Copycat Garrett’s Popcorn Recipe

Want to make famous Garrett’s Popcorn at home? This simple guide to blending the perfect caramel popcorn recipe and cheese popcorn will make you feel like you’re strolling down Michigan Avenue in the windy city!

Easy #Copycat Garretts Popcorn AKA "Chicago Mix Popcorn" #caramel #popcorn #cheese #fall #holidays #party #ediblegifts

When you think of Chicago, what food comes to mind?

Chicago Dogs? Chicago Deep Dish Pizza? What about Chicago Popcorn?

Garretts Popcorn Shop - ChicagoInstagram shot in Chicago

I spent a few days in Chicago this summer and the one food that seemed to be on everyone’s mind (and lips) was Garrett’s Popcorn.

Chicago’s famous gourmet popcorn shop makes several varieties of decadent popcorn, from cheese popcorn to macadamia nut corn. Yet the biggest seller, by far, is the acclaimed Chicago-style popcorn, mixing salty cheesy popcorn with a classic caramel popcorn recipe.

I was sold.

Making #Copycat Garretts Popcorn AKA "Chicago Mix Popcorn" #caramel #popcorn #cheese #fall #holidays #party #ediblegifts

In fact, I bought a bag to bring back to Lt. Dan, and only a small portion of it made it home.

You can order Garrett’s Popcorn online as gifts, or for yourself.

But you know me…  I wanted to try to make a copycat version at home.

How to Make #Copycat Garretts Popcorn AKA "Chicago Mix Popcorn" #caramel #popcorn #cheese #fall #holidays #party #ediblegifts

This copycat Garrett’s popcorn recipe is the perfect snack to make for this season’s holiday parties.

Just think how your friends will respond on Halloween if you hand them a bag of salty-sweet Chicago Popcorn, instead of stale mini chocolate bars.

Copycat Garretts Popcorn AKA "Chicago Mix Popcorn" #caramel #popcorn #cheese #fall #holidays #party #ediblegifts

Or what about edible gifts for Christmas?

I’d be thrilled to receive a tin of homemade garretts popcorn around the holidays.

Today’s recipe is actually two easy popcorn recipes that you will mix at the end. My classic caramel popcorn recipe, made in the microwave for convenience, and a simple cheddar cheese popcorn recipe.

Awesome #Copycat Garretts Popcorn AKA "Chicago Mix Popcorn" #caramel #popcorn #cheese #fall #holidays #party #ediblegifts

I posted this microwave caramel popcorn recipe last year. Here we’re mixing it with homemade cheese corn.

The only special ingredient you’ll need for the Chicago popcorn is cheddar cheese powder. There’s really no other way to make cheese-coated popcorn that’s still crisp. You can find cheese powder in specialty grocery stores, online, or you could open up a bunch of mac and cheese packets. *wink*

Honestly, you will not believe how quick and easy making caramel corn can be. Especially if you’ve made the old fashioned labor-intensive variety in the past.

Once the two popcorn recipes are mixed together you have that salty-sweet flavor everyone loves.

{Copycat} Garrett's Popcorn

Yield: 6 quarts

Prep Time:5 minutes

Cook Time:15 minutes or less

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Ingredients:

For the Caramel Corn

  • 3 quarts popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tb. butter
  • 3 Tb. corn syrup
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

For the Cheese Corn

  • 3 quarts popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
  •  4 Tb. melted butter
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
  • 2 tsp. ground mustard powder
  • 2 large paper grocery bag

Directions:

  1. Pop 6 quarts of popcorn according to package instructions and separate into 2 large clean paper grocery bags. (Based on the size of my largest pot, I do this in two batches.) Be sure to pick out any un-popped kernels.
  2. For the Caramel Popcorn: 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. Immediately stir in the baking soda and pour over the popcorn in one 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. 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.
  4. For the Cheese Corn: Open the top of the second bag and shake vigorously as you slowly pour the butter over the popcorn. Then mix the cheese powder and mustard.  Shake vigorously again, as you sprinkle the cheese mixture over the popcorn. Close the bag and fold the top down. Give the popcorn one last hard shake to thoroughly coat. Place the bag in the microwave and microwave for 30-45 seconds to dry out the popcorn. Then allow it to cool before mixing.
  5. Once both popcorns are ready, mix by hand and store in an air-tight container until ready to serve.
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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!

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62 comments on “Copycat Garrett’s Popcorn Recipe

  1. Danielleposted September 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm Reply

    My family is from Chicago, and I’m planning on making this for my mom’s 60th as a party favor. Any idea how long it stays good for? I was thinking about sealing it in a mason jar. 

    • Sommerposted September 12, 2017 at 9:34 pm Reply

      Hi Danielle, What a fun idea!! For optimal flavor and crunch, I wouldn’t make it more than 4-5 days ahead. It would still be ok after that. But The fresher, the better! :)