Easy homemade caramel corn recipe! This simple recipe uses 7 pantry staple ingredients to make this easy and delicious popcorn.
Homemade popcorn is practically irresistable! By itself, popcorn doesn’t have much flavor, but it’s the perfect base for any number of sweet, salty, or sweet and salty combinations.
This caramel corn is sweet and just the tiniest bit salty. It’s sweet and crunchy and makes a delicious dessert or snack.
The popcorn is also super easy to make! It takes a little bit of time to make, but it’s mostly hands-off, and this super tasty treat is worth the time it takes to make it.
How to make caramel corn
Step 1: Add the popcorn to a greased baking pan. Place in the oven while you make the caramel.
Step 2: To make the caramel, add the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Step 3: Once at a boil, stop stirring and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.
Step 4: Pour the caramel over the warm popcorn. Toss to coat the popcorn. The popcorn won’t be entirely coated.
Step 5: Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool, and break apart before serving.
Why do I use baking soda in caramel corn?
Baking soda may sound like a strange addition, but there’s a science to making caramel. The baking soda reacts with the acids in the caramel to form carbon dioxide bubbles.
Those carbon dioxide bubbles help to aerate and lighten up the caramel. That way you end up with a light but crisp caramel coating.
- Either air popped or microwave popcorn will work in this recipe. If using microwave popcorn, I recommend using plain, unflavored popcorn.
- If you want more of a salty/sweet popcorn, use salted butter. If you want a sweeter, more traditional caramel corn, use unsalted butter.
- I use a sheet pan for this recipe. However, if you’re worried about making a mess in your oven, either remove the popcorn to stir it or use a baking pan with higher sides.
- For easier clean up, I like to use a silicone baking mat in the bottom of my pan.
Caramel corn should be stored in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
To crisp it back up, spread the caramel corn in a single layer in a rimmed baking dish. Bake in a 225F oven for about 5 minutes.
More popcorn recipes!
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Caramel Corn Recipe
- 10 cups popped plain popcorn
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar packed
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup butter1
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt2
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grease a large rimmed baking sheet or pan with cooking spray or line with a silicone baking mat.
- Preheat oven to 225F.
- Put popcorn on baking sheet, and place in the oven while you make the caramel.
- Add brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt to a large, heavy saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Let it boil 5 minutes without stirring.
- Remove from heat.
- Add baking soda and vanilla, and stir in to combine.
- Remove popcorn from oven, and pour caramel over warm popcorn, tossing to coat. The popcorn may not be completely coated, and that's ok.
- Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Break apart before serving.
- Use salted butter for more of a salted caramel flavor or use unsalted butter for a more traditional caramel corn.
- Or 1/4 teaspoon table salt.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
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