Classic Caramel Corn

  • Serves

    makes ABOUT 8 CUPS


Crunchy, sweet homemade caramel corn can be made even better with the addition of nuts or chocolate chips. This recipe first appeared in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue along with our article Caramel Corn.


  • 12 tsp. canola oil
  • 12 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 12 cup light corn syrup
  • 14 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Step 1

Heat oven to 250°. Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over high heat. Add popcorn, cover and cook, shaking pan, until popping subsides, 6–8 minutes. Let sit 1 minute. Grease a foil-lined baking sheet; cover with popcorn. Combine butter, sugar, syrup, tartar, and salt in a 2-qt. saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer over high heat. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is a dark brown and registers 260°. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn and mix; spread in an even layer. Bake until caramel is soft again, 25–30 minutes. Stir to coat popcorn, season with salt; cool.

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