Butter Toffee Popcorn
Think Cracker Jacks and multiply the delicious factor by about one million thousand times and you have this delicious, homemade butter toffee popcorn.
Look at this popcorn. Then think Cracker Jacks and multiply the delicious factor by about one million thousand times.
It is also a hundred thousand bajillion times more addicting.
Need scientific proof?
My husband would like to announce that he once (or thrice) successfully downed an entire batch of this over a period of three days. He’s not ashamed.
Coated in a buttery, caramel mixture, the popcorn is studded with roasted, salted peanuts and baked until crunchy and toffee-like.
It is dreamy. Seriously dreamy.
I’ve been making this recipe for years and years and dare I say it is the best of it’s kind and is always a hit at the holiday season.
Packaged in a cellophane bag with ribbon or a cute cardboard box, this popcorn is a one hit wonder, whatever that means.
One Year Ago: Triple Chocolate Devil Drops
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Butter Toffee Popcorn
- ¾ cup unpopped popcorn kernels, white or yellow
- 1 cup (227 g) butter
- 2 ¼ cups (477 g) light brown sugar
- ¾ cup dark corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2-3 cups roasted, salted peanuts
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
- Pop the popcorn kernels, in shifts if needed to ensure your popcorn popper doesn’t burn the popcorn, and place the popcorn in a large bowl, sifting through to remove the unpopped kernels.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble so be careful. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix slightly. Add the peanuts and mix well but gently (so you don’t break apart the popcorn) until the popcorn is evenly coated and the peanuts are distributed through the mixture.
- Turn the popcorn out onto the baking sheets, spreading into an even layer. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Move the bottom tray to the upper rack and vice versa each time you stir. The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets. Cool the popcorn to room temperature. Store in an airtight container. I’ve found the popcorn will keep, stored tightly, for 1-2 weeks.
Recipe Source: from My Kitchen Cafe
Pop up that popcorn! It helps if you have a few little helpers excited to watch the popcorn “dance.”
Sift through the popcorn to get all the unpopped kernels out (unless you like to get dental work done!) and put the popped corn in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
As it heats slowly, the sugar will dissolve and the mixture will appear smooth.
Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for three minutes.
This is how the mixture should look right when it is removed from the heat after it has simmered for three minutes.
As you add the soda and vanilla, the mixture will foam a bit so be careful. I don’t want anyone suing me for hot bubble injuries. No offense.
Pour the caramel over the corn and with two wooden spoons or the like, start mixing. Add the peanuts after mixing for just a bit.
Mix until the popcorn is well coated.
Spread onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake and try to let cool before devouring!
120 Comments on “Butter Toffee Popcorn”
I must say, girl, Mel, this caramel popcorn recipe is absolutely marvelous!!! I’ve been making this for years. Not one complaint.
When I’ve given it away as a gift no one believes it’s NOT bought from a gourmet shop! Veeeeery high praise for you.
Also, people, the key to the superb crunch is the baking soda. I highly recommend!
Absolutely slaps. I added an extra tsp of vanilla extract just because I like it, and used mixed nuts instead of peanuts— and it came out great!
Pro tip: find or make “mushroom popcorn”, which is the type of kernel that pops up big and round, perfect for caramel corn type stuff!
I made this for Christmas as gifts for friends and family. It was a Hugh hit! Better than any boxed stuff. I had to fight my husband and son off the delicious treat. The only answer was to make a second batch. Wonderful recipe, think you so much.
I’d love to try this recipe but wondering about amounts of I omit the peanuts due to my daughter’s allergy. Should I increase the amount of popcorn to make up for the lack of nuts?
I have made this without the peanuts, and I just follow the recipe as is, and omit the peanuts.
All I have to say is that I LOVE caramel popcorn more then life itself ! I cannot stop eating it, and I’ve eaten a bucket load in three days too! Can’t wait to try this recipe ! Thanks Mel!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
This was an awesome recipe! I found an easy way to sort out the uncooked kernels was to put the Cooke popcorn onto a cooling rack. My cooling rack has little squares that are about 1 cm wide. The unpopped kernels fall through and you are left with the popped stuff. I tried to double this recipe and didn’t have big enough pot – the caramel really expands after adding baking soda – can you say caramel molten lava? So fun to make!
GREAT tip! Thanks!
