The Easiest Caramel Popcorn In The World

I’m going to fess up right now : I’m not really a popcorn fan. I have probably made popcorn a whopping 5 times in my entire life. In fact, my mother taught me how to make it last Spring when she came for a visit (and I’m counting the time we made it together in my grand total, FYI).


That being said, I don’t dislike the popped-stuff, it’s just that it’s never really interested me. Except for that neon-orange used to be 99-cents for a huge bag at the gas station kind of popcorn. I bet I still have radio-active insides from loving that stuff up each time I found enough pop cans to turn in for a refund, meaning 10 cans, meaning 1 dollar of spending money. Ooohhh, the good ole days…hopping on my bike, riding around the baseball fields in search of cans to feed my 7-year-old junk food habit.

Oh, sorry. Caramel popcorn.

The weekend is often synonymous with my baking up a little something special pour le goûter, for the afternoon snack. When the baking ban was in place, it meant being creative and finding other ways to have a little lovin’ from the kitchen, because I wasn’t going to simply buy pre-made goodies. As if.

Enter the popcorn.

People do eat salty-buttery type popcorn here in France, but popcorn is more often a sweet treat, covered in caramel. When I suggested making popcorn, Monsieur Fish instantly asked, “Sais-tu en faire sucré? Manger salé à quatres heures, ça ne se fait pas!” (You know how to make it sweet? You just can’t eat salty for our afternoon snack!). “Bah, ouais, bien sûr!” (Duh, of course!) was my reply. Then I went into the kitchen to find the books that would show me how. Duh.

So here’s the deal, I found three recipes in my various vegan cookbooks, and each of them are probably delicious, but they were very time consuming – like an hour of baking and turning over popcorn and being careful not to burn it- and required vegan butter to make the caramel.

Huh. There must be an easier way.

Then I remembered the quick caramel technique I learned during this Daring Bakers Challenge, and I was all over it. We made a hazelnut praline paste and used this super-quick caramel sugar technique and I’ll be a monkey’s aunt, it’s come in so handy! I love adding tools to my box!

This is approximate, so just let go of the measurements if you will. It’s also hot and sticky and can be dangerous, so be careful!

I popped up my popcorn – a big salad bowl full – and then I got out my favourite heavy pan and set the burner to med-high. I poured in probably about 1 cup’s worth of sugar, maybe more, maybe less, I have no idea. Then, you wait. Don’t stir, don’t go get a drink of water, and don’t take a nap. Stand next to that pan, because in a matter of instants it’ll turn into the most lovely caramel. Do be vigilant because it can burn really, really fast. Once the centre starts to melt into caramel you can swirl your pan around if you find the sides aren’t catching on. Then just carefully pour this over your popcorn, tossing with a big wooden spoon because it hardens fast.

Repeat if necessary.

I repeated.


I suppose you could add a little salt if you like that kind of thing, too.

If this isn’t clear, please let me know and I’ll try to elucidate you my dear reader, because this is totally worth trying. There are pictures of the process in this post, so check it out if you’re not sure!


23 thoughts on “The Easiest Caramel Popcorn In The World

  1. I love the DB shortcut! I’ve never liked popcorn either, but that might be because my mom always saved the leftover popcorn and bagged it for our school lunches, thus resulting in me having to eat a sandwich bag of stale popcorn every other day (she really loved popcorn!). I could go for the sweet recipe though!

  2. I guess I am the same..never really making popcorn myself (well, except those horrible horrible microwave ones with fake butter in the 80s when microwaves were “the new and the cool.” Ack..having flashbacks of making microwavable cake from a mix and Easy-Bake ovens!)..but this popcorn, this I could do! Yay!

  3. Yum. Now that’s my kind of popcorn.

    In answer to your question about freezing the icing, it is vegan buttercream icing. It freezes well. When I need to use it I thaw it out in the fridge or on the kitchen counter if I am going to use it within the hour. I always have way to much leftover and hate to waste it, so I freeze it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  4. i’m glad she liked her book! i also picked out a super cute flower-pressed card for her since you said she likes cute little stationery and such. 😉

  5. I love caramel but I was never a fan of caramel popcorn. Too sweet for me. Maybe this version will be a bit better since now I love the sweet/salty combo.

    Oh my gosh, I used to be OBSESSED with that neon orange popcorn they sell at gas stations! I would eat the whole bag!

  6. j’adorais le pop corn en tant que gamine, et pis pof. je suis plus fan du coup. mais le tien? ben disons simplement que les photos me font baver de joie.

  7. hellz yeah, Shelly! easy peasy caramel popcorn is what my life’s been missing! we pop popcorn stove top every night – i love the stuff (actually, i believe it’s a bit of an addiction, really). i can’t believe i’ve never even thought of enjoying it all sweetened up and awesome like you did! totally gonna have to try this – and you better believe i’ll be repeating, too! mmmmmmmm!

  8. So awesome! My grandpa used to make this as a treat on sunday nights. No one in our family has ever replicated the perfect consistency that he used to. It was divine. But, I’m so going to try it again thanks to your recommendation :-).

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