Homemade Caramel Corn Recipe

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Sweet and crunchy, this Homemade Caramel Corn is the best ever, melt in your mouth treat! Perfect for your next movie night.

Love homemade popcorn treats? Be sure to use our microwave popcorn recipe to make these soft and chewy popcorn balls!

Caramel corn in a white bowl for serving.
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Traditional Caramel Corn Recipe

Being from Chicago, I’m quite particular about my pizza, Italian Beef, and my popcorn.

Through over 12 years of blogging, I’ve tried to perfect these Chicago favorites. You can get my recipes for Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Italian Beef.

And now, you can make my recipe for Homemade Caramel Corn.

If you’ve ever bought the grocery store caramel corn, you won’t make that mistake ever again. Once you’ve made this melt in your mouth Caramel Corn recipe for yourself, you’ll understand.

Step by Step Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make caramel corn.

Popcorn. First you’ll need to start with about 16 cups of popped corn. You can pop it yourself on the stove top, air popper, or you can use microwave popcorn. You’ll need 3 regular sized bags of microwave popcorn for this recipe. 

For the popcorn, you can use any style you prefer. Whether it’s a light or a butter, you decide. I usually go for the light because this melt in your mouth caramel corn doesn’t need anything extra!

Be sure to remove ALL SEEDS (popcorn kernels) after popping your popcorn. Place your popcorn in a large bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line two roasting pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make the caramel. In a small saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar, light corn syrup, and kosher salt. Bring it to boil over medium high heat, and boil for one full minute, stirring constantly. 

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla extract. The mixture will lighten in color upon mixing. Pour over popped corn and stir gently with a wooden spoon until all the popcorn is completely covered in caramel mixture.

Bake. Pour popcorn mixture into two prepared baking sheets. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool completely. Once cooled, break apart and store in airtight container or large ziploc bag.

Enjoy for up to two weeks.

Caramel corn in 4 different sized bowls.

Recipe FAQs

Why use baking soda in caramel corn?

I add baking soda to the caramel corn so that it will react with the brown sugar and corn syrup. It creates carbon dioxide air bubbles, making the caramel foamy. Why is this important? The purpose of the air bubbles is to create a softer caramel. You don’t want to bite into a hard caramel. Instead, this results in a chewy, soft, melt in your mouth piece of caramel corn.

How do you store caramel corn?

Store cooled caramel corn in air tight container or ziploc bag at room temperature for up to one week.

Why is my caramel corn sticky?

If your caramel corn turned out sticky, it most likely hasn’t been cooked to the proper temperature.

More Caramel Corn Recipes

Add a delicious peanut butter twist! Whip up a batch of this Peanut Butter Caramel Corn with Butterfingers.

Imagine all the possibilities when you coat your popcorn in chocolate? This easy Chocolate Covered Caramel Corn is just the beginning!

Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive snack is better than the original!

Caramel corn in a white bowl.

More Easy Snack Recipes

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Caramel Corn

4.86 from 28 votes
By: Aimee
Sweet and crunchy, this Homemade Caramel Corn is the best ever! Perfect for your next movie night.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 16 cups


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar packed
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 cups popped popcorn about 3 bags of microwave popcorn**
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  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Line two large roasting pans (or baking sheets) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat.
  • Add in baking soda and vanilla. Stir until foamy.
  • Gradually pour over popped corn. Mix well.
  • Pour into prepared pans. Place one pan on top rack (middle of oven) and one on bottom rack.
  • Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes (and rotating in the oven). Remove after an hour and allow to cool. Store in airtight containers or ziploc bags. ENJOY.


  • Make sure ALL seeds have been removed! Use my homemade microwave popcorn recipe instead.
  • Store cooled caramel corn in air tight container or ziploc bag at room temperature for up to one week.
  • If your caramel corn turned out sticky, it most likely hasn’t been cooked to the proper temperature.


Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 132kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 96mg, Sugar: 15g
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on February 3, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. Hi,
    This recipe looks so delicious! My girls are vegan, do you think I can swap the butter for earth balance ?
    Thanks 😊

  2. I have used this same recipe for at least 40 or more years. Given to me by my Mother-in-law many, many years ago. It is easy to make, taste wonderful and never fails.

  3. Hi! I just found your recipe, and I’m so excited to try it. I just tried a different recipe that required 5 minutes of the boiling. No stirring. It turned out more like Cracker Jacks Carmel corn, of which I am not a fan. I want the light, melt-in-your-mouth kind that I see here. Do you think the difference lies in the amount of time boiling?

  4. I made caramel corn and I think I  forgot the corn syrup. ??‍♀️ Can I add it after it’s been baked? Thank you

    1. Once you bake it, you stir every 15 minutes, it breaks down to more individual pieces in the oven.

  5. I absolutely love caramel corn and make it for every trip we take as a nice munchie in the car. I’ve never tried it with the baking soda but now you’ve given me something to up my popcorn game. This would be great Super Bowl party time.

4.86 from 28 votes (28 ratings without comment)

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