The caramel was lovely but my popcorn collapsed into a soggy mush when I poured the caramel over and it was a bit like baked porridge when it came out of the oven. Will definitely be making the caramel and mixing it with the peanuts again though, as that was just divine
Why does the popcorn have to bake? I remember getting toffee popcorn at a popcorn shop and after pouring the toffee on the popcorn they stirred it and then poured it out on a big table and started bagging it. It was great to go in and get it when was still warm.
Baking it hardens the caramel just a bit so it isn’t so soft and sticky.
Excellent recipe! If some of you would just try making it as described, everyone of you would simply leave comments saying “Thanks!”. This is a year round favorite for my family. No need to change a thing. Thanks again for sharing this wonderful recipe!
Haven’t made it yet, but I will soon. Can you tell me what temperature the sugar part gets to after you boil it for 3 minutes? Thank you
I haven’t ever measured the temperature – sorry!
With exception to the peanuts, how is this recipe different from a typical caramel popcorn recipe? What makes butter toffee and caramel popcorn different?
It’s probably pretty similar
Hi, I would like to try your reciepe but I want to ask about the corn syrup.. what could be other alternative to it .. in case Idid not have it?
I’ve never tried it with anything but corn syrup – sorry!
I always use Lyle’s Golden Syrup in place of Corn syrup. It’s absolutely yummy. I could just drink the stuff right out of the bottle it’s so good. It’s available in most grocery stores.
PS Lyle’s Golden Syrup is pure Cane Sugar syrup.
This looks delicious. How long will it keep?
(I love love love your orange yeast roll recipe!)
Thanks, Melody! Well covered, this should keep for several days.
Can you use light corn syrup? What difference would the dark syrup make?
It just creates a darker/chewier caramel.
It was my first time making this, i grew up on sweet/savory popcorn and always wanted to have it made for me but i ended up buying it, now in my 50’s i decided to make it and i was overjoyed with how it turned out, i loved how easy it was to make and doubled the recipe, because it was never going to last more than a few days. I will make this regularly from now on. Thank you, will be a great idea for Christmas/Easter gifts.
Tip included in my post. This recipe is great! I’ve made it for gifts and Christmas and our last New Years party. I would just say that while you’re waiting the three minutes for it to boil, do yourself a favor and don’t stir it more than once or twice around the pot. Stirring makes your caramel seize causing your sugars to crystallize ruining your creamy soft texture. Just don’t stir and this recipe is perfection.
This has become our favorite treat to take to neighbors! We love it and love to share it!!
how many calories are in 1 serving and how many grams are in a serving ?
I don’t have this info – sorry!
I make these as popcorn balls and we LOVE them! Perfectly gooey but not really sticky, plus buttery & delicious!
What you do:
~Add peanuts to caramel right before pouring over popcorn to ensure the peanuts stick.
~After stirring to coat popcorn, grease hands with cooking spray (butter would work too) and pack a handful together into a ball (it will be pretty warm so work quickly). A cup’s worth per ball is a good amount.
~Then set them on a silicone mat (buttered/greased foil or wax paper can be subbed) and let cool.
~Do NOT bake
This looks and sounds fabulously delicious!! I can’t wait to make it. I also plan on giving it as Christmas gifts, and was wondering how long you think it will stay fresh at room temperature? Thanks for your help. You’re recipes are always amazing! 🙂
I think it’s good for 2-3 days. 🙂
First, as I reread the recipe, I realized you mentioned the “shelf life” of the popcorn…sorry for bugging you with the question about it. 🙂
Secondly, this popcorn is DELICIOUS!!! I’m making my third batch in the last two weeks! I intended on making it just for gifts, but we can’t stop eating it. 🙂 Thanks for another amazing recipe!
Any advice about trying to make this recipe into popcorn balls? Or do you have a go to popcorn ball recipe? I’ve found a few random recipes, but nothing I feel super confident about… Thank you!!!!
I’ve never tried this into popcorn balls. Sorry, Rebecca!
This popcorn has become a Christmas tradition, and everyone loves it each year. Thank you so much for sharing! <3
I completely love your recipes Mel. This popcorn recipe is the most requested in our family. I make it for friends when they come for film nights. I am making a huge batch for Christmas Eve and I am making bags of it to give to friends for their own families.this Christmas.
Your cake recipes help me raise hundreds of pounds each year when I do MacMillan Coffee mornings and I also bagged this popcorn and sold it on the produce table with jam and marmalade and home made sweets this year. The popcorn sold out first!
