The Best Homemade Caramel Corn

homemade caramel popcorn recipeThe truth is, I hate the smell of popcorn. I remember when I was a teacher, I was pregnant with William, and my classroom was next to the teachers lounge. Almost daily, someone would burn popcorn in the microwave and I would have to smell that awful smell all day. It took me years to even be able to look at popcorn. I don’t even order it at the movies. So that should be a testament as to how delicious this caramel popcorn is.

My friend Kristan makes the best caramel corn in the world (next to Johnson’s of course) and she was kind enough to give me her recipe. I have a new appreciation for how much time she spends every holiday season making caramel corn. She gives big tubs of popcorn to a lucky handful of people, and I have been lucky enough to be a recipient. It is sweet, salty, crunchy, everything that caramel corn should be. It is not hard to make, but if you are going to make a lot, you need to make quite a few batches. This is a perfect holiday gift. Maybe for your little ones Halloween party?

The most challenging part of making this recipe for me was figuring out how to make popcorn. I do not own a microwave. When we moved to Kansas it took me about a week to notice that I did not have one. The last few houses that we lived in all had built-in microwaves. We live in bare bones base housing, no built-ins here. The time that I really miss it is when I need to melt butter or chocolate. And as it turns out, when I need to make copious amounts of popcorn. Instead, I made it the old-fashioned way, on the stove, with only one casualty. And yes, the smell of burnt popcorn almost made me stop right there. But thankfully for you, I carried on.

homemade caramel popcorn recipe8 cups popped popcorn (well salted)
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

homemade caramel popcorn recipeAdd brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a saucepan.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeBring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeTake the mixture off of the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda.

homemade caramel popcorn recipePour the caramel over the popped popcorn.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeToss until all of the popcorn is coated.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeSpread the popcorn out on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 200 degree oven for 10 minutes.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeAs the popcorn cools, it will harden.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeScoop into bags (or tins like Kristan does) and get ready to gift to friends.

homemade caramel popcorn recipeThanks Kristan for the recipe and reminding me of the good times that we had together in Nova Scotia.

caramel corn

Homemade Caramel Corn

Yield: 8 cups

Homemade Caramel Corn - the boardwalk favorite made at home.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn (well salted)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Add brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir.
  3. Take the mixture off of the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda.
  4. Pour the caramel over the popped popcorn.
  5. Toss until all of the popcorn is coated.
  6. Spread the popcorn out on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 200 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Scoop into bags (or tins like Kristan does) and get ready to gift to friends.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g

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Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Traci

    My mouth is watering and I can smell the caramel!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. bakedbree

      you are welcome Traci!

  2. Elizabeth

    YUMMMM…im not a big fan of popcorn..but caramel corn is a different story.Its good that you did not use the microwave…i read that microwaveable popcorn fumes are harmful.i have heard very good reviews of the Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper.So how many cups of unpopped corn did you have to use to get 8 cups of popcorn???
    Also i love the way you bagged it with the ribbons….I’m making this for Halloween.

    1. bakedbree

      I followed the directions on the bag of popcorn. It took 2 batches to get 8 cups.

  3. sue smith

    Bree —
    you just brought back so many memories of summers at the Jersey Shore — LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Johnson’s popcorn and miss it terribly out here in Ohio. Will definitly need o make some carmel corn this weekend! Thanks for a greta website. Love your recipes — the lasagne soup was to die for!

    1. bakedbree

      I love Johnsons too. You can get it shipped to you.

  4. Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    Bree – is this popcorn gooey or crunchy? We are on a quest to find the perfect caramel corn, but my husband *only* wants crunchy. So many recipes are gooey. Inquiring minds want to know! πŸ™‚

    1. bakedbree

      Most definitely crunchy. That is what the oven step does. It hardens everything nicely and makes it crunchy.

  5. Megan

    Made this today with my daughter~ DELICIOUS!!!! Thanks for sharing!! We are going to make it for her preschool Halloween party and put in in little bags like you did- thanks for the cute idea!!

    1. bakedbree

      Wow! You are fast. Glad that you both like it.

  6. Kristi

    Bree! This is such a great recipe, it was easy to follow, and so delicious! I just made 3 batches…1 to keep and 2 to share. Thank you!

    1. bakedbree

      Wow! You are fast. Glad that you like it.

  7. Rebecca ~ Sweet Baby Yams

    I thought making caramel corn would be harder. Glad to see that it isn’t! Thanks for sharing!

    1. bakedbree

      Nope, not hard at all. πŸ™‚

  8. Susan

    Bree, I love your blog! I’m not a good cook and I don’t particularly like to cook, but I look a t your gorgeous pictures and simple recipes and dream I am! Great blog! You are just casual and sweet- I feel like we’re having a conversation at my kitchen table! Thanks for putting it out there!

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you Susan! Comments like these make blogging worthwhile. You made my day.

  9. Michelle

    I had to laugh when you talked about burned popcorn. My son burnt some the other night and I swear that smell is the smell that just won’t quit! The next night I walked into the house and was almost overwhelmed by the ‘wonderful’ smell of burned popcorn!
    Now, carmel corn- that’s a smell (and tatse) I like πŸ™‚

    1. bakedbree

      It is the worst smell ever!

  10. Cara

    This is definitely on my holiday must make list!

    1. bakedbree

      Yeah Cara! Hope that you like it.

  11. CouponClippingCook

    This is a great recipe. I didn’t realize how few ingredients it takes to make this…and it looks pretty simple too. Your gift bags are so cute.

    1. bakedbree

      thank you! It is easy to make, not to mention addictive.

  12. Chung-Ah @ Damn Delicious

    Oh wow. So simple yet perfect for gifts. As much as I love making food gifts, I think I’m more excited about gift wrapping these in Halloween materials πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. bakedbree

      I love packaging too. I am a sucker for it.

  13. Shannon

    I’ve always been so worried about making homemade caramel..about scorching it..or myself. I think I’m going to give it a go!

    1. bakedbree

      You will be great!

  14. Elizabeth

    Hey Bree,I finally tried it..and it was awesome…thanks so much for sharing all your recipes.Appreciate it.

    1. bakedbree

      you are welcome Elizabeth!

  15. Jamie

    I love making homemade caramel corn. It is so addicting. The recipe I usually makes calls for baking the popcorn for 1 hour and turning every 15 minutes. I’ll have to try this one since it only takes 10 minutes in the oven. It looks awesome!

  16. Dawn Melanson

    I definetly have to try this Bree, I have two carmel popcorn lovers in the house!! I miss that you don’t live in NS anymore! Thanks so much for sharing the recipie!!

    1. bakedbree

      I miss NS in the fall, and Dempeseys. Hope that you and Trin love it.

  17. Jackie

    My kids love carmel corn but we usually get it from the farmers market! I’m definitely going to try this recipe!

    1. bakedbree

      My kids were amazed that you could actually make caramel corn and not buy it.

  18. Tori

    I made this for me and my friends here in college and it was so good! I was surprised by how easy it was. Thank you for your recipes! We love your blog. πŸ™‚

    1. bakedbree

      I love that college kids are reading it! Where do you go to school?

      1. Tori

        We go to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). I say “we” because there are a few of us that follow your blog religiously! It’s always, “this is a Bree recipe”. πŸ™‚

        1. bakedbree

          Well, hello RISD!

  19. Karen Cendro

    Thank you so much for this recipe! We served it in cute Halloween Bags to our awesome franchisees at Jan-Pro Sacramento on check day! They were a hit! Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      Yeah Karen!

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