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Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Caramel Popcorn Recipe made in the MICROWAVE!A ridiculously easy caramel corn recipe made in the microwave! This crisp, flavorful caramel popcorn recipe makes fabulous nostalgic holiday gifts.

Amazing Caramel Popcorn Recipe made in the MICROWAVE!

Remember the can of caramel popcorn that always showed up around the holidays?

You know, that big canister of seasoned popcorn with caramel corn, cheesy popcorn, and buttered popcorn brimming the top of the can?

I loved that.

As kids we would sit by the fire, nibbling crunchy corn from the canister and play board games, or listen to my dad read stories. Such great memories are associated with popcorn.

Easy Caramel Popcorn Recipe made in the MICROWAVE!

For years I’ve been perfecting my caramel popcorn recipe.

I spent hours hovering over the stove-top to make sure the caramel reaches the perfect candy consistency, so it didn’t crystallize after coating the popcorn.

A good caramel popcorn recipe is a thing a beauty, but fairly tedious to make.

How to Make Microwave Caramel Corn Recipe ~ Makes great Edible Gifts! | ASpicyPerspective.com #christmas #ediblegifts #caramelcorn

Until now.

A friend recently told me, her mom has always made her caramel popcorn recipe in the MICROWAVE.

Black out, warping noises, little birds fluttering around my head….

How many hours have I wasted sweating over the stove?

Easy Microwave Caramel Corn  ~ Makes great Edible Gifts! | ASpicyPerspective.com #christmas #ediblegifts #caramelcorn

The first time I tried this method of preparing my caramel popcorn recipe, I stood shaking my head while the seconds ticked away on the microwave.

“It can’t possibly be as good.” I told myself. A self-soothing message to ease the pain of countless hours lost.

After removing the paper bag filled with caramel corn, and dumping it out on waxed paper, the verdict was in.

Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe

It is not as good as stove top caramel corn, it is BETTER.

Making your caramel popcorn recipe in the microwave, provides an extra thin, ultra crisp coating of caramel with even coverage.

If you think about it, shaking the caramel corn in a bag would provide astounding uniformity, over pouring the caramel on the popcorn in a roasting pan, and trying to mix the gloppy mass with a wooden spoon.

Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe

I can tell you with certainty, that I will never make my caramel popcorn recipe using the stove/oven method again.

It’s all microwave for me, baby.

You can make this caramel corn recipe with popcorn alone, or mix nuts into it for a little wow-factor.

Your friends and family will love receiving this popcorn for the holidays and will have no idea you didn’t slave away to make it.

Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes


  • 3 quarts popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 2 cups cashews, optional
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Large paper grocery bag


  1. Pour the popcorn and nuts in a large paper grocery bag. Be sure to pick out any un-popped kernels. Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir, then microwave another 2 minutes, until boiling.
  2. Immediately stir in the baking soda and pour over the popcorn, in the bag. (The baking soda will cause the caramel to foam up.)
  3. Fold the top of the paper bag over a couple times and shake well. Place the bag in the microwave and cook for 1 minute. Shake the bag vigorously again and microwave for 45-60 more seconds. Check at 45 seconds to make sure it's not burning.
  4. Open the bag and pour the caramel corn out on waxed paper. Break up clumps if needed. Cool completely to harden. *Every microwave is a little different. After the caramel corn cools completely, if it does not crisp up, put it back in the bag and microwave for another 30-45 seconds.

Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!

More Edible Gift Ideas:

Rice Krispies Peppermint Snowmen

Easy Peppermint Fudge

M&M Cookies in a Jar ~Damn Delicious

Homemade Vanilla Extract ~ Averie Cooks

Banana Crunch Popcorn ~ Inside BruCrew Life

Sommer Collier and Family | ASpicyPerspective.com

Here’s an Instagram Shot of my family cutting this year’s Christmas tree. Our friend Johnny from GardensForLiving.net helped us pick the perfect tree!

What are you doing to get in the holiday spirit?

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57 Responses to “Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe”

  1. Jeanetteposted November 30, 2012 at 7:06 am

    What a cool trick Sommer – I would never think to make Caramel Popcorn in the microwave!


  2. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.posted November 30, 2012 at 7:07 am

    love this one Sommer. Off to pin and stumble this!!


  3. Carolynposted November 30, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Love the way you presented this in newspaper!


  4. Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)posted November 30, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I never would have dreamed you could make this in the microwave – so easy! I can’t wait to take some with my to my family’s holiday party. Also, I LOVE that you included cashews – I’ve been on a serious cashew kick lately.


  5. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinchposted November 30, 2012 at 8:01 am

    So cute! Love the photo of your family getting your tree!


  6. Bev @ Bev Cooksposted November 30, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I’m in. I’m sooooo in.


  7. Adora's Boxposted November 30, 2012 at 8:39 am

    This is such a great no-fuss recipe for caramel popcorn. It usually involves a whole lot of utensils to make it.


  8. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesposted November 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I am most DEFINITELY trying this recipe, Sommer. Because at this moment in time, believe I make the best caramel corn (stove top) on the planet. I truly hope you can prove me wrong!! ;)


    • Sommer — November 30th, 2012 @ 10:41 am

      Haha! I hope so too, Brenda. You’ll have to report back! ;)


  9. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweetposted November 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

    What?? So there is a way to get caramel corn without shaking the pot over a stove and burn it anyways? I am so IN! Totally going to try this this evening!!


  10. Angieposted November 30, 2012 at 10:09 am

    This popcorn looks so good! My hubby os a popcorn lover too, he would adore this!


