Caramel Corn with Sorghum Syrup

Amped up with bacon bits, this sweet-and-salty snack is best enjoyed by the fistful.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    1 hour 30 minutes


By Alline Anderson

Published on February 9, 2024

Anabaptist communities throughout the American South and Midwest are among the last remaining U.S. producers of sorghum syrup, an earthy, nutty sweetener that had its heyday in the Civil War era. In this caramel corn recipe with sorghum syrup, Alline Anderson—who co-owns the Milkweed Mercantile, a solar-powered and straw-insulated bed-and-breakfast in Rutledge, Missouri—incorporates the nectar for its depth of flavor. She also folds in crisp, salty bacon to counterbalance the sweetness. Look for sorghum syrup at specialty grocers, or online.


  • One 3.5-oz. bag plain microwave popcorn, popped (about 8 cups)
  • 1½ cups cooked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sorghum syrup
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Step 1

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 250°F.

Step 2

In a large bowl, toss together the popcorn, bacon, and peanuts. 

Step 3

In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the brown sugar, syrup, and salt. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it boils, cook, without disturbing, until a candy thermometer reads 240°F, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Pour the syrup mixture over the popcorn mixture and toss well to coat, then divide between the two baking sheets and spread into a thin, even layer. Bake, removing from the oven and tossing at 15-minute intervals, until crisp to the touch and golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool completely.

Step 4

Once cooled, break the caramel corn into bite-size pieces and serve at room temperature. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

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