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Perfect Salted Caramel Corn — In the Microwave!

Okay, so, THIS RECIPE. It is perfection in popcorn form. My friend Brenda from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles posted her mom’s recipe for microwave popcorn a few weeks ago and I can’t even count how many times I’ve made it since. If you are what you eat, I am probably starting to look like a piece of popcorn!

perfect salted caramel corn

Seriously, this is the best caramel corn I’ve ever had. Each piece of popcorn is coated with just the right amount of caramel. The texture is light and crispy. The addition of kosher salt takes it over the top. I shared some with a friend the other day and she didn’t even believe it was homemade because it’s so perfect!

perfect salted caramel corn

I’ve adjusted the recipe’s ingredient amounts and cooking times to result in a smaller batch. I also added a few notes of my own. Click through the steps for the full recipe or visit Brenda’s site for the original, larger recipe!

  • Step 1: Pop 1/2 cup uncooked popcorn and place in a large brown paper bag. 1 of 8
    step 1 salted caramel corn

    Pop your popcorn however you want. Start with 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn, which should yield about 2 quarts popped. I love using my Whirley Pop for popping popcorn.

  • Step 2: Place caramel ingredients in microwave-safe bowl, preferably with a spout. 2 of 8
    step 2 salted caramel corn

    You will need to add to the bowl:

    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Step 3: Cook caramel ingredients in microwave. 3 of 8
    step 3 salted caramel corn

    Place bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. Remove bowl from microwave, quickly stir to incorporate ingredients, return to microwave and cook on high for 1 minute more. Caramel should be boiling.

  • Step 4: Add baking soda and vanilla to caramel, then mix caramel with popcorn. 4 of 8
    step 4 salted caramel corn

    Remove boiling caramel sauce from the microwave and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and stir well. Pour sauce over popcorn in brown paper bag and stir to distribute evenly. Caramel does not need to coat each piece of popcorn evenly, you just want to get the caramel spread around the bag of popcorn.

  • Step 5: Cook bag of caramel corn in the microwave. 5 of 8
    step 5 salted caramel corn

    Roll down the top of the brown paper bag and place in the microwave. Cook on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, keeping bag closed, and shake a LOT in every direction. Return bag to the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. (Note: Since the bag is so big, it will not rotate while cooking. When I cook it for the first minute, I make sure the fold in the bag faces the back of the microwave. Then, for the second minute of cooking, I make sure the fold faces the opposite directly, to help distribute the cooking evenly.) Remove from microwave. Shake the bag a whole lot more.

  • Step 6: Pour popcorn out onto rimmed cookie sheet. 6 of 8
    step 6 salted caramel corn

    I like to line the rimmed cookie sheet with a large piece of parchment paper, to help with clean up. This batch will fill one tray completely.

  • Step 7: Sprinkle kosher salt over popcorn. 7 of 8
    step 7 salted caramel corn

    Okay, so this step is critical to taking this tasty treat over the top! Just evenly sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over the entire pan of popcorn.

  • Step 8: Toss and break up the popcorn then EAT! 8 of 8
    step 8 salted caramel corn

    Once you've sprinkled the salt over the popcorn, toss it around to spread evenly and break up the pieces. Then all you have left to do is EAT! Just try to stop yourself from eating it all! 

    Leftovers should be kept in an airtight container or ziploc bag. While the leftovers are good, this popcorn is at its most perfect the day you make it.

Recipe Summary:

Ingredients:

  • ~ 2 qts popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  • Pop 1/2 cup uncooked popcorn and place in a large brown paper bag. Pop your popcorn however you want, starting with 1/2 cup kernels, which will yield about 2 quarts.
  • Place brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and kosher salt in a microwave-safe bowl, preferably with a spout. Cook in microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove, stir to incorporate, then microwave for 1 more minute on high. Caramel should be boiling.
  • Add baking soda and vanilla to caramel. Mix well then pour over the popcorn in the back, stirring to evenly spread caramel throughout the popcorn. (It does not need to be mixed perfectly.)
  • Roll down the top of the brown paper bag and place in the microwave. Cook on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, keeping bag closed, and shake a LOT in every direction. Return bag to the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. (Note: Since the bag is so big, it will not rotate while cooking. When I cook it for the first minute, I make sure the fold in the bag faces the back of the microwave. Then, for the second minute of cooking, I make sure the fold faces the opposite directly, to help distribute the cooking evenly.) Remove from microwave. Shake the bag a whole lot more.
  • Pour popcorn out onto a rimmed cookie sheet. I like to line the tray with a large piece of parchment paper to help with clean up. This size batch will fill one tray completely. Sprinkle the popcorn evenly with a bit more kosher salt, then break up the popcorn with your hands to mix it up.
  • Eat!

Read more from Jane at This Week for DinnerKitchen Tunage and The Spoiler Alert. For more updates, follow Jane on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

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