RecipeCaramel Popcorn

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Total Fat: 4 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 4 g
    • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 13 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
  • Total Sugar: 6 g
    • Natural Sugar: 2 g
    • Added Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 35 mg

Full disclosure: I’m a huge plain-Jane popcorn gal, but with the addition of this rich and velvety caramel coating…well, let’s just say it makes me not want to share. It’s sugary-sweet, subtly salty and totally addictive. The recipe calls for a large batch of pre-made light popcorn so feel free to either pop your own or use any store-bought brand on sale (you’ll need about 14 cups). To achieve an authentic flavor and sticky caramel texture, I use a combo of pureed dates, vanilla and maple extracts, and maple syrup. In fact, the sauce is so good it can also be used as a standalone caramel dip for sliced apples and bananas…or you can drizzle it on just about anything. Finger licking is most definitely encouraged!

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 14 cups coated popcorn
  • Heaping ¼ cup of dates, halved & packed down (~6 large)
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract or maple natural flavor
  • Pinch of salt, plus more for serving
  • 14 to 16 cups light popcorn 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

To make the caramel sauce:

In a small bowl add the halved dates and cover with boiling water. Allow dates to soften in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Then, drain well. (This makes for easier pureeing)

Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to a high-powered blender. Add the softened, drained dates. Blend until everything is smooth and well-combined, about 1½ to 2 minutes. Makes about ½ cup sauce. 

To coat the popcorn:

Heat a large deep pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add about 4 tablespoons of caramel sauce to the pan, spread it out using a rubber spatula, and allow it to warm until just gently bubbling. Add half of the popcorn (about 7 cups) into the pan, and using the spatula, mix the kernels with sauce until everything is well coated.

Transfer the finished popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out in a single layer. Repeat the same process with the second batch of sauce and popcorn (heat ¼ cup sauce, toss with about 7 cups popcorn, and transfer to the baking sheet).

Once all the caramel popcorn from both batches is spread evenly on the baking sheet, sprinkle with additional salt to taste over the tops. Finally, place the baking sheet in the oven set at 375 degrees F for about 2 minutes to deepen the color and dry out the kernels. (Although, if you prefer to skip the oven step, and don’t mind sticky fingers, go ahead and dig in.)

You can store extra sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

Nutrition provided for 1 cup

Try this Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn!