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!

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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!

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      67 Discussions


      4 years ago

      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.


      11 years ago on Introduction

      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..

      3 replies

      8 years ago on Step 5

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


      8 years ago on Step 3

      This stuff looks good I'm are trying it today


      9 years ago on Introduction

       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!


      9 years ago on Step 1

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


      10 years ago on Step 3

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

      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!


      11 years ago on Introduction

      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.

      5 replies

      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      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.


      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      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.


      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      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.


      11 years ago on Introduction

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

      1 reply

      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      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