Easy Caramel Corn Recipe
Have you ever had a craving for a sweet treat and nothing in the pantry will do? This quick and easy Caramel Popcorn Recipe is sure to fit the bill when the sweet tooth is calling! Basically caramel corn is made with 3 main ingredients: popcorn, butter and sugar. Mixing up a batch of caramel corn is really easy to do and makes a great treat for movie night, holiday parties, bake sale fundraisers, game day parties and other special occasions as well as just because you're craving a sweet treat!
In this article you'll find:
- a delicious recipe for caramel corn
- fun popcorn facts
- a Science Channel video "How it's Made-Popcorn"
- Handy Popped & Un-popped conversion information (how many kernels makes 4 quarts of popcorn, etc)
- How to Pop: microwaving kernels and easy stove top popping methods
- Tips, Tricks and Equipment for Popping Corn
Popping the corn for Caramel Corn
There are several ways you can go about making the popcorn you''ll need for making caramel popcorn. Below you'll find a few options:
- Buy pre-popped popcorn in the snack aisle of your grocery store.
- Make pre-packaged microwave popcorn (don't use butter flavored).
- Microwave kernels. You'll need to do this a couple times to make 12 cups, but it's an easy way to air popcorn if you don't own an air popcorn popper. Simply put 3 Tablespoons of popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag, fold the top down an inch or two to close the bag tightly. Place the bag on it's side in the microwave, moving the bag a little side to side to spread out the kernels within the bag. Microwave for about two minutes.
- Use an air popper. We have the Nostalgia Electrics Vintage Collection Hot Air Popcorn Maker at home, it's so cute, it looks like a carnival popcorn cart in miniature. This popcorn popper gets a lot of use in the kitchen and when it's not in use it looks great on display in the game/family room/basement on the tiki bar.
Pop kernels on the stovetop in a large pot. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut or coconut oil to medium saucepan along with 1/2 cup of kernels, place over medium heat and shake lightly until all kernels finish popping. Makes 4 quarts.
1 quart popped = 4 cups
2 quarts popped = 8 cups
4 quarts popped = 16 cups
Unpopped to Popped Conversion
1 ounce (2 tbsp) kernels= 1 quart popped
2 ounces (1/4 cup) kernels= 2 quarts popped
4 ounces (1/2 cup) kernels= 4 quarts popped
Did You Know?
Did you know that the kernels that don't pop and are left at the bottom of the bowl are called "Old Maids"?
Caramel Corn Ingredients
- 12 cups Popped Corn
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Stick Butter
- 1/4 Cup Karo Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Caramel Corn Instructions
- Place 12 cups of popped popcorn in a large bowl. In a medium size saucepan over low heat melt the butter add the Karo and brown sugar, stir well. Increase the temperature to medium heat, bring mixture to a slow boil and let boil for 4 to 5 minutes without stirring.
- Remove the pan from heat and add vanilla, salt and baking soda. Stir well. Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir thoroughly to coat all the popcorn.
- Spread caramel popcorn on cookie sheets that have been covered with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake at 250 degrees for 10 to 30 minutes. Remove caramel corn trays from oven and allow to cool. Break caramel popcorn pieces apart, place in bowl, serve & enjoy!
See How Popcorn is made in this Science Channel video:
Fun Popcorn Facts
- January 19th is National Popcorn Day in the United States
- 1/2 cup of kernels will make 8 cups of popcorn
- There are about 1600 popcorn kernels in one cup
The Popcorn Board is a non-profit organization funded by U.S. popcorn processors to raise awareness of popcorn as a versatile, whole-grain snack. The Popcorn Board is a national commodity promotion and research program formed in April 1998 as an Act of Congress at the request of the popcorn processing industry
Tips for Making Caramel Popcorn
- Bake the caramel corn in the oven longer for a darker, crispier caramel corn. Keep an eye on it though, you don't want it to burn!
- Spray your measuring cup with spray oil before adding the Karo syrup to keep it from sticking.
This is the popcorn popper we use, it's tabletop size and we keep it in the family room/basement on the tiki bar always ready to go when we get the urge to make popcorn. It's a quick and easy way to pop the corn for this caramel corn recipe.
This caramel corn recipe has become a family favorite at our house during the holidays. At Thanksgiving we get the kids involved and mix up a few batches to add to the Thanksgiving dessert table. Over the Christmas holidays we use the caramel corn to make caramel popcorn balls for our sweet table. We wrap them in cellophane to keep fresh till New Year's Day - if they last that long!
Once you give this caramel corn recipe a try you'll want to make it over & over again!
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