Caramel Corn Recipe

Whether hosting a Harvest Party or even a Movie Night, you will want to make this crunchy caramel corn or Cracker Jack  recipe. Fresh popped corn and peanuts are placed in a large baking pan ,coated with  home made caramel made from brown sugar, butter, salt and corn syrup. Best home made cracker jack/caramel corn ever!

Your  family and friends will love this recipe.  Be careful though the caramel coating can be very hot when making and pouring over fresh popped corn.  I also like to use Skinny Pop ® popped corn when making this caramel corn.  The popped corn is larger than regular popcorn and already salted.  Just makes process faster and easier.

How to make Caramel Corn for Movie Night

How to Make Caramel Corn/Cracker Jack

In a medium sauce pan, add 2 sticks of butter and melt over medium heat. Add 2 cups of light brown sugar and 1/2 cup dark corn syrup, stir this mixture with a wooden spoon until it boils, boil 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, vanilla and salt.  Mixture will bubble up and become thick and creamy looking.  Don’t worry the color of the caramel will change to a lighter color due to the activation of the baking soda. It will rise in the sauce pan.  Just keep stirring, then pour over the popped corn and peanuts in your large baking sheet.

Note:  This mixture is very hot so make sure you use hot pads and wooden spoon to toss caramel over the corn for an even coat.

BEST RESULTS for making Caramel Corn/Cracker Jack

For best results make Caramel Corn on a bright sunny day for wet weather will  make the corn sticky, gummy and grainy.  Strange how weather plays a role when making this special treat, but it does.

Bag this corn in treat bags or decorative paper cones for gift giving or snacking.  Recipe is easy to make, 10 minutes or less.    For a festive look add orange and white M & M’s or other candies.  Great for tailgating too!

Watch videos below on how to make Caramel Corn for your next party.

How to Make Caramel Corn


Caramel Corn Recipe

  • Author: Liz Bushong
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert-Snack
  • Method: Cooktop/Oven
  • Cuisine: American Fall Recipe



10 cups fresh popcorn, popped

1 cup roasted peanuts, or other nuts

1 cup butter, no substitutes

2 cups dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup dark corn syrup* Tested Karo®

1/2 teaspoon baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, measure out in separate cup.


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Pop corn or use Skinny Pop already popped corn,  place in a lightly sprayed with cooking spray roasting pan. Roasting pan size needs to 12″ x 15″ x 2″ .
  3. Sprinkle nuts on top of corn. In large saucepan, melt butter; add brown sugar, and corn syrup. Stir constantly and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Be sure to watch your time.
  4. Remove from heat and add baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract.  Mixture will expand and turn a lighter color.  Baking soda causes this.
  5. Immediately pour caramel sauce over popped corn. Stir gently to coat kernels.
  6. Bake in oven @ 275 F for 45 minutes.  Stir to coat every 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool.  Store in airtight container.
  • For orange colored cracker- jack, add 1-3 oz. package orange gelatin with the butter, syrup mixture.  Heat until smooth, proceed as recipe directs.
  • Great for gift giving. Don’t make Cracker Jack on a rainy day or in inclement weather.  It will be sticky.


  • Use a wooden spoon for stirring hot caramel mixture coating.
  • Lightly spray glass measuring cup when measuring corn syrup.
  • Be careful with cooked caramel it is very hot!
  • Keep oven temperature at 275 for best results as not to burn. If you oven runs hot, reduce temperature to 250 degrees.

Did you make this recipe?

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Caramel Corn Recipe is easy to make, watch Liz, Morgan and Amy create this festive snack.   Serve Caramel corn for tailgating, fall parties, any time you need or want a sweet snack.  I send home a batch to my father in law, who loves this caramel corn.  I had added melted chocolate to the mix after it was set up and sent that home.. his response was.. it was good, but too messy.. “I get the chocolate on my pj’s.”   So.. no more chocolate drizzled caramel corn to send home.  It is really good, but messy!

Caramel Corn Recipe on Daytime Tri-Cities


Caramel Corn Part 1-  creating the caramel glaze, mixing butter, corn syrup and sugar.

Caramel Corn Part 2- Pouring the caramel sauce on the popped corn, then stirring to coat.

Caramel Corn Part 3- the end.. Serving it up Sassy in paper cones and eating!

The Paper cones are made from decorative scrap-booking paper.  I used black and white, then added a few orange cones to go along with the fall theme.

Other Ideas you might like to try:

Caramel Apple Recipe with Caramel that Sticks!

Apple Cider Recipe

Enjoy! Xo  Let me know if you try these recipes and ideas.