This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

These frightfully fun candy Poison Apples are a wicked way of treating friends and family this Halloween. The real trick is figuring out how to eat them!

An image of poison apples with bows tied around the sticks.

Every Fall we make caramel apples around Halloween and it's one of our favorite traditions. I just love the tart apples with the sweet caramel!

But I've wanted to try making candied apples for a while now, so I decided to take things up a notch by using black food coloring (affiliate link) instead of red so they would look Halloween perfect. And they were a lot easier to make than I thought they would be!

These make great teacher or friend gifts, especially when you wrap them up in cellophane and tie a cute ribbon around the stick. There is just something so festive about Halloween candy apples!

And honestly, they make really fun, attractive decorations if you don't feel like eating them! Think of it like making a gingerbread house at Christmas. In fact, candied apples were originally invented not to be eaten, but as a display item for a candy store's windows to lure customers into the shop. 

An image of black candied "poison" apples for Halloween.

What do I need to make poison apples?

The list of things you need to make this candied apples recipe is short. It's just 5 simple ingredients, which are probably all in your pantry already (unless you need to go pick up black food coloring).

  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Black food coloring (affiliate link) (I prefer the gel kind)
  • Granny Smith apples (other apples would work as well, I just like the green peeking through the top)
  • Sticks for sticking in the tops of each apple
An image of the ingredients and supplied needed for making candied apples.

How to Make Poison Apples

The first thing to do when making any kind of candied or caramel apples is to clean them. Unless you are picking apples from an orchard yourself, most apples from the store are covered in an edible food wax so they shine. Washing the apples with warm water and a potato scrubber will help get most of this waxy residue off. 

Make sure to dry the apples really well, then stick popsicle sticks, treat sticks, or even thick, cleaned twigs into the center of each apple. This is the hardest part of making candied apples so be careful so you don't jab yourself!

An image of Granny Smith apples with sticks stuck in them.
An image of Granny Smith apples with sticks stuck in them.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have the apples ready ahead of time so that when it comes time to dip the apples you are ready to go and not having to grab what you need.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water in a small saucepan stirring over high heat. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the liquid reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer (affiliate link).

If you don't reach this temperature, the candy coating won't harden properly. And if you go much over it, you risk the sugar burning, so an inexpensive candy thermometer that clips to the side of your pan is really helpful when making this candy apple recipe.

An image of a pan with sugar, corn syrup, water, and black food coloring.

Once the candy mixture reaches 300 degrees F, remove it from the heat and carefully dip one apple at a time in the hot liquid, rolling it around to coat it evenly. You can go all the way up to the stick if you like, although I like to see just a little of the bright green apple peeking through. Be careful because the liquid is extremely hot! Place the apples on the parchment-lined baking sheet as they are dipped. The candy coating will harden up really quickly!

If the apples or your kitchen is cold and the liquid starts to cool and thicken, you can stick it back over medium heat for 30 seconds or so to help it warm up so you can keep working. The

An image of Halloween candied apples setting up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

How to Eat Candied Apples

If you have ever had a candied apple, you already know that, while tasty, they aren't the easiest treat in the world to eat.

We found that it's pretty tricky to bite straight into a candied apple, since the outer candy coating is so smooth and hard. It can definitely be done (our 5 year old proved that because she was determined to eat her apple whole, without letting me cut it), but it's no easy feat. 

Instead, I recommend slicing the apple around the core. Just use a large, sharp knife and press down firmly to one side of the stick. The candy layer is hard, but not terribly thick, so I was able to slice through it pretty easily and it didn't even shatter apart or fall off the apple for the most part.

An image of Halloween candied apple sliced in half.

Once sliced, it's a relatively easy thing to enjoy eating your poison apple. Just be careful and know that some of the shards of candy coating can be on the sharp side. And it's a bit like chomping down on a jolly rancher, so be careful of your teeth!

I made these Poison Apples for Imperial Sugar. You can get the FULL RECIPE on their site.

An image of a black poison apple.

More Fun Halloween Treats

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Ira Galaktionova says:

    These look so spooky and fun!! Yes, cutting them is the best. In October I always get caramel apples in the grocery store and cut them off of the stick! I think I will have to try these. I will save this to my pinterest board so I remember this come Halloween! Thanks!

  2. Monica Rios says:

    Would you be able to pour it over other desserts?

    1. Amy says:

      Hmm, that's an interesting idea but unfortunately I haven't tried it. My guess is probably not? It really hardens up significantly and the sturdiness of the apple beneath is what makes it work.

  3. Kaytlyn says:

    I know this is an old post... but I'm wondering if you think this would work if the apples were cut into slices and then dipped in the candy coating about half way up the slice?

    1. Amy says:

      That's a really interesting idea! My worry would be that the candy coating wouldn't stick to the sliced edges. You could try patting them really, really dry, but I would still worry about the candy not adhering.

  4. Diana Coffman says:

    Be nice if you would but the amount of ingredients so it could be made