This recipe comes from an Amish family who package this treat for gifts to friends and neighbors every Christmas. It is truly the tastiest, easiest, and most foolproof caramel corn recipe you'll ever find!

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
1 hr
total:
1 hr 15 mins
Servings:
28
Yield:
28 servings
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Ingredients

28
Original recipe yields 28 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.

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  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.

  • Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.

  • Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.

Nutrition Facts

238 calories; protein 3.4g 7% DV; carbohydrates 21.9g 7% DV; fat 16.3g 25% DV; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 387.6mg 16% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (1230)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/04/2006
I've been on AR for several years now & found lots of great recipes, but this is the 1st one that I said "Wow! I've got to rate this one!". Thank you Anita! My 4 yr old is allergic to peanuts & tree nuts so he had never had caramel corn before (but is a BIG popcorn fan). He loved it - told me it was "quite good"--no, we're not British;) Just a side note, two 3.5oz bags of microwave popcorn=7 quarts of popped corn. Read More
(1046)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
10/17/2008
I feel so badly reviewing this recipe with 3 stars! Mine tasted kind of burnt. I will definately try it again and cut down the cooking significantly. My oven only goes down to 300 so I cut down the cooking time to only 25 minutes and stirred it often...still tasted burned. I would NOT use margarine either...ICK! I will for sure try it again though. Thanks! Update-I made this again with perfection. I'll share my tips to perfect caramel corn! It is a 10-star with my changes. Maybe the first recipe was fine, but it just didn't work for me. I used 2 bags of microwave popcorn (it was buttered) and picked out the popped corn. I made the caramel exactly like the recipe except using real butter. I greased two large baking sheets and set those aside. I used a large paper grocery bag, sprayed the inside with Pam and dumped the popcorn in. Then when the caramel was done i poured it into the bag, stirred and then shook the bag. I dumped the coated corn out onto the prepared sheets. The corn was totally covered! I cooked it at 300 for about 19 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. I used a large spatual to stir the corn as to get all the caramel off the bottom of the pan. I think followed the directions for cooling the corn. Perfection!!!! I hope my tips help. Read More
(32)
1552 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1412
  • 4 star values: 110
  • 3 star values: 18
  • 2 star values: 7
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
02/04/2006
I've been on AR for several years now & found lots of great recipes, but this is the 1st one that I said "Wow! I've got to rate this one!". Thank you Anita! My 4 yr old is allergic to peanuts & tree nuts so he had never had caramel corn before (but is a BIG popcorn fan). He loved it - told me it was "quite good"--no, we're not British;) Just a side note, two 3.5oz bags of microwave popcorn=7 quarts of popped corn. Read More
(1046)
Rating: 5 stars
10/28/2006
Outstanding!! I have made one similar to this for years. One suggestion....use a turkey roaster and a stiff spoon to stir with. The tall sides of the turkey roaster make it so much easier to do a good job stirring. When you stir, make sure that you scrapt the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Hope this helps.... Read More
(812)
Rating: 5 stars
12/05/2005
An easy way to coat the popcorn is to put the popped corn in a paper grocery bag and pour the caramel mixture over it and stir with a wooden spoon, then dump the mixture out onto your baking pan and throw the paper bag away. I agree with another reviewer that 200 degrees is the right oven temp. I bake it 45 minutes, stirring every 15. Read More
(516)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/17/2005
Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe -- it's scrumpdillyicious! :) Instead of 1/2 c. light Karo, I used 1/3 c. light Karo and 1/3 c. molasses. This gave it a flavor absolutely identical to Cracker Jacks (I also used Spanish peanuts rather than dry roasted). I used a large roasting pan and a jelly roll pan, placing the jelly roll pan on the bottom rack in the oven and the roasting pan on the rack just above it. When you first pour the caramel over your corn, you'll think you'll never get it mixed up well....BUT...after the first 15 mins in the oven, it becomes thinner so that you can easily stir to combine. After that, it progressively gets thicker and totally adheres to the popcorn. Believe it or not, clean-up was a snap (I was pleasantly surprised!). Just butter your pan very well and then rinse with hot water as soon as you finish. I would definitely suggest using a good quality popcorn (rather than the cheaper type) so that you get nice fluffy, puffy pieces. I used Orville's microwave butter popcorn, and it took about 2-1/2 bags to make 7 qts. Thank you again...my entire family loves this recipe! :) Read More
