Salted Caramel Apple Dip
Caramel apples in dip form! Caramel Apple Dip starts with a layer of whipped vanilla cream cheese, topped with gooey caramel sauce on top and layered with chopped peanuts to give it a sweet and salty flavor! Slice up some granny smith apples and serve along for dipping!
This is the perfect dip to make for apple season!
Pumpkins are pumpkins, but apples reign supreme for me.
Caramel apples are one of my favorite things from my childhood. A tart apple covered in gooey, shiny caramel and sprinkled with peanuts? YES, PLEASE.
As an adult, I’ve found many ways to sneak apples into everything in the fall. I mean, of course, once you’ve made all the homemade cider, cider braised pot roast, apple pie french toast bake, and you’ve still got apples on hand – a homemade caramel apple dip is a no-brainer! It’s perfect to have around in the fridge to dip your apple slices in for an after school snack, fall gatherings, and it makes for the ideal movie marathon snack as well.
Unpopular opinion: peanuts are superior to chocolate toffee bits! I like to use granny smith apples for this dip because the tart apples work beautifully with the sweetness of the caramel dip and the lightly salted peanuts. I know a ton of people top the dip with toffee bits or heath bits.
If you’re a sucker for a good caramel apple dipped in peanuts – this is how you’re going to want to make your caramel apple dips from now on!
This was a huge hit for us!
Ingredients for caramel apple dip recipe:
- Caramels: I like to use soft caramels and melt them down with a little heavy cream. This makes making this dessert so much quicker with a semi-homemade twist! Salted caramel sauce would be delicious for this recipe, and you can use it for my caramel apple cinnamon rolls too! Of course, you could also use a jar of your favorite premade caramel here as well if you’d like!
- Heavy Cream: to thin out the caramel chews! If you use premade caramel sauce, you can skip this ingredient completely.
- Cream cheese: I like to soften the cream cheese to room temperature for a couple of hours so that it whips up nicely.
- Mascarpone: In addition to the cream cheese, I like to add a large dollop of mascarpone. This gives the dip a richer, more luxurious flavor. I like the sweetness, slight acidity, and complexity it brings to the dip! Honestly, it makes the cream cheese layer taste like a no-bake cheesecake, and I’m all about that! However, you can easily substitute the mascarpone with additional cream cheese if you’d like.
- Vanilla extract: a teaspoon vanilla extract and mascarpone are a heavenly combo! It gives the dip a fresh vanilla scent.
- Powdered sugar: adds sweetness to the cream cheese mixture. The powdered sugar, combined with vanilla, cream cheese, and mascarpone, makes the cream cheese taste like a cheesecake.
- Lightly-salted peanuts: I just chop them up on a cutting board, or you can toss them in a food processor to break them down quickly! As I mentioned, feel free to do a 50:50 combo of butter toffee bits and peanuts or all toffee bits instead. You could even use chocolate chips.
- Granny Smith Apples: Slice up your fresh apples and serve them alongside the dip! You could also use graham crackers or ritz crackers for this!
Instructions for how to make a salted caramel apple dip:
- Melt the caramels. Unwrap all the caramels in the pack. This takes a while, so make sure to round up a helper or two! Once you’ve unwrapped them, throw them into a sauce pot and melt them down with the heavy cream over low heat. Let them go low and slow. Once it melts, allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Mix the cream cheese layer. Add the cream cheese to a bowl and whip it together using a hand mixer. Once the cream cheese is smooth, add the mascarpone, vanilla, and start with five tablespoons of powdered sugar. Mix again using the hand mixer until smooth. Then taste and adjust with more powdered sugar as desired. Keep in mind that a significant amount of the sweetness for this dip comes from the caramel layer! So don’t go overboard here!
- Spread it out. Spread the cream cheese layer at the bottom of the serving dish. Top with the caramel layer. It should be cool enough to spread out. Then top with the chopped peanuts or toffee bits. Pop the dip in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the caramel layer firms up a bit more and so that it’s more scoopable! The cream cheese layer also holds better once chilled.
- Serve it up! When you’re ready to serve, slice the apples and serve them with the dip. Make sure to scoop up a little of the caramel layer and the cream cheese mix!
FAQs about this recipe
You can transfer leftovers to an airtight container, or you can easily place plastic wrap over the serving dish and refrigerate.
I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so I’m unsure.
I like to use granny smiths because the tartness helps cut the sweet caramel. But any apple you like to eat would also work here! Honeycrisp, fuji, pink lady, and golden delicious are other options that would also work!
If you find your caramel is still thick with two tablespoons of cream, add in a third tablespoon to help thin it out further.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Maple Honeycrisp Apple Fritters
- Warm Cinnamon Apples
- Apple Crumble Bars
- Homemade Apple Cider
- Honeycrisp Kale Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette
- 1 (11.5 ounce) packet of caramels (regular or salted)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ⅔ cup lightly-salted peanuts, chopped (or use pistachios, almonds, etc.)
- 3-4 Granny Smith apples, sliced for serving
- MELT: Add the caramels to a saucepan with cream and heat over low heat until the caramels melt into a creamy sauce; set aside and allow the sauce to cool.
- MIX: Add the cream cheese to a mixing bowl and using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Add mascarpone, vanilla, and powdered sugar; mix to combine. Taste and adjust with another tablespoon of powdered sugar if desired. Remember, the caramel will add lots of sweetness, so I usually don't add more!
- SERVE: Spread the cream cheese mixture in a 2-quart baking dish and smooth it out into an even layer. Pour the caramel on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Allow the dip to cool for at least 1½ hours so that the cream cheese layer and caramel firm up. It’s much better to scoop that way! Serve with apple slices.
- Swap the mascarpone: I like to use a little mascarpone to elevate the flavor of this dip. It makes it creamier and a bit richer in my opinion. Feel free to use another 4 ounces of cream cheese if you don’t want to use mascarpone!
- Swap the peanuts: To make this more of a peanut allergy-friendly dip, feel free to swap the peanuts for toffee bits. I love the combo of lightly salted peanuts with caramel, and it helps curb the sweetness! You could even do a 50:50 mix of the two!
- Swap the caramel: You can swap out the homemade caramel sauce for jarred caramel sauce; it works beautifully!
- Swap the apples: Granny smith apples add a tart element and curb the sweetness from the caramel, so I think they work best for this recipe. If you'd like to use a different apple variety, you might want to cut back on the powdered sugar in the cream cheese layer to 1-2 tablespoons.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 128mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g
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