National Caramel Popcorn Day! Homemade Style!

Homemade Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Do you remember eating Cracker Jacks as a kid? That buttery-sweet popcorn was a treat, and the fun little trinket inside each box was a bonus. Today is National Caramel Popcorn Day, but before you run out and buy every box of Cracker Jacks you can find, why not celebrate by making your own caramel popcorn? The process is simple, and the result is much better than any store-bought brand you can buy. Yes, we honestly believe that.  [photo via flickr]

Making homemade caramel popcorn requires only a few simple ingredients. Caramel (white or brown sugar to achieve different degrees of sweetness) or molasses are the main ingredients, but don’t be afraid to add your own touch by including nuts, chocolate chips, raisins or marshmallows.

The following recipe from is a keeper because it’s simple and delicious. The recipe makes about five quarts of caramel popcorn and only takes about an hour and a half.


1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

½ cup corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

5 quarts popped popcorn



  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  • Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

The beauty of this recipe is if you prefer softer, chewy caramel corn, all you have to do is decrease the baking time. You really don’t need a reason to make this caramel popcorn recipe, although it does make for a nice treat or gift during the holidays. And if you’d like to make your caramel popcorn festive for the holidays, try using different flavors of extract in place of the vanilla extract.