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Baked Caramel Corn (Without Corn Syrup)

I never knew how easy it was to make homemade caramel corn. This is my grandmother’s recipe and she was all about keeping things simple. You can make this Easy Baked Caramel Corn without corn syrup! The trick is using honey instead, which gives it a better caramel flavor – it’s absolutely delicious.

Baked Caramel Corn: This recipe is caramel corn without corn syrup - perfect as a DIY Holiday Gift Idea for snacking!

Caramel Corn is one of our favorite treats to make. It’s a treat, it’s a snack and the flavor of making it without corn syrup never fails. Some people love caramel corn during the fall season or passing it out as gifts during for the holidays, but I love it all year long. It reminds me so much – from summer baseball games to fall fairs.

There’s not that much technique required to make caramel corn. This recipe will wow people without a candy thermometer. You’re just stirring and bringing things to a boil. The end result is a fabulous crunchy caramel corn!

Looking for more great snacks that double as holiday gifts? Here are some of my favorite recipes that people love to receive as gifts:

How To Make Caramel Corn Without Corn Syrup

For this caramel corn recipe, you’ll need a medium saucepan, baking sheet and aluminum foil. The aluminum foil is optional, but it makes clean up so much easier! As long as you’re ready to stir, it’s an easy recipe to follow!

I use pre-popped bagged popcorn for this recipe. It comes with less kernels. If you pop your own popcorn, there are far more kernels to pick out. Grab a bag that is plain, or lightly salted.

How to make caramel corn without corn syrup
Caramel Corn is a delicious sweet snack and honey is the trick!

When To Make Caramel Corn

As a snack, or even as a gift, caramel corn is so versatile. Give it as a holiday gift, make it during the fall season or serve it at an event. I love it for a baseball-themed party: baby showers, birthdays and team celebrations. Wrap individual portions and serve it to guests. Check out these adorable baseball baby shower ideas if you need inspiration.

Find holiday-themed popcorn tins at your local box store. Wash the tins, let them dry, and add your popcorn as a gift. Loved ones really appreciate the thoughtfulness.

How To Keep Your Caramel Corn Fresh

After the caramel corn as cooled, transfer it to airtight food storage containers. The sugar acts as a preservative and the popcorn will last in your pantry for several months. Keep the popcorn away from direct moisture, so it stays crunchy.

Do not freeze your caramel corn. The freeze process will expose the popcorn to moisture and it will become soggy. I recommend making a new batch of popcorn and avoid freezing it.

How To Make Chocolate Caramel Corn

This is the best recipe variation! Once your caramel corn has cooled, melt 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Drizzle the milk chocolate over the top of the caramel. Let it set by waiting 10-15 minutes. Once the chocolate has set, break it into pieces and enjoy.

How To Clean Caramel Off Of Your Pots & Cookware

While this is an easy recipe, there’s one thing that makes it tricky – the cleanup. You do have traces of caramel on your pots and bowls after you’ve finished this recipe. Don’t panic though, because I have tips for cleaning caramel off of pots:

  • Soak in hot water for at least one hour with dish detergent
  • Use a spatula to remove any remaining caramel, after you’ve soaked your dirty dishes
  • To keep your roasting pan clean and to avoid another item to wash, I recommend covering it with aluminum foil and then spraying with PAM cooking spray

What You Need From The Grocery Store:

  • Pre-Popped Bagged Popped Popcorn
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Directions To Make Caramel Corn Without Corn Syrup

Preheat your oven to 250ºF. Prepare one baking sheet by wrapping with aluminum foil and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. You can pop your own popcorn, but to make it easier, I purchase pre-popped bagged popcorn.

Melt butter over medium heat on the stovetop, in a medium saucepan.

Melting butter in saucepan

Once melted, stir in brown sugar, honey and salt.

Adding brown sugar and honey

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Keep the mixture boiling, but stop stirring, for 5 minutes. I set a timer on my oven for exactly five minutes.

Bringing caramel corn mixture to a boil

Gradually pour over popped corn, in a large bowl. Be careful not to burn yourself – the mixture is very hot.

Pouring caramel over the popcorn

Gently mix until popcorn is coated evenly. 

Coating the popcorn with caramel mixture

Spread your popcorn onto your prepared roasting pan and bake at 250ºF for one hour. Stir the popcorn every 15 minutes. 

Baking caramel corn on baking sheet

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Add chocolate drizzle, if desired. Break apart and store in an air-tight food storage container. 

Yield: 12 Servings

Baked Caramel Corn (Without Corn Syrup)

Baked Caramel Corn, Easy Baked Caramel Corn, Caramel Corn Without Corn Syrup, Homemade Caramel Corn Recipe

This Caramel Corn is made without corn syrup, for a better and richer flavor! Honey is the secret ingredient.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 6 Quarts Pre-Popped Popcorn
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cups Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 250F degrees & wrap a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add brown sugar, honey and salt.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, constantly stirring.
  5. Keep the mixture boiling, but stop stirring, for five minutes.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the mixture and popcorn. Gently stir to ensure the popcorn is completely coated.
  7. Spread the coated popcorn onto your roasting pan. Bake at 250F for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  8. Let the popcorn cool completely. Break into pieces and store in air-tight food storage containers.


  • Popcorn will stay fresh for several months because the sugar acts as a preservative. Keep the popcorn away from moister.
  • To make chocolate caramel corn: melt 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Drizzled over the cooled caramel corn and let it set.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 324Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 304mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 1g

**Nutritional facts are calculated by a third party. Actual values may vary.

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