Quick and Easy Caramel Popcorn – Get the Best Caramel Corn Recipe
I am a huge fan of caramel popcorn! It’s a great snack for any occasion, and it doubles as the perfect holiday gift for a loved one or casual acquaintance. When you buy caramel corn it can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, especially if you want to give a lot away as gifts, or if you’re like me and you can consume a ton of caramel corn in one sitting.
To save money, learn a simple and fun recipe and get an absolutely delicious snack out of it, homemade caramel popcorn is the way to go. By reading this article, you are learning how to make caramel popcorn at home which will be a lifelong skill you can pull out whenever you have a Christmas party to attend or an impromptu midnight snack session when all the stores are closed. This simple caramel popcorn recipe is about to change your life.
What Is Caramel Corn?
If you’re about to try this amazing snack for the first time, you’re in for a treat! Caramel corn is popcorn that is coated in a sweet, salty, buttery, crunchy caramel popcorn topping. The mix of salty and sweet and the crunch of the kernels makes this the ultimate versatile munchy. It’s perfect for munching during a movie night, having as a snack at a party, or serving dessert on a night when dinner is a feast and no one has room for a heavy course. You can buy fancy caramel corn with all different flavor profiles and seasonings, or you can keep it classic and get caramel corn at your local grocery store. Everywhere you go you will find that different places put a different spin on this delicious snack. In Canada, they make caramel corn with maple syrup, and in Chicago they mix caramel corn and cheddar cheese popcorn to make Chicago mix.
You can find caramel corn with bits of nuts, chocolate, candies, and even obscure things like Red-hot Chili Peppers and miso. People love to doozy up popcorn in tasty ways because it’s such a perfect vehicle for flavor. Want to know how to personalize it yourself? Learn this quick and easy caramel popcorn recipe to get the ball rolling.
Caramel Popcorn Homemade
If you’ve never made caramel corn at home, this easy way to make caramel popcorn will make you want to make it all the time. If you’re not new to making caramel popcorn at home, you’re not going to want to miss this article because to me, this recipe is by far the best caramel popcorn recipe ever.
What makes this recipe so special? The secret ingredient (that’s actually not so much of a secret to most of us who make this regularly) is a pinch of baking soda! Additionally, there are a few different options for jazzing the final product up for a variation on our classic corn. Additionally, our caramel popcorn ingredients are absolutely avoiding the element of corn syrup, which is a big request from a lot of folks who don’t wish to use corn syrup in their cooking or simply can’t buy it in their regions. Here are the ingredients you will need!
DIY Caramel Popcorn Ingredients
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- 2.5 tablespoons of neutral vegetable oil
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: Any other kinds of seasonings and add-ins that you want (cinnamon, vanilla powder, chocolate powder, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)
- Optional: Drizzles! Think peanut butter swirl, fudgey chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate or vanilla!
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper
- Wooden spoon
- Medium pot with lid
- Small saucepan
- Large heatproof bowl with lid
- Decorative bags or jars
Making Caramel Popcorn from Scratch
Once you have all of your ingredients, you can get started making delicious caramel corn.
Pop your popcorn kernels in an air popper or in a large pot. To pop on the stove, put your oil in a pot with a lid on the stove at medium low heat. Once the pan has gotten up to temperature, add your kernels and shake them up a bit so that they’re evenly spaced and coated in oil. Then let the corn pop with a lid on. Keep an ear out for when the popcorn is done. The pops will be sporadic instead of constant. That’s when you know to take it off of the heat. Don’t remove the lid right away. There could still be a few kernels that will pop and make a potentially dangerous mess. As an alternative to this method, if you have an air popper, you can use that to pop your popcorn without the oil or the stove. They’re pretty easy to use and difficult to mess up! For this option, turn the machine on, add your kernels and go.
Once the corn is popped, transfer to a large heat-resistant bowl. Now put your stick of butter into a sauce pan and let it melt on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, stir in your cup of brown sugar until evenly mixed. Let it bubble and cook down for about 5 minutes. It should be a smooth texture. Then add your baking soda. This will cause it to change color and consistency, this is what you want to happen. The baking soda will allow the mixture to coat the corn in an even manner, instead of globbing on in one spot. That’s what makes this recipe more simple and delicious than others.
Pour the caramel over the bowl of popped corn. At this point you can add whatever mix-ins you like quickly before mixing the whole thing up. If you have a heat-resistant lid for the bowl, you can put it on. If not you can use a large plate to do the same trick. Cover the bowl and shake the mixture up, so it’s evenly coated, or use a spoon to stir it carefully. Then transfer this to a baking tray lined with a nice sheet of parchment paper and then let your corn cool in an even layer so that it’s easy to break apart later.
Once the popcorn has cooled you can then put it in a super cute canister, a jar or a decorative bag to give as a gift or eat it straight off the sheet for the perfect grazing snack! If you’re going to store the caramel corn, you should do so in an airtight container so that the snack doesn’t go stale or soggy. If stored properly, it should keep for up to three weeks and remain crunchy and delicious for all of that time. If you and whoever you share this caramel corn with aren’t hooked, I would be totally shocked.
A really great hack that I’ve learned is that if you lightly toast your corn, it gives it a much crunchier shell that tastes great and has a lovely mouth feel. To do this, simply plop your caramel corn onto that baking sheet that you’ve already used and put it in the warming oven for about five to ten minutes. Stir and repeat as needed until the caramel is gooey again. Then let it harden outside the oven for the best ultimate caramel corn goodness. Another absolutely wild hack is to put the product in the air fryer for a short burst of air frying once it has cooled. This will make the ultimate crispiness! Not everyone has an airfryer, but if you do, try this technique out! Just be sure to line the bottom of your air fryer so that the corn doesn’t melt and make a mess.