Introduction: How to Make "Oven" Caramel Corn

Picture of  How to Make "Oven" Caramel Corn

This highly addictive treat was introduced to my family by our neighbor. I'm sure there are various ways to make caramel corn, this method seems easy and the results are tasty!

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

1 C. unpopped popcorn (makes about 5 quarts popped)
2 C. brown sugar
1 C. butter
1/2 C. corn syrup (we used 'light' the original recipe calls for 'dark')
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Handful of peanuts (optional).

Popcorn popper, large roasting pan, a couple wooden spoons, 2 qt sauce pan and waxed paper.

Step 2: Lets Begin

Picture of Lets Begin

Pop the corn. We like the Hello Kitty popper, others might like an air popper...its all good. Once popped, take the time and make sure all the flopcorn is removed. Those unpopped kernels can cause an unplanned visit to the dentist!

Step 3: Making the Caramel

Picture of Making the Caramel

Combine the Brown Sugar, Butter, Corn Syrup and Salt. Once all melted together, bring this gooey goodness to a boil and hold the boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the Baking Soda (this will cause the mixture to foam). Keep stirring while the foam builds. Next, pour evenly over the popped corn. Mix as well as you can...don't worry about total coverage, it will even out in the next step.

Step 4: Oven Stage

Picture of Oven Stage

Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out and stir. Back into the oven for another 15 minutes and stir. You can experiment at this stage. The original recipe calls for a total of 4 cycles (1 hour). For some, this might be too long. I have found out that after one cycle, the caramel is "more chewy" but the flavor is not quite there. The longer you keep the popcorn in the oven, the more brittle it will be and the sugars will take on a more "burnt" caramel flavor. It is up to you! We usually pull ours after 3 cycles (45 minutes). You can add peanuts at an time during this stage.

Step 5: Finish

Picture of Finish

Cool on waxed paper. Don't waste any time getting from the oven to the waxed paper...the caramel has a tendency to harden. Tip: get water into that pan as soon as you have the caramel corn out and onto the waxed paper...if you wait too long, you might be looking for an Instructable on how to remove "barnacle like caramel" from a pan.

From what we hear, it can be frozen...ours has never lasted long enough to consider sticking in the freezer.

Thanks for checking out this Instructable!


sstormyc1 (author)2015-10-11

Loved this recipe! The 250° oven works so much better than 200. Don't waste the excess caramel in the pan. Scrape it out with a silicone spatula and cool it on the wax paper for homemade caramel chews! I doubled the recipe.

imao (author)2015-03-06

can i use microwave instead of using oven?

rescuelinds (author)2008-08-20

i do the same thing in the microwave. put popcorn in grocery bag. pour carmel over it and mix by mushing up the bag. then put in microwave for 1.5 min on high.. mush again . and put in microwave again for 1.5 min. pour out on cookee sheets and 5 min later you can eat... the best..

dunnos (author)rescuelinds2008-11-27

isn't a grocery bag, like, plastic?

OverdoseINaCan (author)dunnos2013-12-07

i think they mean to mix it up, you shake it in the bag, not cook it in the bag.

mysterygirl154 (author)dunnos2009-07-05

maybe it was a brown paper grocery bag?

REDSTEEL2 (author)2011-03-27

"if you wait to long, you might be looking for an Instructable on how to remove"barnacle like caramel" from pan" LOL

REDSTEEL2 (author)2011-03-27

This stuff looks good I'm are trying it today

drhoff (author)2009-12-21

 GLORY! I'm eating it right now... mmmmmm.... for those of you who were wondering, unflavored microwave popcorn works great. 2 bags seems to be just the right amount. THANKS!

rathmiron (author)2009-12-21

could you give me the quantities of the ingredients in grams?  I come from holland and there we use grams as indication for quantities.

Greentea089 (author)2009-08-04

does this caramel only make 5qt with all that butter?

mysterygirl154 (author)2009-07-06

I have some in the oven right now I used light microwavable popcorn (the only kind we have), golden corn syrup, and margerine instead of butter. So far it tastes great!

marekk (author)2008-02-04

Hi guys, I love caramel popcorn - any idea on how to substitute corn syrup? Not sold here in Czech Republic :-( and I didn't find anything on the net... Thanks.

misskiss313 (author)marekk2009-01-24

The people above said you can try maple syrup.

