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An easy recipe for homemade caramel popcorn – made from a simple brown sugar caramel, and then baked until perfectly crispy.

Baked Caramel Popcorn

Photos Updated July 2014

Originally published October 17, 2008 – When it comes to snack time, what could be better than homemade caramel popcorn? I needed a snack to take with us to watch fireworks on July 4th, and I made up a batch of this caramel popcorn – but managed to totally mess it up. (It happens to the best of us!!) Thank goodness it doesn’t take much, because I just had to make up a batch a couple days later to redeem myself. This was such a hit at my house that a half batch didn’t even last 24 hours. My husband thinks that it tastes like Cracker Jacks, and my boys couldn’t keep their hands out of it!!

When I was younger, every so often, we would have what we called “pig-outs.” It was usually when my dad and my brother would be gone on camp-outs, but us girls and our mom would get lots of candy and junk food, and get to sit in front of the tv, pigging out and watching movies. This was a real treat for us, as we didn’t get to have a lot of junk food normally.

As I went to make this caramel popcorn the other day, the memory of these pig-outs came to mind. My memory is horrible these days, (I blame it on pregnancy brain!), so I called my mom this morning to see if we ever ate this caramel corn at our pig-outs. I knew that we always had Brach’s candy, but beyond that, I couldn’t remember!! She told me that yes, we always had the candy, and that it was always just an array of junk food. She said she was sure we probably had this caramel popcorn from time to time, but she wasn’t sure either!

Recipe for Caramel Corn

So even if we didn’t have this at our pig-outs, I plan on having these special nights with my kids from time to time, and this caramel popcorn will be on the menu!! I have a soft caramel corn recipe that I’ve been using for years that makes a delicious caramel corn, but after making this, I think I actually prefer this baked version more! I took this to a “movie night” this week with some of the teenage girls in my church, and it was a hit. I had one girl tell me that she doesn’t usually like caramel popcorn, but loved this. I went home empty handed!

Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe

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Baked Caramel Corn
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy recipe for homemade caramel popcorn - made from a simple brown sugar caramel, and then baked until perfectly crispy.
Serves: 6 quarts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 quarts popped popcorn
  1. Preheat oven to 250F.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and salt; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture comes to a boil, let it boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. (Be careful - the mixture will bubble up.)
  3. Gradually pour the caramel over the popped corn, mixing well. (I usually have the popcorn in 2 big bowls to give me enough room to stir to coat it with the caramel.) Turn into 2 large, shallow baking pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until fairly dry, stirring twice. Remove from pan and break into pieces.
  5. Store in an air-tight container.
Adapted from Goodman’s Galloping Gourmet

*I used to cut the recipe down to 4 quarts of popcorn, but I have found that there is just too much caramel for 4 quarts, so I have gone back up to the original amount of 6 quarts.

*This recipe is easily halved.

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43 Responses to Baked Caramel Popcorn

  1. glamah16 says:

    Oh wow. I would never think of making this, just buying it.Im sure it was a hit and way better than any store bought.

  2. Maria says:

    I just made caramel corn last weekend! It didn’t last long!! It is so good!

  3. Jenny says:

    Looks so good Deborah! I love making caramel corn, this looks like a great recipe!

  4. RecipeGirl says:

    I love this idea! Caramel corn is ‘on the list’ for Halloween recipes!

  5. Erin says:

    I love caramel corn! It’s so addictive. I tried making it last year but wasn’t totally happy with the recipe, so I’ll have to give this a try.

  6. kat says:

    yummy, I’d have a big bowl of that

  7. Jamie @ Baldwin Bungalow says:

    My mom ALWAYS makes caramel corn around this time of year. It is such a comforting smell to me! 🙂

  8. Half Baked says:

    Mmmm caramel corn sounds awesome! Great recipe thanks for sharing!

  9. kamailesfood says:

    Wonderful fall treat! Caramel corn is one of my husband’s favorite snacks, but I’ve never made it myself. I’ll have to give it a try.

  10. Michele says:

    I make caramel corn every Fall…but I’ve never thought of baking it. Your version looks so much less sticky and clumpy than the kind that I make. I can’t wait to try it.

  11. Prudy says:

    I’ve made this recipe and it is so yummy and crunchy. We always have caramel popcorn for Halloween night.

