Simple & Decadent Salted Caramel Popcorn

I love the warm aroma of the freshly popped popcorn and rich, buttery, dark brown sugary, delicious caramel as it meanders throughout our home. It’s the airy essence of your favorite family summer getaway and personally reminds me of the confectionery shop at our favorite shore locale and the one on Main Street at Disney World.  It transports you through time and space to a land of happy family summer days and nights.  You can almost hear the giggles of delightful family jubilance while this sweet aroma wafts through your home.

Add roasted or toasted nuts of your choice. My favorite is pecans and peanuts, but my family prefers theirs just plain, so that’s how I made it, of course. It’s lighter and easier than most baked desserts, which is nice for the hot summer days and breezy nights. The rich, sweet and decadent glass like caramel lightly glazes the freshly popped corn with a rich lacquered fine coat, while the sea salt adds just a bit of depth and obvious addictiveness. It’s one of those sweet and salty and awesomely lethal (to your diet) combinations that I love all too much, indeed.

I keep this recipe to as few ingredients as possible, but of course if you prefer a bit of vanilla or cinnamon essence in your caramel corn you can add a half a vanilla bean’s seeds or a sprinkle of cinnamon to the caramel concoction as it bubbles and boils.  Some people add baking soda to their caramel, but I didn’t find that necessary here, since it’s just a simple coating, not a brittle. The thin salted sea glass like coating crackles quite easily on its own after baking in the oven.  Plus, fewer ingredients means simplicity.  Can’t we all use a little simplicity now and then?  I hope you enjoy this as much as our family did.


Simple and Decadent Salted Caramel Popcorn

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup popping corn kernels
  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • Sprinkling of fine sea salt to taste
  • *optional: 1-2 cups roasted or toasted nuts of choice


  1. Place two 9×14 inch baking dishes aside. Or, line two baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Heat 3 popcorn kernels in the oil in a covered 3-quart heavy bottomed saucepan over moderate heat until 1 or 2 kernels pop. Remove lid and quickly add remaining kernels, then immediately cover and shake pan frequently, cooking approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat when popping slows (5-6 seconds between pops) and then uncover and pour into a large bowl.  *If using optional toasted nuts, add to bowl with popcorn.*
  3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over moderate heat and then add brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil. Boil undisturbed and unstirred for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir.
  5. While still bubbling and boiling, pour the hot caramel in a thin stream over the freshly popped popcorn. Stir to evenly coat all the popcorn and immediately scoop the hot caramel corn onto the parchment-lined baking sheets or baking dishes in a single layer. Sprinkle with fine sea salt. Place in preheated oven for 50 minutes, tossing lightly half way between baking time.
  6. Remove from oven, bring to room temperature and enjoy!
  7. Store in air tight containers to retain crackle.
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31 Responses to Simple & Decadent Salted Caramel Popcorn

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  3. Anonymous says:

    This popcorn was incredible! It was everything I wanted it to be. I also drizzled some milk and white chocolate over half the batch and it tasted extra good!

  4. Connie says:

    I looove caramel popcorn, the sea salt in there is awesome!

  5. I love making my own caramel popcorn…this one looks great! :)

  6. I saw this yesterday on Top 9 and wanted to reach over and attack… so delicious!!

  7. I’m a fool for anything ‘salted caramel’! I just have to make this soon… Great recipe, Kate! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Lisa says:

    Oh, crap, now I’m going to gave to make this because I can’t look away from it’s salty, sweet, crunchy ‘come hither’ looks. This one may finally bust my straining zippers. I used to eat Crunch N Munch and Fiddle Faddle like it was going out of style, but that’s nothing compared to yours! :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    I will definately try this out – our family loves fresh home poped corn but I have never made salted caramel before – that sounds delicious :-)

  10. Tiffany says:

    The salt takes this from YUM to AMAZING! 😀

  11. I love the simplicity of this – so delicious!

    Thanks for a lovely recipe!

  12. Oh and would it work without the corn syrup?

    • The corn syrup is to prevent crystallization, so technically you could
      use simple syrup (sugar and water)…but you’d have to be extra diligent about the crystallization factor. You can use honey if you prefer, in place of the corn syrup, but again, honey also crystallizes easily. It is possible, just a little more work.

  13. That sounds perfect for the rare occasion I actually get to watch a movie!

  14. Meghan says:

    What a perfect snack & I love your idea to add toasted pecans! I’ll definitely try this for my next movie night!

  15. Chef Dennis says:

    I can’t believe I have never made my own caramel popcorn, yours sounds so very very good, but with two sticks of butter how could it not be!

  16. Tasty and addictive snack!

  17. briarrose says:

    Oh yeah…this is my kind of snack. Let me settle in for movie night with a bowl of this. :)

  18. I could eat my body weight in caramel corn in the summer. I love your simple recipe and idea to add pecans….brings on an entirely new level of delicious :)

  19. Popcorn and caramel are two of my favorite things. Having them together is a delight. Sounds delicious!

  20. I love caramel popcorn! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I am going tuck a bag of this in my purse the next time I go to the movies :-)

  21. Peggy says:

    Simplicity at it’s finest Kate! I love homemade caramel corn – it’s just SO much better than anything storebought =)

  22. kankana says:

    That is something I need when I go for movie shows. Now I can make it at home!! thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  23. Gourmantine says:

    Never tried salted caramel popcorn but it sounds sooooooooo good! Thanks for the wonderful idea :)

  24. Nice treat for late night TV! I know that freshly made caramel corn is so much better than purchased. Yum!

  25. Adora's Box says:

    You are right popcorn is for happy times. Lots of happy memories linked to eat. I’ll never outgrow my love for caramel popcorm. What a beautiful batch you’ve made.

  26. Kate this sounds awesome!! Love a change to the normal popcorn, although I could probably live on popcorn alone!

  27. Susie says:

    I love carmel corn it is one of my favorite things to snack on. This looks so good.

  28. I’ve never popped my own corn before but this looks pretty easy! Yum!

  29. Kelly says:

    Yummy! What a great snack, looks delicious! :)

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