Ingredients You’ll Need
I love making caramel corn because it’s so easy to make, but people are always impressed that it’s homemade. You also only need a few pantry staples to make oven caramel corn.
- Popcorn Kernels: Either white or yellow will work great.
- Butter: A hefty 4 sticks is needed for this recipe, but it makes a big batch!
- Brown Sugar: Give the caramel corn a nice hint of molasses flavor.
- Corn Syrup: I don’t use corn syrup often but it’s very helpful for special treats like caramel corn and homemade soft caramelels. I usually buy organic corn syrup.
- Baking Soda: This is the secret ingredient to getting the caramel to foam and stick to the popcorn.
- Salt: I highly recommend Kosher salt! A good pinch of salt is key to delicious caramel corn.
Caramel corn is easy to make at home, but you’ll need a few kitchen tools. I highly recommend a good air-pop popcorn machine.
Air-popped popcorn isn’t coated in any oil or additives so it’s perfect for mixing with the caramel sauce. I also think air-popped popcorn yields bigger pieces than microwave or stove-top popped popcorn.
Tip: Homemade caramel corn will turn out best if you make the popcorn in an air-pop popcorn machine!
How to Make Caramel Corn
The steps to making caramel corn are simple. I’ve included a how-to video in this post as well so be sure to watch that!
- Pop the popcorn.
- Bring the caramel ingredients to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the baking soda then toss the popcorn with the caramel.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Tip: Stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes while it’s baking is key for getting every piece coated with caramel.
This caramel corn is great for packaging up and giving to neighbors and friends. I like to keep the packaging simple with some clear treat bags and seasonal ribbon. It will keep crispy and delicious for up to a week!
More Holiday Treats:
Best Caramel Corn Recipe
- 4 sticks butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup of unpopped popcorn kernels
- Preheat oven to 250 F. Pop the popcorn kernels in air popper. Place popcorn in a large oven safe bowl. (Note: I had to use my biggest and next biggest pyrex bowls and a 9x13 pan to fit it all. Just divide up the popcorn and caramel amongst the dishes as best you can.)
- In a medium saucepan combine the butter, sugar, light corn syrup, and salt. Melt slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture comes to a full boil, stir constantly to prevent burning for 5 minutes.
- After caramel mixture boils for 5 minutes, remove from heat and add the baking soda. Mix in baking soda carefully as the mixture will expand when you add it. Pour caramel over popcorn and mix well to coat the popped kernels.
- Place in glass oven-safe bowls or on parchment-lined baking sheets and cook the caramel corn for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and pour onto parchment-lined sheet trays immediately. Cool and enjoy!
Originally published October 27, 2012. Recipe still tried, true and loved. Post updated on October 4, 2019.