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Illinois Caramel Corn

This snack unites salty and sweet in every heaping handful.

  • Yield: Makes 12 cups
Illinois Caramel Corn

Photography: Marcus Nillson

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2010


  • 12 cups popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 1 1/2 cups Beer Nuts or shelled salted peanuts
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn and nuts in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Raise heat to high; bring to a boil without stirring. Cook until mixture reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda.

  2. Add caramel to popcorn, and stir to coat. Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from oven, and immediately sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let cool. Break into clusters.

Cook's Note

Storage: Cooled caramel corn can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Reviews (2)

  • Elizabeth Creps Thomas 6 Jul, 2012

    This recipe is always a hit! I've tried spanish peanuts and cashews, they are delicious but they don't stick as well

  • Anarie 22 Dec, 2011

    Very good and very easy. This would be a great thing to sell at bake sales.

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