Popcorn is a great snack to enjoy with your family. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to make, and tastes great. Consider all the ways you can dress up your popcorn, including this recipe for Junk Food Popcorn.
Popcorn has long been one of my favorite snacks to feed the kids. With a reliable air popper at my side, it’s an easy snack or treat that I can whip up in minutes, all based on a whole grain.
Over the years we’ve enjoyed it a number of ways: air popped with butter, made into kettle corn via an old fashioned stovetop popper, popped in the microwave in a paper sack, and baked in the oven for what we call “Junk Food Popcorn” (see below).
But there are even more ways to enjoy popcorn than even these! Consider popping some tonight and snacking with your sweeties.
Check out these links for other fun popcorn ideas:
- This popcorn site features recipes, coloring pages, and all sorts of poppin’ information.
- Pefect Popcorn Recipe
- Popcorn Cake (similar to rice krispie treats, with chocolate candies)
- Maple Pecan Popcorn
- Chili Popcorn
- Make Cinnamon Popcorn & Watch a Show Together
- Easy Homemade Popcorn: the trick to making your own, healthier microwave popcorn
Our family favorite, however, the style of popcorn that causes us to go weak in the knees and fight over whose is whose, the popcorn that might as well be called, My Precious is this recipe. Also known as Junk Food Popcorn, it’s my mom’s caramel corn recipe that she made for me and my siblings when we were growing up.
Mom was never patient enough to bake it, but I highly recommend that you not skip the baking process. It hardens the caramel coating, producing a sugary crunchy. Thorough stirring is essential so that you can coat your popcorn well and get caramel to coat all over.
A warning about Junk Food Popcorn. It’s seriously addictive. Seriously. Grown men have been known to eat an entire batch, despite their better judgement. If you are making this to give as gifts — which is a great idea, by the way — bag it up and get it out of your site. If you’re not careful, you will eat it all before the bags are sealed.
Ask me how I know.
Easy Caramel Popcorn
- 3 quarts popped corn
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pour the popcorn into a large, nonstick roasting pan.
- In a medium saucepan melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let bubble for 5 minutes. Do not stir! Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda.
- Immediately, pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn and mix well. Bake at 225 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Spread the popcorn into a single layer on waxed paper to cool. Break the pieces apart and store in an airtight container – if you don’t eat it all before it’s time to put it away.
Post originally published May 23, 2008; updated September 9, 2016.