Caramel Popcorn Recipe

My mother-in-law makes the most delicious caramel popcorn.  She brings the caramel corn to large family holiday gatherings for everyone to snack upon.  Now that we have a hot air popper, I requested the recipe and made my own batch.  (I love my popper though I was reluctant to have yet another small appliance.)

When I first made the caramel corn myself, I made a half batch (3 quarts) which is the amount of popcorn my family would usually eat in a sitting: one giant bowl of popcorn.  Since it was covered in sweet goodness, we didn't eat as much at one time (my kids are little),  but if it weren't for a bit of self-control it would have been devoured rather quickly.  

This recipe for caramel popcorn stores very well in an airtight container, so next time I will make a full batch when we have friends visit for a football game or movie.  That will be enough for the party and more for our family to snack upon during the week.

Before you begin, make sure you have a candy thermometer!  

Sister Mabel's Caramel Corn
From:  The Popping Corn Book, Orville Redenbacher's Authorized and Complete Popcorn Lover's Guide,  c1975

2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 quarts popped popcorn (two batches which equals 1 cup of kernels total) 

Place popcorn in a large roasting pan.  In 2 1/2 quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar and salt.  Bring mixture to boil, stirring, over medium-high heat.  Stirring constantly, boil rapidly to hard ball stage, 260° (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Stir in baking soda quickly but thoroughly.  Pour all of mixture over popcorn in large roasting.  Stir gently until all kernels are coated. 

Bake at 200° 1 hour, stirring 2 or 3 times during baking.  Turn out at once on wax paper; spread apart and allow to cool completely.  Break apart if needed.  Store in an air-tight container.  Makes 6 quarts.

~ Use CAUTION!  The mixture is HOT!
~ The photo above was taken when the popcorn was cooling on the wax paper.
~ I prefer mushroom popcorn.  There is almost no hull.
~ This may sound a bit complicated to make, but it is easy as long as you have your candy thermometer.
~ To be honest, I put in the baking soda too early, but it still tasted great!

If you like popcorn treats, consider making popcorn balls!  

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through a link, I will earn a small percentage. Thank you!


  1. This sounds delicious - not that I need another test of self-control!

  2. Now I want caramel corm.....

  3. Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!