Caramel Puff Corn Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes
Servings 10 1 cup servings

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This Caramel Puff Corn is a crazy addictive snack, perfect for holiday gift-giving or game day snacking! It’s EASIER than caramel corn with all that sweet salty flavor.

caramel puff corn in glass jar on black background

So I first tried Caramel Puff Corn last Christmas at a family gathering.

I mean, you see it on the buffet table, and you’re all like, “someone really took a shortcut with the caramel corn”, and frown disapprovingly, and then you taste it.

And then you taste it again and again and again and you carry the bowl off the table and find a corner to hide in and down the whole thing.

Because this Caramel Puff Corn is not a downgrade from your Christmas caramel corn. Dare I even say I like it a little better?

I can definitely see a few more variations of this stuff coming for holidays to come!

Why Caramel Puff Corn is better than Caramel Corn:

I mean, let’s get real I’m never going to turn down a bowl of caramel corn either but if I had to choose, I’d choose puff corn every time. The downside is I guess it’s not quite as healthy, since popcorn is a whole grain without other chemicals. But do you know anyone who eats caramel corn to be healthy?

Me neither.

caramel puff corn in jar overhead with kernels around the jar on dark grey background

Caramel Puff Corn is way easier to make because you take out the popping and the tedious act of sorting through the popped corn for all the kernels and half-popped, will-surely-mean-a-trip-to-the-dentist kernels.

Instead, you skip right to the caramel and are munching on your caramel popcorn in record time with much less fuss.

Also, the puff corn has a saltier flavor, which balances out the sweetness of the caramel in a way that regular air-popped corn does not. And since I love a sweet and salty combo, I’m all over this. (If you prefer a less salty flavor, you can definitely use regular air-popped popcorn, just be sure to remove all of the kernels).

With the crispy exterior and seriously melt in your mouth interior, it’s really a snack that can’t be beat.

caramel puff corn on sheet pan lined with parchment paper

Go make a big batch and hand it out as all of your Christmas gifts this year! Shopping, done. Winning at post-kids-bedtime snacks, check.

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Tips for making this Caramel Puff Corn recipe:

  • Keep your eyes on the gold. Once that sugar starts boiling, you’re going to want to watch it closely. It can easily burn if you’re not careful, so you’ll want to whisk steadily once it starts to simmer.
  • Parchment, parchment, parchment. Parchment paper is not really necessary (it is), but it’s going to save you so much mess and unnecessary clean up. Trust me, no one wants to scrub a sheet pan full of dried on caramel.
  • Bake and stir. The baking helps to set the caramel so that it is firm and crunchy. Stirring the popcorn helps to make sure that all pieces are evenly coated and that they all dry accordingly. The 15 minutes for stirring is flexible though, if you only stir it once or twice during the baking process you will be fine. The deeper your caramel puff corn layer, the more you should stir.
  • Gather some friends around, because you’re not going to be happy with me if you eat the whole 10 cups all be yourself fresh out of the oven 😉
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Caramel Puff Corn

5 from 12 votes
This Caramel Puff Corn is a crazy addictive snack, perfect for holiday gift-giving or game day snacking! It’s EASIER than caramel corn with all that sweet salty flavor. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 57 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Snack
Servings 10 1 cup servings
Calories 337cal


  • 10 cups popcorn twists 175 grams (also called Puff Corn)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 225 grams
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed, 155 grams
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup 130 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread popcorn twists over top. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup over medium-high heat, whisking often, until it reaches a boil.
  • Boil and stir 2 minutes, then add baking soda. It will foam up — continue cooking and whisking for 1-2 minutes until foam settles down slightly.
  • Pour caramel over popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes and then break into smaller pieces as desired. Store in an air tight container or ziploc bag 1-2 weeks.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 337cal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Keywords caramel corn, caramel popcorn, christmas, edible gift

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Shirley says

    What happens if you use margarine, please? KNOW the recipe specifically says NOT to… my friend can’t have butter…
    Thank you .

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Shirley, I haven’t tested it out myself but I believe it could work. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Carol! I’ve not tested this with that particular syrup but it might work! If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  2. Cyndi says

    Better if you mix the popcorn puffs and Carmel sauce in a large Dutch oven type pot and then put on baking sheets. Works much better.

  3. Janet Bieghler says

    I made this as directed. It was too sweet. You said 10 cups of puffs. I looked at other recipes and they called for two bags of puffs. 10 cups was just one bag. The caramel was the same on the other recipes, but more puffs. The flavor of the caramel is great, just needed more puff corn. Definitely not just 10 cups as stated. Next time.

  4. Dawn says

    I’ve had this before with a taste of cheesecake. I heard it’s just pudding mix. When do you think you would sprinkle the dry pudding mix on? I was thinking once y pour Carmel over puff corn?

  5. Kate says

    I burnt mine!! Literally the difference of ten seconds and the caramel was tainted. Such a bummer! Other than that, it turned out perfectly! I will have to try again and be more careful 🙁

  6. Martin Brasted says

    To be healthier and taste better, sub maple syrup for the corn syrup, and 225 temp for baking seems plenty, and maybe softer kernels; can’t beat this for snack everyone likes.

  7. Sandy Helfer says

    Your nutritional information does not state the serving size. I think there is more than 337 calories in the entire batch. lol

    • Ashley Fehr says

      The recipe states the number of servings. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact weight or volume of a serving but it would be easy to figure out if you weigh the entire batch, and then divide by the number of servings.

  8. Allyson Zea says

    I absolutely love making this! I had never heard of it up until a couple years ago when my friends grandma shared it with me and I’ve been making ever since!

  9. Kim says

    I’m adding peanuts to this and sending a double batch to my son and his roommates for finals week. Fully expect to be voted Best Mom Ever. Thanks!!

  10. Beth Duncan says

    I’ve never heard of ‘popcorn twists’, what are they called in the bag and can I get them anywhere? Thanks so much

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