The ultimate Easy, Homemade Caramel Corn recipe. Easy to make, stays crispy and
crunchy for weeks, and you won’t believe how addictive it is! Perfect for
parties, snacking, movie night, and gifting.
For the popcorn:
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels (freshly popped (about 13 cups of popped popcorn) (NOTE 1))
For the caramel sauce:
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2oz, 57g) butter
- 1 1/4 cups (9.4oz, 266g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (2.75oz, 78g) light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Large baking pan ((NOTE 2))
To make the popcorn:
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. To know when the pan is hot enough, add 3-4 kernels of popcorn. When they pop, the pan is hot enough. Remove the popped kernels and add the remaining ½ cup of kernels to the pan.
- Shake the pan or stir kernels so that they are evenly spread out in pan.
- Cover with a lid, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Once the popcorn starts popping vigorously, shake the pot gently once.
- Remove from heat when the popping stops. You should be able to count to 3 between pops.
- Put the freshly popped popcorn into the baking pan. Be sure there are no unpopped kernels. (NOTE 3)
- Place in oven to stay warm while making the caramel.
To make the caramel:
- Combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a pan and heat over low heat until the butter is dissolved.
- After the mixture is melted, turn the heat to medium and let simmer for 3-4 minutes until it reaches 255° F.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla.
- Stir in the baking soda until it is well combined.
- Drizzle on top of the popcorn immediately and stir gently, trying to coat as much of the popcorn as possible.
- Bake for 45 minutes, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes.
- Gently break apart large clusters, if desired.
- Store in an air tight container for 2-3 weeks.
NOTE 1: Popcorn can be made in an air popper or in the microwave.
NOTE 2: I use a very large, nonstick baking pan. If you don’t have a nonstick pan, line your baking pan with parchment or a silicone mat. A baking pan with sides makes stirring easier.
NOTE 3: To be sure there are no unpopped kernels, I pour the popcorn into a bowl or pan, toss it around with my hands so the smaller, heavier pieces fall to the bottom, then lift out the popcorn and place it in the baking pan, being careful to leave behind any unpopped kernels or small, hard pieces.
Stir the caramel into the popcorn immediately after stirring in the baking soda while it's still hot. Work quickly because it firms up as it cools.
If your kitchen is cold, keep the pan of popcorn somewhere where it will be at a warm room temperature. The warmer the environment, the easier it will be to get the popcorn coated before it hardens.
If the popcorn is on a large baking pan, more of it will be exposed and it will be easier to get the caramel spread on all of it. If the layer of popcorn is to deep, the top layer will get coated and the bottom layers won't.
Drizzle the caramel lightly over as much of the surface of the popcorn as you can, rather than pouring a large amount in one area.
Most of the coverage of the popcorn will take place when you first pour the caramel on and stir it, rather than in the oven. In the oven it will dry out and lose some of its stickiness.
If you still have some pieces of popcorn that are bare and you're using the right amount of popcorn, you can increase the amount of the caramel. The amount I have used here will leave some pieces not fully covered so that it's not overly sweet.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Dessert, Snack
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: caramel corn, caramel popcorn