Salted Caramel Popcorn

This Easy Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe is my favorite Caramel Corn Recipe! It’s so easy and adding that extra salt gives it the perfect salty/sweet combo!
Salted Caramel Popcorn is a delicious caramel corn recipe that is the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

My Salted Caramel Popcorn is a the BEST Caramel Corn Recipe EVER!

This Salted Caramel Corn Recipe is possibly one of my favorite snacks of all time! It’s crispy, coated in homemade caramel, easy to make and has the perfect sweet and salty balance. I haven’t met one person who doesn’t love this salted caramel corn recipe because it’s both simple and delicious! This caramel corn recipe is so loved it even made it into my book by popular demand!

I’ve even adapted this recipe into Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn as well as Caramel Apple Caramel Corn. And certainly if you’re salt sensitive you can leave off the extra salt!

Salted Caramel Corn is crispy, sweet, coated in homemade caramel with the perfect amount of salt added for balance.

How To Make Homemade Caramel Corn

Making Salted Caramel Popcorn is SUPER easy. It’s a super easy snack for movie night, or perfect to package up and give as gifts around the holidays. It’s pretty foolproof, and you don’t need baking soda or a candy thermometer like a lot of caramel corn recipes call for.

You will need an Air Popper Popcorn maker. If you don’t have one, they are fairly inexpensive. Here’s the link to the one I use. I have had readers use microwave popcorn for this if they don’t have an air popper. Most have great results, but I have never tried it that way, so I can’t give 100% confirmation it will work, although I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

What You Will Need For Homemade Caramel Corn:

  • Popcorn: Unpopped popcorn kernels are super easy to find. You can generally find them at the supermarket, WalMart, Target etc. You can even order them on amazon. I, honestly, just buy an expensive container of kernels, like Orville Redenbacher, so don’t get too hung up on brands etc.
  • Butter: I use salted butter in this recipe because it’s SALTED Caramel Corn, but certainly if you don’t have salted you can use unsalted and add a bit more salt at the end!
  • Brown Sugar: Using brown sugar in this recipe makes it a little deeper in flavor. Since you aren’t actually making caramel that cooks until it is a deep amber color, the brown sugar gives you the color that you desire.
  • Corn Syrup: I use light corn syrup in this recipe. The subtle sweetness in the corn syrup makes the caramel sauce come together easily and gives the caramel corn the perfect texture. You could certainly use dark corn syrup if that’s all you have.
  • Salt: I use kosher salt or sea salt in this caramel corn recipe. The slightly coarser grain and smoother taste gives this the perfect salty/sweet balance. You can use Iodized salt if it’s all you have, but use a light hand. You can always add more if necessary.

How To Make Caramel Corn

Do You Bake Caramel Corn?

Yes! After you air pop the popcorn and make your caramel sauce on the stove, you bake the caramel corn for 30 minutes at 300°F, stirring it every 10 minutes. This step in the recipe is what makes the caramel corn crispy and not chewy. If you like chewy caramel corn you can certainly eat it after you coat it with your caramel. It will get stuck in your teeth though! haha!

How much Popcorn Do You Need For Caramel Corn?

1/2 cup of unpopped kernels yields about 16 cups of popped corn. So for this recipe you get about 16 cups of Salted Caramel Popcorn!

How Much Salt Do I Have To Add To This Recipe?

Please realize this is COMPLETELY up to you. I list 2 teaspoons in the recipe as a guideline, but you can absolutely add more or less depending on your personal preference. I stated above that I don’t recommend using Iodized Salt, but if you do, start with only 1 teaspoon, as it is a very fine grain and add more from there. Kosher salt and sea salts are generally a little coarser.

Can You Add Anything To Caramel Corn?

