Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Salty, sweet, sticky, and easy-to-make Peanut Butter Caramel Corn. You won’t be able to put this stuff down! A 20 minute recipe.

peanut butter caramel corn in a teal bowl

I’ve been feeling rather snacky lately. Are you a snacker too?

Hand me some hummus, veggies, granola, grapes, peanut butter, trail mix, and pretzels over a meal any day. Working from home has put a small shift on my eating habits and I found myself reaching for little nibbles here and there yesterday and today. The fix? Popcorn, of course.

I make microwave popcorn all the time. My favorite is kettle corn, but I’m no stranger to light butter. You can usually find me munching on the stuff as I sit here at my desk or on the couch. And yes, I’m eating it right now. But this week I wanted a little something extra on my popcorn. Nothing outrageous or complicated, but a flavor boost to my regular popcorn fix. I took three simple ingredients, added them to a saucepan, and poured them over my popcorn. Easy stuff!

This popcorn makes me love snack time even more. I didn’t even know that was possible.

peanut butter caramel corn on a silpat baking mat

Here’s the plan. Pop a bag of “natural style” popcorn or make your own with a popcorn maker or on the stovetop. Any sort of popcorn that isn’t flavored or heavily buttered. Even light buttered popcorn will be ok. You want about 10-12 cups of popcorn, which is a typical full size bag.

Pour the popped popcorn in a large bowl and make your peanut butter “caramel” sauce.

For the sauce, boil some honey and sugar together. Watch it boil for about three minutes. Stir in a pinch or two of salt. Keeping the saucepan on heat, stir in your peanut butter until everything is silky smooth. Like so:

peanut butter honey mixture in a saucepan with a spatula

Shower your innocent popcorn with the peanut butter/honey mixture. Those little kernels never saw that peanut butter coming! Mix it all around, trying hard not to break up the kernels.

Next, and completely optional: add some roasted peanuts to the peanut butter caramel corn. Every time I make my salted peanut nutella puppy chow, my friends ask me where all the peanuts went. One friend said he didn’t even know peanuts were in it. Guilty as charged. I eat all the peanuts first. I can’t help it… peanuts and peanut butter must run through my veins or something. I’m a peanutaholic. And a peanutbutteraholic.

I love the added texture the peanuts gave the popcorn! An extra satisfying crunch.

peanut butter caramel corn with a bowl of peanuts

Spread the peanut butter caramel corn onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined cookie sheet. The popcorn will form large clusters, which is OK – it will break up easily when you take a serving. Allow it to cool for a few minutes. And then… dig in. So much chewy goodness.

The clusters with the most peanut butter coating on them were my favorite. Naturally.

This is such a simple snack to make and share with others. Simple, quick, practically no baking at all. And it is so easy to make in bulk! I tripled the recipe by popping three bags of popcorn and tripling the rest of the ingredients. I sent Kevin off to work with some and we have a big container of the rest on the counter. It’s fun to grab a bowl of it and plop myself in front of the TV or computer.

peanut butter caramel corn in a ceramic bowl

Oh! And this peanut butter caramel corn does a wonderful job at making cleaning more fun. I know from experience. Grab a bowl and munch as you go. I got a lot of vacuuming done yesterday and I have to be honest: I enjoyed it.

More snacks to love!

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peanut butter caramel corn in a teal bowl

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10-11 cups
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Salty, sweet, sticky, and easy-to-make peanut butter caramel corn. You won’t be able to put this stuff down! A 20 minute recipe.


Ingredients

  • 10 cups unflavored popped popcorn (air-popped or 1 standard size bag)
  • optional: 2/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Pop 10-12 cups of popcorn and pour it into a large bowl. Toss in the peanuts. Set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, warm the honey and sugar together in a medium sized saucepan. Stir occasionally. Once it begins to bubble, allow it to boil for about 3 minutes. Add the salt and peanut butter and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the popcorn/nuts. Toss gently to coat practically every kernel. The popcorn will form large clusters. Spread the popcorn onto prepared baking sheet and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Makes 10-12 cups. Popcorn remains fresh for up to 10 days covered at room temperature. If storing in a tight container, be sure to break up the popcorn as you serve it because it will form large clusters.

Keywords: peanut butter caramel corn

See all of my salty/sweet recipes.

18 Comments

  1. I made this last night—the most amazing treat I’ve had in a long time. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Made this 2 days ago and it’s all gone! So sad!! It was SO delicious!!! I see all these caramel corn popcorn containers with nuts and other yummy additions in the stores and now I know that I can make it myself, so thank you!

  3. Hi Sally, A small doubt. Could I replace honey with maple syrup?

    1. You actually could replace with maple syrup. Though I’ve never tried it, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

  4. Hey Sally! Just made this tonight and it is quite delicious. One question though: is it supposed to be more on the chewy side or more on the crunchy side?

    1. Hey Sonia! The caramel corn is supposed to be chewy. Some bites may be crunchy, but it’s on the chewier side.

  5. Sally, have you ever tried this with dark/light brown sugar? I was just curious if you preferred the white. All of my recipes call for light, but I have read if you use dark makes it more like cracker jacks.)

    1. Stephanie, I actually have tried this with dark brown sugar. And yes, it does taste like cracker jacks! You’ll love it. (assuming you like cracker jacks, of course)

  6. Would I be able to substitute the bagged kernel-less “puff corn” for the traditional popcorn in this recipe?

    1. I’m sure that would be fine.

  7. Does the popcorn crisp up? It seems like it would be a little chewy… I have never made a caramel corn recipe without putting it in the oven to dry out before eating…. I would love to try this because I love peanut butter!

    1. Hi Janette. The popcorn stays pretty chewy.

  8. Andrea in Texas says:

    Second batch made this week!!  Popcorn is among one of my favorites and now THIS is my favorite way to have it…thank you for being so ingenious!

  9. Hi there Sally,
    Can this recipe be altered using almond butter and almonds instead of peanuts?  Just in case someone is allergic to peanuts.  Thank you.

    1. I can’t see why not!

  10. Do you think you could make this into popcorn balls? Thanks!

    1. Hi Catherine! This popcorn won’t hold its shape if shaped into balls. I have a popcorn ball recipe in my cookbook Sally’s Candy Addiction if you have a copy!

  11. Great, quick recipe! I upped the salt to a total of 1/2 tsp. And I wanted a little more crunch when the popcorn cooled, so I baked it on a sheet pan lined with parchment at 275 f for 20 minutes and let cool completely. Nice soft crisp airy crunch!

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