If you’re looking for an easy caramel puff corn recipe that doesn’t require corn syrup, you’ve come to the right place. This recipe is simple and straightforward, and it yields delicious results every time.
Your family will love this sweet and crunchy snack. It makes a great party or holiday treat. It would also be a perfect treat for movie night or game day.
Caramel Puff Corn Recipe Without Corn Syrup
It’s like a traditional caramel corn recipe, but with a yummy twist. This version uses a puff corn snack instead of regular popcorn. The caramel corn puffs just melt in your mouth.
This easy caramel puff corn recipe is also made WITHOUT light corn syrup (or karo syrup). Instead, it uses a combination of brown sugar, baking soda and vinegar to create a sweet and salty homemade buttery caramel sauce.
In just a few simple steps, you’ll have a quick batch of this caramel puff corn ready to enjoy.
Another great recipe to try next time: Salted Caramel Cracker Bites
Ingredients To Make Caramel Puff Corn
You just need a handful of ingredients to make this super addicting recipe.
- Puff Corn (Buttery Flavor)
- You can usually find puff corn in the snack or chip aisle at the grocery stores. You can also find it on Amazon.
- Brown Sugar
- Dark or light brown sugar will work.
- Salted or unsalted butter will work.
- Regular table salt or kosher salt will work.
- Vanilla Extract
- Use a high quality vanilla extract such as my favorite Nielsen-Massey Vanilla.
- Baking Soda
You will also need the following:
- Large saucepan
- Spatula or wooden spoon
- Large cookie sheet
- Wax paper or parchment paper
- Airtight container or large bowl for serving
How To Make Caramel Puff Corn
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: About 10 one-cup servings
Step 1: Prepare Baking Sheet
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Pour puff corn on a baking sheet, large roaster pan or even a cake pan will work.
Step 2: Combine Butter, Brown Sugar and Salt
In large heavy saucepan, add the butter, brown sugar and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a light boil. Stir continually to melt butter and combine the ingredients well.
Boil the mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
Step 3: Add Baking Soda, Vinegar and Vanilla
Remove from heat. Add baking soda, vinegar and vanilla. Stir to combine. The mixture will become lighter in color and very foamy.
Step 4: Pour Sauce Over Puff Corn
Quickly pour the caramel mixture over the puff corn on your baking sheets. Gently stir to make sure all the puff corn is coated evenly.
Step 5: Bake Caramel Puff Corn
Bake the caramel puff corn for 10 minutes. Give it a quick stir, then put back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Step 6: Cool and Serve
Remove from the oven and transfer puffed caramel corn onto a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Allow to cool completely. Break apart any clusters if needed.
For the best taste and texture, enjoy the caramel corn right away. Or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days maximum.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST CARAMEL PUFF CORN
Keep An Eye On Your Caramel Sauce
Caramel can burn very quickly, so be sure to continually stir your caramel mixture, keep the heat around medium (or even medium low) and stay close to the stove at all times while making the recipe.
If your caramel sauce does happen to burn, it’s best to start over. You can not fix a burnt caramel. If you try to use it anyway, your entire recipe will have quite an unpleasant smell and taste.
Prepare Tools and Ingredients In Advance
This is an easy recipe to make, but it does require you to move quickly. Having a preheated oven and all of your tools and ingredients out ahead of time will help ensure a delicious outcome.
Use Fresh Ingredients
Using fresh puff corn, brown sugar, vinegar and baking soda will help ensure this simple recipe turns out great every time.
Serve The Same Day
This Caramel Puff Corn tastes the best if you enjoy it the same day you make it. However, you can store it in an air tight container for 1-2 days. Please note the texture of the caramel corn may become more chewy.
Make A Double Batch
To make a double batch of this recipe simply double the listed ingredients. Because of the amount of puffed caramel corn you are making, you’ll need more than just one large roasting pan or baking sheet. You’ll need at least two large baking sheets or other baking pans.
Add Nuts Or Chocolate
For an extra crunch and boost of flavor, add peanuts or other favorite nuts. You will add the nuts right after you pour the caramel over the puff corn on the baking sheet.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could add a drizzle of melted chocolate over the caramel popcorn after it’s cooled. White chocolate would also taste great.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between puffed corn and popcorn?
You can make homemade caramel corn with popcorn or puff corn. Both are delicious, but they are definitely different. Puff corn looks similar to popcorn, but has a puffy, airy texture and no hulls. It almost melts in your mouth making it great for kids, people with dental issues or someone looking for snacks that are great for braces.
You will find puff corn in the snack aisle at the store. You’ll want the butter flavor, but cheese puff corn is also available.
Can I use regular popcorn instead?
Although this delicious caramel puffcorn recipe is a perfect snack on its own, you could definitely substitute homemade popcorn or microwave popcorn. Whatever type you decide to use, you’ll end up with great homemade caramel corn!
Can I use white sugar or corn syrup instead?
No, this recipe is only meant to be used with brown sugar. Corn syrup is not needed. White sugar will not give you the same results.
Why does this recipe use baking soda?
The purpose of baking soda in the caramel is to react with the acid (the brown sugar and vinegar), which creates tiny bubbles. When you add the baking soda and vinegar to your caramel mixture, it will get lighter in color and very foamy.
After your puffed caramel corn has cooled, the air bubbles inside the caramel will help create a perfect slightly chewy and crunchy texture. Paired with the puff corn, it will melt in your mouth!
I hope you enjoy this quick sweet snack recipe with a salted caramel taste you’re going to love!
- 10 cups puff corn (butter flavor)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Add the puff corn to a large baking sheet, roaster pan or cake pan.
- In large saucepan, add the butter, brown sugar and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a light boil. Stir continually to melt butter and combine the ingredients well.
- Boil the mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Remove from heat. Add baking soda, vinegar and vanilla. Stir to combine. The mixture will become lighter in color and very foamy.
- Quickly pour the caramel mixture over the puff corn on your baking sheets. Gently stir to make sure all the puff corn is coated evenly.
- Bake the caramel puff corn for 10 minutes. Give it a quick stir, then put back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer puffed caramel corn onto a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Allow to cool completely. Break apart any clusters if needed.
- For the best taste and texture, enjoy the caramel corn right away. Or store in an airtight container for 1-2 days maximum.
Micky Reed, a two-decade veteran in the food and baking industry, leverages her influential Three Snackateers food blog and Instagram presence to collaborate with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's and Crumbl Cookies. Her work has been featured on Delish, PopSugar and more. Her expertise as a product curator for one of the world's largest international snack subscription box companies solidifies her status as a key player in the field.