Caramel Apple Popcorn Recipe

There are plenty of fall-friendly recipes to try, but this one for caramel apple popcorn is simple, flavorful, and incredibly comforting. The great part about this snack is that it's quick and easy to make and perfect for the whole family. Everyone from kids to grandparents will love this caramel-covered popcorn with the added bonus of dried apples. Of course, this treat would be great to make any time of the year, but with the caramel and apples, it really just screams fall. 

Recipe developer Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert of Wholly Nourished came up with this yummy popcorn recipe that is sure to be a hit. "This doesn't last long around our house!" she raves. "I love the fall flavors in this. It has that addictive sweet and salty flavor!" We would have to agree. As far as serving suggestions go, there are plenty of events you could whip this up for. "This popcorn is great to serve at fall parties or for football Sunday snacking," Bachtell-Shelbert notes.

Keep scrolling to find out how to make this tasty fall classic that is sure to be a new fave on your snack list! 

Gather the ingredients

First, gather all of the necessary ingredients to make this snack. You will need butter and brown sugar to start. Next, add salt and vanilla to your shopping list. As a quick reminder, be sure to check at home for items that you may already have in your pantry.

In addition, you will also need a small amount of cinnamon. Next, add a 3.29-ounce bag of microwave popcorn that's plain or with a touch of sea salt. Bachtell-Shelbert notes that she used Orville Redenbacher's Naturals Simply Salted. Last but not least, get some dried apples. Then, it's time to start. 

Preheat the oven and prep the baking sheet

This recipe requires the use of an oven. Take a little stroll over to yours and set the temperature to 300 F so it gets nice and hot. It's always a good idea to preheat the oven ahead of time so you don't get stuck waiting for it to heat up at the end. Once you've turned the oven on, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. This will help prevent the popcorn from sticking.

Then, set the baking sheet aside and move on to the next step. You won't need it just yet.

Make the caramel in a saucepan

Now, it's time to grab a medium-sized saucepan and load it up with ingredients. Start with the butter first, followed by the brown sugar and the maple syrup. You can also add the salt into the pan at this time. Crank the heat up to medium, and continue whisking the mixture to combine.

Then, bring the caramel mix to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Set your timer for four minutes. When your timer goes off, remove the pan from heat. Now, stir in the vanilla and the cinnamon. Voila, you have your caramel. 

"I don't think a store-bought caramel would work. I'm thinking of the ones they sell as caramel sauce for apples, and I think those are quite a bit thicker," Bachtell-Shelbert shares. "Also, there are no artificial ingredients using this method." 

Pop the popcorn and add caramel

It's time for one of the easiest parts of the recipe. Take out your bag of microwave popcorn, and check the box or back of the bag for heating instructions, as each brand varies a bit. Pop it in the microwave, and let it do its thing. Once you take the popcorn out of the microwave, pour it into a large bowl.

Then, grab the caramel mixture and pour it over the popcorn to coat. This may get a little sticky, so it's best to use a spoon to stir everything together.

Bake the popcorn and enjoy

After adding the caramel to the popcorn, grab your prepared baking sheet and spread the popcorn out on it. Go ahead and place it in the oven, and set your timer for 20 minutes. About halfway through, toss the popcorn and then let it continue baking.

Remove the popcorn from the oven and toss it with dried apples. "The only other thing I could think of to mention is that peanuts would make a tasty add-in," Bachtell-Shelbert shares. 

If you have anything leftover, be sure to store it in an airtight container. Leftovers should be good for about three days. 

Caramel Apple Popcorn Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
There are plenty of fall-friendly recipes to try, but this one for caramel apple popcorn is simple, flavorful, and incredibly comforting.
Prep Time
Cook Time
popcorn in a dish
Total time: 35 minutes
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (3.29-ounce) bag of microwave popcorn, plain or with a touch of sea salt
  • 2 cups dried apples, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking to combine.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 4 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
  5. Meanwhile, pop the microwave popcorn according to package directions. Place popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Pour the caramel over the popcorn, and stir to coat all of the popcorn.
  7. Spread popcorn on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake the caramel popcorn in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through baking.
  9. Remove popcorn from the oven and toss with the dried apples. Serve and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 334
Total Fat 18.5 g
Saturated Fat 11.7 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 48.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 45.2 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Total Sugars 41.1 g
Sodium 196.0 mg
Protein 0.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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