This puffed caramel corn recipe is a little bite of nostalgia. Enjoy the salty and sweet flavors of this classic snack whenever the craving strikes – the recipe is that easy! And foolproof!
Am I mistaken in thinking that this caramel puff corn recipe is the recipe from the Midwestern moms of America? It is so quintessentially homespun, simple, and delicious. From football games to classroom snack time to holiday gifting – this sweet treat is a staple in the kitchens of so many.
Including mine! I adore this caramel corn recipe. I will eat handful after handful, batch after batch. It’s just that good! Crunchy, sweet, buttery, and a little bit salty from the puffy popcorn. So truly delightful!
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Puffed Popcorn (Old Dutch makes the best, imo)
- Corn Syrup (it is what it is)
- Brown Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda
How to make caramel puff corn
- Melt the butter and the sugar. Stir it together until smooth.
- Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract. Stir it again. Bring it up to a simmer. Then kill the heat.
- Add the baking soda. The caramel will bubble and foam. This is good! This is what we want!
- Coat the corn. In all that caramel goodness. Doing this on a foil lined baking tray is the way to go.
- Bake at 250. Yes, you read that right. Low and slow for quite some time. Stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Cool the caramel corn. I like to do this on a large sheet of parchment paper spread out on the table.
Why add baking soda to caramel?
Baking soda is such a wonder and a marvel! It helps leaven cakes, keeps fridges fresh, and even relieves heartburn! This last one is so important! If you have a nasty case of acid reflux, stir a big spoonful of baking soda into a warm glass of water and chug it down. It doesn’t taste good. At all. But! It will relieve your symptoms in a matter of minutes. Why is this?
Because baking soda is basic! (Aren’t we all?) When the base hits the acid in your stomach, it neutralizes it. Poof! Heartburn gone.
When stirred into caramel, the base nature of the soda reacts with the acid mixture and foams. This creates beautiful little air bubbles that remain suspended in the liquid (and survive during baking?!) to yield a softer (more chewable) final product.
Enjoy this puffed caramel corn yourself or wrap some up in festive packages to gift to friends and family any time of year!
Other great gift ideas!
- Homemade Vanilla Extract (start your bottles now!)
- Seth’s Strawberry Jam
- Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Puffed Caramel Corn Recipe
- Large Rimmed Baking Tray
- Heatproof spatula
- Tin Foil
- Parchment Paper
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
- 1 ¾ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 ¼ tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 10 ounces Puff Corn such as Old Dutch
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil (or use two medium sized trays). Dump Puff Corn onto the baking tray into a single, even layer and set aside.
- In a large saucepot, melt the butter and the sugar, stirring well to combine. Add the corn syrup and the vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Bring mixture up to a bubble and remove from heat. Stir in baking soda (mixture will bubble and foam, this is ok!).
- Pour caramel sauce over puff corn and mix well to ensure every piece is coated with caramel. Again, make sure the puff corn is in an even layer.
- Baking in preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and spread caramel corn out onto a large piece of parchment paper to cool. When cool, break up any large pieces before storing in an airtight container for up to one week.
- The caramel corn will foam up while baking, this is normal. For that reason, it's important to use rimmed baking sheets to avoid the caramel from spilling over the sides and burning on the bottom of the oven.
- Recipe adapted from Old Dutch.