Homemade Caramel Corn is a family fun snack that is so easy and full of flavor, you’ll be craving it every day. Life’s too short not to enjoy caramel corn on a regular basis, this recipe makes it easy.
Homemade Caramel Corn is a tradition in our house of popcorn lovers. One of those snacks we forget about for a little while … until we don’t … and starting making over and over again. It’s a vicious, delicious cycle.
Homemade Caramel Corn 101
There’s something magical about this recipe. It was one of the many amazing recipes handwritten by my Grandmother, always begging to be made.
What makes caramel corn special? Baking soda is key. It allows for a reaction between the caramel, creating tiny air bubbles and a soft texture.
How to best store homemade caramel corn: Keep your popcorn in an airtight container, preferably in a pantry or dark, dry place for up to 3 months. (Spoiler alert, this recipe is so good there is slim to no chance of it still be around for 3 months.)
Can I freeze caramel corn? Yes, you can. Portion your corn and place in a airtight container or freezer bag. But your popcorn doesn’t really freeze, it just stays super fresh using this method.
Perfect your pop
The basics of homemade caramel corn depend on a deliciously popped corn. There are many ways to accomplish this, but perhaps our favorite is stove top.
Ok, so it’s stove top hands down. Just like grandma used to make.
What you’ll need: A large, heavy pot with a lid, oil and kernels. Even heat is absolutely key.
Time to get popping. At medium heat, bring your oil to temp with two kernels to test. Once they pop, your oil is ready for lift off.
Add your kernels and remove the pot from heat for about 60 seconds to keep the oil from burning. Be sure to tip the lid slightly to avoid trapping steam in the pop (which will make your popcorn sad and soggy.)
Over popped the top? Just scoop the excess popcorn out and recover to finish popping.
What type of oil to use: Canola oil is a steady go to, but we prefer extra virgin olive oil. Avocado oil will also work.
Some shortcuts for this caramel corn if you are interested.
While I really will 100% recommend you make the caramel by the recipe here there is a shortcut for caramel though and especially if you are preferring to make caramel corn without corn syrup.
Our microwave caramel sauce recipe is a fantastic solution. It truly is not a 1-1 ratio with homemade caramel sauce here… BUT in a pinch it will do the job!
And while we are on caramel topic be sure to check out our caramel syrup recipe that is just DIVINE in coffee and tea for this season.
Other toppings options:
You can feel free to get creative with your homemade caramel corn
- Caramel and salt always go nicely together.
- Powered cheddar popcorn is a GREAT mix in with your caramel corn for a salty sweet explosion.
- You can always swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate, if your heart desires.
- Butterscotch drizzle is an interesting swap as well.
- Little nut slivers, like peanuts or almonds, add to the crunchy goodness.
Some other snacktastic recipes you might enjoy:
Homemade Caramel Corn
- 24 cups popped corn ( 6 quarts popped popcorn)
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 3 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup white corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips, melted to drizzle
- 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips, melted to drizzle
- Divide popped corn on 2 greased baking sheets at 200 degrees F while preparing the caramel
- Mix sugar, butter, salt and light corn syrup in a large saucepan. Stir consistently and bring to a boil over medium heat. After cooking for 5 minutes remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and stir fast as it will foam up.
- Pour over corn on cookie sheets. Mix and bake at 200 degrees F for 1 hour. Stirring occasionally while it bakes.
- Remove from oven and drizzle melted milk chocolate and white chocolate over corn. Cool and break the caramel corn apart.
- Store in an airtight container or tightly covered bags for gifts.