Want to elevate your next movie night and impress your friends? We've got the perfect homemade treat to do just that and more -- caramel popcorn. We'll walk you through our best caramel popcorn recipe, plus some fun variations for any occasion. Let's get poppin'!

popcorn kernels

What You'll Need:

  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheets
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Large sauce pan
  • Measuring cups
  • Medium sauce pan with lid

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup un-popped kernels
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp of pink salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup butter, unsalted
caramel popcorn ingredients

Instructions

Step #1: Prep Step

Begin by preheating the oven to 250 degrees and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step #2: Pop, Don't Stop

Heat the medium sauce pan with oil over medium-high heat. Add a few kernels to the pan, cover with the lid, and wait for the kernels to pop. Once they're popped, remove the popcorn into heat-resistant bowl right away, and add the rest of the un-popped kernels to the pan. Cover with lid and pop the corn, intermittently shaking the pan. Once the popping noises stop, add this batch to the bowl as well. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.

plain popcorn in bowl

Step #3: Creamy Caramel

Now it's time to make the caramel sauce. Over medium heat, melt butter in large sauce pan. Add sugar and stir softly until combined. Bring to a boil by increasing the heat to high, and stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Stop cooking if you see any wisps of smoke coming from the pan.

Step #4: Bubble-icious

Remove from heat, then add vanilla paste and baking soda. The caramel will bubble and froth, but just keep stirring it until your sauce becomes smooth.

closeup of homemade caramel sauce

Step #5: Combination Station

Combine the finished sauce with the cooled popcorn by adding the sauce to the popcorn bowl. Stir until the popped kernels are evenly coated with the luscious sauce, and be careful not to burn yourself with the hot pan.

Step #6: Baking Beauties

Next, spread the coated caramel corn onto your two lined baking sheets. Bake for about one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool completely. Then you can enjoy this treat for up to a week, but we're sure it won't last that long!

finished caramel popcorn

Variations And Uses

Now that you have a fool-proof way to wow movie night guests with our caramel corn recipe, feel free to mix it up a bit. Add some cayenne pepper or curry powder to the sauce for a spicy twist. Consider mini jars of caramel corn as favors for a "She's About to Pop"-themed baby shower. For a dessert take, craft homemade ice cream and top with crunchy caramel corn and chocolate drizzle. Add caramel corn to trail mix for a sweet and crunchy element. There are truly limitless ways to use our recipe; just let the creativity flow.

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