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Caramel Popcorn

Legendary for its carnival association, caramel popcorn is the perfect synthesis of sweet and salty, with a crunchy exterior and puffy interior. You’d be surprised how many different methods there are that each home cook feels is the best ever! Here we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and chosen the best of the best recipes.

Caramel Popcorn with Optional Add-ins

Submitted by Tamar Nusbaum,
Far Rockaway, NY

I’d always wanted to make caramel popcorn, but after seeing the recipes, I thought, Who would ever make this when it looks so hard? Then I found this recipe, and I thought, This may just work. And it did! Every time I make it, it goes so fast that I have very little left to serve at the Shabbos table (unless I hide it). Enjoy, and I hope you find a good hiding place!

  • 1 stick (½ cup) margarine
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 6–7 cups (lightly salted) popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).

Mix margarine, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small pan until boiling. Continue to boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and immediately add the vanilla and baking soda to the pot. Stir.

Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and mix. (I put on gloves and mix it by hand — it gets into all the grooves that way.) Pour the popcorn onto a cookie sheet (if desired, warm the cookie sheet in the oven first).

Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove popcorn from oven and let cool. Break apart as needed. If desired, add peanuts, crunchy cereal, smashed Oreo cookies, or whatever you like.

Note: If you happen to have leftovers, they’re best stored in a paper — not plastic — bag.

Peanut-Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

Submitted by Malky Snyder,
Lakewood, NJ

I love spending time in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and plating or decorating. I included this recipe in my mishloach manos last year, and it was a hit!

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1½ tsp shortening

Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).

Place popcorn and peanuts on a baking sheet.

Cook brown sugar, margarine, and corn syrup over medium heat for about 8 minutes until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda.

Pour caramel over popcorn and toss until popcorn is coated.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening together, and drizzle over popcorn.

Wait until completely cool before breaking it into pieces by hand.

Best Basic Caramel Popcorn

Submitted by Miriam Berkowitz,
Brooklyn, NY

This recipe brings back wonderful memories for me. My aunt in Montreal used to make it as a Shabbos treat, and we always devoured it! I got the recipe from her after I got married, and I love making it for my family for any special occasion.

  • 15 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).

In a small pan over low heat, combine brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, and salt. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Place popcorn in a large bowl (I have a huge stainless steel bowl for this purpose) and mix with the caramel mixture.

Pour into a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) baking pan. Bake for one hour, mixing 15 every minutes. Enjoy!


Thank you to the Nshei of Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh from Bayswater, NY, for hosting this tasting party!


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 782)

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