Baked Caramel Corn

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Growing up Baked Caramel Corn was a favorite made at home.

Dad and I loved it and every time we would go to a fair or a local favorite place in Verona, Beach called Midway, which was just like a fairground with rides, food, games, etc.

Although Dad is long since passed in 1995, the fairgrounds are still there and the memories will live on forever to cherish.

That popcorn stand was the first stop we hit at that Verona, Beach fairground, every time we went there the smell just stopped us dead in tracks and dad would immediately buy some freshly made caramel corn.

It was so addicting and gone in a New York Minute!

Since that place was only opened in the spring for a short time, we had to learn to make something similar to hold us over and this was the best recipe ever to duplicate that memory.

This delicious crunchy caramel-coated popcorn back in the 1960s was irresistible and still is today and so easy to make in your own kitchens.

Later on, we learned to make a version of this delectable popcorn at home that was easy and baked, and it's been a favorite for the last 50 years of my life.

I make this every holiday for Christmas and even sometimes at Easter along with some other treats the family loves.

Homemade candies are fabulous and from the heart and also make fond memories in the kitchen.

Having two grown sons, they both love the homemade peanut brittle, peanut butter oreo bars and this baked caramel corn is number one on that list of must makes every year without fail!

If you're a caramel corn lover, scroll to the recipe card, the first one is our favorite and the other two recipes are some we made along the way the kids loved also like marshmallow popcorn balls and Nutella popcorn, it's all in a printable recipe card below.

this is caramel corn in a see through bag for the holiday baked with also trail mix to mix in like a moose munch

Great All Year Round

If you love gourmet popcorn you just hit the easiest jackpot of all recipes ever!

I am a big fan of Moose Munch, which is a popular delicious gourmet caramel corn confection that is addicting plus a fabulous snack.

You can convert this recipe to whatever gourmet-style caramel corn you love.

I have listed many suggestions below to add some yummy ingredients to this recipe to make a copycat version.

So, if you're like our family, you won't be waiting for the holidays to make some delicious popcorn snacks, this will be a favorite all year long!

Easy Baked Caramel Popcorn

Over the years, I invested in an air popper, it makes it so easy to get a large amount of popcorn popped and no oil is needed.

The caramel is a cinch to make in just 5 minutes, then bakes in the oven for 1 hour.

Believe me, it's addicting, delicious, and hard to stop eating.

But don't take my word, seriously, the first time you make this for your family you'll be hooked on it forever!

This recipe makes quite a big batch so you can give some to friends and family in pretty popcorn tins for Christmas gifts or for any reason "just because"( that's if there's any left to give away!).

this is a collage on how to make baked caramel corn

Ingredients You Will Need To Make Baked Caramel Corn

  • light brown sugar
  • light corn syrup
  • butter
  • cream of tartar
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • popcorn popped (use a good brand name)

Two cookies sheets loaded with caramel coated popcorn and baking in the oven

Tools You Will Need

  • I use two very large sheet cookie pans and line them with parchment paper for the ease of cleanup.
  • It is also easier to spread it out and stir during the baking process on parchment paper.
  • Saucepan at least 4 quart
  • Silicone spatula
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Air popper or large deep pan for popping corn
  • measuring spoon
  • measuring cup
  • measuring large 8-quart cup to measure the popcorn after it's popped

Tips Please Read First:

  • Work the popcorn to coat quickly as it will harden fast
  • The caramel is very hot do not use your hands, use greased butter or sprayed wooden spoons or silicone spatulas to evenly coat the popcorn
  • If popping the old-fashioned way in a saucepot, use very little oil to pop with it, this method isn't recommended as it will alter the taste and consistency of the hardened caramel coating
  • Microwaved popcorn in a paper bag is better than stovetop for this recipe but not store-bought with added salt, it must be air-popped in the microwave
  • Spread as thin as possible on the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and popcorn not piled too high on each other
  • Don't omit the baking soda, this is to keep it shiny and it actually keeps it from sticking to your teeth and gummy, add it last after the 5 minutes
  • Use the cream of tarter in this recipe to keep it from getting grainy looking
  • Note: years ago when we had no microwave or air poppers the caramel corn wasn't as crunchy you can still pop it on the stove but the best results come from no salt, no oil added and air-popped

how to make homemade baked caramel corn

Additional Suggestions:

(Cooled Completely for mix-ins)

  • Chocolate candy of any kind
  • Color sprinkles
  • Chopped candy bars
  • Nuts plain or chocolate covered
  • Toffee Bits
  • Dried fruits
  • Trail Mix 
  • Coconut
  • White chocolate Dark Chocolate melted drizzled over the top with nuts of choice (as shown in the photo above)

this is the caramel boiling for 5 minutes to pour over popcorn popped for a baked caramel corn recipes

More Recipes We Love:

Salted Caramel Toffee Bites (crack candy)

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Candy

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Candy

Ice Cream Cone Baskets

Graham Cracker Candy Houses

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pin for later how to make baked caramel corn

Creations of Your Own

I love starting traditions, this was a great one with Dad and me.

Now, I am thrilled that my sons love this Baked Caramel Corn as much as I did as a kid.

