For as long as I can remember, my grandparents have made this caramel corn recipe around Christmas every year. They would spend a whole afternoon in the kitchen making batch after batch to give to friends and family – we’re talking 40 gallons of this stuff! Now that I make it in my own kitchen, I stick to just one or two batches at a time. I love to make it before a road trip or for family movie night.
To make the caramel corn, you’ll need:
2 gallons of popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Great caramel corn starts with good popcorn, so let the microwave popcorn sit this one out. If you don’t have a popcorn maker, you can pop it on the stovetop or buy a popcorn maker like this or this. My exact popcorn maker is pretty old, but you can buy the newer model here.
Once you have the popcorn ready, spray two or three baking sheets with cooking spray, (depending on how large yours are) and spread the popcorn onto the baking sheets in a single layer. If you like pecans in your caramel corn, now is the time to add them. Cashews would be amazing, too!
Now for the deliciously gooey highlight of the recipe, the caramel! You can really use any combination of corn syrup and brown sugar; light syrup/dark sugar, dark syrup/light brown sugar, both dark, both light. It really just depends on your preference. I prefer the light corn syrup and dark brown sugar, but this time around light brown sugar is what I had on hand. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, then add the corn syrup and brown sugar. Bring it to a boil for 1 minute, then add the baking soda and stir it into the caramel.
Split the caramel evenly between all the trays of popcorn. It will look like it can’t possibly be enough caramel, but it will be. Stir well to coat the popcorn in the caramel.
Bake the caramel corn at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Stir the caramel corn well every 20 minutes. You’ll notice the caramel begins to cover the popcorn much more easily each time you stir. When it’s finished baking, let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. I usually split it into zip top bags, especially if I plan to give some away.
- 2 gallons popcorn
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ½ cup corn syrup
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup pecans optional
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Spray baking sheets liberally with cooking spray and spread popcorn out in a single layer. Add pecans on top of the popcorn, if desired.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, and corn syrup and boil for 1 minute before adding the baking soda. Stir to combine.
Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir to coat.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring well every 20 minutes.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.