The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (2024)

By Brandy 34 Comments

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Hands down the BEST baked caramel popcorn recipe you will find. Buttery caramel is poured over the popcorn and baked to perfection! This post wasoriginally shared in 2012 and now includes a step by step video.

You might also like our Zebra caramel corn (chocolate and white chocolate caramel corn) or our gooey marshmallow caramel corn made in the microwave!

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (1)

Watch our step by step video!

Homemade Caramel Corn

Homemade English toffee and baked caramel corn have been our go to gifts during the holidays for over about 15 years. Forget making cookies, a bag of caramel popcorn is where it’s at! I’ve tried microwaved versions, sticky caramel corn, etc. but nothing has been as good as this recipe. What family wouldn’t want a bag of fresh baked caramel corn to snack on during a Christmas movie night?

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (2)

The caramel coated popcorn is buttery, crunchy, and so delicious. I stumbled across it online back in 2006 on Paula Dean’s website and quickly memorized it after making it SO many times. I love that it is a no-nonsense recipe. 6 ingredients, minimal prep work, made on the stovetop, and no candy thermometer!

Here’s what one reader said, “Used this recipe for my daughter’s wedding last fall. Made enough for 100 people, everyone raved about it. In fact right now I’m making some for my son’s wedding this weekend. It’s the only thing he insisted on. Plus he wants a little bin for himself after the wedding!”

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (3)

It’s great for gifts and get-togethers. It stores well too. If kept in an airtight container or bag it will stay fresh at least a week. Ready to make a big batch? Let’s get started!

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (4)

Baked Homemade Caramel Popcorn Ingredients

Adapted from: Paula Dean

Scroll down for printable version

  • 6-8 quarts of popped popcorn (about 2/3 cup unpopped kernels, popped)*
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

*You can also use microwave popcorn. If you go this route, use a homestyle one that doesn’t have a lot of butter and salt already on it.

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (5)

Instructions

Pop popcorn kernels in air popper.

Pour popped popcorn into a large roasting pan or baking pan (you just need a pan large enough to stir the popcorn and caramel without it spilling out onto your table). Set aside.

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (6)

Melt butter, sugar, salt and corn syrup in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat to medium-high heat. When bubbly, set timer for 5 minutes and boil, stirring constantly.

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (7)

Remove the mixture from heat and stir in baking soda.

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (8)

Pour caramel over popped corn and stir to coat evenly.

Note: If you want to add mix-ins now is the time (peanuts, etc.)

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (9)

Now we’re going to bake it low and slow.

Bake caramel corn at 200 degrees (F), stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Pour out onto waxed paper or parchment paper lined baking sheets and cool.

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Fill up your favorite popcorn bowl and start snacking!

Why do you need to use baking soda in this recipe?

The baking soda reacts with the caramel to create a softer texture, even after baking. Making it easier to bite into!

Can you make caramel popcorn with margarine?

No. For any caramel recipe you must use butter. For flavor and texture.

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (11)

Baked Caramel Corn Recipe

The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (12)

Perfect Baked Caramel Popcorn

Hands down the BEST baked caramel popcorn recipe you will find. Buttery caramel is poured over the popcorn and baked to perfection!

3.97 from 33 votes

Print Pin Rate

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Total Time: 1 hour hour 10 minutes minutes

Servings: 16

Calories: 316kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 quarts of popped popcorn about 2/3 cup unpopped kernels, popped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light karo syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

Notes

Store popcorn in an airtight container to keep fresh.

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal

Brandy

Website | + posts

Welcome! I'm Brandy, mother to 5 darling kiddos and a cute black lab named Toby. My husband is in the Coast Guard so we've lived all over the place, turning each house into a home. I love baking, sewing, making cute things with my kids, and sharing what I've learned with all of you!

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The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (14)

About Brandy

Welcome! I'm Brandy, mother to 5 darling kiddos and a cute black lab named Toby. My husband is in the Coast Guard so we've lived all over the place, turning each house into a home. I love baking, sewing, making cute things with my kids, and sharing what I've learned with all of you!

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com without any additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (15)dkzody says

    I make a similar version but w/o baking soda or salt. Nor do I bake it after mixing in the caramel which I have cooked in the microwave. Easier and quicker to the good stuff.

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (16)Kathy Riggs says

      I wondered how it would be if I did not bake it. It always gets to dry, I will try just spreading it out after I pour on the caramel.

      Reply

      • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (17)Brandy says

        I haven’t tried that before, but I would think it would be equally as delicious! 🙂

        Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (18)Heather M. Whipple says

      No thank you dkzody I will take the labor of love over microwave any day.

      Reply

  2. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (19)Olgun sohbet Odaları says

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Reply

  3. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (20)Cindy Lee says

    Thanks so much! I’m using this for my Movie Party with my girls at my house but I was wondering how much popcorn this would make?

