It’s soft and chewy, it’s ooey and gooey— it’s our family’s favorite caramel popcorn recipe.
I hope y’all aren’t tired of caramel recipes, because that seems to be my main fall craving this year. Peanut butter caramel cupcakes and homemade caramel sauce apparently weren’t enough, because all week I’ve been craving this soft caramel popcorn.
What could I do? I gave in, of course.
This recipe has been on my site for several years, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to pull it out of the archives and dust it off. It comes courtesy of my aunt Peggy, who got the recipe from her sister-in-law Jeanette. Peggy makes it every year during our family reunion and it’s something everyone in the family looks forward to.
She was generous enough to share the recipe with me, and it’s just too good to be kept a secret. It’s a no-fuss recipe and is super easy to make. No need to make caramel from scratch, no need for a candy thermometer. So, no excuses.
I strongly advise that you make this immediately. I also advise that you make sure you have other people around to share it with, as being left alone with this is extremely dangerous.
This recipe makes a very large batch, perfect for our large family (and yours!). If you’d like to make less, you can simply cut the recipe in half.
Soft and Gooey Caramel Popcorn
- 3 bags (36 cups, 190 grams) microwave popcorn, plain or lightly salted, kernels removed (see Note)
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups (533 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (312 grams) light corn syrup
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a large sheet pan with wax paper and top with popped popcorn. Use two sheet pans if necessary.
- Combine, the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should turn a darker color.
- Remove from heat and add the sweetened condensed milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Pour over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat the popcorn.
- The caramel popcorn is best served immediately, but you can also store it in an airtight container for up to several days.
Have you tried this recipe?
This post was originally posted November 2010. Photos have been updated, but no changes to the recipe have been made.