Vanilla Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt

Homemade caramel popcorn with a hint of sea salt.

Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt Recipe from

I’ve been in a post-vacation style funk for the past week. Thankfully I had a selection of posts ready to go because I didn’t do anything special for the blog after getting back from Orlando. Not even one new recipe created in a week and a half and no major brainstorming for the weeks to come. I was torn between stressed and feeling blasé about it all. It was nice to have that time off, even if I didn’t intend for it to happen. Sometimes you just need some time away from the norm and for me – creating recipes and playing in the kitchen is the norm. I’m hoping to cut back a bit over the summer too. It’s an idea anyway… we’ll see how far I get with that, but for now that’s the plan anyway. Otherwise, when does one take a vacation from something that’s on-going. Blogging seems to be a daily thing. I know many who go away on vacation and still have blog and business on the mind. It’s hard to disconnect sometimes.

And speaking of summer… I know many of you are already kicking off your summer breaks but in New Hampshire, we still have a full month of school ahead before our break begins. I’m trying to brainstorm a list of fun activities to do with my kids. Besides the usual basic things around the house I haven’t much of a list and I don’t want it to be jam packed either but if you have suggestions, I’m all ears! So far the ideas are things like going to the zoo (or zoos), maybe a trip to the beach but I might go kicking and screaming because even though I love the ocean I hate the sand… go out for ice cream, have a movie date, mini golf (or put-put…whichever you want to call it), bowling etc. See…nothing major but random fun things that I hope that kids would enjoy. Inexpensive ideas for even messing around at the house would be great if you have those! :) Thanks in advance.

Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt Recipe from

One of my favorite baseball snacks has always been nachos – spicy, cheesy and just amazing. But next to that it’s always been cracker jack (aka caramel popcorn with peanuts) but since my son has a nut allergy, we can’t have those. That’s totally fine since homemade is worlds better anyway. Of course, I do miss the peanuts in cracker jack SO much. They were my favorite part. Weird, right? I use to dig to the bottom to get those. They were special and tasted amazing. If you really want to add peanuts to this, by all means but don’t feel you have to because this caramel corn is amazing without them and then it’s one less ingredient that you have to buy. I’ve made caramel corn in the past with peanuts, so feel free to check that recipe out.

The key to baked caramel corn is tossing the mixture occasionally and watching closely for the change in color. It can go from tasting amazing to burnt in a heartbeat. Once the caramel darkens just enough, remove and allow to cool – while tossing so it doesn’t form into a giant sheet of caramel corn. That’d be amazing but kind of awkward to eat with your friends and family.

Trust me, you want to make this for your movie nights and gatherings this summer!

More tasty snacks to try:
Soft Guinness pretzels with sea salt
Buffalo chicken nachos
Apple cinnamon fruit leather
Baked panko onion rings
Cinnamon apple chips
Soft pretzel bites
Pico de gallo

Vanilla Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt

Homemade caramel popcorn with a hint of sea salt.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6


  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C popping corn
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, heat vegetable oil and popping corn. Cover with a lid and optional splatter screen. Cook until popping kernels slow down. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl, discard un-popped kernels.
  • In a double boiler over simmering water, melt butter. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and baking soda. Sprinkle with course sea salt, give a quick but gentle stir to disperse sea salt. Immediately pour over popcorn. Toss to coat well. Spread caramel coated popcorn on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when caramel darkens slightly to a light amber.
  • Break up popcorn as caramel hardens. Store in an airtight container.


An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

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47 Responses to “Vanilla Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt”

  1. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — May 28, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I’m gonna find a way to make this my afternoon snack…let’s just hope I can stop after a few handfuls

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Can’t have just one handful ;) It’ll keep calling your name from the other room.

  2. #
    Tracey — May 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I took last week off entirely from the kitchen too. I finally jumped back in and made some cookies this weekend, but I’ve been so lazy and unmotivated since getting back from Florida! I just want to sit on the couch with a big bowl of this amazing popcorn and catch up on my DVR :)

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      So glad it wasn’t just me!

  3. #
    Tieghan — May 28, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Oh my gosh! Wow, this popcorn is amazing! so much awesome flavor going on here! I love it!

  4. #
    Audra | The Baker Chick — May 28, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Gorgeous pictures! This popcorn sounds right up my alley.

    I hear ya on taking a break over the summer. I have been in a funk too since getting back and I always like to slow down when the weather gets hot. I’m all about a little blogging vacation!!

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      I wish we could all sign a contract to agree to not blog for like a month to regroup and refresh and spend more time doing something else for a change. Not that blogging is bad – we just need a break sometimes.

