Joy the Baker

Homemade Caramel Corn

March 20, 2010

Homemade Caramel Corn

I cooked some sugar.

I cooked some sugar and poured it over salted popcorn.

Holy moly.  Hot sugar.

Homemade Caramel Corn

I need to talk to you about hot sugar.

Homemade Caramel Corn

I need to tell you that hot sugar on you hand… not cool… at all.  Hot sugar on salted popcorn is a dream come true.

Homemade Caramel Corn

If you can’t already tell, I burned myself while making this popcorn… for breakfast.  Don’t judge.  The burn was totally worth it.

I learned the value of a giant bowl of ice water in the making of this popcorn.  I’m just sayin…

Here’s how to cook some sugar and make it even more delicious. Just be careful.. k?

Homemade Caramel Corn

It all starts out innocently enough.  Sugar.  Water.  Heat.

Homemade Caramel Corn

After ten minutes of cooking, the sugar is looking like a lean mean sugar bubblin’ concoction.

Homemade Caramel Corn

Twenty minutes.  Watchyoself.

Homemade Caramel Corn

My sugar took about 25 minutes to reach this lovely shade of amber.  And then it burned the heck out of me.  Sad and true…

Homemade Caramel Corn

and worth it.

Homemade Caramel Corn

makes about 6 cups

adapted from

Print this Recipe!

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1  teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

1/2 cup roasted almonds

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, depending on how salty you like your life

bowl of ice water

This recipe requires that you work quickly and carefully.  I don’t want you to hurt yourself.  ok?

First, make the popcorn. Place oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add one kernel of corn and cover pan.  When the single kernel pops, add the 1/2 cup of unpopped popcorn and cover.  Use a pot holder to lightly shake the pan as the corn pops.  When the popping stops, turn of the heat, remove the pot from the burner and shake the popcorn into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of sea salt… depending on how salty you like your popcorn.  Set popped popcorn aside.

Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside.  If you get any hot sugar syrup on your body.  Ouch.  Stick it in ice water… fast.

Measure out  the butter, vanilla extract, nuts and salt.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan add the sugar.  Pour the water into the pan with the sugar, but pour the water towards the  side of the pan… not directly on top of the sugar.  Mark an X with your finger through the sugar and water.

Place saucepan over medium-high heat and let cook.  Swirl the pan every few minutes  Swirl, don’t stir.  The sugar and water will cook down and bubble and slowly begin to caramelize.  The process takes 20-30 minutes of cooking and swirling.  Be patient but keep an eye on it.  At the 20 minute mark, you’ll begin to smell caramelization.  When the sugar reaches a caramel color, remove from the heat.  Add the butter and vanilla extract.  The mixture will bubble up.  Give it a few good swirls.

Working quickly and carefully pour the hot caramel mixture over the popcorn.  If any hot caramel gets on your skin, immediately immerse in the bowl of ice water.  Ouch!  With two spatulas stir until most of the popcorn is covered in hot caramel.  Carefully pour out onto a silpat or foil lined sheet pan.  Break up any large clumps with the spatula, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and let come to room temperature.

88 Comments Add A Comment

  • I just made this and my caramel got all gritty as soon as I put it on my popcorn. What gives?

    • I had the same thing happen and I’m guessing we didn’t caramelize long enough. Also I was using a wide shallow enameled Dutch oven and I only used medium heat. Dutch ovens aren’t supposed to be heated over anything higher than medium. If I try this recipe again I’ll use a stainless steal and heat the caramel hotter.

      Also I noticed the recipe leaves out when to add the nuts. I assume they were supposed to mixed in with the popcorn and some point.

  • I’ve heard that’s the nastiest burn ever. So sorry you had that happen…but so glad it rewarded you in the end. :)

    Take care, and don’t let it get infected! *hugs*

  • It’s like you read my mind – I need some caramel corn for breakfast tomorrow! Burns, not so much. I tend to get enough of those already.

  • sorry about your hand. I’m gonna have to try that – minus the burn

  • When I burn myself I always end up sitting on the ground sulking, wishing someone would come give me sympathy and burn cream. While I can’t help with the burn cream (only parents own burn cream) I can give you sympathy. There there joy, have some popcorn, it’ll make you feel better, promise.

  • How timely. A friend and I were just talking about having caramel popcorn for dinner. Thanks!

  • I am making your Poppy seed cake with blueberry glaze for my son’s girlfriend’s birthday dinner tomorrow night. Can’t wait to cut into it. It was very easy to mix. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • That looks 100% awesome! Isn’t it funny how the simplest things can look (and taste) so delish?!

  • Popcorn Party For One is happening SO VERY SOON! Thanks sister .. Looks Amazing.

  • Caramel corn is my favorite!! This looks perfect!

  • Oh man this looks so yummy, I may need to make this for the kids tonight.

  • I’ve been craving caramel corn lately! This looks so delicious.

  • Joy, this looks gorgeous. The weather here is starting to cool and today is boring, grey and rainy. I think this will be perfect for spending the afternoon watching reruns of Gilmore Girls! And I hear you in regard to hot sugar on hand. Not cool. Mine was hot sugar on end of finger after I decided to poke it. Seriously… what the heck?!?

  • I have seen caramel popcorn popping up everywhere! Just last week I made tropical caramel popcorn, which was fantastic.

    Sorry about your burn, I have a feeling your caramel popcorn took your mind off of it though!

  • I’ve been waiting for you to post something like this!! Thank you. Tonight is popcorn night!

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