Easy homemade caramel corn that’s made in just 15 minutes! Sweet, crunchy and coated in a rich caramel sauce that’s completely addicting!
Family Favorite Recipe
We LOVE caramel corn around here. We make it at least once a month and this recipe is our absolute favorite. This is my mom’s recipe and trust me when I say that it is dangerously delicious!
It has a rich and sweet taste from the homemade caramel sauce, with a perfectly crunchy texture. It’s super easy to whip up, and can be made in just 15 minutes. Another fun treat that is simple to make in your own kitchen is this homemade funnel cake!
This is the perfect party food that everyone always goes crazy over! It can be made any time of year, but especially makes a great Halloween dessert or holiday dessert to enjoy during Christmas time.
How to Make Caramel Corn
Scroll down for the printable recipe with specific ingredients and instructions.
- Make caramel. This recipe starts by making an easy homemade caramel sauce in a saucepan on the stove. It’s made with a mix of brown sugar, butter and light corn syrup that you melt and boil until bubbly. Once you’ve achieved a deep caramel color after about 4 to 5 minutes, then it’s ready to go. Just mix in the vanilla and baking soda after that.
- Mix. Once the caramel is finished, pour it over a bowl of popcorn and gently stir together until all of the popcorn is well coated.
- Let sit. Evenly pour the mixture onto the wax paper in a single layer to cool. Then break the popcorn into pieces once it hardens.
Crunchier Caramel Corn
For a crunchier consistency, you can bake the mixture after you’ve mixed the popcorn with the caramel sauce. Just dump the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and then bake at 250°F for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.
- Popcorn. You can pop a batch of stovetop popcorn with fresh kernels or use lightly salted microwave popcorn or a pre-made bag such as Skinny Pop.
- Keep an eye on the caramel. Never walk away from the stove when making homemade caramel. It can burn in an instant, so you want to keep an eye on it the whole time while it cooks on medium heat.
- Cleaning the pan. If the caramel happens to stick to the bottom of your pan, simply fill it with hot water and then bring it back to a boil on high heat. This helps break the sugar down, so that it will easily scrub off.
- Mix-in’s. After you spread the caramel corn out onto the wax paper to cool, feel free to sprinkle extras on top. We love adding M&M’s, candy corn or some chopped Snickers pieces to make this yummy Snickers popcorn variation. It’s a fun way to turn it into a kid-friendly snack mix!
How Do You Store Caramel Corn?
Once it has cooled and hardened, store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. It will stay fresh for up to 1 week.
More Popcorn Recipes:
- Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
- Cookie Butter Popcorn
- Caramel Popcorn Balls
- Cookies and Cream Popcorn
- Microwave Caramel Corn
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- 9-10 cups popped popcorn (about 2 bags)
- 1 cup light brown sugar , packed
- ½ cup salted butter
- ½ cup light karo syrup
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , use 1/2 teaspoon if popcorn is salted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
Optional: flake salt, M&M's
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Spray a large bowl with non stick spray. Place popcorn in the bowl and set aside.
- Melt the brown sugar, butter and karo syrup in a large heavy bottom pan. Add the salt and stir until combined. Stir continually until melted.
- Bring the brown sugar mixture to a light boil. Once it is at a light boil remove the spoon and continue to cook for 4 minutes without stirring or until the caramel color deepens or reaches 240°F. Do not walk away, you don't want it to burn.
- Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn in large bowl. Add another cup or two if popcorn if needed. Stir until well coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dump the caramel corn on top. Spread out evenly and then baking for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and add flake sea salt if desired.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
Okay, this is my second time making this DELICIOUS Caramel Popcorn, and there will probably be at least a hundred more batches made! My husband and I LOVE popcorn, but when I make caramel popcorn, well…that’s a special treat!
This time, I made a double batch, hoping to share it with other family members (but, no promises there!)
I made my caramel popcorn following your instructions, with the exception that I put the whole batch into a large flat pan before putting it in the oven, and omitted the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. With the boatload of popcorn I had, it was much easier to stir each time without having the parchment paper sliding everywhere.
Thanks for sharing this recipe! — Debbie
Yay! I am so happy to hear that both you and your husband love the recipe so much. Thank you for your nice comment and review, Debbie! :)
can i replace the karo syrup with something else?
Unfortunately not in this recipe, it won’t turn out the same
This is the perfect caramel popcorn! Love it.
Caramel corn is the only popcorn I truly enjoy – this recipe is SO good! Love that I can make it myself instead of buying it now!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Gina :)
is this supposed to be crunchy/hardened carmel corn or chewy? I made it and it tastes delicious but set and hardened really fast. I wasn’t sure if that was how it was supposed to be or if I cooked the mixture too long? It started bubbling fast and I just kept stirring it for 10 min.
I think you got it to the hardball stage. My total cooking time was about 10 minutes.
this is really so cute!! and it does look dangerously delicious : )
you always have the cutest things!!
Thanks Ashley!! It’s definitely dangerous to keep around! Good idea to bring it to a party. ;)