Skip to Content

Amazing Caramel Popcorn {Homemade}

Sweet, Crunchy, and Chewy, this Homemade Caramel Popcorn is absolutely addictive. Perfect for movie nights or making homemade gifts, this Stovetop Caramel Popcorn recipe will satisfy any sweet tooth and it’s easy to make.

caramel popcorn feature image.

Often included in holiday popcorn tins, this incredible caramel popcorn is combined with cheese popcorn to make the Chicago popcorn mix. Using just a few simple ingredients, this homemade caramel sauce makes every bite crunchy and delicious.

To add some variety, try adding peanuts, pepitas, or sunflower seeds. In the fall we enjoy spicing it up with pumpkin pie spice mix, or you can use any warm spice such as star anise.

Why This Recipe Works?

  • Uses just a few ingredients.
  • Gluten free* (see note below).
  • High in fiber.
  • Great treat for home movie night.
  • Perfect for homemade gifts.
  • Easily customizable.
  • Make ahead recipe.
  • Kid friendly snack.
  • The Best Caramel Popcorn ever!!!

* Butter is naturally gluten free, some brands add flavor additives which may contain gluten – read the label!

second feature image of caramel popcorn.

Main Ingredients

This recipe uses super easy ingredients that can be purchased online or from a local grocery store if they are not already in your kitchen. Read the Recipe Card for the measurements.

  • Popcorn Kernels – We prefer to use whole kernels and pop them ourselves. It is much more cost effective and healthier this way. As a time saver you can use microwaved popcorn (12 cups total).
  • Brown Sugar – Acts as a sweetener and adds a deep caramel or toffee-like flavor.
  • Dark Corn Syrup – Contains molasses, which allows for a deeper, richer sweetness along with adding caramel coloring.
  • Unsalted Butter – The butter combines with the brown sugar to create a crunchy texture. Using unsalted butter allows you to control how much salt is added.
  • Coconut Oil We use coconut oil because it is a healthier fat and a flavor booster, giving the popcorn a mild nutty flavor. If you don’t have coconut oil, peanut oil is a good substitute or in a pinch, use olive oil.
ingredient picture for caramel popcorn.

Equipment

How To Make Amazing Homemade Caramel Popcorn

Step 1: Prep It

  • Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 250 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment and spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. 

Step 2: Test It

  • In a large, heavy bottom pot (6 quarts or larger) with a lid, add the coconut oil and turn the heat to medium-high.
  • Once the coconut oil has melted, add 3 corn kernels, cover the pot and listen for the kernels to pop. This should take 1-2 minutes.
test the oil to make sure hot enough.

Step 3: Pop It

  • Once the 3 kernels have popped, this is an indication that the oil is hot enough for popping the corn. Add all the remaining kernels to the pot and give the pot a good shake (with the lid tightly covered) to distribute the kernels evenly; adjust the lid to be slightly ajar.
  • Continue cooking the kernels while listening for the popping to stop, approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove the lid from the pot and pour the popcorn into the prepared sheet pan, removing any unpopped kernels; set aside.
pop the kernels.

Step 4: Make the Caramel

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. With a spatula, stir until combined.
  • Heat the syrup, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 5-10 minutes. 
make the caramel sauce.

Step 5: Bake It

  • Pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir to combine. Work quickly as the syrup hardens fast. 
bake the popcorn with the caramel sauce.
  • Spread the popcorn in an even layer and bake in the preheated 250 degree oven for 1 hour. 
take it out of the oven and let cool.
  • Before serving, allow the caramel corn to cool completely, then break into pieces. 
time to enjoy your caramel popcorn!

Store at room temperature in an air tight container for up the 3 days. 

Amazing Caramel Popcorn {Homemade}

Amazing Caramel Popcorn {Homemade}

Yield: 12 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Sweet, Crunchy, and Chewy, this Homemade Caramel Popcorn is absolutely addictive. Perfect for movie nights or making homemade gifts, this Stovetop Caramel Popcorn recipe will satisfy any sweet tooth and it's easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (substitute peanut or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 stick
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 250 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment and spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. 
  2. In a large, heavy bottom pot (6 quarts or larger) with a lid, add the coconut oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the coconut oil has melted, add 3 corn kernels, cover the pot and listen for the kernels to pop. This should take 1-2 minutes.
  3. Once the 3 kernels have popped, this is an indication that the oil is hot enough for popping the corn. Add all the remaining kernels to the pot and give the pot a good shake (with the lid tightly covered) to distribute the kernels evenly; adjust the lid to be slightly ajar.
  4. Continue cooking the kernels while listening for the popping to stop, approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove the lid from the pot and pour the popcorn into the prepared sheet pan, removing any unpopped kernels; set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. With a spatula, stir until combined. Heat the syrup, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 5-10 minutes. 
  6. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir to combine. Work quickly as the syrup hardens fast. Spread the popcorn in an even layer and bake in the preheated 250 degree oven for 1 hour. 
  7. Before serving, allow the caramel corn to cool completely, then break into pieces. 
Skip to Recipe