  5. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 28, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Rachel I would devour this ! I love caramel, and popcorn, and caramel corn – the best!

    Florida sounds like it was quite the powerful trip. Glad you’re better and not in a funk anymore!

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      It was perfectly refreshing but so hard to get back into normal life again.

  6. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — May 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Just keep telling yourself one more month… one more month. This look delicious.

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Ha! I think I can I think I can ;)

  7. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — May 28, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Yum! I love sweet popcorn! And I hear you – it’s so hard to break away from blogging. I have a hard time taking a day or 2 off and then I eventually get fed up and disappear for a month. Oh well.

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      It always amazes me how you can take off nearly a month and then jump right back into it all.

  8. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — May 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

    oh my heavens.

  9. #
    ashley - baker by nature — May 28, 2013 at 11:12 am

    This totally needs to come over for movie night ;)

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      I completely agree!

  10. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — May 28, 2013 at 11:29 am

    This popcorn looks so delish!!! Perfect and yummy snack!!!

  11. #
    vanillasugarblog — May 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I need to get on this “kicked up” popcorn making train!
    These sounds so good!

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      You really do! :)

  12. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — May 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I was left so frazzled last week, I was glad to have a few days break from the kitchen. I think we all needed that after our whirlwind Orlando vacay :) We also could have used bags of this while we were there. Because we didn’t eat enough as it was hahah

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      We totally did but then it’s hard getting back into the swing of things. haha… I think we could’ve ate and drank a lot more, especially around breakfast ;)

  13. #
    Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake — May 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    What a perfect snack! Looks delicious!

  14. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — May 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Who need peanuts? I’ll take this ANY day!

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      I totally feel that way. Strange how easy it was to give up nuts after eating them for so long.

  15. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — May 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Everybody needs a little break from the kitchen every once in awhile but I am so glad you shared this popcorn recipe with us! It looks so good.

  16. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — May 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I totally feel ya! My brain is so focused on summer vacay! But I’m thinking this delicious popcorn could bring on some creative juices!!

  17. #
    Carla @ Carlas Confections — May 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I still havent jumped back in the kitchen for the blog. Only a few dinners here and there (and those are sparse too ;) ) I really need to get back in the kitchen this week, but I havent found my motivation either. Hopefully Ill find it soon! I think I need a bowl of this popcorn first

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      It’s summer! Make the hubs grill for dinner ;)

  18. #
    Courtney @ Neighborfood — May 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I am a total sucker for caramel corn. Love the stuff. It’s one of the few snacks I have a hard time resisting at sporting events.

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Which means it’s even more hard to resist sitting on your counter but it’s worth it!

  19. #
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — May 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Going to make this for a night snacking in bed, watching tv shows. I love popcorn with added sweets.. and sea salt! This won my heart!

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Yay! So glad to hear – I hope you do try it and like it :)

  20. #
    Mary — May 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Yum! Salty + sweet = heaven.

    • #
      Rachel — May 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      It truly is! Thanks for stopping by :)

  21. #
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — May 29, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Normally, I just skip over popcorn posts, but this one just looked so yummy. I’m still a bit leery of the mess involved with caramel popcorn making, but I think this might win me over.

    • #
      Rachel — May 29, 2013 at 7:06 am

      I’m glad you stopped and checked this one out then! :) I promise the mess really isn’t that bad and if you use a silicone baking mat (silpat) any lingering mess cleans up super easy!

  22. #
    Brian — May 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    This is one of my old favourites too..Bet you can’t eat just one helping….it’s impossible to stop until there’s none and then you want more……but what about the calories?
    Who cares…….

    • #
      Rachel — May 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      This has zero calories ;)

  23. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — May 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I would totally and completely devour this.

  24. #
    Tracy @ Peanut Butter and Onion — May 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    We all need a break from the kitchen, no matter how much we love it. I too always have at least 10 post ready to go for that very reason

  25. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — May 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I want to dive head first into a giant bowl of this popcorn!!

  26. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Oooo, I love this! Salted caramel anything is my kryptonite.

  27. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — May 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    This sounds amazing Rachel! Love the sea salt!

  28. #
    nessa — May 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    This looks great for family movie night!

  29. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — May 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    LOVE this. the salty sweet combination is the best – i must make this soon, i know i will eat the ENTIRE batch with no shame. i adore sea salt and caramel together..gahhh make this for me and send it to me in a tin! haha

  30. #
    Jaclyn — May 31, 2013 at 12:17 am

    I need this. Just have to have it! I’ve been looking for a recipe like this, definitely need to pin and try this. Thanks!

  31. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — May 31, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Oh yes! This looks wonderful :)

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