The best and most delicious caramel corn recipe! This tasty treat is vegan, gluten free, and nut free, too!
One of my favorite holiday recipes is caramel corn.
Scratch that. One of my favorite ANYTIME recipes is caramel corn. It’s one of my favorite treats – put a bowl in front of me, and it will be gone in the blink of an eye!
I hadn’t made it in a long time, because for a while there, I was avoiding corn, so that meant no caramel corn. Then, once I started eating corn again, I was avoiding GMO corn, so that was just one more thing to worry about – tracking down GMO free popcorn and corn syrup wasn’t a top priority. But all of a sudden I had a craving for caramel corn, and I just had to make it for a New Year’s Eve party last week. And then again for a family Christmas party this past weekend. I tracked down the GMO free ingredients, and boom! I’m in the caramel corn making club again.
It is highly addictive, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
It is wonderful for a holiday, birthday party, or a Super Bowl party!
And speaking of birthdays…today is Regan Miller Jones’ 40th birthday! Regan is the founder of The Recipe Redux and Healthy Aperture, among other healthy endeavors. Several bloggers have gotten together to throw her a virtual surprise party with drinks and gluten free desserts. Since it’s a party, naturally I thought that this gluten free caramel corn would be just perfect! Happy Birthday, Regan!
Adapted from this recipe.
- 1¼ cups vegan buttery spread (I used Earth Balance Soy Free Sticks)
- 1½ cup corn kernels (I used Tiny but Mighty Heirloom corn. If you use normal popcorn, you may be able to use less)
- 5 Tablespoons canola oil
- 2½ cups light brown sugar
- ⅝ cups light corn syrup
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅞ teaspoon salt
- ⅝ teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a large roasting pan. (Depending on the size, you may need two pans).
- Pop the popcorn in two batches: Heat 2½ Tablespoons of canola oil and four corn kernels in a large kettle with a lid over medium high heat. Once the test kernels pop, remove the pan from the heat, and add ¾ cup corn kernels. Put the lid on, and keep the pan off the heat for 30 seconds. Then place back on the heat. Once the kernels really start popping, shake the pan intermittently.
- When there are 2-3 seconds between pops, remove the pan from heat and pour the contents into the roaster. Repeat to pop the other half of the corn.
- Make the caramel: In a heavy bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side, heat the buttery spread, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir constantly, until the candy thermometer reads 255 degrees F.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn, and stir to coat. Be careful! The caramel is super hot.
- Place the caramel corn in the oven, and bake for about one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Let caramel corn cool completely - it will crisp up as it cools off.
- Store in an airtight container.
This is such a great snack or dessert for a party, especially if you have kids – everyone loves it, and there is hardly any leftover!
Note: If you use regular popcorn, you may not need as many kernels. The Tiny But Mighty Heirloom Popcorn has slightly smaller kernels, which is fine with me, because they are so delicious!
Make this for your next party! You’ll love it!
This caramel corn is:
- perfectly salty-sweet
- gluten free and vegan
- totally delicious!