This naturally sweetened homemade caramel popcorn made with just 7 ingredients is as simple to make as it sounds. Sweetened with real sugar and cooked in healthy fats, this healthier carmel popcorn recipe will blow your mind it’s so good.
Growing up we had a cottage in Michigan and every weekend we went to the cottage my Mom would make a big bowl of caramel popcorn. Truly it wasn’t a cottage weekend without this sweet treat.
She had this genius method to caramelize every single kernel of popcorn. She would add her popped corn to a large brown grocery bag. Pour over the hot caramel sauce, fold over the top of the bag a few times and give the whole thing a good shake for several minutes. Genius!
You don’t have to go that route and could just use a spoon and mix everything in a very large bowl. But sometimes those creative ways passed down from mom to daughter are just the best. So I had to share because this really is the best method.
You’re going to love this easy to make caramel popcorn. Every time I bring it somewhere to share everyone asks for the recipe. So I’m excited to finally share with you too!
Ingredients to make Naturally Sweetened Homemade Caramel Popcorn made with just 7 ingredients
- Popcorn kernels (I recommend using Organic to avoid GMO and pesticides)
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar or Brown sugar
- Unrefined Salt
- Baking Soda
How to make Naturally Sweetened Homemade Caramel Popcorn made with just 7 ingredients
First pop your corn. Everyone seems to have their own favorite methods for this so pop your corn however you like. I personally love using a Stir Crazy Popcorn Maker. We got one as a wedding gift almost 11 years ago and it’s still going strong! Highly recommend this trusty kitchen gadget.
Tip For Success: Have your popcorn popped and prepped either in a large bowl or large brown bag (story above). You want your popcorn ready to add the caramel sauce immediately. The caramel sauce hardens quickly and you won’t have much time to prep after the sauce is ready.
Okay, next you melt the butter into a medium sauce pan on the stove. Add your sweetener and a pinch of salt. Don’t omit the salt. I used to do this but if you’re using real unrefined salt it helps increase the flavor and sweetness. So just add the salt 😉
Bring everything to a low boil. The key is to keep a slow simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Please don’t walk away. You don’t want to burn your caramel.
After its 5 minute simmer remove from the heat and add vanilla and baking soda. Caution: the caramel sauce will bubble and foam as you continue to stir. This is all normal. Mix it all together quickly so the sauce doesn’t harden.
Pour the caramel sauce overtop your prepared popcorn (either in a bowl or brown bag). Mix or shake the caramel sauce to fully coat the popcorn. Move rather quickly because the caramel will get sticky and want to harden making it difficult to fully coat all the popcorn.
2 Options for eating:
Okay you have 2 options. You can eat the caramel popcorn immediately. It’s warm, sticky, gooey and delicious. It’s hard to resist not trying it at this point. So go ahead and try a piece 😉
Place your caramel popcorn onto 2 cookie sheets and spread into a thin single layer. Bake at 250 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes during baking so caramel cooks evenly. This option allows the caramel popcorn to harden and set becoming the delicious caramel corn we all know and love.
Store you caramel popcorn in an airtight container. It is good for a solid week.
If you’re making this in the summer and it’s humid outside I recommend eating within a day or two because the humidity makes the popcorn soggy fairly quickly.
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Let’s Make Naturally Sweetened Homemade Caramel Popcorn made with just 7 ingredients
- 1/2 cup Un-popped Popcorn Kernels
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter
- 1/4 cup Real Maple Syrup
- 2/3 cup Coconut Sugar or Brown Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- Pop 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. I love using a Stir Crazy Popcorn Maker to pop my popcorn kernels.
- Prepare your popped corn in either a large bowl with a spoon OR place into a large brown paper bag. You can either mix the popcorn and caramel sauce in a large bowl or shake it all together in a large brown paper bag. *Be sure to complete this step before making the caramel sauce.
- Caramel Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium size sauce pan over medium/low heat. Add maple syrup, sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a low boil. The key is to keep a slow simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. The caramel sauce will bubble, foam and rise as you stir.
- Pour caramel sauce over the popped corn. Mix or shake depending on your method making sure all the caramel is evenly coated onto the popcorn.
- You have 2 options for eating. One-The Messy way: Eat immediately OR
- Two-Bake it to harden the caramel sauce. Pour popcorn onto 2 cookie sheets in a single layer. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes to make sure caramel cooks evenly.
- Cool before serving. Store in an airtight container. As long as it's not humid it should last 1 week but I promise it's addictive and won't last that long 😉 Enjoy!
Store in airtight container for optimal freshness