No-Bake Caramel Corn

This easy homemade no-bake caramel popcorn is a holiday favourite! Perfect as an edible gift or to enjoy cozied up in front of the fireplace.

Caramel popcorn or also known as caramel corn is a treat I often enjoy making during the holiday season. I love to make it and give it out as gifts to friends and co-workers. Caramel corn is popcorn coated with sweet buttery caramel giving the snack its signature crunch. This recipe uses ingredients you most likely have on hand, no corn syrup is needed here!

When I first made this caramel corn it was chewy, and while there is nothing wrong with that I prefer my caramel corn with a bit of crunch. To achieve this, I like to cook my caramel to 250°F. The trick to making the caramel is not to stir the caramel as it boils. Stirring, will cause the sugar to splash onto the sides of the pan where the water can evaporate, and the sugar can form back into crystals.

This recipe is done in under 30 minutes and waiting for the popcorn coating is truly such a tease. I hope you give this recipe a try as making this homemade tastes amazing!

 6 servings / 5 mins prep time / 20 mins total time


5 cups popcorn, popped

2 cups pretzels, optional


½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp baking soda


Start by popping your popcorn according to package directions. I prefer making popcorn from kernels as the crunch is far superior to the microwave popcorn.

In a large bowl, salt the popcorn and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once, the butter is melted, add the brown sugar and mix until it starts to boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, do not stir and allow the caramel to reach a temperature of 250°F, about 4-6 minutes. Add the vanilla and allow to boil for another minute.

Add the baking soda and give it a mix. Drizzle over the popcorn and gently toss until every kernel has a caramel coating.

Pour the popcorn on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper and allow to cool. Once cooled you can assemble for holiday gifting or eat as you please.

Buttery caramel corn in a bowl and in packaging for an edible gift idea

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