Amish Caramel Corn is the perfect sweet and salty snack food. It has a satisfying buttery flavor and makes an excellent holiday treat!
Caramel corn is a specialty of the Amish, who often give it away to acquaintances at Christmas. This traditional American treat is now world famous, thanks to popular snack brands like Cracker Jacks!
If you’re making this caramel popcorn for the holidays, fancy it up by adding pretzels or a chocolate drizzle. It makes a delicious snack during winter when it’s warm and fresh from the oven!
Looking for a unique candy to satisfy your sweet tooth? This caramel corn is the perfect classic tasting treat that everyone will love!
The Best Ingredients For The Best Caramel Corn Recipe
It may come as a surprise, but not all popcorn kernels are the same! The best kernels for caramel corn are mushroom kernels.
These kernels pop up bigger than your typical popcorn and are generally firmer. This makes them easier to coat with caramel, with less chance of them breaking.
Butterfly kernels are typically used for butter popcorn. They’re lighter than mushroom kernels, but also more fragile.
Brown sugar gives this caramel corn its golden color and its sweetness! Opt for light brown sugar instead of dark, since dark brown sugar tends to burn easier.
Corn syrup is one of those ingredients you cannot substitute in this foolproof caramel corn recipe. It serves as an “interfering agent” to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
You can find light and dark varieties of corn syrup. Either type will work so use what you can get your hands on.
Margarine provides a lovely buttery flavor to this treat and helps make the caramel sauce
creamy. The reason margarine is used instead of butter is because margarine contains more water.
This water content gives the caramel sauce the perfect consistency. Try to find margarine that is low in saturated fat and doesn’t contain trans fat.
You can’t make this caramel corn recipe without baking soda!
Adding baking soda to the hot caramel sauce causes foam to form. These tiny bubbles help aerate the caramel and prevent it from becoming too thick.
Vanilla works as a flavor enhancer, and helps make this popcorn taste sweet! Vanilla extract also gives this treat a mouthwatering aroma.
Tips For Making The Best Amish Caramel Corn Recipe
- Use a non-stick spatula and pan to make this sticky treat. This will make cleaning up the leftover caramel much easier.
- Add whatever ingredients you’d like during the cooking process to liven up your caramel corn. I like adding a dash of cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy flavor!
- Pour the popped popcorn over a cooling rack before adding caramel. The uncooked kernels will fall through the holes so you don’t end up breaking your teeth on them!
- Boil the caramel for a minimum of 5 minutes while stirring constantly. This will ensure the caramel is thin enough to cool quickly, so your popcorn doesn’t become soggy.
How To Make Amish Caramel Corn
- Prep Time10 min
- Cook Time1h5 min
- Total Time1h15 min
- Preheat the Oven
Heat the oven to 250°F.
- Place Popcorn in Trays
Distribute the popped corn evenly between two shallow greased baking pans. If you want to use peanuts, add them to the popcorn now.
- Boil Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Salt, and Margarine
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and margarine.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Let it boil for approximately 5 minutes.
- Stir in Vanilla and Baking Soda
Take the saucepan off the heat. Add the baking soda and vanilla, stirring constantly.
The mixture should begin to foam right when you add the baking soda.
- Coat the Popcorn
Pour the foamy caramel mixture over the popcorn right away. Stir the popcorn to coat the kernels.
Place both roasting trays in the oven and bake for an hour. Open the oven and stir the popcorn every 15 minutes.
- Turn Out Popcorn Onto Wax Paper
Place a large sheet of waxed paper onto a countertop. Remove the popcorn from the oven and immediately pour it onto the waxed paper.
Separate the caramel corn into bite-sized pieces while it is still hot.
The sugary caramel will be too hot to eat right away. Let the caramel corn cool completely, then serve or bag up as a Christmas gift!
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Homemade caramel corn tends to absorb moisture and become soggy, so always cool completely before storing. It is best stored in airtight containers, where it won’t be exposed to moisture.
Caramel corn can be kept on your countertop at room temperature for about 1-2 weeks.
It’s also possible to make a big batch of caramel corn and freeze some! You can freeze it for up to a year, as long as it’s stored in an airtight container.
To reheat this caramel corn, first let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, place the popcorn in the oven for 5 minutes at 250°F.
It’s easy to burn caramel corn, so it’s best to keep your eye on it while it’s reheating in the oven.
Since caramel corn contains high amounts of sugar, it’s best eaten as an occasional treat.
Low-sugar foods have a glycemic index (GI) between 1-55. Brown sugar has a glycemic index of 70, while corn syrup has a glycemic index of 89.
These high glycemic ingredients can cause blood sugar spikes. Blood sugar spikes are known to cause headaches, and increased hunger and thirst.
Don’t forget that high-sugar foods are also a leading cause of obesity and diabetes. When eaten too frequently, sugary foods can also lead to tooth decay.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy this caramel corn! Just treat it as an occasional snack and make sure you pair it with other healthy foods throughout the day. – Kirsten Mae Magbanua, RND
- 18.7g Fat
- 58g Carbs