Calling all fans of Cracker Jack and Crunch n’ Munch! Whip up your own homemade version using this caramel nut popcorn crunch recipe.
Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowds, buy me some peanut and crackerjack…
This homemade popcorn crunch recipe packs together freshly popped popcorn with caramel sauce, salted peanut, and salted almonds.
It’s a crunchy, sweet, and salty snack perfect for baseball games, movie nights, and cozy nights in.
Homemade Caramel Popcorn
More than often, store bought caramel popcorn is far too sweet.
This caramel crunch popcorn is a fine balance of sweet and salty. The popcorn is lightly coated with caramel.
A touch of ground cinnamon is added to the caramel to cut through the sweetness and balance out the burnt sugar bitterness.
To amp the crunch factor, salted peanuts and salted almonds are thrown into the mix.
Special Tools Needed:
- large heavy bottomed sauce pot
- candy thermometer
- large mixing bowl
- non-stick silicone baking mat (or parchment paper)
Cook the caramel sauce in a large heavy bottom sauce pot. I recommend a 5 to 7 quart pot. Heavy bottomed pot will help to ensure even heat distrution.
Candy thermometer is a vital tool! The caramel sauce needs to be cooked to 250°F to set properly.
Grab the largest mixing bowl you have. It should be large enough to hold 10 cups of popped popcorn. Be sure the bowl can withstand heat.
Spread caramel coated popcorn in a single layer on a silicone mat lined baking sheet (or parchment lined). Pop in the oven for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Eat the caramel crunch popcorn on its own… or use it to top desserts!
Caramel popcorn is the perfect topping for chocolate cake! I use extra caramel crunch popcorn to top this peanut butter chocolate cake for Halloween!
Caramel Nut Crunch Popcorn
- 3 oz bag microwave popcorn (no oil or salt added),* about 10 cups popped
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- ¾ cup salted almonds
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or silpat non-stick baking mat) and set aside.
- Place popcorn in the largest bowl you have. Set aside
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and water. Set over medium heat to melt butter and sugar. Using a candy thermometer (or food safe thermometer), cooked mixture to 250° F. Stir mixture as needed to ensure even cooking.
- Once desired temperature is reached, remove pot from heat. Add baking soda and whisk to combine. (BE CAREFUL when adding the baking soda, as the caramel mixture will bubble up and rise!) Whisk in salt, vanilla, and cinnamon until combined.
- Pour hot caramel over popcorn. Using a large spatula, fold to distribute caramel. Add peanuts and almonds and fold until incorporated. Spread caramel popcorn into an even layer over prepared baking. (If necessary, use more than one baking sheet if popcorn does not fit.) Bake for 60 minutes, stirring popcorn every 20 minutes to ensure even caramel coating.
- Remove from oven and let popcorn mixture cool slightly. Break up any large chunks that may have formed. Allow to cook to room temperature and store in an airtight container.
Reader Questions and Reviews
So true about your sweet tooth changing, I used to think it’s so weird to add salt in cakes and cookies, but now I NEED it, the salt that is. You are like my new blog crush! I just love your photography, it makes me want to tear through the screen and grab a couple morsels of caramel popcorn!
A little pinch of salt makes everything taste better! Thank you SO MUCH! I really, really appreciate it :)
I’ll eat the rest of your caramel popcorn while watching the Giants beat the Cardinals (Although, I really have no town spirit, I’m just saying that to rile you up).
Also – YOU PUT CARAMEL POPCORN ON CUPCAKES?! I’m dying. <3
Sigh. I don’t want to talk about baseball anymore. lol.
YES. I got tired of eating the popcorn as is. But caramel popcorn with chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting is an entirely different beast. IT’S SO GOOD!
I too loved me some cracker jacks! And always ate the entire box in one sitting. It is so true about your sweet tooth changing. I used to love chocolate, now I’m more of a fruit girl.
This caramel nut popcorn is swoon worthy. Totally going to make this. Pinning!
Thanks Jen! During the winter I’m totally all about chocolate, but as soon as spring/summer hits, it’s fruits, fruits, fruits!
POPCORN TO TOP A CAKE?! IN.
YES. It’ true! :)
Caramel! Possibly one of my favorite flavors – I love that the caramel is really mixed into the popcorn well instead of just drizzled on. ;) gotta get as much caramel as I can in a bite.
I totally agree! There needs to be a good caramel to popcorn ratio!