One of the newer additions they added to this candy treat after it's baked are nuts, chocolate chunks and sometimes some festive sprinkles like a Moose Munch.

There are so many possibilities to change, add and adapt to this delicious popcorn candy, just mix it in after it's baked,  and cooled and then add anything you like to it.

Chocolate-covered peanuts or almonds and chocolate-covered pistachios are other favorites, as you can see the skies are the limit right?

Don't miss trying this recipe, and do let me know how you like it in the comments below.

this is a pan of baked caramel corn

Baked Caramel Corn and More Popcorn Recipes

Baked Caramel Corn and More Popcorn Recipes

Yield: 10
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 1 H & 45 Mtotal time: 1 H & 60 M
This is a crunchy sweet baked caramel corn that's been in our family for over 50 years, We actually make this around the Christmas holiday or Easter and give this out in tins as gifts. A totally delicious snack is anytime and so addicting! There are two recipes one plain caramel and one baked with Nutella and another for marshmallow popcorn balls.


  • Baked Caramel Corn Ingredients
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 quarts of popped popcorn (24 cups if using a hot air popper it's 3 batches)


How to cook Baked Caramel Corn and More Popcorn Recipes

  1. Instructions for BAKED CARAMEL CORN
  2. Combine sugar, syrup, butter, tartar, and salt in a large saucepan.
  3. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly for 5 minutes
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in soda quickly.
  5. Pour over popcorn in large roasting pan spread out in a thin layer evenly
  6. Stir gently coating all kernels
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 1 hour
  8. Stir 2 or 3 times during baking
  9. Turn out at once onto parchment paper to break apart and cool. 
  10. Store in a tightly covered container.
  11. Optional: for copycat moose munch drizzle white and dark chocolate over cooled caramel corn and add your favorite roasted nuts.
  12. Baked Nutella Caramel Corn
  13. 10 quarts of popcorn popped
  14. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  15. 1/4 cup corn syrup
  16. 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  17. 3/4 cup Nutella
  18. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  19. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  20. optional: add 1 cup hazelnuts before baking or pistachios
  21. Heat oven to 250 degrees. 
  22. Spread your popcorn out on two parchment paper-lined deep cookie sheets.
  23. In a large microwavable bowl, add the sugar, syrup, butter, heat 30 seconds on high. 
  24. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine, then microwave for 2 more minutes. 
  25. Now add the Nutella to this mixture, stir until blended and microwave for 2 -1/2 minutes until it looks like it boiling and double in quantity.
  26. Remove from the microwave add your baking soda and vanilla stir.
  27. Pour evenly over popcorn and spread out on two cookie sheets lined with parchment.
  28. Bake in a heated oven of 250 degrees stirring every 10 minutes and baking for 30 minutes or more until popcorn looks crunchy.
  29. Bonus Recipe  Old Fashioned Marshmallow Popcorn Balls:
  30. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  31. 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
  32. 6 tablespoons butter
  33. 5 cups miniature marshmallows
  34. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  35. Add vegetable oil to a 4-quart saucepan, and heat over high heat. 
  36. When the oil is hot, add popping corn. 
  37. Keep pan moving constantly. 
  38. When corn stops popping, remove from heat. Put popcorn in the prepared pan.
  39. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. 
  40. Stir in marshmallows and cook until melted, stirring constantly. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and mix with a spoon to coat evenly.
  41. Let the mixture cool slightly. 
  42. Smear butter on your hands or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 
  43. Mix popcorn with your hands so that it is evenly coated.
  44. Form popcorn into 8 balls.
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popcorn, candy, Christmas food gifts, caramel candy recipes
Created using The Recipes Generator

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this is a pin for later popcorn baked with caramel photo

Recipes to Try

Amaretto Pistachio Fudge

No-Bake Rum Balls

Oreo Truffles and More

this is caramel corn in a see through bag for the holiday baked with also trail mix to mix in like a moose munch

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2019.


  1. Yum, this is one of my fave snacks!I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set to go, Thanks!

  2. What a great site! Love it! Can't wait to try your recipes!

  3. Thanks for the great comments let me know if you have requests.....enjoy What's Cookin'

  4. Claudia,
    This is the same caramel corn recipe that I use. I've made it many times, so addicting. I have to give it away:)

  5. @Becky I've been making this one since I was 14 years old.. I posted that in 2009 one of my first posts. I know what you mean it's addicting, but with my kids it's gone the same day! Thanks for reading an oldie but goodie!

  6. So tasty! I made a batch to eat and a batch to share.

  7. This stuff is downright addictive! Thanks for the easy and delicious recipe!

  8. OMG! Have to make this, and then eat it all! Woo hoo!

  9. I LOVE caramel corn, so I can't believe that I have never made it myself before!! This looks perfect, I'm definitely trying this over the holidays!

  10. That's such a great idea to bake caramel corn! I love all your helpful tips for making this at home!

  11. This baked caramel corn is a delicious snack and we're making it for gift giving! Thank you for the recipe!

  12. Yes, I know what you mean. It was one of my favorite treats, too! :-)

  13. I love this as a holiday gift idea! Caramel corn is my favorite so I'll have to make some for myself too!


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