Payday Caramel Corn

Peanut butter caramel corn made even sweeter by the addition of caramel corn. This easy Halloween treat tastes just like a Pay Day candy bar.

Caramel corn is one of my favorite treats to make to give as a gift or party favor. I was craving Peanut Butter Caramel Corn recently and decided to make it a little more festive by adding in some candy corns.

Those little morsels didn’t just add color–they made the popcorn taste like the Payday bars I loved as a kid!

Caramel corn with peanuts and candy corn in a metal bucket.

What is a Pay Day?

A Payday is a candy bar made with peanuts, nougat and a candy coating. Something about combining candy corn and peanuts together recreated the flavor almost perfectly.

I’ve been munching on bowls of peanuts and candy corn for years, especially when it’s Halloween season and there’s candy corn everywhere. That snack inspired payday truffles and this payday cookie recipe!

So adding candy corn to my peanut butter caramel corn to make Pay Day Caramel Corn was a no-brainer.

Ingredient Notes

Good caramel corn starts with freshly popped corn. Use your favorite microwave popcorn, make it on the stove top, or use your popcorn popper. Make sure to remove the unpopped kernels after the popcorn is popped.

This is a little tedious, but 100% worth it to avoid the unpleasant surprise of biting into a hard seed when you’re enjoying your caramel corn. You’ll need about 5 quarts of popped popcorn.

Peanuts in this recipe should be roasted and salted for best flavor.

Wooden bowl filled with homemade caramel corn with peanuts and candy corn.

Step by Step Instructions

STEP 1. Pop the popcorn

Pop according to package directions or using your preferred method for homemade popcorn from scratch. Transfer the popped popcorn to a large mixing bowl being careful leave the seeds behind.

STEP 2. Make the caramel

Melt butter with sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour over popped corn and mix well to coat every piece of popcorn with the caramel.

STEP 3. Bake

Divide caramel corn mixture evenly into two foil lined broiler pans. Bake in a 250 degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. After stirring each time, rotate the pan 90 degrees so the popcorn bakes evenly.

STEP 4. Add candy corn and peanuts

Remove the caramel corn from the oven and return it to a clean mixing bowl. Melt your vanilla bark according to package directions and then pour over the caramel corn.

Add peanuts and candy corn, mix together and pour out on to a strip of parchment paper. Allow to set until the vanilla coating is firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer to large ziploc bags and seal to store. Enjoy!

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Tips and Tricks

  • Storing: This popcorn lasts about 2 weeks if stored sealed tightly at room temperature. In my house, we always eat it up long before!
  • Not a fan of candy corn? You can make this without to have a delicious peanut caramel corn recipe.
  • Broiler pans lined with foil are perfect for baking the popcorn. Disposable lasagna pans work too!
  • Store the caramel corn in individual portions by dividing it between sandwich bags instead of larger gallon sized bags. Easy to grab and go or hand out as a Halloween party favor!

Treats like this Pay Day Caramel Corn might just be my favorite thing about Halloween! This one is definitely part of our regular rotation, along with M&M’S® Peanut Butter Caramel Corn and Fluffernutter Caramel Corn.

More Snack Recipes

Yield: 16 servings

Payday Caramel Corn

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Caramel Corn that tastes like a Payday candy bar! With peanuts and candy corn!


  • 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
  • 2 ½ bags of popped corn (remove seeds), about 5 quart popped
  • 16 ounce package vanilla bark (or Ghirardelli vanilla melting wafers)
  • 21 ounce bag candy corn
  • 1 ¼ cup salted, roasted peanuts


  1. Pop popcorn according to package. Place popped corn into a large mixing bowl (make sure to not add any seeds). Set aside.
  2. In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour over popped corn. Mix well.
  3. Divide caramel corn mixture evenly into two foil lined broiler pans (or large disposable lasagna pans would work too) Bake in a 250 degree oven for one hour. Stir every 15 minutes, and rotate in oven.
  4. After one hour, remove from oven and pour into a large mixing bowl. Melt vanilla bark according to package directions and pour over caramel corn. Add in peanuts and candy corn. Pour onto parchment paper (I lay a big strip down on my counter top) and allow to set, about 30 minutes). Once chocolate is set, fill two large gallon sized ziploc bags and seal. ENJOY!


    • Once chocolate is set, fill two large gallon sized ziploc bags and seal. Store for up to one week.
    • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 513Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 253mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 1gSugar: 68gProtein: 3g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

I love the bright pop of orange and yellow color mixed in with the white candy coated popcorn kernels. The salty crunch of peanuts and the buttery caramel make this Pay Day popcorn a must try!

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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 October 8, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. Did I seriously read this and not comment? What is wrong with me? I was probably drooling so much over the yummy popcorn that all comments just flew out of head:-) I love candy corn and peanuts together, but in a caramel popcorn coated in white chocolate? Sheesh that’s just plain awesomeness!!!

  2. I think if I started eating this I would end up continuing to dip my hand in the bowl until either I passed out in a sugar coma or someone staged an intervention. 🙂

  3. Funny my Husband just asked me to get payday bars! I haven’t had them since I was a kid! Now I have a good excuse not to buy them! Going to make your popcorn instead!

  4. That is so funny you say that! I’ve been dreading costume making for my kids for ten years, literally!!, and i don’t even have any yet.


  5. AImee- I JUST discovered the payday/candy corn/peanut thing in a recent cookie I baked!! I am OBSESSED with paydays. Salty sweet and gooey. So much texture, which is what I LOVE! Caramel corn is a holiday mainstay with my family, and I crave it ALL year round. This caramel corn looks insanely good. Like stopping typing this comment right now and get into the kitchen good!!

  6. This looks AMAZING and I WILL be making it!! I feel the same about Halloween. Once my kids got too old to Trick or Treat, Halloween became much more relaxed!

  7. That looks awesome!!! Can’t wait to try it…

    I hear you on the costumes…thankfully my kids are older now & like handing OUT the candy rather than going out for it! 🙂 which is nice…as Halloween is my Bday!

  8. That looks awesome!!! Can’t wait to try it…

    I hear you on the costumes…thankfully my kids are older now & like handing OUT the candy rather than going out for it! 🙂 which is nice…as Halloween is my Bday!

  9. I did not know that. But now I need to go try it….

    And I dislike Halloween for the same reason. I’m talking Jordan off the “I want to be Hannah Montana” cliff right now…

  10. I feel the exact same way about Halloween. Costumes are so stressful! I always have good ideas for them, but actually executing those ideas is way more effort than I’m willing to exert.

    This caramel corn looks awesome – I loooove candy corn!

  11. We eat candy corn by the TON around here, so I’m definitely trying this recipe! Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t love Halloween. I made my little boy PROMISE there was no changing his mind on his costume this year…but we’ll see how that goes!

  12. This. Looks. INCREDIBLE. I love caramel corn the most, and Paydays are my dad’s favorite candy bar, so I know that between him and I, we could polish off this entire batch, no problem. So delish!

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