Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Halloween is here and I can’t stop thinking about caramel popcorn.  It must be the hundreds of caramel popcorn balls I made and the thousands I ate as a child around this time of year.  It’s too bad that for safety’s sake all of the treats you hand out on Sunday night will be pre-packaged.   The trick-or-treaters’ loss is your gain.  Make up a big batch of caramel popcorn on Sunday night for a buttery, salty, crunchy treat and save the Snickers for the kiddies.

This recipe is from my mother’s files and, according to her mimographed sheet, is actually called Carmel (sic) Popcorn.  Carmel, caramel – who cares, it taste great and is surprisingly simple and fast to make.

The stains and splatters let you know it's a good recipe!

Caramel Popcorn

6 quarts or 24 cups of popped corn

2 cups brown sugar

2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter

1/3 cup white Karo syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Put popped corn is a large roasting pan, set aside.

In a large sauce pan* melt together brown sugar, butter, Karo syrup and salt, stirring to mix.  Cook on medium-high to high heat until bubbles form around the edges.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, do not stir.  After 5 minutes, remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, stir well.

Carefully pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir so that all of the corn is coated in caramel.  Be careful – caramel is very hot.

For Caramel Popcorn Balls

Stir caramel and popcorn well allowing caramel to cool slightly.  Coat hands with butter and form popcorn into balls.  Cool formed balls on rack.

For Caramel Corn

Place caramel corn in oven for 1 hour, stirring mixture every 15 minutes.  Let cool before storing in an air-tight container.

Caramel Popcorn, Popcorn Tips

  • If you use microwave popcorn, 3 bags makes approximately 24.5 – 25 cups of popcorn.
  • Do not use buttered or flavored microwave popcorn, plain or lightly salted is best.  I used Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Simply Salted.
  • To avoid un-popped kernels use your hands to move popped corn from microwave bags to roasting pan — the heavy kernels will stay at the bottom of the bag.

Caramel Popcorn Tips

  • A non-stick sauce pan is ideal for making the caramel sauce. I used the 3.5 quart Calphalon pan* I won at last month’s Food Blogger Forum Atlanta.
  • Before measuring the Karo syrup, lightly spray the measuring cup with Pam or other non-stick cooking spray.
  • If making popcorn balls, save your butter wrappers and use them to coat your hands.
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5 responses to “Caramel Popcorn Recipe

  1. I’m definitely going to try this recipe. Delicious!

  2. I agree about the homemade Halloween treats. Too bad! But now I will have to make this just for a snack. I don’t think I can find that Karo syrup here. Can you suggest a substitution, maybe corn syrup?
    -Kerry

  3. I love caramel corn too, but more so I love your mom’s carefully written recipes. Those are special. 🙂

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