Sea Salt Caramel Corn: An addictive combination of sweet caramel with just a hint of saltiness baked right into crunchy popcorn. Delish!

Do you crave salty snacks or do you crave sweet snacks?

Me? It’s usually salty and one of my all-time favorite snack foods is popcorn.

As a kid I loved making it in an air popper. What a great Christmas gift that was!

When the microwave hit the consumer market in the 80s, I made popcorn in a microwavable popcorn popping bowl that my mom recently reminded me about. n the microwave in pre-packaged bags,

And, of course, in the pre-microwave days, we made it on the stove in a big pot. Well, life has come full-circle because last year, I started popping my popcorn on the stove again.

And it’s thanks to this recipe for encouraging me to do so!

If you love caramel corn as much as I do, you can’t go wrong with this recipe!

And if you’re a novice at making homemade caramel like I certainly was last year when I first made this recipe, you’ll have no trouble making it here. It’s so easy!

You’ll make your popcorn, whip up some caramel, pour it over the popcorn, toss to coat, and put the popcorn in the oven on a low temperature for almost an hour.

The most difficult part about the whole process is waiting for it to cool!

This year, I made a double batch and packaged it all up yesterday in my Christmas treat packages.

And frankly, it’s better that I don’t have any of this sea salt caramel corn left in the house for myself. Because I can’t keep my hands off of it!

Make sure you come back tomorrow for a special Christmas post!

Sea Salt Caramel Corn

  • Prep Time: 10min
  • Cook Time: about 1 hour
  • Yield: about 10 cups

Notes

If you want to add M&Ms to this caramel corn, mix a couple cups into the cooled popcorn before you serve or package it up.

Ingredients

1 cup popcorn kernels, unpopped
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
½ cup light corn syrup
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • 01

    Pop popcorn using your preferred method.  Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl (or two large bowls).  Make sure there is enough room in your bowls for tossing the popcorn. Preheat the oven to 250° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, to make the caramel, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, mix in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.

  • 03

    Once the mixture reaches a boil, let the mixture continue to boil for 5 more minutes without stirring.  Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract.  The mixture will bubble up and become frothy.  Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn in the bowl(s) and toss to coat thoroughly.  (I found my salad spoons very useful for this step.)

  • 04

    Spread the popcorn evenly onto the prepared baking sheets.  It is okay if there are some clumps of caramel throughout.  It will melt and become better spread out while baking.

  • 05

    Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow popcorn to cool completely before breaking apart for serving or packaging.

  • 06

    Bake for 40-50 minutes, removing from the oven to toss/stir every 10 minutes.  After 40 minutes, test a cooled piece of popcorn.  If it is not completely crispy (i.e. still slightly mushy when you bite it), bake for 10 minutes more.

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@smellslikehomeblog
  • December 20, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    mmmm delicious

  • December 20, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    This looks gorgeous! I bet it tastes better. What a festive treat, and a great gift!

  • December 20, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Oh man that looks good. Wonderful gift idea as well. 😉

  • December 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Hi, I just found your site, I immediately had to make this, it was soo good and I can barely keep my hands off of it. I will NEVER buy cracker jack again! I hope there’s some left for my kids!

  • December 22, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    This looks amazing! I think I will make it today during my ski break 🙂

  • December 27, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    this is soo good i should try this…every thing look delicious..
    Merry christmas!!!

  • November 22, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Ohhh I’m planning on doing lots of popcorn varieties as gifts this year and I’m totally adding this to my list! 🙂

  • November 23, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    Great recipe and love the festive M&Ms.

  • Melissa
    December 20, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    How many M&Ms did you add? Did you mix them in before or after baking? Can’t wait to make this!

    • December 21, 2011 at 7:05 AM

      Melissa: I really don’t remember – maybe 1 cup for 1 batch of caramel corn (after it has been baked). I never find that one can have too many M&Ms so use however many you think will work best. 🙂

  • December 11, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    This looks so delicious and festive w/ the red and green M&M’s. I think I’m going to make some this weekend for giving away. Just wondering, did you use course sea salt or fine sea salt? Thank you!!!

    • December 15, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      I’m sorry for taking so long to respond to you! You comment got pushed to my spam folder. 🙁 Anyway, I believe I used fine sea salt – it was the only kind of sea salt I had at the time.

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