Salted Caramel Popcorn

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Salted Caramel Popcorn is a delightful treat that combines the crunch of freshly popped popcorn with the rich, buttery goodness of homemade salted caramel. Whether you’re hosting a movie night, a festive gathering, or simply craving a delicious snack, this recipe promises to elevate your popcorn experience to a whole new level.

Salted Caramel popcorn on a baking pan

This yummy caramel corn makes the perfect lunchbox or after school snack. You can also try making your kids rice cakes with peanut butter or this moist and rich chocolate avocado bread with extra chocolate chips. They’re sure to be a hit with your family.

What is Caramel Corn?

Caramel corn is a sweet and crunchy snack made by coating popped popcorn with a caramelized sugar mixture. The caramel coating is made by mixing butter with brown sugar, then heating it to create a sticky caramel sauce. This sauce is poured over the popcorn and mixed so it gets fully coated. The popcorn is then baked to set the caramel, resulting in a delicious, crunchy, sweet, and salty treat.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe for Salted Caramel Popcorn

  • Easy to Follow: This recipe only requires a few minutes of time and doesn’t have any complicated steps or processes.
  • Tastes Incredible: Homemade salted caramel corn tastes SO much better than storebought! You can’t been the fresh, sweet flavor of this classic recipe.
  • Perfect Snack for Any Occasion: Whether you’re hosting a movie night, a party, or just craving a tasty snack, this caramel popcorn is easy to serve, and is a crown-pleaser just about everyone will enjoy.

How do you make salted caramel corn at home?

Making caramel corn is a bit of a delicate process, but it’s more than possible and makes for a sweet and salty treat that’s ideal for movie nights, after school snacks, birthday party treat bags, or gifts for friends.

To make it at home, you need to boil sugar and corn syrup to make a thick caramel sauce. Season it, then pour it over popped popcorn, then allow it to bake so the caramel sets and gets crispy.

Ingredients for Salted Caramel Corn

  • Popped popcorn – You’ll need about 8 cups. One bag of microwaved popcorn should be enough. Plain, unbuttered popcorn will be best.
  • Brown sugar
  • Salted butter – If you use unsalted, you might want to add a pinch of extra salt to the sauce.
  • Light corn syrup – For this recipe, you can substitute an equal amount of maple syrup for the corn syrup. However, keep in mind, it will alter the flavor of the sauce.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Baking soda

How to Make Salted Caramel Corn

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven and prep the popcorn. Preheat the oven. Add the popped popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Prepare the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.

STEP TWO: Make the caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn syrup and brown sugar, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to boil. Remove the mixture from the heat immediately, and stir in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. The mixture will turn a light caramel color and expand. Keep stirring until the texture is smooth.

caramel corn mixture being made in a saucepan

STEP THREE: Combine the popcorn and the sauce. Pour the caramel sauce on top of the popcorn. Stir until all of the popcorn is coated in caramel. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out the popcorn as much as possible.

popcorn with Salted Caramel topping being added in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Bake. Bake the caramel corn for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up any clumps as best you can, until done. Allow the popcorn to cool and break up the pieces or clumps that are stuck together.

Tips for Making Perfect Salted Caramel Corn

  • Make fresh popcorn. After a day or two, popcorn gets a bit chewy and stale. For best results, make popcorn fresh and let it cool in the mixing bowl as you make your sauce.
  • Watch closely near the end: As the baking time approaches completion, keep a close eye on the caramel corn so it doesn’t burn or overbrown.
  • Use sea salt or pink Himalayan salt for an extra salty flavor.

How to Avoid a Recipe Fail with Caramel Corn

You’re really looking forward to that perfect crunch of salty, sweet caramel corn. So here are some tips and tricks to make sure you don’t have a dreaded recipe fail!

Use Fresh Ingredients
Start with fresh, quality popcorn and ingredients. Stale popcorn or expired corn syrup can affect the final taste and texture.

Properly Coat the Popcorn
Make sure each piece of popcorn is evenly coated with the caramel sauce. Stir really well soyou don’t end up with clumps or pockets in the corn that have no sauce on them.

Preheat the Oven
Make sure the popcorn goes into a hot oven. You don’t want the sauce to start to cool down too much. Just be patient and let it heat up all the way.

Watch the Color
Keep a close eye on the color of the caramel during the cooking process. Don’t let the sauce get too dark or it might taste burnt. When it’s that rich caramel color, remove it from the oven.

close up of Salted Caramel Popcorn on a baking sheet

Serving Suggestions for Salted

  1. Movie Night Snack: Serve salted caramel popcorn as the perfect treat for a movie night at home.
  2. Party Appetizer: Set out bowls of salted caramel popcorn as a sweet and salty appetizer at your next party. It’s an addictive finger food!
  3. Gift in Mason Jars: Seal salted caramel popcorn in decorative mason jars and give them as homemade gifts for birthdays, holidays, or special occasions.
  4. Caramel Popcorn Balls: Form the caramel corn into bite-sized balls for a fun and unique snack idea.
  5. Add to Trail Mix: Mix salted caramel popcorn with nuts, dried fruits, and pretzels to create a sweet and savory trail mix for snacks and lunches to go.

How to Store Caramel Corn

The best way to store caramel corn is at room temperature. If you try to keep it in the fridge or freezer, it tends to lose its crispiness and get stale and soggy.

Instead, place your caramel corn in a large glass jar with a tight lid, or an airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight so the caramel doesn’t melt.

Eat up your caramel corn within a week for the best flavor and texture.

Feel free to double or triple this recipe as you want.

popcorn with Salted Caramel topping being added in a bowl

Salted Caramel Popcorn

5 from 1 vote
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Salted Caramel Popcorn is a delightful treat that combines the crunch of freshly popped popcorn with the rich, buttery goodness of homemade salted caramel. Whether you're hosting a movie night, a festive gathering, or simply craving a delicious snack, this recipe promises to elevate your popcorn experience to a whole new level.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven and prep the popcorn. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Add the popped popcorn to a large bowl. Prepare the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  • Make the caramel sauce. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add corn syrup and brown sugar, stirring frequently. Keep stirring until mixture starts to boil. Remove mixture from heat immediately, and stir in baking soda, salt, and vanilla. The mixture will turn a light caramel color and expand. Keep stirring until the texture is smooth.
  • Combine the popcorn and sauce. Pour the caramel on top of the popcorn. Stir until all of the popcorn is coated in caramel. Pour the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and spread out the popcorn as much as possible.
  • Bake. Bake the caramel corn for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up any clumps as best you can, until done. Allow the popcorn to cool and break up the pieces or clumps that are stuck together.

Video

Notes

  • Make fresh popcorn. After a day or two, popcorn gets a bit chewy and stale. For best results, make popcorn fresh and let it cool in the mixing bowl as you make your sauce.
  • Watch closely near the end: As the baking time approaches completion, keep a close eye on the caramel corn so it doesn’t burn or overbrown.
  • Use sea salt or pink Himalayan salt for an extra salty flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 544kcal | Carbohydrates: 96g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 290mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 3mg
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