Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn & a Video

A recipe from my latest cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting.

cinnamon bun caramel corn

Almost the weekend! Hope you’re having a great week. I just looked at my calendar and it’s already Halloween at the end of next week? What is going on. Fall is way, way, wayyyyyyy too short. Not enough time to soak up all this beauty.

I’m off to San Francisco tomorrow for my friends’ wedding. They are getting married in a redwood park– and I’ll be sure to snap lots of pictures. San Fran readers: no book signing events there this weekend, but I’ll be back in February!

Can’t wait to meet you.

caramel mixture in a saucepan with a wood spoon

I don’t have plans to share any recipes from my new cookbook on my blog– but HAD to share this particular one with you. Today’s recipe is one I created for Sally’s Candy Addiction when I was working on my manuscript at the end of last year.

Side note: Remember the day I finished it? What a beast. It was 49,000 words! My fingers ache and palms sweat thinking about it.

Now that the book is out in stores and you’re learning how to make candy, let’s chat about one of my favorite recipes from the book: my Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn on page 130. This sticky and sweet caramel corn is packed with a whole lotta crunch and plenty of cozy flavor. We’re talking cinnamon, white chocolate, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel coming together in every single bite.

Is that not the most glorious round-up of flavors? My mouth is watering.

This recipe was inspired by, you guessed it, a warm caramel sticky bun drenched in vanilla glaze. So much love for this caramel corn!

cinnamon bun caramel corn

See all the cinnamon specks? 😍

Today’s caramel corn recipe is similar to my late grandmother’s recipe, a total classic I posted around her birthday last year. We make that recipe every single year around the holidays. I wanted something similar to publish in my new cookbook and this cinnamon bun flavored goodness came to life.

This recipe is so easy.

  1. Make an easy caramel sauce. No candy thermometer needed.
  2. Pour caramel over popcorn.
  3. Bake. (–> this step is what makes it soooo chewy and crunchy!)
  4. Drizzle with white chocolate because WHY NOT?

For your viewing pleasure:

Thank you Five Story Media team for helping me shoot the video!

All ingredients in candy recipes serve a particular purpose, much like baking recipes. It’s not like cooking where you can add or take away an ingredient and still have the dish turn out fine. No, no, no. In candy-making and baking, everything plays a part in the finished recipe’s structure, flavor, and texture. That being said, I know some of you might be a little curious about the use of baking soda in this caramel corn recipe. It’s not included just for kicks– the baking soda serves an imperative role. And here’s what it does:

Nerd Alert.

Baking soda’s job in the caramel is to react with the acid (the brown sugar and corn syrup). This reaction creates tiny carbon dioxide air bubbles. You’ll see this reaction happening in step 2 of the written recipe below. The caramel sauce bubbles and foams up once the baking soda is added. Once the caramel has cooled on your popcorn, the air bubbles inside the caramel create a softer texture. This softer texture means you won’t be breaking your teeth on rock-hard caramel. Rather, the caramel on this caramel corn is chewy with a slight crunch.

Get it? Caramel is chemistry!

cinnamon bun caramel corn in a teal bowl

I’ll take the whole bowl and then some. Photo from the book! ↑ ↑

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
cinnamon bun caramel corn in a teal bowl

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 7 cups
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


A recipe from Sally’s Candy Addiction: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting.


  • 7 cups (56g) air-popped popcorn*
  • 1 cup (215g) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Spread the popcorn out onto 2 large baking sheets– or 1 if it all fits! Set aside.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until butter has melted. Next, bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Once boiling, stop stirring. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. The caramel will immediately foam and bubble (see above for why!). Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss gently until all of the popcorn is coated.
  3. Bake caramel corn for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan(s), then break apart any large clusters. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (stop and stir every 10 seconds if using a microwave), then drizzle over caramel corn. Allow to cool.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: This caramel corn tastes great for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container. Wonderful recipe to make ahead of time for holidays and entertaining.
  2. Popcorn: 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.
  3. Special Tools: 1-2 large baking sheets, wooden spoon, a sturdy pot (I like Anolon Nouvelle Copper and Crestware), double boiler (always recommended for melting chocolate- I like this one and this one).
  4. This content is copyrighted to Sally’s Candy Addiction cookbook.

Keywords: caramel corn, cinnamon bun caramel corn

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. And if you want to follow along on my book tour, find me on snapchat: sallysbakeblog. 