Sure! You can easily add in extras to this caramel corn recipe. Here are a few ideas:

  • Peanuts: Add these before you pour the caramel sauce on top and coat them with the caramel before baking.
  • M&Ms: Add these when the caramel corn is cooled for the ultimate movie snack!
  • Raisins: Now this might not be for everyone, but a lot of people like this combo! Add these after the caramel corn is cooled.
  • Pretzels: You can add these before you pour the caramel on top or after it’s cooled if you prefer the pretzels aren’t sweet. If you do want to add pretzels to this mix before coating with the caramel, you might need to increase the amount of caramel by 50% to ensure everything gets coated!

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Salted Caramel Popcorn

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16 cups 1x
  • Category: Popcorn
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Snack

Description:

Makes about 16 cups of caramel corn


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  3. Pop popcorn kernels using air popper into a large bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 teaspoon salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and let it cool for 2 minutes. It needs to stop boiling before you pour it on the popcorn.
  5. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  6. Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 tsp – 1 tsp depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.

Notes:

You can add in 2 cups of nuts to the un-coated popcorn if desired! Coat with caramel as states!

Keywords:: popcorn, cookies and cups, caramel corn, salted caramel, popcorn recipe

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Salted Caramel Popcorn

 

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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324 Responses
  1. We used to make this popcorn with a small variation.. well sort of a big variation!! We put all of the popcorn in a paper grocery bag,, the big kind,, and pour the mixture over it.. shake it,,, and voila all done.. witho ours you didnt have to bake or use any other pans etc. to finish and it turns out pretty good too.

    1. Peggy Shinkle

      I tried this tonight, and its spot on! I did only cook the caramel mixture to 260 F, and set my oven about 275F. I think it’s important to emphasize STIRRING and breaking it up BEFORE putting it on the oven. Otherwise there will be puddles of Carmel that could create a smoky mess. Recipe says STIR every 10 min. LOVE THIS!

  2. jackie

    I’m definitely trying this. Except I use a large bowl shaped microwave popper. No oil, specially bagged popcorn or air popper required. Found mine at WalMart, Target, or Kmart I forget which.

  3. Debbie

    How many bags of microwave popcorn would I need to use? I don’t have an air popper, but it sounds like I’d get alot of use out of it! My boys make popcorn at least 3-4 times a week!!

    1. I know this is really late, but in case anyone else has the question… I pop regular kernels in my microwave. Put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a microwave safe glass bowl with a lid, cook for 4 minutes or so, listening for the popping to slow to 10 seconds or so… if you start to smell burnt popcorn stop it… it’s easy to go beyond popped to burnt so stay near the microwave… but you have popped corn with no oil, and none of the chemicals in the microwave stuff.

  4. holli

    I noticed you left the unpopped kernels in the popcorn .. that is a high potential for cracked chipped or broken teeth .. it takes less than 60 seconds to use only popped corn. pop in a bowl shake so kernels are at the bottom transfer only popped corn to a different bowl. You dont buy popped corn off the shelf or at a theater or anywhere with unpopped kernels just for those reasons .. its a risk ..

  5. pearl

    Hi Shelly,
    I love your blog and i’ve been wanting to try your salted caramel popcorn recipe , but i can’t find corn syrup here in the Netherlands. Is it possible to omit it put of the recipe? Thanks so much.

      1. Roger

        Are you stating that your friend pours straight maple syrup onto the pop corn and then bakes it, or that your friend cooks the maple syrup first and THEN pours it on the pop corn? This sounds interesting but, at the cost of maple syrup, I’d like to have as many facts up-front as possible beforehand! Thank you.

    1. Ann

      Hi Pearl, Do you have Golden Syrup there? I think that’s the same or pretty close. I live in the UK and I haven’t been able to find corn syrup either but able to get golden syrup which I used in a recipe calling for corn syrup and it tasted the same as when I made it previously with corn syrup back home.

