Chicago Style Popcorn (Recipe & Where To Buy)

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Growing up in the Midwest, there were certain food items that I just expected to be a part of life. Chicago Style popcorn was one of them. This sweet and salty snack is a Midwestern favorite, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a delicious combination of salty, savory cheese popcorn mixed with crunchy, buttery sweet caramel corn. It’s the best of both worlds, making it a perfect snack for movie night, parties and holidays.

There’s nothing quite like the combination of flavors in a handful of this famous Windy City blend. If you’ve never had it before, you’re in for a treat!

In this article, we’ll show you how to make your own batch at home. Or if you’d like to order it as a gift or try some authentic Windy City popcorn for yourself, we also offer several options for ordering it online.

Chicago Style Popcorn Feature

What is Chicago mix popcorn?

Chicago Style popcorn, sometimes also called Windy City Mix, Chicago Mix or Chi-Town Mix, is a blend of caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn.

Where To Buy Chicago Style Popcorn

Here are a few of our favorite places to shop for this yummy mix of cheese and caramel corn. Each can be ordered online and delivered to your doorstep. Or send as a gift for delivery across the country.

  • Garrett Mix, the famous Chicago CaramelCrisp and savory CheeseCorn
  • Gary Poppins: Small-batch cheddar and caramel gourmet popcorn, 40+ total flavors
  • Popcornopolis: World-famous, gourmet caramel & cheese popcorn made with pure cane sugar, creamery butter and real cheese

Garrett Mix from Garrett Popcorn

Garrett Cheddar Caramel Popcorn Tin Taste Of Chicago

Their signature Garrett Mix is an irresistible combo of sweet CaramelCrisp and savory CheeseCorn. To add to the fun, the popcorn comes in reusable tins with a variety of designs.


Caramel and Cheddar from Gary Poppins

Gary Poppins Caramel Cheddar Popcorn

Gary Poppins is a family-owned business that pops up small batches of gourmet popcorn in a variety of delicious flavors.

In fact, they have over 45 flavors to choose from including ranch, white cheddar jalapeno, dark chocolate, honey mustard and of course, Caramel and Cheddar.


Caramel & Cheese Popcorn from Popcornopolis

Popcornopolis Caramel Cheddar Popcorn Mix

Your taste buds are in for a treat with world-famous, gourmet popcorn from Popcornopolis. Their popcorn is popped fresh daily and shipped as soon as it cools.

Their classic Caramel & Cheese popcorn is made with the best kernels, pure cane sugar, creamery butter and real cheese.

While you’re browsing their website, be sure to check out their other amazing flavors like cinnamon toast, cookies & cream, red velvet and unicorn!


Sweet Salty Chicago Mix Popcorn

Chicago Style Popcorn Recipe

With this quick and easy recipe, you’ll be enjoying sweet and savory Chicago Style popcorn in no time.

Ingredients For Chicago Style Popcorn

For The Caramel Popcorn

  • brown sugar
  • light corn syrup
  • butter
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • popped popcorn

For The Cheese Popcorn

  • popped popcorn
  • cheddar cheese powder
  • salt
  • butter
Caramel Cheese Windy City Popcorn

How To Make Chicago Style Popcorn

Making Chicago Style Popcorn at home is a breeze with this recipe. First, make the caramel popcorn, then make the cheese popcorn and finally mix it all together.

Step 1: Make The Caramel Popcorn

  1. Make the popcorn and set it aside in a large buttered roaster pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Boil the ingredients on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir as needed to combine.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add in the baking soda and stir well. The mixture will get foamy.
  4. Pour the hot caramel mixture over the popped popcorn. Combine gently with a spatula or large spoon until thoroughly coated.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Carefully stir every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven. Spread the caramel corn onto a large sheet of waxed paper. Allow it to cool completely.

Step 2: Make The Cheese Popcorn

  1. Pop the popcorn and set it aside in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, melt the butter.
  3. In another bowl, combine the cheese powder and salt.
  4. Next, pour the melted butter over the popcorn. Shake or stir to ensure the popcorn is evenly coated with butter.
  5. Finally, sprinkle the cheese mixture over the popcorn. Shake or stir to coat well.

Step 3: Combine Caramel and Cheese Popcorns

  1. In a very large bowl (or 2 smaller bowls), evenly combine the caramel and cheddar popcorn.
  2. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
Windy City Popcorn Blend

Chicago Style Popcorn FAQS

Q. What is the Chicago Style Popcorn?

A. Chicago Style popcorn is a sweet and savory blend of caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn. It is sometimes also called Chicago Mix, Windy City Mix and or Chi-Town Mix.

Q. What is the Garrett Mix?

A. The Garrett Mix, is a popcorn flavor from Garrett Popcorn. It is a sweet and savory combination of CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn. According to their website, the flavor was “Created by their loyal fans”. It can be purchased from Garrett Popcorn.

Q. Who Makes The Best Chicago Mix Popcorn?

Many companies sell Chicago Style popcorn. A few of our favorites are Cheddar and Caramel from Gary Poppins, and Caramel & Cheese from Popcornopolis.

Q. Is popcorn a Chicago thing?

A. Garrett Popcorn is a big reason Chicago is known for popcorn. The company opened its doors in Chicago in 1949. In 1977, when customers asked for a sweet and salty flavor, they created their famous caramel and cheese “Chicago style popcorn”. Until recent years, the sweet and savory mix was sold as the Chicago Mix. It is now called Garrett Mix.


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Chicago Style Windy City Popcorn Pin
Yield: 12 servings

Chicago Style Popcorn

Cheddar Caramel Chicago Style Popcorn Mix

With this easy recipe, you'll be enjoying sweet and savory Chicago Style popcorn in no time. The buttery caramel corn and salty cheddar popcorn are a match made in heaven.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

For The Caramel Popcorn

  • 3 quarts (12 cups) popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup of kernels)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

For The Cheese Popcorn

  • 3 quarts (12 cups) popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup of kernels)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

Make The Caramel Popcorn

1. Make the popcorn and set aside in a large buttered roaster pan.

2. In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Boil on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. Stir well. The mixture will get foamy.

4. Pour the hot caramel mixture over the popped popcorn and gently stir until thoroughly coated.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and pour caramel corn onto a large sheet of waxed paper to cool.

Make The Cheese Popcorn

1. Make the popcorn and set aside in a large bowl.

2. Melt the butter in a small bowl.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the cheese powder and salt.

4. Pour the melted butter over the popcorn. Shake the bowl or stir gently to ensure popcorn is evenly coated

5. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the popcorn. Shake or stir to coat.

Combine Caramel and Cheese Popcorns

1. In a very large bowl (or 2 smaller bowls), evenly combine the caramel and cheddar popcorn. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Notes

Cheddar cheese powder can be found in the popcorn section of many grocery stores or online. If you are unable to find it, you could substitute some macaroni and cheese powder.

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Meet Micky Reed, your go-to snack expert and creator of The Three Snackateers—a hub for all the best sweets and treats to make, try, and buy. From whipping up collaborations with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's to being featured on Delish and PopSugar, Micky's delicious adventures are causing a stir in the foodie world. You can find Micky on IG and Pinterest.

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