MedMisfit (author)marekk2008-02-04

Do you have "Golden Syrup" or light molasses? I did a quick search and came up with this link...looks like honey could be used as a substitute...or try to make a syrup with sugar and water. Hope that helps.

larry03052 (author)MedMisfit2008-02-11

A word of warning: the purpose of the corn syrup (which is just glucose) is not to add sweetness or flavor, it is to cut the fructose/sucrose molecules with another sugar they can't crystallize with. Leaving out the corn syrup will still work - but there is a reason why melted sugar is called "napalm" by those who work with it. Any jolt, any tiny crystal hitting the mixture, almost anything at all, will trigger the whole mass to crystallize - an exothermic reaction that can blow up in your face. Literally. And tragically.

marekk (author)MedMisfit2008-02-04

I'll try that :-) thanks.

t.rohner (author)marekk2008-02-08

try liquid malt extract, you should get it at health stores. At least i can buy it here in Switzerland. It's too costly to make beer with, when bought at health stores, but then we use malted barley to make beer anyways. Maybe your bakery has it as well, it's used to push the yeast.

big-jamie (author)2008-02-08

can you buy bags of un-flavoured microwavable popcorn ? because i dont have a popcorn popper, and it look soo good =)

CoolKoon (author)big-jamie2008-02-08

You don't have to pop the popcorn in the microwave. Just get a pan with a transparent cover, pour in some oil, some popcorn, and all you have to do is let them pop :P

SlothOnSpeed (author)CoolKoon2008-11-10

We don't even have a transparent cover, just the regular lid to the pan. I use 1/4 cup oil in a 4qt pot with a decent handle that you can hold while heating the oil. Heat the oil in the pot until one kernel of popcorn (the test kernel) starts to show very tiny bubbles of air fizzing from it. Then add 1/3 cup popcorn and cover the pot. Hold the handle and gently swirl the whole mixture over medium high heat and listen. At first you'll hear sizzling, then more exuberant sizzling :-), and then a few tentative pops. Keep swirling the oil/popcorn until you get a whole bunch of popping at once. Turn down the heat to medium and just put the pan on the burner. (you can stop swirling) The pot will fill up and in a moment, the layer of popped corn will lift the lid off the pot. Remove the lid now, so the steam can release from the popcorn, leaving it dry and very crunchy. When you start to hear the popping slow way down, remove the pot from the stove, and dump the popcorn into a suitable bowl. The challenge is to get all the corn popped without burning it. I usually settle for a couple of unpopped kernels, because burnt popcorn is inedible. You can then use the popcorn in your recipe or simply salt and butter, then eat. For those outside the US: when making popcorn, actual measurements don't matter much. It's the proportion of the oil:popcorn, and even that isn't very important. When in Germany, I use a teacup to measure oil and popcorn Popcorn made like this is so superior to microwave popcorn it's amazing, but microwave popcorn is easy and leaves no pan to be washed. It also can be made by children and requires no skill at all. :-) Take your pick. FWIW, we have a special old aluminium pot that is reserved for popcorn. I grew up with the pot, and there was a time when my brother and I each had custody of the special pot, alternating years. Then I happened upon an almost identical pot for $0.25 at a yard sale, so I released my claim on the childhood popcorn pot. If you can find a very thick aluminium pot from the 1950's (at least 1/4" thick, and more is better), grab it. It will be perfect for popcorn. I don't use aluminium pots for general cooking, although I think that the jury is still out on safety, but popcorn can't be made properly in anything else. I think I'll jump off my soapbox and go make some more of this delicious caramel corn. Ummm.

estebbins (author)big-jamie2008-02-11

You know, you can take an ordinary brown lunchbag, and throw in 1/4-1/3 cup of unpopped corn in it... Fold the top over a couple of times, lay the bag flat like the "real" bags, and pop it up in the micro... A little secret that Orville doesn't want you to know.

Kaiven (author)2008-08-06

and what if i dont have conrsyrup? :O

Kaiven (author)Kaiven2008-08-06

hmm.. by the comments it seems i can use maple syrup... so ill try this :D

Tina7383 (author)2008-07-04

Thanks MedMisfit For Doing this instructable-

Please dont take my comments in a bad way because I would not even have been able to write this or any other instructable. I just added some comments from my family experiances of mass producing this receipe.

I use this exact receipe at the holidays and bag it all fancy, my nephew is a salesman and his customers look forward to it every year.

Just a couple of notes from my experiance (because we make about 50+ batches-we have learned a thing or two).

First-You can use an aluminium turkey roasting pan. Generally we dont wash it inbetween batches. If you need to just give it a quick wipe and start another batch. You can make several batches and then just chuck it in the trash if is gets to gummy or yucky.

Second- it is also quite delicious if you add a couple cups of PECANS instead of the peanuts.

Third- you can use that giant 10lb bag of prepopped corn from Smart and Final- Trust me once it is carmalized you ABSOLUTELY can not tell. You save alot of time here. You just sort the flops out and go on.

