This Homemade Caramel Popcorn Recipe is the perfect snack for your next holiday party or family movie night. We love that we can make it at home and it taste so much better than the store bought stuff.

Close up image of caramel popcorn in a bowl.

Homemade Caramel Popcorn:

This caramel popcorn recipe has become a favorite sweet and salty snack that we can’t get enough of. The store bought caramel popcorn seems to be very strong in flavor and very chewy. I really wanted to make some that had the perfect crunch but combine the flavors of the popcorn and caramel.

This recipe accomplished the perfect amount of flavor and crunch that my family couldn’t get enough of. If you loved flavored popcorn, you might also like Peanut Butter Popcorn Recipe, Easy White Chocolate Popcorn Recipe, or Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn Recipe.

Close up image of caramel popcorn in a bowl.

Variations for the best Caramel Popcorn:

We love making variations to this caramel popcorn recipe. Try some of my favorites.

  • Add in Nuts – You can easily add in any nuts. Our favorite has been peanuts but almonds would be great as well. For that extra sweet and salty combination use salted nuts.
  • Like it extra sweet? – You can use less popcorn and the extra caramel will make it extra sweet.
  • Drizzle with chocolate – We just drizzled melted chocolate over the popcorn and it was absolutely delicious! You could even experiment with all sorts of different chocolate. White chocolate would be amazing and you could even mix the two. All of the different swirls of chocolate would look so pretty as well.
  • Mix in Mini Marshmallows – When you drizzle the popcorn with chocolate toss in some mini marshmallows.
  • Add chocolate chips – Try peanut butter or butterscotch! I think it would be delicious to use several different types of chocolate morsels.

Great lunchbox treat!

This would also be a great lunchbox treat or after school snack. Make a batch of caramel popcorn and put in individual ziplock bags or containers. The kids will love this and you will save a ton of money.

Those prepackaged snacks at the grocery store are so pricey. They can really add up.

Close up image of caramel popcorn on a cookie sheet.

Perfect for gift giving! 

This popcorn is so fun to make and to hand out to friends, neighbors and more! It’s also perfect for parties or backyard BBQs. You can get a bunch of novelty popcorn containers on Amazon.

They have the traditional red and white but I also spotted pastel and a gorgeous gold set! These are perfect for parties.

They also have several cellophane bag options if you would rather pass them out in bags. The cone shaped ones are really cute. Those would be fun to pass out for parties or neighbors.

The best movie night snack:

We love to have a movie night at our house. We try to get together as a family and have movie night at least once a week. Having snacks is a must for a weekly movie night.

I set out candy and this caramel popcorn. My kids look forward to it every week.

Making memories and family traditions are important to me. Next time you are looking for a good movie night snack, try having this caramel popcorn. Your family will love it.

Close up image of ingredients for caramel popcorn - popcorn, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, butter

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Salt – If you use bagged popcorn that you pop in the microwave, do NOT any additional salt. If you make your own popcorn from just kernels then the salt will be needed.
  • Baking Soda
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Popcorn – I use 3 bags of microwave popcorn. If you use kernels to make your own popcorn, make about 2 cups kernels -YES, it is a lot of popped popcorn.

How to make the caramel:

The caramel is so easy to make! Simple ingredients make it easy to make anytime of the week.

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Once butter is melted, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt until smooth.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for about 4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.

How to make caramel popcorn:

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl. If you do not have a large enough bowl, you can use 2 bowls.
  • Immediately pour the caramel sauce over popcorn. Make sure to stir it thoroughly to coat all of the popcorn.
  • Place in two large shallow prepared baking sheets or dishes. You could even use a disposable baking sheet if you don’t want to mess with clean up.
  • Next, bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  You will want to make sure you are stirring every 15 minutes and again stirring the popcorn mixture half way through.  Baking times can vary.
Close up image of caramel popcorn in process.

Remove from oven. Let it cool completely before breaking the caramel corn into pieces.

