I Did It! I Finally Did It! (Caramel Corn Success)

Remember my favorite kind of failure? It’s caramel corn! I’ve attempted caramel corn 8 times and each time I failed miserably. Constantly my readers offered me recipes from their grandmothers and constantly I ignored them.

Well—two days ago I finally looked myself in the mirror and said, “SELF, pull yourself together and make caramel corn! Use a reader’s recipe!”

I used Christine’s recipe (sorry, Sara, I know you posted your grandmother’s recipe first but Christine’s was the first one I read when I went back in my archives.) It worked like a charm. I’ll reprint it here using Christine’s words:

Okay here goes. Never fail Caramel corn.

1 cup butter

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

6 quarts of Popped corn(use the kind labelled Mushroom popcorn)

Heat your oven to 250F. Melt the butter, stir in the corn syrup, sugar and salt. Bring the misture to a boil stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the soda and vanilla (Careful! it foams!). Pour over the popped corn and mix well. Spread the coated corn into large cake pans and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let it cool and eat! You can add peanuts or any other nuts if you like. Trust me on this one. Would my Grandma lie to you?

No she wouldn’t!

I halved the recipe because that recipe would’ve made too much. It’s interesting to note that when you add the baking soda and vanilla the consistency becomes very strange–it almost looks like caramel shaving cream. Be not alarmed. I’d also note that it pays to stir well and when it cools try to keep it from forming flat clots on the bottom. Here’s my finished product:

Delicious looking, no? Thanks Christine! Or, rather, thank your grandma!

31 thoughts on “I Did It! I Finally Did It! (Caramel Corn Success)”

  1. Oh yum… we use to make it in one of those fancy popcorn makers that have a crank and wheel at the bottom. Kept the stuff from clumping. Except you have to make sure to soak the thing right away or the paddles never work again.

  2. Weird. I was just today thinking ” I wonder if Adam ever made that caramel corn?” Why yes you did. I am so excited and happy it worked for you.

  3. heya, been checking out your fantabulous food blog for quite a while now and i must commend you for your witty sense of humour that makes this site so much more enjoyable to read… and yes, i saw your previous caramel corn failure and this latest success and wanted to say a big ‘thank you’. haha because i’ve always wanted to make caramel corn but it seemed so daunting but i decided to try this recipe that you got from Christine and my oh my, you’re so right. it’s a ‘never fail’ caramel corn recipe that’s certainly for keeps. i had a good time eating it too… so ya… thanks! and keep up the good eats + lovely reviews… cheers..

  4. I have been trying to make caramel corn for years. I love it but never could get it right. So, I alway have to buy it. I just came from the county fair with a lovely bag full. If you can do it, I will surely give it a try. The picture looks exactly like what I want to make. Wish me luck. I am going to use the recipe you posted.

  5. I did it as well. I used Christine’s recipe. Thanks bunches. I was skeptical at first but it came out just like the picture and is delicious. I am on vacation and this was my project. The caramel corn I made in the past would be chewy and I wanted crispy. This recipe is a keeper.

  6. I tried doing the caramel with the boiling over the stove 5 min with out stirring and that just ends up burning it. Perhaps I should only leave it for 1-2 min.

  7. quarts and celcius…as a Canadian I was thrilled to see the temp in C, but then had to go and look up quarts… either way it came out great, although I don’t know what mushroom popcorn is…

  8. Sorry – i guess this may be a silly question : is the popped corn in the recipe already popped? I guessed it should be popped but then if so, baking at 40 mins at 250C wont it get burnt? Please advise cos caramel popcorn is one of my children’s fav snack!

  9. ..and just where do you get this “mushroom” popcorn. I’ve found none in the store locally. Washington DC


  10. 250C ~ 485F. Is this right? It seems that temperature is far too hot for such a long time, 40 minutes.


    PURE CANE SUGAR (such as C&H)

    and then

    whatever I happened to have on my shelves, such as a store brand sugar, that is usually beet sugar or made from juice of some other sweet plant.


    C & H preferably, then you know it is cane sugar.

    The caramel comes out velvety, whereas the other types of sugar produces a grainy texture.

  12. I’m also asking the famous question about oven temp . . is 250° C correct or is it 250° F? I’ve converted the C to F and have been baking in oven at around 400°F. I have to be very careful so it doesn’t burn becaue then it tastes awful. I’m just wondering if the higher temp makes a difference in how soft/crunchy the final result is or if it is just a typo! Thanks!

    BTW, Marthat Stewart make some caramel corn on her show (not as good as this recipe) but she added 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 -1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper–sweet and spicy popcorn. The spicy kick makes it tastey too!

