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!

  • 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.