Chewy bites of homemade caramel make this easy five ingredient caramel corn recipe a favorite snack or sweet treat for every age.
I think you’re going to find two camps on this one.
First camp: Chewy. Second camp: Crunchy. Count me on
Team Gwen Team #1. Chewy all the way.
Just like my favorite granola bars, I favor a chewy, buttery bite to my caramel corn instead of a crack-the-crown-off-your-tooth type of caramel corn.
Call me crazy but my mom and dad didn’t spend all that money on these pearly whites for nothing. I need all my teeth!
For Christmas last year, Smudge got an official, old school popcorn maker from her aunt and uncle. At first I was sort of wondering, why? And where? As in where in the heck am I going to store this sucker? But after using it I’ve certainly found its merits. It makes light and fluffy popcorn each and every time. And I’m okay that it’s stuck in the basement.
Just like in this white chocolate peppermint popcorn treat, I used my favorite popcorn kernel you won’t find at just any old regular grocery store. It’s called mushroom popcorn.
It pops in extra big puffs and rarely leaves those half cooked, un-popped kernels that lodge in your teeth or again, crack a crown. You can find it here.
About the Recipe
Being successful at making caramel corn is all about keeping an eye on the caramel and diligently watching that temperature. The ingredients for a chewy caramel corn and a hard caramel corn are exactly the same, it just comes down to how long you cook the caramel.
For a softer, chewier caramel (Camp #2!), cook the mixture only until it hits 235 degrees F. For a harder bite, cook the caramel to 250 degrees F. I use this type of candy thermometer but if you’re into making a tiny bit more of an investment, this one looks even better.
I used our trusty popcorn popper to pop my corn, but if you’re looking for a foolproof stovetop method, this is the one for you.
If you’re into making popcorn balls, simply form the popcorn into shape while still tacky and warm. I find that adding a little softened butter or oil to my hands makes it a lot easier.
I tossed my popcorn with the caramel on a baking sheet but I often use a large bowl to achieve the same effect. Choose whichever suits you.
There are tons of additions you can make to this caramel popcorn to dress it up or down. Think about these flavor combos:
- Make it every man’s dream with chunks of bacon and chili or sriracha powder
- Protein power it with a trail mix of nuts, chocolate chips and raisins
- Make it tropical with dried pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts
- Eat it cookie monster style with chunks of your favorite cookie chunks
- Drizzle with a combination of melted white and dark chocolate. Add nuts for even more crunch
- Turn it up with s’mores flavors of graham cracker chunks, marshmallows and chocolate
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 quarts (16 cups) popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels)
- Melt the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan. Stir to mix well. Cook until caramel reaches a temperature of 225 degrees F for a chewy caramel, stirring often. Add the popcorn to a large bowl or spread it on a baking sheet topped with wax paper. Top with the hot caramel and toss to coat, mixing well.
- ** For a crunchier caramel corn, cook the caramel to 240-245 degrees F.
5 More Caramel Corns to Make You Want to Crunch
There’s more than one way to caramel a corn. Whether it’s with bacon, bourbon or topped on a cupacake, here are five you’ll want to lick your fingers to.
Bacon and Mixed Nuts Caramel Corn
A little bit spicy with tons of crunch, this caramel corn will keep the fingers dipping all night long.
Get the recipe | Brunch With Joy
Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
This caramel corn has everything but the kitchen sink in it, and ZERO corn syrup too!
Get the recipe | Ambitious Kitchen
Cinnamon Maple Caramel Corn
Caramel corn that’s healthier and dairy free? This one takes the cake.
Get the recipe | Cookie & Kate
Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes
This is the reason it takes a watchful eye when it comes to making caramel corn.
Get the recipe | The First Year
Sriracha Honey Popcorn Clusters
Get the recipe | Heather Christo
Food for Thought
What is your favorite addition to caramel corn?
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