Grandma’s Caramel Corn.

Sweet and crunchy, this caramel corn is so easy to make at home! You’ll find yourself baking batch after addicting batch.

Homemade Caramel Corn by sallysbakingaddiction.com- sticky, crunchy, sweet, and irresistible!

Tomorrow, March 17th, is my grandmother’s birthday.

I started my blog two weeks after Grandma passed away from Alzheimer’s. Grandma was a baker, gardener, hard worker, and had a heart full of love. She always got my sisters and I excited about being in the kitchen. Grandma had a huge sweet tooth that she (thankfully!) passed down to me.

Grandma Harlett

Grandma was known for a few things. Her laugh, her sticky pecan rolls, homemade chex mix, pecan pie, and her buttery caramel corn.

I published her sticky pecan rolls and caramel corn recipes in my cookbook and make her pecan pie each November. If you have tried any of them, you know her recipes are like finding gold!

I think about Grandma often this time of year and wanted to share her very favorite recipe with you on my blog today. This caramel corn recipe can also be found in my cookbook as Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn on page 94.

Homemade Caramel Corn - sweet and crunchy, this caramel corn is simply addicting! Melts in your mouth.

We make Grandma’s caramel corn every Christmas. It wouldn’t be a holiday without it! Sticky, salty, and sweet – it’s nearly impossible to not reach for a second (or third or fourth) handful. “I can’t stop eating it!” is usually the response that I get. ;)

Her caramel corn recipe is simply the best of the best. Like the kind of old-fashioned caramel corn you get at a carnival. But better. And made with love.

I made her caramel corn again this weekend for today’s big cookbook signing party at my parents’ house. I have a feeling our family friends will be more interested in the caramel corn than my cookbook. But that’s fine by me, Grandma deserves the spotlight anyway.

Homemade Caramel Corn by sallysbakingaddiction.com- sticky, crunchy, sweet, and irresistible!

Caramel corn is so easy to make from home! There’s hardly any work involved. In fact, I guarantee you’ll be shocked at its simplicity.

Start with some air-popped popcorn. Don’t have a popcorn maker? No problem!

Do a little shortcut version: Add 3 Tablespoons of popcorn kernels to a standard lunch brown paper bag. Seal the bag tightly by folding over the top 2 times. Microwave the kernels for approximately 1 minute 45 seconds on high, or up to 2 minutes depending on your microwave. This DIY air-popped popcorn method makes 5 cups of popcorn. You’ll have to do it twice to get 10 cups, which is what our caramel corn recipe calls for.

Spread your popcorn on two large baking sheets. Then, make the caramel.

Homemade Caramel Corn - sticky, crunchy, sweet, and irresistible!

The caramel is made from a few basic ingredients. Brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar, and salt. It’s extra sticky, extra thick, and extra bubbly. Let it boil over the stovetop, remove from heat and add baking soda.

Why baking soda? The purpose of baking soda in the caramel is to react with the acid (the brown sugar and corn syrup), which creates tiny carbon dioxide air bubbles. Hence, the foaming you see in the photo above. Once the caramel has cooled on your popcorn, the air bubbles inside the caramel create a softer texture. The softer texture means you won’t be biting into hard caramel.

Rather, the caramel is chewy and only slightly crunchy. It will melt in your mouth.

Homemade Caramel Corn by sallysbakingaddiction.com- sticky, crunchy, sweet, and irresistible!

Once the caramel is mixed up with the popcorn, simply bake it at a very low temperature to get the caramel to “set” evenly over the kernels. Then, pop ’til you can’t stop.

There’s no denying you won’t fall in love with this stuff! Hardly any prep work is involved and you’re using very simple, straight-forward ingredients. Plus, it’s a great recipe to make ahead of time and in bulk. Bring to bake sales, on road trips, serve as a simple finger food at holiday parties – everyone loves it. I doubled the recipe for the party today; I knew 10 cups wouldn’t be enough!

Want to take the caramel corn to the next level? Add 2 cups of salted peanuts to the popcorn before pouring the caramel on top. I do this with my Peanut Butter Caramel Corn. The crunchy salty peanuts mixed with the sweet caramel will blow your mind.

Homemade Caramel Corn by sallysbakingaddiction.com- sticky, crunchy, sweet, and irresistible!

So here you go. From my family to yours!

PS: I’ll be sure to post a few photos of the book signing party today on instagram. If you’ve made any of my cookbook recipes, be sure to tag me and use the hashtag #sbacookbook. I don’t want to miss it!

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Grandma's Caramel Corn

Sweet and crunchy, this caramel corn is so easy to make at home. You'll find yourself baking batch after addicting batch. It's a great make-ahead recipe for a party or guests and can easily be doubled.

Yield: 10 cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups (100g) air-popped popcorn*
  • 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (80g) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200F degrees. Spread the popcorn out onto 2 large baking sheets. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir constantly and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda.  Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir gently until all the kernels are coated.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  Allow to cool on the pan and break apart large clusters if desired.  Cover the popcorn tightly once cooled; it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.

*If you do not have a popcorn maker at home, you can simply add 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels to a brown paper bag.  Seal the bag tightly by folding over the top.  Microwave the popcorn for approximately 1 minute, 45 seconds on High, or up to 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.  This method will make 5 cups, so you'll have to do it twice. Alternatively, you can use natural-style microwave popcorn that has no butter added to it.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

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Seasoned Pretzels. An easy, addicting salty snack everyone will love. Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

 

See more snack recipes.

See more salty/sweet recipes.

Take a peek at my caramel lovers’ Pinterest board, too!

 

 

 

 

 

   

107 Responses to “Grandma’s Caramel Corn.”

  1. #
    61
    Amyposted August 21, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Can you use stove popped corn for this recipe?? What are the advantages of using the air-popper?
    Thinking of making it as wedding favours but don’t have an air-popper!

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on August 22nd, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Air popper seems to be a little quicker and can make a larger batch. Stove popped works too!

      Reply

  2. #
    62
    Skye Mansourposted September 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    OMG Sally this recipe is absolutely scrumptious!I have just made a double batch for my Son’s first birthday party this weekend and I can not stop eating it! You American’s have without doubt the best recipes for cakes and sweets. I am loving all of them but my jeans are feeling much tighter this last month since I have found your website! I am obsessed! I am now about to make the rice krispie recipe – they sound delicious also so fingers crossed they work out fabulously well. Tom’s first birthday is really all about Sally’s Baking Addiction. I can see after this weekend you will have a whole lot more of Australian followers….

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful family recipe.
    Hats off to your Grandma!

    Skye x

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on September 15th, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Skye! I truly appreciate every word. Happy birthday to your son!

      Reply

  3. #
    63
    Martha Growallposted September 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Can you use kettle corn for this recipe and use an air popper? I loved the story about your grandmother. My family was all from Lexington Ky. We passed our caramel corn through three generations but mushroom kettle corn is my favorite. Maybe you could help me with the kettle corn if there is one. Thank you so much. Marty

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on September 28th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Marty, I fear the caramel corn would be way, way too sweet if you begin with kettle corn. You may use an air popper to make the popcorn for this recipe, yes.

      Reply

  4. #
    64
    Glendaposted October 19, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Hi, you mentioned your Grandma’s “famous” sticky pecan rolls….I’m wondering if you’ve posted that recipe. I’d love to try it! And the caramel corn looks great…will be trying that soon. =)

    Reply

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