  11. Jillposted November 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    What?! What an awesome idea! I love it!


  12. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggiesposted November 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I love brown bag popcorn, but I haven’t tried making caramel corn! And now I’m totally going to have to…


  13. Amy Tongposted November 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Nice! I must try this recipe! I usually make them in the oven. This is way easier. :) I’ll let you know how it turns out.


  14. Sarah | The Accidental Okieposted November 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Ack! This looks amazing and easy and naturally gluten-free. Win. Win. And WIN! I think I might try with salted pecans. I love salted caramel things! Thanks for the ideas!


  15. Julia {The Roasted Root}posted November 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I want to shake a bag of popcorn and cashews together with gloppy caramel! This sounds too fun! I love your gift idea, all wrapped up in newspaper with a ribbon – this is too creative! My family would enjoy this thoughtful, tasty treat!!


  16. Cassie | Bake Your Dayposted November 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Cool trick! I do love popcorn and adding caramel is a must!


  17. marlaposted November 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Love seeing your family with the tree!!! Great looking popcorn :)


  18. Hollyposted November 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! I have summer memories of the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk popcorn from Johnsons Popcorn. Miles and miles away now, I still crave that taste. This recipe could do it!


  19. Belinda @zomppaposted November 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    You just changed my life. I was about to make a whole batch on the stove. I think I love you.


  20. Justinposted November 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I LOVE caramel corn and always say “I’m gonna make some!” yet never get around to it. I’ll get around to it now with this easy recipe. and Btw, we have the same microwave!


  21. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppersposted November 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Wow! What fabulous recipe and so great for the holiday time and movie night!! Great idea!


  22. The Food Houndposted November 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Yes!!! My neighbor makes the BEST caramel corn but he’s one of those ‘I change what I do every time’ kind of guys so he’s never able to tell me how he does it… and I fail every time I try. But NOW! I win!! Can’t wait to try this! I just need to make sure I do it for a party so it all doesn’t stay in the house, aka I eat all of it.


  23. Laura (Tutti Dolci)posted November 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Your caramel corn looks incredible, I love the cashews!


  24. Sanjeeta kkposted November 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    What a fun idea to make caramel corn in MW..beautiful family click, Sommer!


  25. Tara @ Unsophisticookposted December 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

    We always make our own homemade microwave popcorn — that store bought stuff is full of chemicals, yuck. Will have to try your caramel version!


  26. Monetposted December 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Ah! Love it! So easy and so delicious. I just love how you packaged them too. Perfection! Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. I’m sorry I’ve been so absent. Between moving (and feeling quite sick) I’m just now catching up to over a month of blog-reading! I hope you are doing well. It feels good to be back :-)


  27. Brian @ A Thought For Foodposted December 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Perfect for snack time! Looks freakin’ awesome!


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  29. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebelposted December 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    This is incredible! I had no idea I could make caramel popcorn so easily and now that I know… this will be deliciously dangerous :)


  30. Elizabeth @Food Ramblingsposted December 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    delicious– love that you wrap it up in newspaper!


  31. Lisa | With Style and Graceposted December 4, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    no way, this is brilliant!


  32. Anneposted December 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Yum! I eat air-popped popcorn almost every day…this looks dangerously easy:)


  33. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Outposted December 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    This is exactly how my family has always made our caramel corn! So quick and easy.


  34. Stephanieposted December 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    This looks amazing!! Can’t wait to try it out. There are always alot of holiday movie watching in December. This will be a fun snack to try out :) Love the idea of incorporating cashews. I am a huge nut fan.


  35. Kristineposted December 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Omg! Super easy and totally tasty! Saw this on Pinterest and was so excited that I had a bag and all ingredients on hand. Thanks :)


  36. Tayla Chaseposted December 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    We tried popcorn in a paper bag in the microwave once, and the bag caught fire… :/ Not sure how everyone else gets their popcorn to work in a paper bag, but it would be awesome if it would work for me, too! lol, wary to try it again.


  37. Chung-Ah | Damn Deliciousposted December 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    So easy and so perfect as holiday gifts! That is, if it lasts that long without being eaten by me :)


  38. Marlyposted December 20, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Looks fabulous!


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  40. Tonyposted December 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    This recipe so did not work. The caramel smoked and burned onto the popcorn and it ruined the taste of the popcorn. Will not try this again.


  41. Kellieposted January 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Made today. This is absolutely the best caramel corn recipe and easiest I have ever made. Thank you so much


  42. Gigiposted February 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    This is WAY too salty. Cut salt down to 1/2 tsp and then this is fine. With the amount of salt called for, the popcorn is completely inedible :(


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  44. Amandaposted June 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    This was a great recipe! Next time I will definitely add cashews, and I’ll probably use 3/4 t salt and baking soda. Thanks for sharing!


  45. Gourmet Getawaysposted June 21, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Wow! This looks
    Totally delicious! I can’t wait to try it :)


  46. Nancy Longposted July 15, 2013 at 2:59 am

    finally, a good use for a microwave!


  47. botanical slimming soft gelposted August 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Microwave Caramel Popcorn | A Spicy Perspective


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  49. Lisa Alveyposted December 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Can I use dark corn syrup? (novice baker here!)


  50. crystalposted August 22, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Just made this using maple syrup (what I had on hand) taste just like. Moms! Though I still stirred it in a bowl lol


  51. Susan Andrewsposted September 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Just wondering where you get that paper & what it’s called? Thanks!


    • Sommer — September 11th, 2014 @ 7:29 am

      Hi Susan, I found it at World Market. They are called Fry Liners. :)


      • Susan Andrews — September 11th, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

        Thank you! I am just about to try this recipe!

      • Susan Andrews — September 11th, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

        THIS IS SO GOOD! I am fairly certain I could eat it all by myself! Have mercy!

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