Oven Baked Caramel Corn
This Homemade Oven Baked Caramel Corn is the best sweet & salty snack. It’s so delicious and super easy to make!
Most people might think of caramel corn as a Halloween treat but not me.
In our family, oven baked caramel corn is a holiday favorite.
My mom and I always make caramel corn to snack on during all the Thanksgiving day football games, especially if the Packers are playing!
Unfortunately, the Green Bay Packers don’t play this year on Thanksgiving but my mom and I will still plan on making our delicious oven-baked caramel corn recipe the night before Thanksgiving.
It has become a Thanksgiving Eve tradition in our house. We also make a ton of caramel corn for Christmas, because it makes the perfect gift that everyone is guaranteed to love!
This caramel corn also makes a perfect gift for the holidays.
CARAMEL CORN INGREDIENTS
● POPCORN: 16 cups of popped popcorn. About 3 bags of microwave popcorn.
● WALNUTS: 3 cups of chopped walnuts or pecans. Or you can use a mix of both.
● BUTTER: 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter.
● BROWN SUGAR: 1 cup of brown sugar.
● CORN SYRUP: 1/2 cup of light corn syrup.
● VANILLA EXTRACT: 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
● BUTTER EXTRACT: 1 teaspoon of butter extract. This is the secret ingredient for making the best caramel corn.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CARAMEL CORN
To make this caramel corn at home, simply:
PRE-STEP: Preheat oven to 250F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
STEP 1: Place popped popcorn into a large bowl. Mix in chopped walnuts or pecans. Evenly, spread popcorn mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
STEP 2: In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup. On medium-high heat, bring to a rapid boil and boil for five minutes, stirring as necessary. Remove from burner and stir in vanilla extract and butter extract.
STEP 3: Pour caramel over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Put in oven for 15 minutes. Take it out and stir it. Repeat this every 15 minutes for one hour.
ADDITIONAL BAKING TIPS
CAN YOU USE MICROWAVE POPCORN?: Absouslty!I like to use microwave popcorn because I’m actually afraid to make popcorn on the stove! When I’m making caramel corn I like to use the butter flavored popcorn to give the caramel corn even more flavor. But you can use whatever kind of popcorn you like.
DO YOU NEED A CANDY THERMOMETER TO MAKE CARAMEL CORN?: NO, you don’t need a candy thermometer to make the caramel for this popcorn. Just bring the caramel to a rapid boil, set a timer for 5 minutes, stir it a couple times and that’s it….your caramel is ready. Remove caramel from the burner and stir in the vanilla and butter extract.
MIXING THE CARAMEL: If you find that it’s hard to mix the caramel over the popcorn, don’t worry. Place it in the oven for 5 minutes and then mix it again. The heat of the oven will help melt the caramel even more and it will be MUCH easier to mix the popcorn with the caramel topping evenly. TIP: Spray your spatula with non-stick cooking spray which will also help to mix the caramel corn super easy!
TOPPING TO MIX-IN THE CARAMEL CORN: I love adding additions to the caramel corn. Some of my favorites are drizzling with milk chocolate or white chocolate. I also like to add crushed pretzels or M&M candy.
BAKING TOOLS NEEDED
LARGE POT: These are my all-time favorite cooking pots.
SPATULAS: These are the best spatulas because they are truly NON-STICK and heat resistant.
BAKING SHEET: You will need a large 16×11 inch baking sheet to make this homemade caramel corn.
SILICONE BAKING MAT OR PARCHMENT PAPER: If you don’t have a silicone baking mat…YOU NEED ONE! It will help with making it easier to mix the caramel corn and removing the caramel corn from the baking sheet once it’s done.
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- 16 cups popped popcorn (3 microwave popcorn bags)
- 3 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup (the clear syrup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon butter extract
- Preheat oven to 250F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- Place popped popcorn into a large bowl. Mix in chopped walnuts or pecans. Evenly, spread popcorn mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup. On medium-high heat, bring to a rapid boil and boil for five minutes, stirring as necessary. Remove from burner and stir in vanilla extract and butter extract.
- Pour caramel over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Put in oven for 15 minutes. Take it out and stir it. Repeat this every 15 minutes for one hour.
- Let cool on baking sheet. Once caramel corn is cooled, break up the popcorn and enjoy!
*Store caramel corn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7-10 days.
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