  13. Yum!! I made the caramel corn today for my little 4 year old great-grandson. He loved it (so did I). I added 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice when I added the baking soda and the vanilla. It is really good. I was a little concerned that the caramel sauce would burn without stirring so I did stir a little. (probably should have cooked it a lower temp) but it turned out fine. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  14. I have been making this recipe for over 20 years and everyone loves it. I do bake my carmel corn for 1 hour stirring every 15 mins. The recipe I use makes 1 1/2 times this recipe and I bake it in a big electric roaster pan. It has become a tradition that all family and friends get a bag for Christmas.

  15. I just made this popcorn and it is soooooooooo good..This is what i will give out as Christmas gift to our renters and my husbands family YUMMY:)

  16. Perfect! It doesn’t turn out soggy like the other recipies that I have. This is an entry in my favorites.

  17. The recipe says to pour over the popped corn and then spread onto a cake sheet and stir every 10 mins…

    When I pour the mixture over the popped corn, I end up with a big glob of caramel with corn stuck to it but cant seem to get the caramel distributed very well – any hints?

    Also, when I put it onto a sheet pan, it’s all one big, flat clump – a big solid slab of caramel corn. How does one ‘stir’ that every 10 mins?



  18. GREAT recipe! My 7th grade home ec class made this and it turned out terrific! They loved it, it tasted great and was easy and fun. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Thanks soooooo much, I made this and it flopped

    not sure what I did wrong. Well it came in handy patching the new holes in my kitchen wall! My wife patched my back side real goooood!


  20. I don’t want to mess with the perfection you’ve found, Adam, but I found a way, be it ever unlikely, to make this recipe better, easier, and cut the time it takes down a fraction. We go to our old friend, the microwave. For those fans of (slaves to) microwave popcorn, this recipe can be modified slightly and you have microwave homemade caramel corn! I just tried it and was so excited I had to share. Don’t scoff, the result is the same. After trying the recipe in the oven, and being able to make only so much in mine while my large family leered, I wondered if the second batch could be easier if I just did it in the MIKE. I went online and found recipes calling for a big ol brown bag used for groceries. None were available, as they had all been used for making alien heads and robot suits. Again, being the extremely desperate lover of caramel corn I am, I tried to find a brown gift bag or something to use . I realized that since I had already cheated with the microwave popcorn and hadn’t poured it out yet, I could just try to use that bag. My family, at this point, had already devoured the first batch and were gathering their torches and pitchforks waiting on the second batch. In desperation, I poured about a fourth of the popcorn out of the bag -to allow for mixing room- and poured about a third of the recipe of caramel over it. It took a couple of tries, but the final result for microwave time follows: Mixed, and popped it back in MIKE, and cooked for 30-45 seconds on high. Take out the bag, stir the contents and return for another 30 seconds. Spread over wax paper and allow to cool. When the corn is cool, simply lift the wax paper, tilt, and the caramel corn will fall off into the waiting bowl. Do this two more times to use the rest of the caramel. There is just enough plain popcorn left from three microwave bags to placate a mob, er, your family while the caramel corn cools. I was especially happy with this method since there was only measuring cups/spoons, a whisk, a spatula and one pot to was from the whole homemade caramel corn adventure. The best part is the fact that there was only one injury. (Yes, there have been several more than one in past new recipe trials. The sweet and sour sauce debacle of ’05 comes to mind, but I digress.) My youngest daughter learned very quickly the reason caramel corn has to be eaten AFTER its cool. I hope this is helpful to someone out there, who, like me, can’t wait very long for caramel corn.

  21. With all due respect to crack, I’m pretty sure this is better than crack. Followed your recipe exactly with perfect results. Many thanks!

  22. This is the best recipe. I did it with mixed nuts that I added with the popcorn before I poured the carmel sauce over. I lowered the heat to 200 and baked it for an hour. On stir number 4, I sprinkled a little coconut and toffee bits. On stir number 5 I repeated that. On stir number 6 when you take it out of the oven, let it cool on some parchment paper. Then, drizzle some melted milk chocolate and let it cool.

  23. For 5 years, dh has asked me to make caramel corn like his aunt used to make. I fought it. My mom always made kettle corn and I am ok with that because it it soooooooo easy! Anyway, tonight, to make my guy happy, I decided to look up easy caramel corn recipes. When I read the title to this page, I knew I found a recipe I could try. So what if I failed, at least hubby would never ask me for Caramel again, right?

    Well, it didn’t fail! This caramel corn is fantastic and has been added to my home made gift repertoire. Too bad Christmas was last week!

  24. Great recipe! although when the corn was cooling the excess caramel ran off so it came out more like a caramel brittle with popcorn in the centre, but it still tasted great.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top