You have to try my peanut butter caramel corn!

peanut butter caramel corn in a teal bowl


  1. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    you had me at cinnamon bun! and i hope you have an amazing time in sf- there’s so much to eat (okay and see and do), and i love that there’s always something new to explore.

    1. I’m really, really excited!

  2. For me sweet popcorn is still something I’m getting used to. All my life I only knew salted version, and only recently tried the sweet one. I think I like it, it’s just the unfamiliarity that makes it a bit weird for me. But my boyfriend loves it. I’ll try to make this for one of our movie nights.

  3. This looks and sounds extremely yum! I adore all things with cinnamon and/or caramel but on popcorn is definitely one of my faves! Love the addition of white chocolate and the video is great!

  4. I hope you have some really good books, what with all the long plane rides you are taking of late! I have some recommendations if not 😉 This recipe looks so good, and the photographs capture your amazing talent of making small, uniform objects pop (no pun intended, ha). Only you could make popcorn look so pretty 😀

    1. Do cookbooks count as “reading books” because those are what I usually read on the plane! HAHA!

  5. Those videos are really happy. The music, the cheerful popcorn going in and all around…love it!
    Caramel corn is pretty much crack, so if you add cinnamon, I’m scared to think of what I might turn into. I’m guessing there will be some kind of feeding frenzy involved!

  6. Laura~ Raise Your Garden says:

    Cinnamon bun + Caramel corn = true love always. Maybe chemistry wasn’t my best subject in school but hey, at least I don’t need a candy thermometer which I don’t have yet. This is marvelous Sally! 

  7. My thirteen year old daughter loves you! You sparked her interest in baking and your snickerdoodles were one of the first things we made!! She checks your blog everyday for new recipes and admits to looking at your website in class when she is suppose to being doing school work! I am surprising her and coming to hudson ohio to see you!! She will be over the moon to meet you in person!!! Can’t wait!! Hope madison can get a picture with you… Thats all she wants 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to meet her! Only 1 month until that signing!

      1. You are too sweet can’t wait to meet you!!

  8. Sally, this looks incredible! And thanks for the nerd note–seriously, I was wondering how the caramel wouldn’t be rock-hard 🙂

    1. Glad you found it helpful!

  9. This looks sooo tasty! I LOVE cinnamon bun flavored things, so I will definitely have to give this a try! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  10. I seriously cannot wait to make this! My husband is addicted to this type of popcorn. Great for date nights at home! Are you planning on coming to Atlanta on your book tour? 

    1. Planning on it! It will be at the end of February or beginning of March. The date will be set in stone in the new year and I’ll be sure to update my book tour page with that signing!

  11. Stephanie | Worth Whisking says:

    Sally, this looks delicious! I love that you say that it will last up to two weeks in an airtight container. I suspect there is no way anyone will let it last that long! 🙂 Too delicious and addicting! p.s. Great minds think alike – same thought on the same day. Kind of freaky!

    1. I felt very silly writing that– lasts up to 2 weeks. What caramel corn is actually leftover after 2 weeks?! Ha!

  12. Ramona @ The Merchant Baker says:

    I love almost all caramel corn and the cinnamon in this one sounds perfect!.  The videos are great.  Always makes it look super simple (and with no mess lol!) 

  13. It’s so funny you should post this today as I just told my co-worker this morning that I was going to make caramel corn tonight. Might have to switch it up a bit now 😉 OR…I am baking some things for a benefit for a friends son and I just may end up adding a batch of this to the list!

    1. Whenever you make this cinnamon bun caramel corn, make sure you taste some. I think you’ll love it!

  14. Why does the popcorn need to be air-popped?

  15. Hi Sally! This looks absolutely DELICIOUS!!! (as usual 😉 )
    I had a question about the “Chewy Cream Caramels” on page 101 of your amazing candy cookbook. Could i sub half and half for the heavy cream, or is it a must?
    Love the video!!!

    1. It’s a must– remember with candy– all ingredients are imperative. Little room for subs!

  16. I saw that in your cookbook and I was like, is this heaven? Cinnamon bun POPCORN? Who does that? Nobody but you, I’m sure! Anyway, it looks very delightfully delectable. And de-lovely! I love all your adorable videos, keep doing them!

  17. I love the science course I get every time I read one of your new recipes. haha! The addition of baking soda is BRILLIANT. This recipe is one of the ones I gasped over when I first got your cookbook. I cannot wait to make it through the holidays!!!

