Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn


Sally's Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth FixMy grandma would be happy that her timeless caramel corn recipe is going into my cookbook. I have so many memories sitting in her kitchen watching the kernels pop as she mixed up the caramel. I can still hear that giant popcorn maker warming up! The sticky caramel sauce, made from a few simple ingredients, drenches every single kernel. Grandma made sure her caramel corn was easy to prepare so my sisters and I could help. We always doubled this recipe for our large family to enjoy around the holidays.

  • Yield: 10 CUPS
  • Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • 10 cups (100 g) air-popped popcorn
  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
  • 0.25 cup (80 g) light corn syrup
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 115 g) butter
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Spread the popcorn out onto 1 or 2 large baking sheets. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir constantly and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir gently until all the kernels are coated.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan and break apart large clusters if desired. Cover the popcorn tightly once cooled; it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.

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