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (21)Brandy says

      Hi Cindy!

      It should make about 8 quarts. So I’d say it would serve 6-8 people. Enjoy! 🙂

      Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (23)Brandy says

      Hi Nicole! I’ve kept it in a storage container for up to 5 days and it was fine. I haven’t tried it longer than that. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply

  4. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (24)Naomi says

    My grandfather passed down a very similar recipe. I agree this is the best! It also keeps very well in the freezer – I often put it in a ziplock and just take out handfuls when we want them.

    Reply

  5. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (25)Carolyn Clarke says

    Delious. Made caramel for Halloween and put corn in Halloween bags. Everyone loved it. Thanks for posting recipe

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (26)Brandy says

      Sure thing! Glad you liked it!

      Reply

  6. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (27)Christine mox says

    Tried quiet a few recipes….this one the best!!! Hands down!!!

    Reply

  7. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (28)Heather M. Whipple says

    This looks really good and I will definitely be trying this out. Will be pinning this on my Pinterest autumn board.

    Reply

  8. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (29)SB says

    Salted or unsalted butter?

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (30)Brandy says

      I use salted!

      Reply

      • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (31)Sb says

        Thanks so much

        Reply

  9. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (32)Brandy Gerace says

    Used this recipe for my daughter’s wedding last fall. Made enough for 100 people, everyone raved about it. I just dumped the popcorn after it cooled and dried into large clear Rubbermaid storage bins and placed large 16oz red solo cups for people to scoop up a cupful. I’ve never baked caramel corn before but it was the right thing to do, it turned out to be 93° and crazy humid. The caramel melted off the apples we made but the popcorn stayed perfect. In fact right now I’m making some for my son’s wedding this weekend. It’s the only thing he insisted on. Plus he wants a little bin for himself after the wedding. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (33)Brandy says

      That is awesome, and what a great idea to serve it at a wedding! It really is such a great recipe, our favorite!

      Reply

  10. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (34)Debbie says

    The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (35)
    I LOVE this recipe! It’s easy enough for me to be able to make it! I think I’ll give this Popcorn as neighbor gifts. Thanks for sharing! Will definitely use this recipe again!

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (36)Brandy says

      Awesome! When you find a good one there’s no point trying any others!

      Reply

  11. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (37)Heather says

    The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (38)
    I found the recipe had too much butter and too much baking soda.

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (39)Brandy says

      1 cup butter and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Is that what you used? That’s pretty standard for caramel popcorn—-sorry you didn’t like it.

      Reply

  12. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (40)CC says

    I finally tried this baked caramel popcorn. I wonder if my mixture, though I set the timer for 5 minutes, was overcooked. It was dark and didn’t easily coat each kernel as in the picture of yours. The caramel is super stuck to the pot I cooked it in. I was surprised no one else had this issue, by reading the comments.
    It does taste good though, for which I am grateful. I also sprayed my cookie sheet with nonstick spray because having never made before, with my luck it would stick like crazy. But I don’t think it needed to be sprayed.

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (41)Brandy says

      Hi CC! It definitely sounds like it was cooked too long or on too high of heat. Every stove cooks differently. Maybe drop it down a bit next time once it begins to boil to med-low? I’m glad it still tasted good for you! 🙂

      Reply

  13. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (42)Anna says

    Do you use light brown sugar or dark?

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (43)Brandy says

      Hi! I use light.

      Reply

  14. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (44)Barbara Cohen says

    My husband grew up in Argentina. They sell popped corn with orange marmalade. Wonder if I could substitute marmalade for less corn syrup and sugar–heat, add baking soda????????

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (45)Brandy says

      That sounds interesting and worth a shot!

      Reply

  15. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (46)Belinda says

    I’d like to make this with plain skinnypop popcorn I bought at Costco! Could you give me a rough idea how many cups of made popcorn for this recipe? Thanks!!!!

    Reply

    • The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (47)Brandy says

      6-8 quarts. I’m not sure exactly how many cups of popped popcorn that would be. 24 would probably work.

      Reply

  16. The BEST Baked Caramel Popcorn Recipe (48)Amanda says

    This is similar to my grandmother’s recipe. Her recipe also has 1 tsp of Vanilla that you add with the baking soda and is baked at 250. I have made it with both butter and margarine, both work fine. The margarine makes it soak into the popcorn a bit more than the butter but no appreciable difference. I have a friend’s mother that is allergic to dairy so I always make hers with margarine and nobody else can tell which batch I gave them.

    Reply

Trackbacks

  1. […] So when we recommend a recipe, you know it’s a tried and true one. I absolutely love the caramel corn recipe that we use (It’s from Paula Deen!), but it takes an hour to bake in the oven. Well worth the […]

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  2. […] Paula Deen’s Caramel Corn Recipe […]

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