Fancy Caramel Popcorn

Published December 22, 2011. Updated October 26, 2023

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This Fancy Caramel Popcorn is sure to get everyone reaching for a handful. It’s easy to make and a holiday staple for most families. Try it this holiday season!


Alas, I have finally decided what treat to gift this year (it’s about time,  I seriously spent way too much time stressing about what to give).  Here it is, Fancy Caramel Popcorn.  This popcorn is my favorite caramel popcorn and my new favorite holiday treat!  I think I ate about 10 cups of it in one sitting, so be warned, it’s addictive.

And you wouldn’t believe the caramel is made in the microwave, so it’s very simple to make. Instead of multiple hours of baking complicated recipes, this one is fast and easy. You’ve got to love that! I combined the ideas of many recipes to create just what I was looking for.

This is the perfect last-minute treat to give to family, friends, or neighbors.  It’s also the perfect crowd-pleasing snack for parties (it’s likely you won’t see one piece of this delicious caramel-covered popcorn left in the bowl at the end of the party).

I love the combination of flavors in this popcorn.  You get salted crunchy pretzels, lightly salted nuts, and chewy popcorn covered in sweet, silky, not too gooey caramel and it’s finished off with a generous drizzling of decadent melted milk chocolate and white chocolate. There really is every delicious flavor profile!

Try this popcorn out and I believe it’s likely to become one of your new favorite holiday treats as well.  Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!  I hope one of my recipes makes it to your holiday table, bringing your family and friends together.  Merry Christmas!

16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes! (plus weekly recipe updates)

5 from 1 vote

Fancy Caramel Popcorn

Caramel popcorn upgraded pretzels, nuts and chocolate! The perfect treat for holidays and parties.
Servings: 12
Prep15 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes


  • 1/3 cup un-popped popcorn kernels
  • 2 ½ cups mini pretzels , broken into pieces*
  • 1 cup lightly salted peanuts or chopped almonds
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • ½ cup light-corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips


  • Pop popcorn kernels in a popcorn popper into a very large bowl. Be sure to remove any un-popped kernels (so no one breaks a tooth). Add in crushed pretzels and peanuts and gently fold mixture together, set aside. In an large microwave safe bowl, melt butter, it should take about 50 seconds. Stir in brown sugar, light corn syrup and salt. Mix well. 
  • Microwave mixture for 2 minutes, then stir and immediately return to microwave and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from microwave, add in vanilla and baking soda and stir until frothy, about 10 seconds (don’t be tempted to dip your finger in and taste test, it is HOT). 
  • Pour caramel over popcorn mixture and gently stir until evenly coated. Pour caramel coated popcorn mixture onto a parchment or wax paper covered cookie sheet (if you don’t have either paper you could even just butter the cookie sheet).
  • Melt milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, on 50% power in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate into a piping bag or ziploc bag and cut the tip off and drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn. Repeat this step with the white chocolate chips.
  • Place chocolate covered popcorn in refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and break popcorn into pieces. Store popcorn in an airtight container.


*I just take a handful of the pretzels and crush them in my hands, the size is probably one pretzel broken into 3-4 pieces, in case you were wondering =).

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    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      The coating isn’t really supposed to harden, its more of a sticky gooey caramel popcorn. What you could do is bake it on a low temp after coating it with the caramel and stirring ever 15 mins until it’s reached desired crunch.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the recipe, it turned out great! I used one bag of microwave popcorn and it was just right.

  • Jaclyn

    Yeah I think that would be fine, I would recommend using the tender white that doesn’t have butter flavor. Also it would probably be about 3 bags I think. I hope you enjoy this!

  • Anonymous

    Awesomely fun recipe but had a question. I made this, (first time making my own caramel sauce) and the caramel came out gritty. I am assuming because of the brown sugar. How do you get it so smooth?
    Thanks again for the recipe!

    • Jaclyn

      If you find this to be a problem again in the future I would recommend giving it a good stir with a wire whisk after cooking it fully in the microwave until you no longer see any sugar granules on the whisk when lifted out, then add in the baking soda and vanilla and continue as directed. Hopefully that helps!

  • Anonymous

    Yes! That was very helpful! I am going to the grocery store now to get the ingredients. Ill let you know how mine turns out! :) Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to taste it!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  • Anonymous

    This looks delicious! I was wondering though, about how many people does this dose serve? I was thinking about making it for Thanksgiving for about 6 or more you think this recipe is enough or should I double it, etc.?

    • Jaclyn

      I think that it does make enough for 6 – 8 people. It’s so easy that if you happen to eat it all you can go whip up another batch in no time =). I don’t know exactly how many cups the recipe yields but if you keep in mind 1/2 cup kernals (a few tbsp more than the 1/3 listed) yields 16 cups popped popcorn then this should make around 12 cups. Hopefully that helps. Have a great Thanksgiving!