#Basic Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

Caramel corn has never really been my thing. Whenever I have the store bought stuff it tastes stale and gross. It’s always too sweet or too salty or the popcorn gets stuck in my teeth. But ladies and gentlemen, all of my anti-caramel corn sentiments have changed. Okay, not all of them. I still think that store bought caramel corn is gross. But anyway, this spiced caramel corn recipe is a game changer.

I wanted to call this recipe Pumpkin-Spiced Caramel Corn, but I felt that it’d be false advertising to have ‘pumpkin’ in the name if there is no pumpkin in the recipe. Instead, it’s full of the spices that go in pumpkin pie.

I’ve basically taken a Cooking Light caramel corn and added some pumpkin pie spices.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon light molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 heaping tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 12 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat) *see tip below


  • Preheat oven to 250°.
  • Coat a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.
  • Double- and triple-check your popcorn to make sure that there are no unpopped kernels left in your popcorn.
  • Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, salt and spices. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat.
  • Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Note: Let the caramel popcorn cool completely before dividing it into holiday tins for giving.

*Popcorn tip: You can “air pop” popcorn in the microwave very easily. Put a few tablespoons of plain popcorn kernels in the bottom of a paper lunch bag–only enough to barely make one layer of kernels on the bottom. If there are kernels sitting on top of each other, you have waaaaay too many kernels in your bag.

Fold the top of the bag over 2-3 times (maybe only 1/2 – 1 inch folds) so that you have a nice, tall bag of kernels. Place the bag on its side in your microwave. Pop for 2-3 minutes (I use the popcorn button) until there’s 1-2 seconds between pops. Remove immediately and pour into a bowl to sort out any unpopped kernels. I find that it takes 3-4 rounds of air-popping in the microwave to get the full 12 cups of popcorn.