The best ever caramel corn recipe with PERFECT crispy outside, chewy center, and sweet ‘n salty flavor.
4 bags popcorn, popped (un-popped kernels discarded) butter, plain, or kettle corn all work
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste (you can also leave out the sea salt and use salted butter instead)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Fill two large bowls with the popcorn and set out two large baking sheets.
In a large sauce pan on the stove, combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir constantly and bring to a rapid boil. Continue to stir for 3-4 minutes, remove from heat and stir in vanilla then immediately stir in baking soda (be careful, mixture will bubble up!). Pour caramel over popcorn and stir with a rubber spatula until well-coated.
Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and cook for 15-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. ***For chewier popcorn, cook only 15-30 minutes. For crispier popcorn, cool closer to 45-60 minutes. My favorite is about 35-40 minutes for a crispy start and a chewy finish!
Allow to cool, then serve or store in airtight container up to 3 days.