Tips and Tricks for the best Caramel Popcorn:

Here are some tips and tricks that have helped me make the best Caramel Popcorn:

  • Use a non-stick skillet to make the caramel. It makes it much easier to clean and you don’t have to worry about the caramel sticking to the pan.
  • Also use a non-stick silicone spatula if you have one. A silicone spatula which is also naturally tolerant to high heat helps with mixing the caramel. Trust me, this is a must when stirring the caramel sauce.
  • I love using a cooling rack or a roasting pan to pour my popcorn over. This way the un-popped kernels will fall through the holes keeping the popped corn to stay on top.
Close up image of a serving of caramel popcorn on a wooden spoon.

How do you make caramel popcorn crunchy?

The two main reasons that the caramel popcorn stays crunchy is because of the baking soda and baking it at a low temperature.

Just before the caramel sauce is poured, we put a little baking soda in. Adding baking soda causes the caramel sauce to get bubbly and foaming which allows the caramel sauce to be evenly poured over the popcorn. While the caramel popcorn is cooling, the texture becomes soft which means you won’t be biting into hard caramel.

Baking the popcorn on very low temperature and stirring often, allows the caramel sauce to melt and thin so it coats every piece evenly. Baking the caramel popcorn makes it crispy so it stays fresher longer. While baking, the popcorn will become less sticky and will be easily separated.

Close up image of caramel popcorn in a white bowl.

How to store:

This is the perfect snack to make a big batch at the first of the month. If stored properly the caramel popcorn will last for two to three weeks.

It can easily be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also place the caramel popcorn in gallon size ziplock bags once it has cooled.

Close up image of a caramel popcorn on a cookie sheet.

More easy Caramel Desserts:

We love caramel desserts at our house. Here are some of our favorites:

Close up image of caramel popcorn in a white bowl.

Easy Caramel Popcorn:

Caramel Popcorn is easy to make with simple pantry ingredients. Rather you are hosting a party, having movie night, or making it for a gift it is sure to be a crowd pleaser snack.

This addictive snack is sure to be something you make year after year.

Print your Homemade caramel popcorn recipe below:

Caramel Popcorn

5 from 6 votes
Learn how to make caramel popcorn at home with only a few ingredients. Once you know how to make homemade caramel popcorn recipe, you will make it all the time. It’s simple and easy. The homemade caramel is amazing!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 12
Cuisine American
Course Appetizer
Calories 316
Author Eating on a Dime

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if you use bagged popcorn that you pop in the microwave, do NOT add additional salt. If you make your own popcorn from just kernels then the salt will be needed.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Popcorn – (I used 3 bags of popcorn that I got for FREE. If you use kernels to make your own popcorn, make about 2 cups kernels -YES, it is alot)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl (I used 2 large bowls because I didn’t have big enough bowls).
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then boil without stirring for approximately 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and then stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract.
  • Then pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and stir it to coat all the popcorn with the caramel sauce.
  • Then place the popcorn in two large shallow baking dishes/ or pans and bake in preheated oven, for approximately 40 minutes (stirring half way through).
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container. I placed them in gallon size ziplock bags.

Recipe Notes

Change up the recipe by drizzling melted chocolate over the popcorn. 

Nutrition Facts

Calories 316kcal, Carbohydrates 46g, Fat 15g, Saturated Fat 9g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 393mg, Potassium 53mg, Sugar 46g, Vitamin A 475IU, Calcium 37mg, Iron 0.3mg

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More quick and easy snacks to try:

This simple caramel popcorn is so easy to make and delicious too!  This easy homemade caramel popcorn recipe is simple with only a few ingredients and is packed with tons of flavor too!  #eatingonadime #popcornrecipes #caramelrecipes #easydesserts 
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Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families.

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  1. Am I suppose to boil the butter, sugars and syrup for a few minutes then add the rest or am did I miss some part of the recipe?