  6. Renee

    I have an obsession with popcorn of any kind! When I make mine, instead of baking it in the oven, put your popcorn in a brown grocery bag, pour the caramel over it and shake! Then put it in the microwave for 30 second increments (3 times), shaking between each time. Way less clean up! 🙂

  7. Kendra

    Hi! I really loved your blog today . I am totally with you on the sending kids back to school then crying your eyes out thing.My last son start kindergarden and I’m sad. He’s the last of my 3 sons to go, their 9, 7 and 5,and I’m not ready for the house to be so quiet. For 9 years I’ve lived in chaos and now there’s this HUGE change that has happened.I feel I’m loosing my boys. They don’t like to talk about school so I never know what happened during their day, those long hours they were away from me.Ouch! I too could not wait for school to start. They drove me crazy all summer. I dreamed that I would finally have some time to myself after 9 long years and here I am in this quiet old house, lonely. I don’t know what to do with myself. My world has revolved around them for so long. I miss them.
    Then they walk through the door and the chaos begins all over again and I remember, oh yeah…..school!

  8. pam

    I share your love of popcorn and can’t wait to try this recipe, I also cry when my kids go back to school, however, I have a senior in high school and a senior in college:)

  9. Cara

    I haven’t checked the accuracy but its only four months old. I wouldn’t think it would be off but maybe? Does this need to be cooked or could you just wait for the caramel to cool and eat it like that?

    1. Shelly

      You don’t have to cook it, no, but the popcorn will most likely be chewy, instead of crunchy…
      With it being such a new oven, that’s very odd… maybe try it again, and lower the temperature to 250. Are you at a high altitude?

      1. Colleen R

        I just made this and mine had burned around the edges after the first 10 minutes. I turned the oven down to 275 after that and down to 250 after the next 10 minutes but still have burned corn around the edges. Now I’m wondering about our oven too although I’ve never had issues with other baking. I’m in Alberta Canada. Not sure if that would make a difference….

    2. Jan

      Cara, we checked the temperature of our new oven and it runs about 50 degrees too cool. Not knowing how to correct it, we just add a few degrees, depending on how high we need it.

    1. Shelly

      That’s crazy! I have no idea how it could have been burnt in 15 minutes at 300 degrees? Have you checked your oven accuracy? Possibly the oven could be a little off, making it hotter than the temp you set it for. Because I’ve made this so many times and a few times I’ve forgotten about it and left it in for too long, by like 10 minutes and I’ve never had an issue with burning…

    2. Charlene

      Cara, my oven cooks hot too. I did this recipe for only a total of 20 minutes. I took it out of the oven after 10 minutes to stir it thoroughly and give it a chance to cool down and then put it back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Just keep an eye on it.

    3. Tania

      Does your oven show temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius? In Australia for example we use Celsius (on modern ovens at least), but recipes from the USA use Fahrenheit, which is the case here, I assume. 300F is about 150C. Most Celsius ovens only heat up to 250C, hence my assumption. I would be surprised if popcorn burned so quickly at 150C, but if you set your oven for 300C, it would not take long.

  10. Once I start eating caramel corn it is so hard for me to stop!! It actually is something that I can eat and I’m ok with it making me sick. Besides, it isn’t a real sickness like the flu…it will quickly go away because it is only dressed up popcorn. Mind over matter…

    This is certainly something I would enjoy making myself sick over!

  11. I am the same way! When they are here I can’t wait for them to go, then when they do, I’m so lonesome for them! This seems like it would make an awesome after school snack. I never knew it was so easy to make caramel corn. Thanks, Shelly!

  12. Jeannette

    Looks great. Would I be able to make popcorn balls out of this? Form the balls before itngoesnin the oven maybe?

    Thanks for another great recipe!

        1. Maybe instead of popcorn balls, you could try them in a muffin tin? Mound and lightly press the popcorn into a muffin tin before baking? IT won’t be round, of course, but it should hold it’s shape until it’s out of the oven and the caramel has cooled down again.

        2. Beth Meadows

          You don’t bake the balls, just form them into balls and let them dry on their own. Then wrap them in plastic wrap to keep fresh.

  13. Karen

    We just delivered my daughter to her dorm at university. I dreaded that drive all summer and coming home without her, and the uncertainty of how she’ll feel there. We’ll adjust, enjoy them when they get home from school.

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Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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