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How to Make Caramel Popcorn

How to make caramel popcorn - easy recipe

My kids have been after me to make homemade caramel popcorn for a while. But when my oldest son announced that he made enough popcorn for me to make caramel popcorn and left it on the counter for me, I knew that they had waited for far too long!

Caramel Popcorn is actually quite easy to make. I wasn’t putting it off because of any work associated with making it. I just didn’t want that much temptation sitting on the kitchen counter while I am trying to cut back on sweets. My kids promised that if I made caramel popcorn, they would not share it with me, because they are loving like that. :)

The amount of popcorn I use, depends on how sticky I want the popcorn to be. If we are just enjoying caramel popcorn, then I use 16 cups of popped corn, but if I am making popcorn balls, I cut back to 10 – 12 cups of popcorn.

My recipe doesn’t use corn syrup – I use honey instead. I like honey because it doesn’t just add sweetness, it adds flavor. We use an air popper to make our popcorn.

The only special equipment you need is a candy thermometer as the caramel is cooked to 250 degrees or the hard-ball stage.   If you don’t have one, you can do the cold water candy test to determine if it is at the right stage..

How to Make Caramel Popcorn
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 16 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Pop popcorn. I use an air popper.
  3. In a large pot, combine butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. using a cooking thermometer, cook over medium-high flame until it reaches 250 degrees.
  5. Remove from flame and stir in baking soda.
  6. Add popcorn to pot and stir to coat.
  7. Spread popcorn on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even coating.
  8. Remove from oven and let the caramel popcorn cool on the pan.
  9. Enjoy in moderation if your can.
If you do not have a super large pot, then put a large glass or metal bowl in the oven while it is preheating. Then pour the caramel mixture into the hot bowl and add the popped corn and stir well. You don't want to pour the hot caramel mixture over room temperature popcorn in a room temperature bowl because it will cool too quickly and you will have a harder time getting it evenly coated over the popcorn.

Once you have made this caramel popcorn recipe, you might  feel like trying one of these 15 flavored popcorn recipes.

More Caramel Recipes:

Turtle Fudge

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce

Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce

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About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner and editor of Premeditated Leftovers. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.


  1. My mom made caramel corn every Christmas when I was growing up — thanks for the reminder, I don’t remember ever making it for my kids. I need to change that. :)

  2. Looks delicious! I have a similar recipe and actually made some last night. It’s a holiday favorite around my house :) ~Aubree

  3. How funny, I was right next to you on the Hearth and Soul blog hop and I shared a recipe explaining how to make caramel with just 1 ingredient. What a great idea to add it to popcorn! Yum.

  4. One of my all time favourite snacks. Never though to make it though (for some odd reason). Looks good :)


  5. Delicious I love to make it, Hubby bought jalapeno flavored popcorn, nobody in the house including him didn’t touched.


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