This caramel corn recipe is one of the best I have ever tasted! It is easy to make and produces a light, sweet, crunchy–not chewy–caramel corn that is sure to become a family favorite.
Last year, I was treated to a hostess gift of Emma’s gourmet caramel corn and it was like eating crack! It was so good, and unlike many caramel popcorn varieties I have tried in the past. Emma’s is a small company based in Lancaster, PA that makes amazing gourmet popcorn in several flavors. A small 6 ounce bag of Emma’s will put you back about $4. Not a treat that I’d be willing to splurge on often. I snapped a photo of the ingredients list so that I could try and replicate the recipe on my own, and I think I’ve done it! This caramel corn recipe produces something very similar to Emma’s at a fraction of the price. This recipe is based off of one I found on Chow.
- 15 cups popped plain popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels and 1/4 cup coconut oil)
- 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 12 tablespoons salted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into slices
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Step 1: Heat oven to 250°F.
Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Cover two jelly roll, or roasting pans with coated parchment paper and set aside.
Step 2: Pop your corn.
Have you ever made stovetop popcorn before? It really could not be any easier and it tastes amazing–so much better than store-bought popcorn. I like to use a stainless steel stock pot with a lid to cook my popcorn. Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil over medium-high heat and then add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. Toss the kernels in the oil, cover the pan with the lid, and wait for the corn to begin popping. Once popping begins, keep the lid on and shake the pot back and forth over the burner until the popping ceases, usually after 2-3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and uncover. Transfer the popcorn to two jelly roll pans, lined with coated parchment paper.
Step 3: Cook the caramel.
Mix together the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture continually for about 5 minutes with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides, until the sugar has dissolved. Next, boil the mixture without stirring for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
Step 4: Add baking soda and vanilla.
Whisk in the baking soda and vanilla until the caramel has doubled in volume and is lighter in color. This will only take about 20 seconds.
Step 5: Coat your popcorn with caramel.
I found it easiest to transfer one pan of plain popcorn to a large stainless steel mixing bowl and drizzling half of the caramel into the bowl to cover. The caramel is thick and needs to be well combined with the popcorn using a rubber spatula. Work quickly, stir the caramel and popcorn in the bowl, and then transfer the caramel corn back into the jelly roll pan in an even layer.
Step 6: Bake for 30-45 minutes.
Place your pans side-by-side in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes with rubber spatula. To test for doneness, remove a piece of caramel corn from the oven and allow it to cool on the counter. If the corn is light and crunchy, the caramel is done. Once done, remove from oven and allow to completely cool before storing.
My family LOVES this caramel corn and begs me to make it for family movie nights. It also makes a great hostess gift and will keep for several days if stored in an airtight container. It makes 15 cups.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to pin this recipe for later!