Sheamus (author)2008-06-21

yummy =D

Sheamus (author)2008-06-21

Z0MG sooooo good mad it at 11 at night and pissed my mom off =] still great

i gave her a piece, she loved it, took a bowl of it and went back to bed
then my dad came home and ate the rest of it while i was sleeping -.-

i used maple syrup since we were out of corn syrup, my mom said she loved it so much she'd buy me corn syrup tomorrow =]

ily_chays (author)2008-05-09

So I litterally JUST made this. As in, I have it cooling on the waxed paper as I leave this comment. It came out ABSOLUTELY fantastic. The only thing I did different was I used maple syrup because we are out of corn syrup. but it tastes outstanding.

thankyou now i dont have to pay $5 for a box of cracker jacks or poppycock

IdahoDavid (author)2008-02-04

An exchange Boy Scout from Liverpool I knew in the 1970s always turned his nose up at popcorn. He considered all corn products "animal feed." Do the British still feel that way about corn?

colinsmurph (author)IdahoDavid2008-03-24

Im, from Manchester U.K about 30 miles from Liverpool, if Corn products are animal feed then i'm an animal.. This stuff tasted great!!

neubaten (author)IdahoDavid2008-02-22

I had a french roomie who wouldnt eat pumpkin for that same reason, said they used it to feed cattle with, we got him into it tho, all the brits i know eat popcorn, mabey its a generational thing...

Lioness (author)2008-02-09

This is not caramel corn, it's butterscotch corn. It may very well be quite good, but for true caramel corn substitute cream for half the the sugar and use white sugar and karo for the sweetener. Then you don't have to bake it, because the sugars are already "caramelized." If you like I can post a recipe. Then butter your hands and stir the popcorn in, and keep mixing manually until it is coated.

Charlottier (author)Lioness2008-02-14

Please post your recipe I would like to try the real carmel corn. My family loves the stuff especially with nuts and such! It would be great to make our own. Do you have any other recipe variations? I'm thinking along the lines of Harry & David's Moose Munch!

Lioness (author)Charlottier2008-02-14

I can do that, but I don't have the knowledge or camera capabilities to put pictures on an instructable. Will it still do to post a recipe without them? I've never done this before. Basically what i have to do is get the recipe for basic caramel off my old computer and then find instructions for coating popcorn with it. It should be simple enough, but I'm not sure the files on my other box are accessible right now, as I cannot get that one to display on the common monitor. I posted this to let you know I got your comment and will work on it.

Wolf Seril (author)2008-02-11

I assume this would work with microwave-d popcorn? Hmm... how rediculously sweet would this be if it was made with Kettle Corn...

tMav (author)2008-02-11

this is the exact recipe my mother uses, only she pours the whole mess into a brown paper grocery bag and shakes it until mixed. now i'm curious about the extra step of baking it... hmmm. maybe dump in some peanuts, pretzel sticks and corn Chex? sprinkle some crack on top..

flio191 (author)2008-02-10

:D I just made this yesterday, and it turned out great! tastes exactly like those expensive carmel and cheese popcorn sellers downtown and its really really easy. sweet jesus, it took me like 50 minutes! i used aunt jemimas syrup instead of those pure whatever corn syrups because i didnt have any, but it turned out pretty well (aunt jemimas syrup stuff is corn syrup, its just got other... stuff in it to make it sweeter... :( but ill try with some realy syrup next time) thanks, nice instructable!

fancypenguin845 (author)2008-02-07

id love to make this, but i dont have time! :'(

t.rohner (author)fancypenguin8452008-02-08

a little less time on www and you could do it... no offense meant ;-)

fancypenguin845 (author)t.rohner2008-02-10


lyallp (author)2008-02-09

Google says...

250 degrees Fahrenheit = 121.111111 degrees Celsius

I guess it should be Fahrenheit as when I had my oven at 250 Celcius, I managed to smoke my place out in very short order.

Still tasted good though :-)

berrygunks (author)2008-02-09

oh my crap that looks good!

jej01620 (author)2008-02-09

try this using "Old Dutch" puffed corn instead of popcorn... rates only second to meth in "addictive-ness..."

mangycur (author)2008-02-08

If you get a sticky pan you can put a FABRIC SOFTENER DRYER SHEET with a little water and let soak!!! Works great on other baked on caked on messes!

razany (author)2008-02-08

This is cool. The way I do it is much quicker but I doubt any tastier. I just melt sugar and put it on the popped popcorn and that's about it..

Shaymus9 (author)2008-02-08

great instructable, making it right now :D

jpui (author)2008-02-07

Thx for sharing this info.. Imma make this rite Now! :P

longgone (author)2008-02-07

For the last step (cooling), try putting the hot corn into a brown paper grocery bag on its side instead of on wax paper. The brown bag absorbs any moisture given off during cooling, ensuring crispy caramel corn. Great recipe! Thanks!

timzentu (author)2008-02-07

To Improve the flavor, add 1tsp of Vanilla to the caramel... That is what my mom does to make her world famous Toffee Corn. I have been bribed for the full recipe from my mom's coworkers. To bad she won't let me be in the kitchen while she makes it.

About This Instructable




More by MedMisfit: How to Make "Oven" Caramel CornBackyard Theater
Add instructable to: