recipe

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for your caramel popcorn to cool before you eat it!

safety
  • Uses the oven
  • Uses the stovetop
difficulty
  • Intermediate
time
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus cooling time
yield
  • Makes 7½ cups

hey curious cook—

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Prepare Ingredients

Vegetable oil spray
7 cups
popped plain popcorn
5 tablespoons
unsalted butter
¾ cup
packed light brown sugar
¼ cup
dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon
salt
¾ teaspoon
vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon
baking soda
½ cup
salted peanuts (optional)

Gather Cooking Equipment

13-­by-­9-­inch metal baking pan
Large saucepan
Rubber spatula
Oven mitts
Cooling rack
1
 
Vegetable oil spray
7 cups
popped plain popcorn

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spray inside bottom and sides of 13‑by-9‑inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Place popcorn in baking pan.

 
2
 
5 tablespoons
unsalted butter
¾ cup
packed light brown sugar
¼ cup
dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon
salt

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt to saucepan. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula, until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and slide saucepan to cool burner.

 
3
 
¾ teaspoon
vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon
baking soda
½ cup
salted peanuts (optional)

Carefully add vanilla and baking soda (mixture will bubble and foam). Add peanuts (if using) and stir to combine.

 
4
 

Ask an adult to use rubber spatula to carefully scrape caramel mixture onto popcorn in baking pan (saucepan will be heavy and caramel will be hot). Use rubber spatula to gently stir until popcorn is evenly coated. Spread popcorn into even layer.

 
5
 

Place baking pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack. Use rubber spatula to carefully stir popcorn, scraping up caramel from bottom of pan (pan will be hot). Spread popcorn back into even layer.

 
6
 

Return baking pan to oven and bake until popcorn is deep golden brown, about 40 minutes, repeating stirring halfway through baking.

 
7
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack and carefully stir popcorn one last time (pan will be hot). Let caramel popcorn cool completely in pan, about 30 minutes. Break popcorn apart with your hands and serve. (Caramel popcorn can be stored at room temperature in airtight container for up to 5 days.)