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Crunchy Caramel Corn

Skip the movie theater and still indulge your kids' popcorn cravings -- this extra-crunchy version (with some sweetness) will make them applaud right at home.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Crunchy Caramel Corn

Photography: José Manuel Picayo Rivera

Source: Everyday Food, October 2007


  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking sheet
  • 10 cups plain unsalted popped (from 1/2 cup kernels or a 3.3-ounce bag microwave popcorn) popcorn
  • 1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Place popcorn in a large bowl; if using cashews, add to bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil, stirring constantly. Working quickly, drizzle popcorn with sugar syrup, and toss.

  3. Spread popcorn evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until golden and shiny, about 40 minutes. Transfer hot popcorn to parchment-paper-lined baking sheet; let cool.

Cook's Note

Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Reviews (6)

  • Kris101078 10 Dec, 2012

    Wow, so yummy. I skipped the nuts and instead salted with coarse sea salt. Absolutely amazing! I didn't let the syrup cool and had no shrinkage at all. The house smells great when this bakes!

  • AmandaMaeisDiverse 2 Oct, 2009

    This was a great recipe. It tasted and smelled like the delicious treat I always get at the fair. I did cut the cook time down to 30 minutes.

  • LauraWaugh 31 Jan, 2009

    I made a batch of this for the super bowl and it was a great success! The only modification I made was the addition of 1 tablespoon light corn syrup and I let the caramel mixture cool before coating the popcorn. I didn't get any shrinkage on mine. YUM!

  • KirstinP 15 Jan, 2009

    I poured the hot syrup over the popcorn and they shrunk in the oven. however, they were very yummy. The only thing I will do different next time: MAKE MORE!

  • Keira112 17 Sep, 2008

    If you use cooled syrup it will work out much better. Hope this helps

  • hrmitchell 20 May, 2008

    I have tried this twice and I can't seem to get it right. When I pour the sugar syrup onto the popcorn, it shrinks up. I tried with both hot popcorn and day old popcorn with the same results. If anybody has a suggestion, let me know. Next I am going to try to let the syrup sit off the heat for a little bit before i pour.

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