Oven Baked Caramel Popcorn

(1 vote)
3 minutes
October 3, 2022
Carole Jones

Homemade caramel popcorn was one of my Mom’s specialties when I was a kid.  Every time I go home and see that big metal bowl she makes it in, my mouth starts watering….think Pavlov.  Her recipe results in the perfectly sweet and crunchy popcorn I love.  Nothing goopy, mushy or sticky with this best recipe! If you have ever wondered how to make caramel popcorn at home, keep on a readin’……

Homemade Caramel Popcorn
This is another recipe that takes me way back to my childhood and it is still one of my all time favorites. My kid’s friends have come to expect a massive bowl of this golden deliciousness when they come over.  To quote one of my son’s friends, “What kind of crazy Mormon magic did you work on this stuff Mrs Jones?”

People ask me all the time for this homemade caramel popcorn recipe and I always get a few questioning looks when they see the recipe calls for margarine instead of butter.  If you should know anything about me, it is that I ADORE butter but there are a few, and only a few, recipes where margarine actually works better.  This just happens to be one of them.  You have to trust me on this.  Please!

This recipe makes a large amount of caramel popcorn, 7 quarts!  I always mix it up and bake it in my big 20 quart stainless steel mixing bowl.  Feel free to cut the recipe in half if you desire, but I speak from experience when I say you will have no problem making all 7 quarts disappear in a snap 🙂

If you love homemade caramel popcorn, I could probably convince you to try out my killer Kettle Corn recipe as well!

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Homemade Caramel Popcorn

Homemade Caramel Popcorn

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How to make caramel popcorn step by step!



7 quarts of popped, unsalted popcorn

2 sticks margarine

2 C brown sugar

1/2 C corn syrup

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a very large bowl, place the popped popcorn kernels, with all seeds removed.

In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine then add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla.  Mix well and allow the mixture to bubble up before carefully pouring it onto the popcorn.  Gently mix the caramel and popcorn together until all the kernels are covered.

Spread onto greased cookie sheets and bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes.  Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.


I don’t say this often, but do not substitute butter for the margarine.  This is one of the rare recipes that butter does not make it better 🙂

  • Author: Carole
  • Category: dessert
  • Cuisine: american


  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 310
  • Sugar: 35g
  • Sodium: 345mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.


Merry Francine Stubblefield
4 years ago

Hey Carol, I’m going to make your Caramel Popcorn. I’ve always used real butter, but your recipe says use Margarine. I am kinda hesitant about using margarine, But I’m gonna give it a try. Wish me luck!

4 years ago

Hi Merry! I know, right??? I am a massive fan of butter and this is only one of two recipes on my blog that uses margarine instead of butter. When you use butter in this recipe, it turns out really grainy. Enjoy!

2 years ago

How long do you cook the sugar mix for after you add everything??

Carole Jones
2 years ago

Fefe – once the caramel comes to a full boil across the whole surface, it is done cooking.

allegra banducci
6 months ago

How many cups of popcorn kernels do I need to pop to make 7 quarts? thx!

Carole Jones
6 months ago

Depends on how well the kernels pop but I would estimate 3/4 to 1 cup

allegra banducci
6 months ago

…Can I use Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup? thanks!

Carole Jones
6 months ago

I’ve never tried it so I can’t say for sure.

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