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Crunchy Caramel Corn

Kids at our New Year's Eve parties gobble up this sweet and crunchy popcorn. —Shelly Gromer, Long Beach, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    about 2 quarts


  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 3/4 cup salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  • Place popcorn and peanuts in a large microwave-safe bowl; set aside. In another microwave-safe bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Cover and microwave on high for 30-60 seconds; stir. Microwave 1-1/2 minutes longer.
  • Stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes, stirring several times. Spread on greased baking sheets to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Editor's Note
This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 237 calories, 15g fat (5g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 314mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 2g fiber), 4g protein.
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  • Stefiann
    Nov 13, 2009

    I made four batches of this caramel corn today. The flavor its awesome! However, after trial and error, I found with my particular microwave, I needed to double the amount of time that the popcorn was in the microwave (the last step). 4 minutes instead of 2 was perfect! (After two minutes, the caramel corn was still too soft after it cooled, 3 was better, but 4 was just right. I also experimented with the amount of the vanilla and found about 2 teaspoons instead of 1/2 was perfect for me! It really enhanced the flavor. Super easy recipe, it will be a staple in my house for years to come! Thank you so much!!!

  • mandyt
    Dec 20, 2008

    This is so easy, I feel like I'm cheating. Oh if anyone is watching their cholesterol, the new Smart Balance sticks that are half butter, half Smart Balance, work just fine in this recipe.

  • ohcanada
    Dec 1, 2008

    Does anyone know why my caramel popcorn turns sugary instead of crunchy when I put it in the over to finish it?