Caramel Corn in the microwave!

Caramel Corn

Today I’ve got a Recipe Redo for you.  This recipe has been a family favorite for a long time – over 25 years.  I first shared in back in 2008.

I got the recipe from my friend Pam.  We were in a family home evening group together with some other moms.  Each month we took turns putting together a lesson, visual aids and a treat idea for everyone that could be used for our weekly family home evening.

One month my friend Pam shared her family’s caramel corn recipe for the treat.  We all totally fell in love with it and have been making it every since.  The fun thing about this recipe is how easy it is – you don’t need a candy thermometer or have to worry about it hitting a certain temperature.  The whole thing is made in the microwave!

Caramel Corn

Besides being easy the thing I love about this recipe is that it makes a dry, crunchy caramel corn.  I know there is a divided camp on caramel corn, some like it gooey and sticky and some like it dry and crunchy.  I’m a dry and crunchy girl!

Caramel Corn

The other great thing about this recipe is the caramel corn is made in a brown paper bag so clean up is easy too.  After you cook it for the set amount of time in the microwave you spread it out on wax paper on the counter to dry.

caramel corn

Then spread the caramel corn out on the counter-top on wax paper to dry.

Caramel Corn

It is easy to dress this caramel corn up too.  For a Snickerdoodle version you will want to add a couple teaspoons cinnamon sugar mixture into the brown bag when you pull it out of the microwave for the last time – be sure and give it a good couple of shakes to get it distributed evenly. Do it quickly as the caramel sets up quickly and the sugar will not stick to the kernels if it is too dry.  It is also awesome with white chocolate drizzled over the top.

The white chocolate caramel corn  was a HUGE hit at a party I took it to and everyone kept asking me where I bought it – not believing that I actually made it!  One of our friends even suggested that maybe I should go into business and sell it -don’t think so but thanks for the compliment Dave!

Here are some other fun flavor combinations I have put together.

S’more Caramel Corn – Gingerbread Caramel CornPeppermint Bark Caramel CornPeanut Butter Chocolate Caramel Corn


Friday Favorite – Caramel Corn
  • 16 cups popped corn (I used my air popper)
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • ¼ C Karo syrup
  • ½ C butter
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½-1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cook sugar, syrup and butter in a glass bowl in microwave on high for one minute
  2. Stir and repeat for a total of five minutes
  3. Should be hot and bubble
  4. Add baking soda, vanilla
  5. Mix until foamy
  6. Put popped corn into a brown grocery bag
  7. Pour syrup into bag
  8. Stir to coat
  9. Fold bag over
  10. Place in microwave and microwave for one minute and shake
  11. Repeat
  12. Microwave 30 seconds and shake
  13. Repeat
  14. (Sprinkle with cinammon sugar if desired and shake again)
  15. Pour popcorn out to cool on wax paper


Leigh Anne

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Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. says

    I never would have believed that chocolate would be good on popcorn and I love chocolate and kettle corn. Awhile ago Dale and Thomas Popcorn gave away free samples…and I was sold! I’ll have to try this recipe. It would be a fun one to give to VTing sisters.

  2. LuAnne says

    All I can say is – Yum!
    I am going to try this.
    We enjoy popcorn and MM’s at our house
    just like I enjoyed with your family from way
    back in the day. Chocolate
    is so good with salted popcorn!

  3. says

    I just got done reading your blog (don’t know if you saw my first comment on your Cafe Rio page).
    Anyway, I see that you are a huge lemon fan like myself! Thought I’d share with you a great recipe that I made last week. It is gluten free (wheat/barley/rye/oat free), but I’m sure you could easily make it with regular flour. Just omit the xanthan gum.
    Here’s the recipe: Lemon Cream Coffecake
    I also just made this great “Garden Party Lemonade” today that I will probably post tomorrow, and I’m sure you would love it!
    Thanks for sharing all your delicious recipes! I’m excited to start trying them.
    Stephanie :)

  4. Che Tibbets says

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! Well, I know it’s supposed to be awesome! (and I do believe you since I’m from Oregon too!) I just tried the caramel corn and I cam e up with a question. When I added the vanilla the syrup sizzled a little and then the directions say to mix until foamy. So does that mean mix like with an electric mixer or just stir with your hand and that’s supposed to make it foamy again? Mine didn’t get foamy again. It was only foamy after nuking it the last 2 times. Then caramel corn came out a bit grainy, like brown sugar grainy. Any thoughts? Thanks so much! I’m hoping to perfect it and then play with some flavor combos – with chocolate of course!

