Salted Caramel Popcorn {Chewy}

12.06.2013

Caramel Popcorn is one of the greatest parts of the holidays! It’s the ultimate party snack food and the perfect gift to share with others as it’s basically guaranteed to be thoroughly enjoyed. This version is chewy, perfectly sweet and nicely balanced with hints of salt.

Mound of caramel popcorn in a serving bowl over a white platter.

Homemade Caramel Popcorn Recipe

This caramel popcorn isn’t just any ordinary caramel popcorn, this is a chewy (kind of sticky), salted caramel popcorn.  The sea salt in this recipe takes caramel popcorn to the next level of deliciousness, it ads a gourmet touch.

I love both types of popcorn, the chewy and crunchy, but I think I favor the chewy a little bit more. It reminds me of my Grandma because she made it all the time, especially during the holidays.

Pouring caramel coating over plain popcorn in a large mixing bowl.

Ingredients for This Recipe

  • Popcorn kernels – see below for instructions on how to pop in microwave
  • Light brown sugar – adds a richer flavor than white sugar would.
  • Unsalted butter – gives it that classic buttery richness.
  • Corn syrup – gives the coating a good consistency and keeps it from crystalizing.
  • Fine sea salt – adds that classic lightly salted caramel flavor. Reduce amount if desired for less salty taste.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – adds a delicious creaminess.
  • Vanilla – adds flavor.

How to Make Caramel Popcorn

  • Pour popped popcorn into two large mixing bowls or 1 giant mixing bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1/2 tsp of the sea salt.
  • Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Once it reaches a boil, add sweetened condensed milk, then return to a boil and cook mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 236 – 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla then stir in 1 tsp of the fine sea salt.
  • Drizzle half of the caramel over popcorn then toss several times and drizzle in remaining caramel and toss, sprinkling in remaining 1/2 tsp salt during tossing and toss popcorn until evenly coated with caramel.

Close up image of caramel popcorn.

Great for for Caramel Popcorn Balls

This is also the kind that you can shape into popcorn balls and wrap up in individual packages. It makes a huge batch, but I have the feeling you’ll be glad it does. Trust me, this stuff is unbelievably addictive. We were eating it all day long. There’s no stopping when it’s around.

Below I’ve shared instructions on how to pop popcorn in a brown paper bag. We are temporarily living in D.C. and I left my popcorn popper at our other home, so I was excited to try out this incredibly easy method.

All you need it popcorn kernels and the paper lunch bags and you are minutes away from delicious popcorn that has no artificial flavoring or strange ingredients. Enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn is one of the greatest parts of the holidays! It's the ultimate party snack food and the perfect gift to share with others as it's basically guaranteed to be thoroughly enjoyed. This version is chewy, perfectly sweet and nicely balanced with hints of salt.
Servings: 18
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1 1/4 cups popcorn kernels, popped (use the lesser for thicker caramel coating)
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste, divided
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condesned milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Pour popped popcorn into two large mixing bowls or 1 giant mixing bowl. In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1/2 tsp of the sea salt.
  2.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil, add sweetened condensed milk, then return to a boil and cook mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 236 - 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. 
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla then stir in 1 tsp of the fine sea salt (you can also stir in remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt or reserve to sprinkle over popcorn, whichever you prefer). 
  4. Drizzle half of the caramel over popcorn then toss several times and drizzle in remaining caramel and toss, sprinkling in remaining 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste) during tossing and toss popcorn until evenly coated with caramel. 
  5. Allow to cool then store in airtight containers.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Salted Caramel Popcorn
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 307mg 13%
Potassium 150mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 61g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 53g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 7.5%
Vitamin C 0.7%
Calcium 9.1%
Iron 3.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caramel Popcorn
Calories: 359 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
How to make popcorn using a brown paper bag in the microwave | Cooking Classy

Microwave Popcorn Method

You’ll Need

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

Directions:

  • Add kernels to a brown paper lunch bag. Fold top of bag down twice (about 3/4-inch folds. Do not tape or staple).
  • Place bag in microwave and heat on HIGH power until popping begins to slow (about 2 second interval between pops), about 2 – 2 1/2 minutes depending on microwave wattage.
  • Remove and season as desired (for the caramel pocpo recommend clarified butter and salt. For instructions on how to make clarified butter see link here).

How to make popcorn using a brown paper bag in the microwave | Cooking Classy

How to make popcorn using a brown paper bag in the microwave | Cooking Classy

 

16 comments

  • Amanda: Hi – this recipe looks amazing! I’m wondering how sticky it ends up being? I know it’s supposed to stay soft rather than crunchy (yay!), but I’m wondering if the sauce will also stay wet/sticky, or if once it dries it’s just slightly tacky . . . I may not be asking this very well – sorry! November 12, 2015 at 8:17am Reply

  • Heather: I’m not sure I understand how much popcorn you used. How many cups of POPPED corn do I use? Sorry if this is a dumb question, I just don’t want the ratio of popped corn to caramel to be off! I like mine nice and chewy too! :) October 7, 2014 at 1:25am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I don’t know how many cups it is popped, I only measured by the kernels before popping because that always seems to be a more accurate measurement plus then I don’t have to sit there and measure out 15 cups or whatever it is. Sorry when I make it again I will try to remember to measure. November 4, 2014 at 10:52pm Reply

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