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Caramel Corn From Scratch

By Rachel

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Last Updated on December 10, 2021 by Rachel Granholm

Are you in for a treat! This caramel corn from scratch recipe is so tasty!

My husband and I have been wanting to start a new tradition around the Christmas season. Nothing seemed to be ‘it’ until I came across a caramel corn recipe a few weeks ago. I loved the thought of making homemade caramel corn to give to neighbors, friends, and family, so that is exactly what we did! This caramel corn is so wonderfully satisfying. It has a crunch yet a delicate moisture at the same time. I hope this recipe for caramel corn from scratch inspires you to create a tasty treat this holiday season!

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Kitchen Materials

Ingredients For Caramel Corn

  • popcorn kernels
  • oil (olive oil or avocado oil work well)
  • brown sugar
  • butter
  • light corn syrup
  • baking soda
  • vanilla
  • sea salt
    ingredients needed for homemade caramel corn

Ingredients For Chocolate Drizzle

  • powdered sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • almond extract

Caramel Corn Recipe

  • 15 cups of popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cut up butter
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • sea salt (optional)

Chocolate Drizzle Recipe

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 4-5 Tbsp. of milk (dairy or non-dairy)

Directions For Caramel Corn

  1. Start by popping the corn kernels on the stovetop in a 5 quart pot.
    corn kernels in a pot
    Follow directions on your kernel package for the best popping efficiency. Transfer the popped corn to large bowls and set aside.
    popped corn in bowl
    You will need to do this step two times to get enough popcorn.
    corn kernels popping in pot
  2. Next, you will need to line each of the baking sheets with tin foil.
    line pans with tin foil
    Try and get the foil up the sides of the trays as well to avoid any sticking from the caramel.
  3. Then, take a stick of butter and smear it all over the foil.
    butter pans
    I would say to apply the butter liberally so that you don’t get sticking corn or caramel.
    butter on baking sheets
  4. Now you make the caramel sauce!
    brown sugar for caramel sauce
    Start by adding the brown sugar to the 2 quart pan. Then add the cut up butter and corn syrup.
    mix caramel sauce ingredients in pot
  5. Stir slowly on medium heat. 
    ingredients in pot
    With a spatula, mix the ingredients together. Once combined, watch for little bubbles to form around the edge.
    bubbles forming in caramel sauce
    Once bubbles form, let the caramel boil at a steady rate, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
  6. While you are waiting, spread the popcorn evenly on each baking tray AND pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. After 5 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the baking soda and the vanilla.
    add vanilla to caramel
    Stir to incorporate.
  7. Pour the caramel onto the popcorn.
    pour the caramel on popcorn
    Disperse the caramel evenly between the baking trays. Use a spatula to move the caramel around, coating the popcorn.
    stir caramel on popcorn
    Continue to move the popcorn around until it is evenly coated with caramel. This process takes a little while so just go slowly and be patient!
    caramel on popcorn
  8. Once coated, bake the caramel corn for 15 minutes. While you are waiting, you can whip up the chocolate drizzle.
    Chocolate Drizzle Directions:
    Combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and almond extract in a bowl.
    Add the milk 1 Tablespoon at a time and mix, continuing until you have a thin frosting like consistency. Then, spoon the chocolate sauce into a large Ziploc bag, like a piping bag, for drizzling the sauce onto the caramel corn.
    chocolate drizzle for caramel corn
  9. After the 15 minutes are up, take the trays out. Stir any melted caramel onto the popcorn, then bake again for 5 minutes. Make sure to have hot pads ready for the trays to sit on and then cut a small diagonal hole in the bottom corner of the Ziploc bag.
  10. Place the trays on hot pads. You can sprinkle sea salt over the caramel corn if you like. Then, drizzle the chocolate onto the caramel corn.
    chocolate drizzle on homemade caramel corn
  11. Let the caramel corn cool.
    homemade caramel corn

    To give as a simple gift, simply write a greeting like “Merry Christmas” on a Ziploc bag with a Sharpie, fill with caramel corn, and add a pretty ribbon.

I hope this yummy caramel corn from scratch recipe inspires you to create a tasty holiday treat! You can add your own spin on it too such as adding different mix-ins like M&M’s, crushed up pretzels, or crushed up candy canes. Take time to find joy in the process of baking!

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Let me know in the comments below if you would add anything else to this recipe!

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