Four ingredient homemade caramel dip cooks up quick and tastes amazing with apples (and more!) – you will never go back to store-bought dips again. You can make a family tradition of apple tastings in the fall with this incredible dip that your family will look forward to each year!
One of AOC’s most popular fall recipes is Homemade Caramel Apple Dip and it always sees a lot of traffic during the fall and winter months. And for good reason – fall and apples go hand-in-hand, don’t they? It’s when our family holds our yearly apple tasting that gets better every year as more and more apple varieties are available in stores and markets.
As some of you know, I’ve been experimenting with using less sugar in many of our tried and true recipes as we work to cut down on sugar in our diet. I’ve discovered that you can generally cut the sugar content without noticing and that the less sugar we eat, the more “normal” things taste too sweet to us. You really can retrain your mind and tastebuds!
Anyway, cutting the sugar totally worked with this homemade caramel dip, too – it’s just as amazing as the original and I learned a good lesson: we can be satisfied with less sugar while still enjoying treats.
Homemade Caramel Dip
Attempting to mess with one of our family’s favorite once-or-twice-a-year-recipes (and a memory-maker, with our annual apple tasting) came with a couple of rules, though:
- Since it is a special treat, it had to taste just as good with less sugar.
- If it didn’t, we weren’t going to suffer through yuckiness just to have less sugar – because, sheesh, it’s only a once-a-year thing.
So I cut the sugar and honey in half. It seemed to be the same dip we knew and loved, so I served it to my family. And guess what?
No one noticed a difference. I had to tell them and they still couldn’t tell (though I thought the dip wasn’t quite as creamy, which didn’t bother me).
This just illustrates what I’m learning more and more through my experiments to lessen the sugar in some of our favorite recipes – it’s easy, and most of the time we can’t.tell.a.difference. It’s worth it!
One More Update: What if I’ve burned the caramel?
Yes, it happens – even if you’ve been making it for years (a-hem). There’s a point in the recipe where you’ve got to stir constantly. As in, don’t do anything else. That’s really hard for me, which was fairly obvious since I had written in big letters on my recipe, “BURNS EASILY.”
It may be hard for some of you, too, so here’s a perfectly imperfect save:
1. Remove the pan from the burner and quickly pour the dip into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl, but DO NOT scrape the bottom. Just leave all that crusty burnt stuff for the trash.
2. Push the caramel through the strainer with a wooden spoon, leaving any browned bits in the strainer. There may be a few small brown flecks in the dip, but it doesn’t taste burned when eating.
This totally works to save the dip and we can all deal with a few flecks, can’t we?
Let me know what you think of this recipe or the original homemade caramel apple dip and if you’ve started your own apple tasting tradition!
Homemade Caramel Dip for Apples Updated with Less Sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 can 14-oz sweetened condensed milk
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients, raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly (will take 5-10 minutes).
- Lower heat to medium or med-low (you want to keep a very low boil) and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly (really- this is not the thing to walk away from! It will burn…I know from experience!).*
- Remove from heat, let cool a bit and then pour into a serving bowl and serve warm.
- Refrigerate any leftovers. Microwave a few seconds to soften before using again.
- Remove the pan from the burner and quickly pour the dip into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl, but DO NOT scrape the bottom. Just leave all that crusty burnt stuff.
- Push caramel through the strainer, leaving any browned bits in strainer. There may be a few small brown flecks in the dip, but it doesn't taste burned when eating.
Other fall recipes you may like:
Crumb-Topped Apple Pie (wonderful drizzled with some of the warmed caramel dip!)
This recipe has been updated – it was originally published August 2012.