  12. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    I love caramel corn! What a great recipe. I thought it would be much more complicated than this. Woohoo!

  13. Kevin says:

    That would smell so nice baking.

  14. Isa says:

    Hahah… I have pig-outs with my girlfriends too and, seriously, is the coolest thing on earth!
    The caramel popcorn looks great! Thanks for sharing

  15. Peabody says:

    Yum, Yum! Caramel corn is so very addictive.

  16. noble pig says:

    oh the baked version sounds so much easier…I love it!

  17. Gigi says:

    I never made caramel corn but have certainly eaten my share! This sounds like keeper for Halloween night!

  18. Cakebrain says:

    We just love popcorn in our household. This looks like a fantastic way to gussy it up!

  19. Birdie says:

    Carmamel corn is sooo good. Perfect for movie nights or sleep overs!

  20. Emiline says:

    Ha ha, I made caramel corn too. Mine wasn’t baked though! What a good idea.

  21. Kim says:

    My girls and I use to do pigouts as well. I sure wish we had your caramel corn as it most certainly would have been the highlight!

  22. Grace says:

    i have more pig-outs now than i did as a kid. i blame the added stress and responsibilities and such. 🙂 i would totally gorge on this–it’s beautiful.

  23. Susan says:

    Amazing. And no nasty preservatives like in the bagged stuff.

  24. Bellini Valli says:

    Caramel corn is a favourite snack:D

  25. Sylvie says:

    What a great treat!

  26. Heather says:

    ohhh i love caramel popcorn! this looks so tasty!!!

  27. Marisa says:

    I love that you had pig out nights. I should probably not make that every night for myself when I’m watching t.v. :-). I LOVE caramel corn but hate the mess it makes the the little kiddies at this stage. So I’m definitely going to try this recipe! It looks so good.

  28. Chocolate Shavings says:

    That sounds delicious! What a treat to have ‘pig outs’ once in a while – and junk food tastes that much better when you don’t have it all the time.

  29. April says:

    Looks delish! I am so going to make this!

  30. Rosie says:

    Oh YUM that caramel corn looks wonderful Debs!

    Rosie x

  31. Ingrid says:

    Thanks for sharing the lovely story. I hope my children will have fond memories of the treats I make for them.

    For Christmas I intended to make “specialty” popcorn and am excited to see your recipe! Before making and packaging this up I should taste test it first, right?! Just to be sure! 🙂

  32. kimberleyblue says:

    mmm! we made caramel popcorn a few weeks ago, and it was sooo good.

  33. PheMom says:

    I love caramel corn and have been looking for a good recipe – I will definitely have to try this one soon!

  34. This looks perfect!! I love caramel popcorn!

  35. Oh my goodness!! I just love these pictures! Can’t wait to give this a try. YUM!

  36. Barbara says:

    I use the foil turkey roasting pans to make this – makes it easier to stir w/o spilling.

    • Deborah says:

      What a great idea! I always have a hard time keeping it on the pan and not spilling – I will have to try that next time!

  37. I have never made caramel popcorn before and this recipe looks like a darn good place to start. I love your family’s tradition of “pig-outs” too. I might have to start something like that with my kids. Thanks for the recipe and idea!

  38. Chels R. says:

    I have a recipe like this from my cooking class, but I still haven’t bought an air popper. It’s on my amazon wish list, but haven’t gotten around to purchasing it yet. Soon though.

    • Deborah says:

      Ok, so I bought my air popper years ago at a thrift store for $2.50. It was still in the box and looked like it had never been used! I keep it in the box and laugh every time I get it out and see that price tag. That was definitely $2.50 well spent! 🙂

  39. Vickey says:

    I can’t stop making this! It’s the best, and everyone who tries it wants to know where did I find this recipe. Thanks!

  40. Pam says:

    I have had this recipe since the mid ’70’s (yes, the exact recipe!!) and I love it
    even more today than back then!! EVERY time I make it, people always want to
    know where I got the recipe and to be honest, I don’t even remember now!! All
    I can say is THANK HEAVENS I found it and have passed the caramel corn
    around as well as the recipe!! This caramel corn has gone on many camping trips
    and girls bowling weekends—always a hit!! Anyone on the fence about making
    it—give it a try, I guarantee you will LOVE it!!!

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