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Minnesota Cooking: Caramel-Coated Popcorn

Char Milbrett is a creative writer and artist from Minnesota. She enjoys sharing recipes, crafts, hobbies, and games from her home state.

Caramel-coated popcorn

Caramel-coated popcorn

Caramel Popcorn

I was hungry for some old-fashioned, chewy caramel popcorn. I had most of the ingredients that I thought I needed. The recipe called for popcorn. I had a package of microwave popcorn. I had brown sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt. What I did not have was corn syrup.

But, if you know me, you know I wasn't stopped by that small detail. I searched around the house for things that had corn syrup in them. I was slightly desperate, thinking of whether the light syrup from my husband's peaches would work when I spotted the bottle of pancake syrup on the door in the refrigerator. Aha! What is in this stuff? First ingredient: corn syrup. Yay!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

40 min

1 hour 10 min

Serves as many people that like caramel popcorn.


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pancake syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bag of microwave popcorn


  1. Pop 1 bag of popcorn. Place in metal pan in oven set at 250 degrees. Mix butter, sugar, syrup and salt together in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Take pan of popped corn out of oven. Pour sticky caramel sauce over popcorn, stir, and return to oven. Bake for up to 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, and put in plastic refrigerator storage box. Put in cool place. Eat.

Popcorn and Caramel Cooked Separately

I used a bag of microwave popcorn. The instructions say to place the popped popcorn in a metal pan and place in the oven at 250 degrees. I made a half batch according to the recipe that I had since that bag of popcorn was not 5 quarts of popped popcorn.

Meanwhile, heat up your butter, brown sugar, pancake syrup, and salt to boiling over medium heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, start your timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of heavy boiling, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. The caramel will foam slightly. Just stir.

Then, pour the caramel mixture over the pan of warm popcorn and stir it around, coating well. Then, return the pan to the oven and let the caramel coating adhere to the popcorn pieces. Stir every 15 minutes.

I didn't bake it for the entire 40 minutes, and then I poured it into a plastic tub with a cover on it for storage.

The directions said to place it in a cool spot to cool off, so I brought it into the garage and set the covered container on the refrigerator for a few minutes. You must understand that it was really cold here in Minnesota and it did not take long for the caramel to set.


© 2017 Char Milbrett