Absolutely irresistible apple dip with cream cheese and peanut butter mimics the flavor of peanut covered caramel apples (only it’s way easier to eat). Everyone loves this dip!
Why you’ll love it: This dip is super easy to make and it’s always a hit at get-togethers. Makes a good lunchbox treat or after school snack, too!
How long it takes: 10 minutes, tops
Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowl
Servings: makes 2 cups
Hide your spoons. You’ll want to use them to eat this dip instead of sliced apples. Apples will at least make you think that you’re being somewhat healthy. But I won’t judge either way. You guys know me, I can’t resist a good dip and if a spoon is handy, well then, why not?!
When apples are in season, caramel apples start appearing everywhere. There are the plain ones sold in a 3-pack at the grocery store: an apple coated in caramel with a wooden stick for a handle. They may or may not have a coating of crushed peanuts.
Then there are the really fancy caramel apples sold in specialty shops, with caramel AND three kinds of chocolate, sprinkles, nuts, you name it. They’re huge! Somewhere beneath all that yummy candy lurks an apple.
This dip is kind of a deconstructed caramel apple: crisp fresh apple slices, sticky sweet caramel yumminess, and peanuts, too. If you’re a fan of caramel apples, this dip is definitely for you.
Kids love dips and this one is no exception. Set out a big platter of sliced apples and just watch those apples disappear when caramel apple dip is on hand. It makes a pretty special lunchbox treat, too.
Grown-ups love this dip, too, as they sip an apple cider mule ( the fall version of a Moscow mule) or an apple cider mocktail (or cocktail, if you prefer). The apples and sweet dip are the perfect balance for more savory offerings like bacon wrapped water chestnuts or wild mushroom crostini with goat cheese.
P.S. Check out more of my appetizer ideas if you’re hosting a get-together.
About This Recipe
This dip is SO yummy. Have I gotten that point across yet? It’s weird because the dip is made with peanut butter and cream cheese but somehow tastes like caramels.
I guess I should also mention that while this dip is perfect for apple slices, it’s also great with graham crackers or animal crackers. Or a spoon. Did I mention that?
You’ll need just a handful of ingredients to make apple dip. The hardest part is remembering to take the cream cheese out of the fridge an hour or so ahead of time to soften. But don’t worry, there’s a fast and easy way to soften cream cheese, too (keep reading).
Ready to get started? Got your spoon ready? Let’s go!
I’ll run through the recipe here and give you a few extra pointers. Look for complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information on the recipe card located near the end of the post.
What You’ll Need
- Cream Cheese: The recipe card says reduced fat cream cheese and that’s to help you feel better about eating this dip. Full fat regular cream cheese is just fine, too, if you prefer that. Make sure you buy the cream cheese that comes in a block, not the whipped kind in a tub.
- White Granulated Sugar: This is regular sugar that you would use for baking, etc.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar gives this dip the caramel flavor. Light or dark, it doesn’t really matter. Dark brown sugar will make the dip look a little darker in color but it will add more of a molasses/maple flavor. It’s up to you. Make sure you firmly pack it into the measuring cup.
- Peanut Butter: Creamy or crunchy, your choice. Use what you happen to have in the house. SunButter is fine, too, if nut allergies are a problem. If you use a natural peanut butter, make sure it is well stirred before adding it to the dip.
- Chopped Peanuts: More nuts to increase the peanut power! It’s a caramel apple dipped in peanuts.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Vanilla provides an undertone of sweet flavor.
- Sliced Apples: You’ll want to have plenty of apples on hand for dippers. Make sure the slices are thick/sturdy enough so they can hold lots of dip. A variety of apples, both green and red, makes a nice presentation. See the FAQ below to learn how to prevent the apple slices from browning.
How To Soften Cream Cheese Quickly
Cream cheese will soften if it sits out at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Don’t have that much time? Try one of these methods:
- Place the sealed foil package in a bowl of warm water (not boiling but fairly hot) for ten to fifteen minutes. Flip it over once in awhile.
- Or, unwrap the cream cheese and place it on a microwave safe plate. Microwave at high power in 10 second bursts until it’s the desired consistency. Be careful that you don’t cook it.
- Or, cut the cold cream cheese in small pieces and set it in a warm place. It will soften very quickly.
How To Make This Dip
Once your cream cheese has softened, place it in a medium sized bowl. Add the white sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is well-combined and smooth. If you prefer, use an electric mixer on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently.
Fold in the chopped nuts until they are distributed throughout the dip. You may want to set a couple tablespoons of nuts aside to use as a garnish.
Put the dip into a serving bowl or covered container if you’re not using it right away.
Serve it with sliced apples, or another dipper of your choice, and dive in!
The cut sides of apples tend to turn brown after a short time. This process is called oxidization and doesn’t affect the taste or the quality of the apples, but it can be unappetizing.
To prevent oxidization, one of the easiest tricks is to spritz the slices with lemon juice, making sure it coats all sides. Let the lemon juice sit on the apples for five minutes and then rinse it off with cool water.
There are several other methods that can be used, too. Our friends at Kitchn did an in-depth comparison of all the methods, if you’d like to know more.
Look for an apple that is crisp and has a sweet/tart flavor such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Gala, or Fuji.
Make It Your Own
- Add your own embellishments. A sprinkle of cinnamon on top (or mixed in) is really good. Chocolate lovers can stir in mini chocolate chips. Love toffee? Make the dip with toffee bits instead of chopped peanuts. Try substituting maple extract for the vanilla.
- Not a fan of cream cheese? Make this dip with yogurt instead. Substitute 1 cup Greek yogurt for the cream cheese. The texture of the dip will be slightly different.
- Looking for a peanut free dip? Omit the peanut butter and chopped peanuts. The dip will be creamy and delicious. Another option is to substitute sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter (SunButter). Stir in roasted sunflower seeds instead of chopped nuts.
The dip can be made at least a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Apples can be sliced a day ahead, too. Store them in a resealable bag or airtight container. Check out the FAQ above for ideas to keep them from browning.
Refrigerate the apple dip in a tightly covered container. It will keep for at least five days assuming it hasn’t sat out on the counter for hours. If the apple dip is too firm, allow it to soften ten minutes at room temperature and give it a good stir.
Dips for a sweet tooth
Looking for more sweet dip recipes to try? I don’t blame you! Try these:
- Raspberry Cheesecake Yogurt Dip
- Pumpkin Dip – tastes just like pumpkin pie!
- Vanilla Bean Yogurt Dip – perfect for fruit
- Tiramisu Dip
- Hot Chocolate Dip – kind of a misnomer, this dip is ultra cool and creamy but it tastes like hot chocolate!
- Cherry Cheesecake Dip with Lime
- 1 package (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
- ½ cup chopped peanuts (honey, dry roasted, plain, whatever!)
- sliced apples, for serving
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, granulated and brown sugars, vanilla and peanut butter until all ingredients are blended and smooth. An electric mixer can be used at medium speed, if desired.
- Add chopped peanuts and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate in a tightly covered container. Remove from refrigerator one hour before serving so dip can soften slightly.
- Serve with sliced apples. If desired, toss apples with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Makes 2 cups.
- Nutrition information is for one serving of dip and does not include apples.
- Apples aren’t the only dippers that go well with this dip. Try: graham crackers, pretzels, animal crackers, etc.
- Peanut Free Option #1: Omit the peanut butter and chopped peanuts. Blend together cream cheese, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.
- Peanut Free Option #2: Substitute sunflower seed butter (SunButter) for the peanut butter. Stir in roasted sunflower seeds instead of peanuts.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.