Learn how to make yummy, crunchy caramel corn at home! This delicious, easy treat is made with only a few ingredients and will be a big hit!Learn how to make yummy, crunchy caramel corn at home! This delicious, easy treat is made with only a few ingredients and will be a big hit!

Do you enjoy caramel corn? I sure do! I’ve been making it for over 30 years with the same recipe I drag out of my old and tattered recipe box! It is super easy to make, is NOT sticky, and stays crunchy when stored in an airtight container! I am finally getting around to photographing and sharing the process for making it on the ol’ blog today.

The recipe as written makes approximately 24 cups of crunchy caramel corn when all is said and done, and did I mention just how absolutely DELICIOUS it is? Uh huh… addictively YUMMY. I have NO CLUE where the original recipe came from all those years ago. It was handwritten on an old 3×5 card with no source noted. Here’s how to make crunchy caramel corn:

Scroll Down For A Printable Recipe Card At The Bottom Of The Page

The Ingredients Needed

The ingredients you will need include popping corn, brown sugar, butter, light corn syrup, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar can be found in grocery stores in the Spices and Seasonings section.

A photo of the ingredients needed to make this recipe for caramel corn.

Pop the Popcorn!

The first thing you will need to do is pop the popcorn! You will need 3/4 cup of UNPOPPED plain popcorn kernels to end up with 6 quarts  of popped corn (approx. 24 cups) , which is necessary for this recipe.

Make the popcorn (in batches) using an air popper, or your own favorite popping method (stovetop/microwave, etc.). Once it is all popped, make sure to remove and discard any uncooked kernels from the batch. Set the popcorn aside in a very LARGE bowl while you make the caramel sauce. NOTE: It’s important to have the popcorn ready, so as soon as the hot caramel sauce is done, it can be added immediately!

Plain popcorn is popped and ready to turn into caramel corn.

Make The Caramel Sauce

Now it’s time to make the yummy caramel sauce for the popcorn. It’s EASY, and no candy thermometer is needed! Melt butter in a large saucepan. Once it’s melted, add brown sugar, light corn syrup, and salt. Stir well, to fully combine ingredients.

Bring the sauce to a boil on medium heat. Once it begins to boil, continue boiling for exactly 5 minutes, stirring the caramel sauce often.

The ingredients for caramel sauce are added to saucepan.Caramel sauce ingredients are cooked in large saucepan.

The sauce for the crunchy caramel corn will get pretty “foamy” as it continues to boil, and will rise a bit in the pan (which is why you start with a large saucepan!). Just keep on stirring! As it gets close to the 5 minute mark, it will darken in color, as well.

Once you’ve boiled it for 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately stir in the baking soda, and a pinch of the cream of tartar. The cream of tartar and the baking soda add air to the sauce, which is what helps create the crunchy texture on the popcorn!

Crunchy caramel corn sauce is boiling in pan.Baking soda is added to the finished caramel sauce.

Pour And MIX, MIX, MIX!

Immediately pour the hot caramel mixture over the popcorn. Use a large spoon and stir and stir, until all the popcorn is well coated in caramel sauce. Just keep stirring! A word of warning: The sauce is VERY HOT, so be careful. This would NOT be a job for the kids!

Pouring the hot caramel sauce over the popcorn in large bowl.Popcorn is stirred until coated with the sauce.

Time To Bake The Crunchy Caramel Corn

Once the popcorn is well-coated with the caramel sauce, spread it out on two large rimmed cookie sheets. Try to keep the popcorn in a single layer, and separate pieces with your fingers, if necessary, to break up any large “globs”.

Bake the caramel corn in a preheated 200°F oven for 90 minutes (1½ hours). Stir the caramel corn every 20 minutes during the baking time.  Stirring it that much is important, because it keeps the pieces moved around and broken up (for even heat distribution). This will also help the caramel to crisp up nice and crunchy, just the way it should be. Here’s what I do: Put on a great movie, set a timer, then just get up to give the caramel corn a stir every 20 minutes. It’s a WIN-WIN!

Once done, remove the pans from the oven, and let the crunchy caramel corn cool to room temperature before serving. Break up any large pieces, once cool. Store the crunchy caramel corn in an airtight container to keep it crunchy and fresh for weeks!

Crunchy caramel corn is baked until very crispy, turning at times during baking.

Crunchy Caramel Corn Is A Yummy Homemade Christmas Gift

Crunchy caramel corn also makes a fantastic food gift to give to those you love during the holidays! I like to buy inexpensive little Christmas goodie bags at the store, and fill them up with this crispy sweet snack!

Good luck staying out of the entire bowl of crunchy caramel corn… it is so incredibly good! It will be hard to stop eating, once you bite into it and get a taste!

Christmas goodie bags, filled with crunchy caramel corn are a fun homemade treat!

Thanks for stopping by! I truly hope you have the opportunity to make some yummy, crunchy caramel corn for yourself or those you love. It’s such a great recipe, and is so easy to make. Come back soon for another visit, and have a great day.

Looking For More CHRISTMAS GOODIE Recipes?

You can find all of my Christmas goodie recipes in the Recipe Index, located at the top of the page. I have lots of them you’ll enjoy, including:

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Crunchy Caramel Corn
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
 

Learn how to make yummy, crunchy caramel corn at home! This delicious, easy treat is made with only a few ingredients and will be a big hit!

Category: Appetizer/Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crunchy caramel corn
Servings: 24 approx.
Calories Per Serving: 177 kcal
Author: JB @ The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup popcorn kernels (UNPOPPED) (to make 6 quarts popped)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks or 16 Tablespoons)
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F.

  2. Make popcorn using an air popper, or a favorite popping method (stovetop/microwave, etc.). Once popped, remove/discard any uncooked kernels. Put popcorn in a LARGE bowl; set aside. NOTE: It's important to have popcorn ready before cooking caramel sauce!

  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir to combine. Bring sauce to a boil on medium heat. Once boiling, continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring often. Sauce will get "foamy" as it cooks, and will rise in the pan (which is why you use a large saucepan). Keep on stirring! Near the 5 minute mark, it will darken in color, as well. Once it's boiled 5 minutes, remove pan from heat. Stir in baking soda and a pinch of cream of tartar (this helps create crunchy texture-don't skip this).

  4. Immediately pour hot caramel over popcorn. Use a large spoon and stir, until all popcorn is well coated in caramel sauce. Just keep stirring! TIP: Sauce is VERY HOT, so be careful.

  5. Spread coated popcorn onto 2 large cookie sheets. Try to keep popcorn in a single layer, separating pieces with your fingers to break up large "globs". Bake at 200°F for 90 minutes (1½ hours), stirring every 20 minutes, to keep pieces moved around and broken up (for even heat distribution). Once done, remove from oven; let caramel corn cool completely. Break up any large pieces before serving. Store in airtight container to keep it crunchy for weeks! Enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
Crunchy Caramel Corn
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 177 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 124mg5%
Potassium 48mg1%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 23g26%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 236IU5%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Learn how to make yummy, crunchy caramel corn at home! This delicious, easy treat is made with only a few ingredients and will be a big hit!

Crunchy Caramel Corn

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