Caramel Corn and Christmas time go together like two peas in a pod. Although, this delicious treat is wonderful any time of year; salty, sweet, and crunchy… and nutty, too, if you like it that way!

Homemade caramel corn reminds me of being a kid. There would always be a batch of party mix, lots of special cookies, and definitely eggnog… sans alcohol for the kids, of course, and lots and lots of caramel corn!

Caramel corn in a white bowl with a wooden scoop and a sheet pan of caramel corn in the background

How to Make Caramel Corn

You are going to love how easy and fun this is to make.

  1. Melt butter, sugars, and salt per recipe below in a saucepan and boil 5 minutes (don’t stir).
  2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and baking soda. Coat popcorn with this mixture, and add chopped nuts if using.
  3. Bake according to recipe instructions below.

That’s all there is to it for perfect homemade caramel corn!

Note: The caramel  mixture boils to create a candy coating and is VERY hot. Be aware, especially with kids around.

Popcorn and pecans in a pan and popcorn and pecans in a pan with caramel being poured in

For Perfect Caramel Corn

  • Medium Heat Use medium heat to heat the caramel. It make take a bit longer but ensures your caramel doesn’t separate.
  • Baking Soda Don’t skip the baking soda, it reacts with sugar mixture making little bubbles. This gives the perfect texture to the caramel coating.
  • Use a Large Container Place the popcorn in a very large container to stir, you’ll need lots of space. I use a large pan but even a disposable roasting pan will work.
  • Bake Once the caramel corn is coated, baking it gives the perfect consistency and takes it from sticky and chewy to crisp.

Caramel corn on a sheet pan

How to Keep Caramel Corn Crisp

There’s nothing worse than tough, chewy popcorn that doesn’t crunch. To keep caramel corn crisp:

  • Bake as directed in the recipe.
  • Seal it in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
  • Make sure that the popcorn is completely cool before sealing it. Otherwise, condensation will form inside the container making your snack soggy.
  • If you suffer the misfortune of chewy, popcorn, spread it out on a baking sheet (or two) and bake it again for about 10 minutes at 325°F.

 How Long Does It Last?

Caramel Corn doesn’t really spoil, but it can get stale if not stored properly. If you plan on keeping it longer than a week, store it in airtight plastic bag or food storage containers.

What a perfect treat for a winter’s night by a crackling fireside!

Classic Christmas Treats

Caramel corn in a white bowl with a wooden scoop
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Homemade Caramel Corn

This classic Christmas treat can be made with a variety of mix-ins for a fun and festive treat!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 6 quarts popped popcorn (approx. ¾ cup kernels)
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups pecans or peanuts optional


  • Preheat oven to 250°F.
  • Melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer 5 minutes without stirring.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.
  • Pour over popped corn (and optional mix-ins) and mix well to combine.
  • Spread mixture over two 9x13 pans and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
4.80 from 10 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 532 | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 70g | Vitamin A: 709IU | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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Recipe Adapted Streu, Debbie. “Baked Caramel Corn”. Recipe. Cooking with Class. Beaumont, AB, 2011. 67. Print.

Classic caramel corn in a sheet pan with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. You have great recipes. Just thought I’d add that I make this recipe almost exactly the same but I do a whole tsp of baking soday and add 1tsp butter flavoring along with the vanilla…takes it to the next level. Give it a try next time you make it!5 stars

  2. Would never try stirring this HOT mixture in a pan as the picture shows, that isn’t wise. We use a large stainless steel bowl, and even then have to be careful of the hot caramel not burning fingers.

    1. The pan shown is extra large (bigger than a large roaster) and has plenty of space to stir the mixture but of course you can use whatever pan/bowl/dish you have that works for you.