Easy caramel corn recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Loaded with caramel sauce. Sweet, crispy, crunchy. Perfect Fall or Thanksgiving snack. No candy thermometer needed.
Sweet and crunchy is one of my absolute favorite flavor and texture and this popcorn corn hits the spot every time. It makes a great snack to munch on for movie nights with the family. This popcorn can even be used as a topping for cakes like this Chocolate Popcorn Cake. You can even use it as a topping on Chocolate Bark or White Chocolate Bark.
How to make homemade caramel corn from scratch?
- Make caramel- Heat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat- And mix in vanilla extract, salt, baking soda.
- Let it rest-For 2-3 minutes.
- Pour caramel over popcorn- Use a spatula to toss popcorn until coated.
- Spread popcorn in large baking trays- They should be lined with parchment paper.
- Bake- Toss popcorn every 15 minutes.
- Let it cool- And enjoy!
Salted caramel popcorn- Sprinkle with sea salt at the end for a sweet and salty combination.
Chocolate caramel popcorn- Drizzle finished popcorn with melted dark, milk, or white chocolate for added decadence.
Add cheese- Although it sounds like an odd addition, it's actually delicious. Mix in some cheddar cheese for a "Chicago Style" mix.
Add candy- Mix this popcorn with your favorite small chocolate candies for an extra special treat such as M&M candies.
Add spices- Such as cinnamon, apple pie, or pumpkin pie seasoning.
Try adding extracts- Such as maple, coconut, bourbon e.t.c.
Consider adding nuts- Such as candied or regular pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds or cashews.
- How to store caramel corn? It's best stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. However, it tastes best when served fresh.
- Refrigerate/Freeze- Neither is recommended because the moisture in both scenarios will make the popcorn softer and chewier.
Tips and Techniques
What happens if you omit the baking soda in caramel corn? The caramel may be a little harder. The baking soda reacts with the sugar to create bubbles which allow for a softer caramel to coat the popcorn.
Is kettle corn the same as caramel corn? No, kettle corn is popcorn with a little sugar and salt seasoning. It is not heavily coated in the sugary caramel mixture like the version you are seeing today.
What is the best popcorn to use for this recipe? I recommend using popcorn popped in an air popper. This keeps the popcorn from being too oily like microwave popcorn can be.
What temperature to bake the popcorn? Some people bake their popcorn at 250 degrees F, but I prefer 225 degreed F. It takes a bit longer, but reduces the chances of the popcorn burning.
Use parchment paper- Do not use wax paper! That's because wax paper can melt and catch on fire at high temperatures in the oven, but that will not be the case with parchment paper.
Work quickly when pouring the caramel- Because this will help the popcorn to be coated evenly by the caramel. The caramel becomes harder to work with as it cools.
Toss the popcorn every 15 minutes while baking- Because this keeps the popcorn from burning and sticking to parchment paper, and also from creating big clumps. I usually just have to do 3 intervals but on really humid days, 4 intervals gives better results.
Why is my caramel popcorn chewy? That's because it wasn't baked long enough or at the correct temperature to evaporate the excess moisture.
More Caramel Desserts
- Caramel Brownies (With Brownie Mix)
- Caramel Frosting (3 Ingredients)
- Chocolate Caramel Cookies
- Chocolate Caramel Cake
- Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns
- Easy Caramel Apple Pie
- Caramel Snickerdoodle Cookies
- How To Make Homemade Caramel Sauce
Homemade Caramel Corn
- Heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is fully dissolved. Be sure to whisk often.
- Remove from heat and mix in vanilla extract, salt and baking soda. Please note that the baking soda causes bubbling, which is normal.
- Let this caramel mixture rest at room temperature for about 2-3 minutes or until it starts thickening slightly.
- Pour caramel over popcorn and use a spatula to toss popcorn until fully coated. Work quickly!
- Spread out this coated popcorn in 1 very large baking tray or 2 medium-sized baking trays, lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 225 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Remove tray from oven every 15 minutes and toss popcorn with spatula and break any big clumps. I usually just have to do 3 intervals but on really humid days, 4 intervals gives better results.
- Transfer the baked popcorn to another baking tray, lined with parchment paper.
- Let it cool at room temperature and enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, although it tastes the best when served fresh.