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Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn
Yield:   14 cups (3.5 quarts)
Cook Time:   40 minutes
Tips:   Serve warm (only slightly cooled after removing from oven) or cooled. Peanuts (or cashews) are optional, though highly recommended! Store in air-tight container.
Suggestion:   Great for parties, events, snacking or dessert.
This Caramel Corn recipe (also called caramel popcorn) is so easy to make, and just as easy to devour! Once you've tried this homemade caramel corn recipe and realize how delicious it is and how much money you save by making your own, you'll never need to add the prepackaged kind to your grocery cart again. By making homemade caramel popcorn, you'll also have the advantage of eating it warm, right out of the oven (only slightly cooled), which is
incredibly tasty! This caramel popcorn recipe includes peanuts or cashews (photo above shows it made with peanuts), but you can leave them out if you choose - though I highly recommend making this recipe with peanuts (or cashews), because they add the perfect amount of saltiness to counter the sweetness of the caramel. After mixing the popcorn with the caramel, this recipe requires some baking, which will beautifully and lightly crisp the caramel corn. Some caramel corn recipes do not require any baking, which takes less time to make, but I have found this leaves the caramel corn quite sticky, making it difficult to chew. This recipe produces a full-flavored caramel corn that is baked just long enough (30 minutes) to give it the perfect texture. However, if you prefer a crispier caramel corn (similar to the Cracker Jacks brand), simply bake for 1 full hour, making sure to toss the caramel corn every 15 minutes until done (though the 30-minute baking time gets my vote!). Caramel Corn is fabulous for parties, events, snacking and desserts - and don't forget to try it warm out of the oven!


  • 3.5 quarts (14 cups) popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts or cashews (optional, but delicious!)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 250° F.

Place popped popcorn in a very large mixing bowl. Have peanuts (or cashews) ready in a bowl or measuring cup near popcorn. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil (for baking). Line another baking sheet with wax paper (for cooling). Set both baking sheets aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Heat over medium heat until boiling, then continue to heat for 5 minutes while stirring slowly and constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda, stirring until completely blended (mixture will bubble when you add soda).

Immediately pour caramel mixture over popcorn, scooping out every last bit from saucepan (you will need to work quickly, because caramel mixture tends to harden as it cools). Immediately after pouring caramel over popcorn (and before you do any stirring), sprinkle peanuts (or cashews) evenly over top of caramel. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed (some parts of popcorn will not get covered - this is normal).

Pour caramel-covered popcorn and peanuts into baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Spread around with wooden spoon until evenly fit into baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, removing baking sheet halfway through cooking time (after 15 minutes of baking) to gently toss popcorn, then reinsert into oven to finish last 15 minutes of baking. (Note: For a crispier caramel corn, bake for 1 full hour, tossing caramel corn every 15 minutes until done.)

After baking, remove popcorn and scoop with a spatula or pour onto baking sheet lined with wax paper. Spread out and allow to cool. Alternatively, you can serve warm (delicious!). Store in air-tight container.

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