and add it to the caramel.
- Candies – Instead of the chocolate chips crushed candies or mini M&Ms are great additions.
- Topping – Try spreading homemade whipped cream or cool whip on the top.
- Fruit – You can change up what kind of fresh fruit you use to dip, or even use dried fruit chips.
- Nachos – Instead of dipping the apples into the dip, make caramel apple nachos. Just place the sliced apples on a serving dish and top with the dip.
- Ice cream – Try using the dip as an ice cream topping for some incredible fall sundaes.
- Dipping options – In addition to fruit you can also use animal crackers, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, or graham crackers.
- Lower carb – If you’re trying to reduce the carbs or you just want to use less sugar, you can swap out the white sugar and use your favorite alternative instead.
Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing
Storage: You can store leftovers of this cream cheese caramel apple dip in the refrigerator for 3-5 days in an airtight container.
Make ahead: If you are having guests over or you want to take this to a party, you can make it ahead. Just set it out a bit ahead of serving so it can come closer to room temperature.
Freezing: It is not recommended to freeze this dip. It will seperate and not retain the same texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
When making actual caramel apples, it’s helpful to use cold apples so that the hot caramel sets quicker. However, for this dip it is not necessary.
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, I prefer the Marzetti’s brand. You can usually find it the produce section at the grocery store any time of year.
While apples are generally a healthier option for a snack, this creamy caramel dip isn’t super healthy.
More Sweet Dips
Apple dessert recipes and great and any of these dips can be used for apple slices.
- Cannoli Dip
- Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
- Chocolate Dunkaroo Dip
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
- Cherry Cheesecake Dip
Caramel Apple Dip Recipe
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, blend the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the sugar, vanilla or almond extract and salt, blending until mixed.
- Spread the caramel apple mixture into a small casserole dish.
- Top with the caramel sauce and toffee bits. Add the nuts and chocolate chips if desired.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with the apple slices.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!