YOU GUYS! This is the BEST CARAMEL CORN RECIPE EVER! I don’t mean to yell. I just want to be clear. You haven’t lived until you’ve had this caramel corn. It is simple to make and is a real show stopper. I have given this as teacher’s gifts, eaten it in place of birthday cake and have been accused of hoarding it for myself. If that is wrong, I don’t want to be right.The ingredients are pretty standard. And I know there is a lot of negativity surrounding corn syrup and the like. If there is one place in the world they should be, it is dessert. Embrace it people! Then eat some carrots to balance it out. A huge part that makes this recipe so easy is there is no fooling with a candy thermometer or any of that nonsense. I will never make anything that uses one. Needing a candy thermometer instantly makes everything seem way more complicated, doesn’t it? The only thing hard about this recipe is remembering to watch the caramel so it doesn’t burn. I often try to do something else at the same time in the kitchen, thinking I can multi-task. And sometimes I can. But it never works out when I am making caramel. I’m fine with burnt toast. I’m okay with burnt pizza. But there is no place in this world for burnt caramel. Super grody.The corn syrup helps to make a nice candy coating on the outside of the popcorn. And a candy coating is never bad.If your kids are old enough to be around hot molten caramel, have them help you with this. There is a fun chemical reaction when you add the baking soda to the caramel. It foams up and grows. So cool. I have no idea what the purpose really is but if it helps it come out yummy, I’m all for it.You can use a roasting pan that you have, but I find it is easier to use a large disposable pan. The key to this caramel corn is baking it. It helps coat all of the popcorn and keeps the popcorn from becoming soggy. This is not a sticky caramel corn. It is crisp and buttery and perfect. I like using a larger pan to make sure that I don’t lose half of the batch in to the fiery depths of the oven when I stir it every 15 minutes. FYI, burnt caramel smells almost as bad as it tastes. And then clean up is a breeze because you don’t have to try to get hardened caramel off the pan. This is what sets this caramel corn recipe apart. The crunch and rich caramel flavor are SO good! There you have it. Best Caramel Corn Recipe Ever! SO easy. I know that some of you may have your own caramel corn recipe that you swear by. But yours is wrong. Mine is better. Sometimes I sprinkle a little Maldon Sea Salt on top as it is cooling down from its last spin in the oven. Oh yeah.For real, if you make some, and decide to give it out to friends, they will hound you for the recipe. Which you should give them because otherwise they’ll keep asking you to make it for them. And you are far too lazy for that. I often give this as holiday gifts to the teachers and staff at our school. I ALWAYS include the recipe card and they are always so grateful. And it’s fun when they make it throughout the year and tell you about it.
- 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup butter (I've used both salted and unsalted - I don't taste a huge difference)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 6 quarts popped popcorn (I use an air popper, but you can use plain microwave popcorn also)
- Pop all your popcorn (6 quarts) and place in disposable baking pan.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- To a saucepan, add the brown sugar, butter, salt and corn syrup.
- Melt together over medium heat, stirring almost constantly to keep it from burning.
- Heat to boiling and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
- Remove from heat and add baking soda.
- Stir well.
- Pour over popped popcorn and stir well, taking care not to break the popcorn.
- Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Stir the caramel corn as it cools to prevent it from sticking together in big clumps.
- Store in an air tight container.
It doesn’t even matter how you package it. I’ve handed it to friends in a ziplock bag before and their eyes light up just like if I had given it to them in a pretty little jar. Because yum.Go ahead and pin it. You definitely want to save this Caramel Corn Recipe!
*originally published Feb. 2104, now with updated photos!