  5. says

    Che, The foaming part should happen when you add the baking soda. It will foam up as you stir – I just stir with a wooden spoon and then pour it over the popcorn. I only stir until the baking soda and vanilla are incorporated. Be sure and add the vanilla and baking soda after you cook it in the microwave right before pouring it over the popcorn.

    Hope this helps – let me know if you have any more questions.

  6. Ashley Northam says

    Leigh Ann-

    I have desperately been searching for a carmel corn that is NOT sticky…. like the kind you can buy in the mall ( it seems only in Utah malls!) I do love Joe Brown’s in Portland here, but would love to do it myself. When I find the baked kind I like, I tend to eat it as fast as I can while its hot and then my jaw aches!
    * fun to see Larry and Marsha noted here….


  7. Missy says

    I JUST made this seconds ago, and it is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Better than what you find in a store!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. says

    Oh my word this was SO GOOD!!!!! Best caramel popcorn I’ve ever had. I added broken up toffee bits and drizzled white chocolate over it. Amazing. It was totally gone within minutes. I’ll cross-post this on my blog!

  9. Rebecca Kipe says

    I had to try this to believe it….caramel popcorn that doesn’t have to be baked! what a wonderful thing!! this is SO easy, i really thought it was too good to be true. i made it with my 4 and 6 year old to give to the postman, trash collectors and a neighbor. great christmas gift!

  10. Stephanie says

    I decided to make a huge batch of this for Christmas gifts this year! I’m wondering how long you think it will last if I wrap it up in plastic bags (I know if I keep it unwrapped it will not make it to anyone else’s house!)

  11. Angela McDonald says

    Hi Leigh Ann, this is my first time on your sight, and it is wonderful. Truely have enjoyed it. I have a question; I stay at home also, I am a child care provider and I also craft. I hand paint on just about everything. I have wanted a craft business for close to 20 yrs but am so afraid of failing, I don’t take the plunge and pursue it. Do you have any words of inspiration or pointers that could help me out of this fear of failing and no one liking my creations?

    • says

      The best way I have found to overcome fear is to just DO IT! I always tell my kids the sure way to fail is not to try. Here’s a quote for you:
      “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” I always look at it this way – What do I have to lose? Maybe a little money invested in supplies. What do I have to gain. ALOT!

  12. Desi says

    I just made this recipe. In the end, when I was microwaving for a minute, my caramel corn BURNED! I was very distraught. Luckily, only some of it burned so I was able to salvage a bit, but the rest had a slight smoke flavor to it. I was using this recipe to make s’mores caramel popcorn (added graham crackers, chocolate, and mallows) so the smokey flavor was actually welcomed and in the end, it turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Popcornbydad says

    Excellent! Used one bag of microwave popcorn and halved the recipie. Had to cut about 2 minutes off the microwave time because it was burned the first time through. The kids ( and wife ) love it.

    • says

      Enjoy it at your movie night. It is one of our favorite treats. Whenever I ask my college kids what they want me to send them they ask for this. When one of my boys was on his mission for our church his companions wrote to me and requested it after I had sent some!!

  14. Lisa says

    I shy away from microwave cooking because things tend to get overdone in my microwave. I guess I have a stronger microwave than most people. What wattage microwave was this recipe developed for? Thanks

  15. Melissa D. says

    I’m feeling both appreciative and horrified at seeing this recipe! LOL! I love Carmel Corn and having this easy of access to it might be a problem! Thanks for sharing. Love your blog!

  16. Beverly in Mississippi says

    I have a similar recipe, which we love, but this sounds like it’s easier cleanup.
    I bake mine in the oven for a few minutes.
    Enjoy your step by step instructions. Great pictures.

  17. Trudy says

    Just made this today & It was Awesome! I will be making this again & again & again for sure! Thanks for sharing it!

  18. Jen says

    If I don’t have a large grocery store brown paper bag- is there something else you can suggest? Lunch sized paper bags seem quite small to get the job done.

    • says

      I have only ever used a large grocery bag. A lunch sack would be way too small. And you need to be able to roll down the top of the bag while it is in the microwave so not sure if a department store shopping bag would work either.


  1. […] Today I’ve got a quick and easy idea if you’d like to give your children’s teachers a little thank you to show your appreciation.  I used my very favorite caramel corn recipe and dressed it up a bit.  This recipe is the best.  The best part is, it is done in the microwave.  You can find my step by step tutorial for microwave caramel corn here. […]

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