(400)
Rating: 5 stars
10/09/2010
Update: I am speechless....only because my mouth is stuffed with caramel corn. 5 stars is not enough. I followed other users tips. 1. Baked at 200 for 40-45 minutes stirring every 10-15 min. 2. Used butter instead of margarine. 3. Used a large roasting pan. Much easier for stirring. 4. I used a whisk for stirring but when adding the baking soda, I switched to a large spatula. That way you are able to get all the caramel out of the pan. 5. I made the caramel first then popped the popcorn. When the popcorn is hot it's easier to stir the caramel mixture into it. Be sure to remove any unpopped kernels. 6. Before you add the caramel sauce, drop 1 tbsp. of it on wax paper. Wait for it to cool down and you have a piece of homemade caramel just as a treat for you! Cuz you're worth it! Pros: Best I've ever tried Cons: Should have made two batches. One for me and one for the rest of the family. Another con was waiting for it to cool down. I just couldn't stop picking at it. Quality control is important you know. This will be a new gift at Christmas time. And it's cheaper than buying it. Thank you so much for sharing. Read More
(295)
Rating: 5 stars
11/02/2005
I've made twice. The first was following the recipe exactly and it was AWESOME. It was somewhere between caramel and toffee. The second time, I realized (already into it) that I was out of brown sugar, so substituted white sugar and added 4T molasses. It too was awesome and if you're looking for a Cracker Jack knock-off, the latter is the ticket. Yum! Read More
(179)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/24/2006
This is just the BEST caramel corn! I used 2 bags of microwave popcorn. After corn is popped, I place it in a large paper grocery bag and pour caramel mixture over it (stir with a wooden spoon).I also added some slivered almonds and some dried cranberries (yum).Poured mixture in jelly roll pan coated with nonstick spray. I baked for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 mins. The next time, I might even try doubling the caramel topping. If you like caramel corn, you'll LOVE this recipe. Thanks for the posting! Read More
(151)
Rating: 5 stars
10/05/2006
I've been making this recipe since 1979 and it IS the best caramel corn recipe I ever found! I never use peanuts, though. I use almonds, cashews or pecans. Do use butter - improves it so much,if you can believe that! This is great to give in tins or those pretty decorative bags at Christmas! Make more than you think you'll need, because people will ask for more! :) Read More
(147)
Rating: 5 stars
10/15/2005
Very yummy. I used Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Kettle Corn popcorn for this recipe. I lined one of the pans with foil, but ran out when I went to line the other pan. On the unlined pan, the carmel drippings came off and mixed very well with the popcorn while I stirred it and also when I removed it from the pan. The lined pan (even though it was greased) wasn't nearly as cooperative as the unlined pan. It was even worth the washing. Thanks for the great recipe. Read More
(125)
Rating: 3 stars
10/17/2008
I feel so badly reviewing this recipe with 3 stars! Mine tasted kind of burnt. I will definately try it again and cut down the cooking significantly. My oven only goes down to 300 so I cut down the cooking time to only 25 minutes and stirred it often...still tasted burned. I would NOT use margarine either...ICK! I will for sure try it again though. Thanks! Update-I made this again with perfection. I'll share my tips to perfect caramel corn! It is a 10-star with my changes. Maybe the first recipe was fine, but it just didn't work for me. I used 2 bags of microwave popcorn (it was buttered) and picked out the popped corn. I made the caramel exactly like the recipe except using real butter. I greased two large baking sheets and set those aside. I used a large paper grocery bag, sprayed the inside with Pam and dumped the popcorn in. Then when the caramel was done i poured it into the bag, stirred and then shook the bag. I dumped the coated corn out onto the prepared sheets. The corn was totally covered! I cooked it at 300 for about 19 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. I used a large spatual to stir the corn as to get all the caramel off the bottom of the pan. I think followed the directions for cooling the corn. Perfection!!!! I hope my tips help. Read More
(32)
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