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Microwave Caramel Corn

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Microwave Caramel Corn is fast and easy to make. You’ll be curled up on the couch with a bowl of caramel corn before you know it with this recipe!

Overhead shot of microwave caramel corn in gray bowls on a marble surface

Growing up, we took popcorn very seriously.

On Sundays we would eat a big lunch after church and snack in the evenings. Sunday night snack was open to…well, just about anything, including family favorites such as cream cheese ranch rollups, Danish apple cake or Maureen’s rice krispie cookies.

That being said, usually it was popcorn, but every once in a while, plain old popcorn would turn into something much better: Microwave Caramel Corn.

This recipe came from my mom’s cousin Lisa (and so, in our house, is known as Lisa’s Caramel Corn).

Now, my mom was always the cook in the family and my dad was usually shooed out of the kitchen. However, when it came to making Microwave Caramel Corn, Momma was always in charge of the microwave while Daddy was in charge of making the caramel.

Close up of a bowl filled with microwave caramel corn

I have no idea how this balance of duties came about. Something in my brain says that my dad would invariably let the popcorn burn in the microwave, and so he got relegated to caramel duty.

Either way, making the caramel for caramel corn was one of his few kitchen tasks and one he took quite seriously.

It was some time before I was old enough to help make caramel corn (because, you know, hot sugar), but I fondly remember my parents working together to make batches of this recipe for New Years parties, sleepovers, and game nights.

Ingredients for microwave caramel corn on a marble surface

QUICK AND EASY CARAMEL POPCORN

Microwave Caramel Corn is crazy easy and the best part: it’s super quick, too.

Because it utilizes the microwave – which, let’s be honest, is right up there with the best inventions ever – it cuts out long baking times. Start to finish, this caramel corn takes about 15 minutes to throw together.

Pieces of microwave caramel corn scattered on a marble surface

Now, is making caramel corn in the microwave exactly the same as if you made it in the oven? No.

Do I care when it is this quick to make? Also no.

Because you know what? It’s still delicious AF and disappears real fast from any party you take it to.

Two bowls of microwave caramel corn on a marble counter

HOW TO MAKE CARAMEL CORN IN THE MICROWAVE

I bet you already have everything you need to make Microwave Caramel Corn in your pantry.

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Popcorn
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda

That’s it!

To make your caramel corn, you’ll start by popping the popcorn. I always use microwave popcorn because, hello, it’s easy. But you could absolutely pop it on the stovetop instead!

Pour the popped popcorn into a paper grocery bag. This will be set aside while you make the caramel.

Bowl of microwave caramel popcorn on a marble surface

The butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt get boiled in a saucepan for a couple of minutes. Once it’s removed from the heat, quickly stir in the baking soda and then immediately – very carefully! – pour the mixture over the popcorn in the paper bag.

Give it a stir, then close the bag and shake like your life depends on it. Stick the bag in the microwave for 1 minute, shake, and repeat.

That’s it! Break up the clumps of popcorn as the caramel cools, package it up and take it with you to any party.

Just don’t make it too far in advance, or you will accidentally eat it all and won’t have any left to feed your friends.

Overhead shot of two bowls of microwave caramel corn

Yield: 10-12 servings

Microwave Caramel Corn

Bowl of microwave caramel popcorn on a marble surface

Microwave Caramel Corn is fast and easy to make. You'll be curled up on the couch with a bowl of caramel corn before you know it with this recipe!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pans popped popcorn (about 2/3 cup unpopped) OR 2 bags popped microwave popcorn
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Spray a brown paper bag with cooking spray. Add popped popcorn.
  2. Measure out baking soda; set aside.
  3. Combine margarine, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan; bring to a hard boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes (still stirring), then remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda.
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn and stir to combine. Once popcorn is fairly evenly coated with caramel mixture, fold the top of the bag down and shake. Put bag in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. Take the bag out and shake again (bag will be hot!). Return to the microwave and cook for 1 minute more. Take out, put in a bowl and EAT!
  5. Caramel corn will harden and start to stick together as it cools, so you may want to stir it to break it apart periodically. This is easiest to do with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Notes

If you have a high-powered microwave, you may want to lower it one or two levels, or slightly adjust the microwave time, to keep the sugar in the caramel from burning.

If you want a darker color on your caramel corn, you can try microwaving it for a few seconds longer. Do undertake this at your own risk, however, as the caramel can burn very quickly.

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Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Amount Per Serving Calories 230Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 20mgSodium 213mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 1gSugar 22gProtein 1g
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Jeri

Saturday 8th of October 2016

Love your blog, you always have the best.

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Wednesday 15th of January 2014

[…] Microwave Caramel Corn - Eat Your Heart Out […]

Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

Friday 2nd of November 2012

Hmmm do you think regular butter would work?

Stephie

Friday 2nd of November 2012

Oh absolutely!

Maribel

Tuesday 21st of August 2012

Is this simalar to the caramel mix you gave us? Cause thanks to you, we've been having a little bit every day and loving it!

Stephie

Tuesday 21st of August 2012

It sure is, just with other things instead of the second bag of popcorn. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Dawn B

Wednesday 1st of February 2012

great treat!