Love to hear this! Thanks, Diane!
Does this freeze well?
Anyone knows if this freezes well?
Just made this on 11-9-2015 and my gosh, this is exactly what I was looking for. The end result of the recipe was perfect. I loved it and everyone that I gifted it to loved it as well. I packaged it in mason jars and it has managed to stay as fresh as the day I made it. I can’t wait to make this recipe and gift it to everyone that I love.
Did a batch sample (without nuts, only b/c I didn’t have any). Absolutely wonderful. Had a few family and friends sample taste and they loved it!! Will make some w/nuts and some without for Christmas gift treats this year, thanks for the great recipe.
Mel, I made this to give away to people for Christmas this year with a few amazingly good variations. I used Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Almonds instead of peanuts and after it cooled I drizzled it with dark and white chocolate. Voila! Zebra Corn! It was SOOO good. Everyone wanted the recipe. And I have to admit, there were a couple of people that didn’t get theirs because we couldn’t resist breaking the packages open and devouring them ourselves!
I didn’t have dark corn syrup so I thought to use 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses. The result was great! Thanks for the recipe!
I just finished this Butter Toffee Popcorn. Delicious! I made the Cinnamon Roll Popcorn and reluctantly shared with friends. This one we are devouring all on our own. 🙂 They are both scrumptious. So glad I found you in 2013 and can give my family exceptional food and treats! My husband has commented our “grocery money” has sure increased greatly in value since I have found you and your blog. The food is of a much higher quality. 🙂
AMAZING!!! So yummy! Should I be embarrassed that I ate like the whole batch in one sitting?!?
I have never made butter toffee popcorn before and I now I can’t wait to make it again! I used some really good white popcorn I had, popped on the stove. I had dark brown sugar and light corn syrup and it came out looking just like what you pictured. Only thing I might do next time is add a bit more salt. What I really loved was the crispiness of this popcorn. It doesn’t have that slightly stale crunch I’ve encountered with other caramel popcorn–even the really famous caramel corn on Navy Pier. Three days after making it, I took some out of the plastic storage bowl and it was still just as crunchy. Incredible.
This is absolutely incredible! It was so easy to make! I never knew I could make something like this. I think this will become a Christmas tradition. Thanks for a great recipe!
Oh.My.Gooodness! This is so scrumptious and by far the best recipe for caramel (er, butter toffee) popcorn I’ve come across. It is so simple to make – my favorite type of recipe! I could hardly keep away from it as it was cooling. Definitely not a good thing to make when trying to lose weight. :-/ LOL!
I halved the recipe and as I am vegan used olive oil in place of the butter. I also omitted the nuts comepletely as i didnt have any in the pantry. Turned out absolutely declicious!! I also used golden syrup in place of the corn syrup, and it produced a wonderful creamy flavour. 🙂 Thanks Mel!
There`s something very strange with this recipe. I put a large quantity in an airtight tin with a view to storing it.
Two or three days later, when I go to check how it`s doing I find that it has vanished, without trace.
I don`t understand it. I KNOW I filled the tin!!
OMG = YUM!!! I love this. My first time making carmel corn – and I just stumbled upon your site/recipe. Now I want to try some of your sugar rush recipes. mmmmm. I can hardly wait until the carmel corn sets and I’ve already eaten a ton. I’m sure it will be even better once set lol. Only changes… i was too lazy to add the peanuts, but added a touch of cinnamon just because i love it so… mmmm, mmmm, good!! thanks for this recipe! a keeper!
To DIE for. I loved how it was an ample amount of caramel, not stingy. Now I have to find a way not to eat it all myself!
Im soooo happy,,I used to make this when I was a teenager but lost the recipe. Once I started reading yours I knew it was the same..cant wait to make some this evening. : )
OMG!!! This is amazing, it wont last no two weeks!!!!
Just made this and ate almost half of it. Dang you for showing me all this good food.:) My thighs will never be the same again. Thanks for another awesome recipe.
Holy cow this stuff is amazing! This is my second time making it and I LOVE it. I could easily devour the whole thing myself. I will try and refrain though.
If you’re rushed or too impatient to wait an entire hour to bake the popcorn, you can microwave it. Instead of pouring it onto two baking sheets, pour it into two large paper bags. Microwave one for 30-45 seconds, shake/stir well. Repeat the process for both 4 times (shorter if you like your popcorn to be chewy). Then cool, if you can wait.
