This easy homemade caramel popcorn recipe can be made in the microwave and be finished in a matter of minutes! Using common pantry ingredients you can make a batch of the best caramel popcorn recipe!
Unlike other caramel corn recipes, this caramel corn is made with baking soda, making it nice and chewy and softer too! This is one of my family’s favorite treats and I’m sure after you try it, it’ll be one of your favorites too! You’ll never want to pay for expensive caramel popcorn again with this simple caramel corn recipe in your back pocket.
Making This Caramel Corn
You can use regular unsalted popcorn or salted popcorn in this recipe, both give tasty results.
The most important thing to remember is not to skip out on the baking soda. It’s what makes your caramel corn soft enough to not break your teeth. Baking soda, when combined with the other ingredients, makes small air bubbles that help to soften the overall texture. It’s a cool science lesson and a tasty snack at the same time!
Why Is My Caramel Corn So Sticky?
If you didn’t cook your caramel corn long enough it can result in a more sticky feeling than if you cooked it longer. This can be difficult to navigate at first due to different microwaves, but after a time or two of making this caramel corn recipe, you should have no issues figuring out what the correct time and sweet spot is for getting perfect caramel popcorn every time.
When cooked properly your caramel sauce should make the corn have a dried shiny coating and not a sticky mess. You can still eat it while it’s sticky, and some people prefer it that way. Just keep the hand wipes handy.
How Long Will Caramel Popcorn Stay Fresh?
Unlike many other recipes where the homemade versions don’t last nearly as long as the storebought counterparts, caramel corn made at home lasts about as long as caramel corn purchased from the store! You can expect your popcorn to last up to 3 months if properly stored, but we have always eaten it long before that timeframe was up!
Easy Homemade Caramel Popcorn Ingredients
-8 cups popped popcorn (1 regular sized bag)
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup margarine
-2 tablespoons light corn syrup
-1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted popcorn)
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
How to Make Homemade Caramel Popcorn
Pop the microwave popcorn per instructions on the package. Once popped, remove the “duds.” I do this by pouring the popcorn into a large bowl, shaking it, so all the duds fall to the bottom, then scooping the popcorn back into the bag in handfuls. Dump out the duds and return the popcorn to the large bowl.
In a large glass bowl or another large microwave safe bowl, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Heat for 1 minute 30 seconds in the microwave, then take out the bowl and stir the contents until well blended.
Return the bowl to the microwave and cook for 30 seconds. Remove it from the microwave, and stir in the baking soda.
Pour the syrup over the popcorn in the bowl. Stir to coat the popcorn as best as you can. Put the bowl of popcorn into the microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
Remove, stir well, and return it back to the microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir well, again.
Dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper, and let it cool until the coating is set.
Store in an airtight container, if there’s any left!
- 8 cups popped popcorn (1 reg sized bag)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt omit if using salted popcorn
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pop the microwave popcorn per instructions on package. Once popped, remove the "duds." I do this by pouring the popcorn into a large bowl, shaking it, so all the duds fall to the bottom, then scooping the popcorn back into the bag in handfuls. Dump out the duds and return the popcorn to the large bowl.
- In a large glass (or other heat proof) bowl, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Heat for 1 minute 30 seconds in the microwave, then take out and stir until well blended.
- Return to the microwave, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave, and stir in the baking soda.
- Pour syrup over the popcorn in the bowl. Stir to coat the popcorn as best as you can. Put the bowl of popcorn into the microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
- Remove, stir well, and return it back to the microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove, stir well.
- Dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper, and let cool until coating is set. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container, if there's any left!
How Do You Store Caramel Popcorn?
Keep your cooled (and no longer sticky) caramel popcorn inside of an airtight container or large resealable plastic bag. You can keep it at room temperature for up to 3 months this way, but I recommend eating it much sooner than that.
Can I Freeze Caramel Popcorn?
Something not many people know is that you can freeze caramel popcorn. Just make sure to keep it in its airtight container and it should be able to hold well for a few months.
How Do You Refresh Caramel Popcorn?
You can sometimes bring popcorn back from the stale state it is in by refreshing it in the oven. Place an even layer of popcorn on a parchment lined baking sheet and place it in the oven at 250 degrees F for about 5 minutes until it’s warmed through. This should help to re-crisp it back to its original delicious state.
Love popcorn? So do we! Here are some other popcorn recipes to try!
- Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
- Caramel Popcorn Cake
- Better than Caramel Popcorn
- Peanut Butter Popcorn
- Pretty in Pink Popcorn
- Chocolate Popcorn
- Peppermint Popcorn
- Caramel Popcorn
- Game Day Popcorn Mix
- Halloween Popcorn Mix
- Snickers Peanut Butter Popcorn
- Homemade Stovetop Popcorn
You’ll never want to buy another bag of caramel popcorn after trying this easy homemade caramel popcorn recipe, it’s simple to follow, and gives you the best batch of caramel popcorn you’ve ever tasted.