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.

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?

Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time:5 minutes

Cook Time:6 minutes

5 / 5 (1 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »


  • 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.
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58 comments on “Microwave Caramel Popcorn Recipe

  1. Jamieposted January 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm Reply

    So good! And dangerously good because it’s so easy,  I see myself making it too many times in the future, and probably a few lbs. in / on my future!

    Rating: 5
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  4. Susan Andrewsposted September 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm Reply

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

    • Sommerposted September 11, 2014 at 7:29 am Reply

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

      • Susan Andrewsposted September 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

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

      • Susan Andrewsposted September 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm

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

  5. crystalposted August 22, 2014 at 8:28 pm Reply

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

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

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

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

    Microwave Caramel Popcorn | A Spicy Perspective

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

    finally, a good use for a microwave!

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

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

  11. Amandaposted June 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm Reply

    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!

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  13. Gigiposted February 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm Reply

    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 :(

  14. Kellieposted January 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm Reply

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

  15. Tonyposted December 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm Reply

    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.

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  17. Marlyposted December 20, 2012 at 8:06 am Reply

    Looks fabulous!

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

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

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

    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.

  20. Kristineposted December 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm Reply

    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 :)

  21. Stephanieposted December 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm Reply

    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.

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

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

  23. Anneposted December 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm Reply

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

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

    no way, this is brilliant!

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

    delicious– love that you wrap it up in newspaper!

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

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

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

    Perfect for snack time! Looks freakin’ awesome!

  29. Monetposted December 2, 2012 at 8:18 am Reply

    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 :-)

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

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

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

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

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

    Your caramel corn looks incredible, I love the cashews!

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

    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.

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

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

  35. Justinposted November 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm Reply

    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!

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

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

  37. Hollyposted November 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm Reply

    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!

  38. marlaposted November 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm Reply

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

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

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

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

    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!!

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

    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.

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

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

  43. Jillposted November 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm Reply

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

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

    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!

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

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

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

    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!!

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

    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!! ;)

    • Sommerposted November 30, 2012 at 10:41 am Reply

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

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

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

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

    I’m in. I’m sooooo in.

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

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

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

    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.

  52. Carolynposted November 30, 2012 at 7:50 am Reply

    Love the way you presented this in newspaper!

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

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

  54. Jeanetteposted November 30, 2012 at 7:06 am Reply

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