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A Recipe for Crunchy Caramel Corn

Updated on February 13, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Homemade caramel corn is an inexpensive and delicious snack
Homemade caramel corn is an inexpensive and delicious snack

Crunchy Caramel Corn-the Secret

There is, of course, a well kept secret to making crispy and crunchy caramel corn.

After you have mixed the caramel syrup over the popped popcorn you must slowly bake it in a slow oven. This dries the popcorn out and allows it to achieve the light and crispy texture that we all love.

Caramel corn keeps well if sealed in an airtight container. Make it ahead of time and keep it in a food grade sealed plastic bin for quick snacks in front of your favorite movie!

Crisp Caramel Corn

This is the recipe we use at my house. It has the approval of 8 kids, two grandkids, a son in law and a husband, not to mention numerous friends. Watch the sugar syrup carefully so that it doesn't scorch or burn. Once it begins to boil don't let your eyes move from the candy thermometer.

5 qts popped corn

1 c unsalted butter

2 c packed brown sugar (dark or light, your preference)

1/2 c light corn syrup

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Spread popcorn on a cookie sheet and keep warm in a 250 degree oven.

Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. You can feel for graininess to be sure but don't burn yourself. Continue to boil until the candy thermometer reaches 248F, about 5 minutes.

Remove form heat and stir in baking soda. Syrup will foam up. Pour hot syrup over popped corn and stir to mix well. Stir very quickly to coat all the popcorn as completely as possible. The caramel syrup can create a bad burn so keep it off of your skin.

Return the coated popcorn to the oven and heat for 1 hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Cool completely before eating or storing.Makes 5 qts/2 lbs of caramel corn.

Make Caramel Corn

Holiday Popcorn Crunch

2/3 c sugar

1/2 c unsalted butter

1/4 c light corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

2/3 c pecans

1/3 c almonds

4 c popped corn

Keep popcorn and nuts on a cookie sheet in a 300 degree oven while preparing caramel.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring once in a while until mixture reaches the soft crack stage, (290F).

Remove from heat. Stir in Vanilla.

Remove popcorn mixture from oven and pour caramel mixture over it, being careful not to get any on yourself. Stir carefully to completely coat popcorn and nuts with caramel syrup. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Cool. Store airtight. Makes about 5 cups.

Gourmet Flavors

Gourmet popcorn is all over at Christmas time and other holidays. You can easily make your own by flavoring your own, homemade popcorn. It is delicious, easy, and inexpensive, making it a perfect gift.

Beside the caramel flavor you can do a taco flavor by using taco seasoning and tossing it with buttered popcorn, then baking it at 250, just like the caramel. You can substitute any flavor for the taco: BBQ, Dried Alfredo Sauce, Dried Sour Cream and Chive as well as many more. Check out the area of your grocers where they keep the seasonings for more ideas. You can even make fruit flavors by using sweetened Kool-aide!

Just keep it in a cool place in an airtight container and it will keep a long time...if the rest of the family doesn't find it!


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    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 7 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      yes you can...

    • profile image

      jesse 7 years ago

      Can I substitute white sugar for the brown sugar???

    • Live N Learn profile image

      Live N Learn 9 years ago from Las Vegas

      Wow! I shall treasure the secret to your crunchy popcorns. And I will try it at once. I need tons of snacks 'coz the kids will be glued in the house this whole summer. Thank you very much!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      :) Glad you liked it.

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 10 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      I know I've posted a comment already, but I haven't posted one since I've actually made the caramel corn. THANKS!!! IT'S DELICIOUS!!! I'm making it again tonight for the second time. It's in the oven now. Can't wait to eat!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      My mom did something similar to this but with white chocolate. She popped the popcorn, put it in a giant ziplock with melted white chocolate, and shook the back. It was GOOD!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Blessed- thanks. I hope it is what you were looking is cold here too..a great time for cuddling up and watching movies!

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 10 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Thanks for the wonderful answer to my request! It's just what I've been looking for! Now I know to BAKE it!

      We've got a lot of ice and have been pretty much closed indoors. I think I'll try it while we're shut in! No more gooey caramel corn for me; bring on the crunch!

      Thanks again, awesome hub! A thumbs up for you!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Thanks Mano & CGull! It is very good.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      This is awesome Marye I will also try. It looks good no wonder your kids love it. Cheers.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Zsuzsy-I hope it is what you are looking for..if not let me know..I have a ton of recipes for all kinds of things.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Marye! Thanks for your recipe. For the past couple of years a customer brought me a tin of the most awesome home made caramel corn. It had the 'neverenough flavor' My whole gang was eyeing with the tin to make sure they got their couple of handfuls. Every recipe I've tried so far just never seems to be just right. I'll be trying your out next weekend.

      thanks again for the recipe

      regards Zsuzsy