    I added you on snapchat! You brought Jude to NJ! AWESOME!!!

    1. Yes! He was quite popular last night!

  18. Now I need to try this. The pictures have seduced me.

  19. Lucia @ The Foodwright says:

    Cinnamon buns + caramel + popcorn?! Best combination EVER! Can’t wait to make this for Friday movie night 🙂 

  20. This looks amazing for holiday gift giving! Love that it doesn’t require a candy thermometer too!

  21. OH MY GOD this looks like a must-try! Can the corn syrup, however, be substituted for anything else? It’s not easy to find in-store around here. 

    1. The corn syrup is used to help prevent crystallization in the caramel– no great subs for it in candy making! How about this peanut butter popcorn/caramel corn recipe instead?

  22. Lisa @ says:

    I consider this recipe an all-out assault on my butt and thighs!  Can’t wait to try it!

  23. Leslie @ flora foodie says:

    Oh my goodness, I just bought a bag of cinnamon bun popcorn at Costco last weekend and have already nearly obliterated it. I was trying to think of how I could make it, and this sounds exactly like it!!! I have got to make it. This weekend. Thank you thank you 🙂 🙂

  24. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says:

    *droooool* seriously….perfect caramel corn! love the cinnamon bun variety!

  25. Stella @ Stellicious Life says:

    I always love reading about the little science facts behind your baing recipes, thanks for sharing them!

    Also you combined 3 of my favourite things: caramel, cinnamon and salty crunchy popcorn into one, yum! 😀 Have a great weekend!

  26. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely hope you went to B. Patisserie or Tartine in SF. They have some life-changing stuff- I think about B. Patisserie’s Kouign Amann daily 🙂 

  27. You could give Popcornopolis a run for their money! 

  28. I made this last night and it was delicious! I did a little experiment though. When I took it out of the oven to stir it at 40 mins I tossed it with graham cracker crumbs and cooked it at 300 for the last 20 mins. Then I took it out of the oven and sprinkled it with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Then broiled it for a few mins. Smores caramel corn! It’s seriously so good! Everyone loves it!! This was my first time making caramel corn. I knew I could count on you sally for a great recipe! (Oh I omitted the cinnamon and white chocolate in the original recipe) 

    1. Oh my gosh that sounds AMAZING! Must try!

  29. I want to make this on Saturday but I’m in UK and I don’t think I’ll be able to find corn syrup. Can I replace with golden syrup?

    1. golden syrup is the substitute in the UK

  30. Salllllyyyy.. I know I don’t have my own blog (yet) so you can’t put a face to the name but I post on here often though I see how many comments you  get a day and wouldn’t expect you to remember me. I make recipes from your blog SO often that your blog URL is always at the top of my list when I click the search bar on my internet. I am in love with your baking methods and you have SUCH a similar taste to mine in desserts, its scary! SO anyways. I was super excited to try this because who doesn’t love cinnamon buns & who doesn’t love caramel corn? so I made it but it didn’t turn out like it should have at all 🙁 it was still so delicious, don’t get me wrong. but my caramel was getting hard before I even had the chance to pour it over the popcorn and it stayed that way. it just kind of clumped in the middle of all of my popcorn. it didn’t spread, nor did it coat any of my popcorn pieces. now as I said, I make your recipes ALL. THE. TIME. I just made your honey butter dinner rolls… why did you do that to me? I think I put on a whole 5 pounds of honey butter rolls. lol. SO GOOD! so I know the importance of scaling ingredients and such and I did it all. weighed everything, used every single ingredient listed. and it just wasn’t like yours. but my caramel also looked a lot darker than yours so I’m wondering if maybe I burnt it slightly and Thats what went wrong? I have no idea but I’m hoping you can help!! I would love to make this again but successfully!! (again, I just wanted to stress that, even though it didn’t turn out.. it was still a DELICIOUS mistake)

    1. Thanks so much Stephanie. I love hearing from you! (And yes, I love those honey butter rolls too! Haha!) For the caramel– it was cooked too long. It should NOT be hard and dark in color. But it’s an easy fix for next time! Lower the heat and cook for the same amount of time. Or keep the heat the same and cook for less time.

    2. I made the same mistake. Felt like 5 mind was way too long but I wanted to stick to the recipe
      Still tasty. Not much cinnamon flavour. Had to add a bit more

1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love



Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally