Buttery, sweet caramel puff corn is our new favorite movie night treat. You can make your caramel puff corn either soft or crunchy, depending on what you prefer. Both versions are irresistibly delicious. Caramel puff corn is perfect for making ahead, and you only need a few ingredients and about 20 minutes of active cooking time to throw it together.
The best part of this tasty gluten-free snack is that it's easy to customize. You can add chocolate chips, chopped nuts, M&Ms, or use salted caramel to make delicious puff corn variations. Caramel puff corn is so good, it's sure to disappear quickly – you may want to make a double batch!
Caramel puff corn is an absolute cinch to make. Anyone can do it. First, preheat your oven to 200F and spread the puff corn on a large baking tray. Melt the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it comes to a boil. Don't forget to stir it while it's heating! Once the syrup mixture starts to boil, heat it for another 5 minutes then take it off the heat.
Stir in the vanilla and baking soda then pour the syrup all over the puff corn. Stir it well so that the syrup evenly coats the puff corn. Spread it over the pan in a roughly even layer then bake it for 1 hour, making sure to stir every 15 minutes or so. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the puff corn to a pan lined with parchment paper. Cool completely, then break into smaller pieces and enjoy!
To take your caramel puff corn to the next level, sprinkle in some chocolate chips, M&Ms, toffee chunks, pretzels, or chopped toasted nuts as it's cooling.
To make soft caramel puff corn, boil the corn syrup mixture for 2 minutes, add in the baking soda and vanilla, then pour over the puff corn. Stir it well to combine, and enjoy!
You can make the syrup in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Put the puff corn in a microwave-safe bag, then pour the syrup over the puff corn, shaking well to combine. Microwave for 3 minutes, taking it out halfway to stir.
If you can't find puff corn, you can use regular popcorn instead.
If you don't have corn syrup, maple syrup or even honey will work as a substitute.
Keep your caramel puff corn in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks. To revive stale puff corn, simply reheat it in the oven for 5 minutes. Avoid freezing it as it will become soggy upon thawing.
Heat your oven to 200F.
Lay the puff corn on a large baking tray.
Heat the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiled, cook for 5 more minutes, then remove from heat.
Add the vanilla and baking soda and stir to combine. Pour the syrup over the puff corn. Stir to combine.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The caramel corn should be crisp. Remove from oven and transfer to a pan lined with parchment paper. Cool completely, then break into smaller pieces.
You can use either salted or unsalted butter to make your caramel puff corn. If you use salted butter, you can reduce the salt to ½ teaspoon.