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Homemade Caramel Corn

Easy homemade caramel corn that’s made in just 15 minutes! Sweet, crunchy and coated in a rich caramel sauce that’s completely addicting!

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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.

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.

caramel corn on baking sheet

Helpful Tips

  • 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 or even some candy corn around Halloween. 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:

caramel corn on baking sheet

Caramel Corn

5 from 2 votes
Easy homemade caramel corn that's made in just 15 minutes! Sweet, crunchy and coated in a rich caramel sauce that's completely addicting!
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 9-10 cups popped popcorn (about 2 bags)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup light karo syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , use 1/2 teaspoon if popcorn is salted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional: flake salt, M&M's

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 250°F. Spray a large bowl with non stick spray. Place popcorn in the bowl and set aside.
      popcorn in glass bowl
    • 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.
      cooking caramel mix in pot
    • 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.
      caramel corn on baking sheet

    Notes

    Storage: Once cooled, store in a sealed container for up to one week. 
    Cleaning pan: If the caramel is stuck in your pan, add hot water to it and bring it back to a boil. This will break down the sugars. Then use hot pads to dump and clean once cooled. 

    Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 254IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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