Oh my word, this popcorn is sooooo good! I made 4 batches to giveaway for Christmas, and everyone loved it! Thank you!!!
Yum! Yum yum yum!!! I can’t stop eating this, which is so not good because I’m supposed to be giving it away! I didn’t have peanuts so I used pecans and I love it. I’ll def be making this again!
Emily Marie – so glad you love this and it sounds delicious with the pecans!
Yum yum yum! I’ve got my first batch toasting in the oven. These recipes are so fun to make because the results are so fantastic! I am going to give these gifts to my neighbors for Christmas. Love it! Thanks!! Merry Christmas!
Andrea – thanks for your comment! Hope this popcorn turns out well for you!
Quick question – Have I done something wrong if the finished product looks more “sugary” coated than glazed? Did I overcook it on the stove? Any advice would be aprreciated. Thx
Sarah – I’ve noticed this has happened once or twice when I’ve made this as well – my guess is the mixture on the stovetop simmered for a bit too long/got too hot before pouring it on the popcorn.
This is SOOOO good! I now have to make a second batch to give as gifts because we ate the first batch =-) Question…my oven only has one rack (lame, I know)…would it be ok to make a full batch and have half of it sit out while the other half is baking? Or should I just make half a batch at a time, which is what I did this go around. BTW, I love your blog; I cook from it at least once a week. Thanks so much!!!
Meghan – I actually made this a few nights ago and made a double batch. Obviously it didn’t all fit in my oven so I let two baking sheets sit out for an hour while the first two baked and then I baked them. It seemed to work just fine!
I make my caramel corn in my large roasting pan.
OMGoodness! This is my new favorite Christmas present. I just finished making a second batch cause the first was so perfect.
One change: I used pecans instead of peanuts. They taste like little praline bites. FANTASTIC!
Erin – so glad you love this popcorn! I just made a triple batch tonight…and now wish I would have tried it with pecans!
Hi Mel- first off I LOVE you website and all your recipes. I check it every Sunday to make my weekly menu. I made this popcorn today and it is delicious. One of my batches did stick to the cookie sheet, could it be it didn’t have enough butter? Also regarding your root beer float fudge, where do I find root beer extract? Thanks so much for sharing all your yummy creations!
Gracie – Glad you liked the popcorn – if it stuck to the pan, try buttering the pan more heavily next time. Also, I usually find the root beer extract near the other baking extracts (like vanilla, coconut, etc) in the grocery store. I’ve found it at Walmart and several other large-chain grocery stores. I hope that helps!
One word: incredible! I have a confession, though…I was scraping the left over popcorn & peanut bits out of the bottom of the bowl for myself!
Evelyn – so glad you liked this! (And don’t worry, I have confessions like that almost daily!)
Can’t wait to make this tomorrow! Question, though… I only have one rimmed cookie sheet. Will it ‘hurt’ the popcorn to do one sheet first and then the second after that?
Evelyn – I don’t think it should hurt the popcorn. I’m not sure if the texture will be different on the 2nd batch from having sat out while the first was baking but I don’t think it will be a problem. Hope you like it!
I think I’m going to give it a try, even though anything that has to be brought to a boil with all that sugar scares me to death, for some reason.
I am trying this one out tonight. I bought cute tins to put it in for Christmas gifts at work. Thanks for sharing!
I found your blog yesterday via a Google search for “butter toffee popcorn” of all things and I’m so glad I did! I made your recipe and it was amazing. I could literally have eaten an entire tray of this if it weren’t for that fact that I’m supposed to be giving them as gifts 🙂 Thank you for this recipe and I look forward to trying all kinds of other things here!
By the way, you replied to an earlier post that you thought you could use light corn syrup and dark brown sugar in this recipe and I’ll confirm that it works wonderfully. That’s all I had and it worked like a charm.
Deb – I’m so glad you found your way here and am flattered you have already tried the butter toffee popcorn! So glad it was a hit! (Thanks for including your variation, as well.)
So I roasted my own peanuts and made this up 2 days ago. It tasted GREAT until I baked it and it burned!!! I don’t think my Grenadian propane oven can get down to 250. I am going to try it again soon and try only baking it 20 minutes, do think that will work?
Kensi – what a bummer! I hate wasted ingredients. I’m sorry your oven didn’t work it’s magic, hopefully they will work out the second time around. I would definitely try the 20 minutes, but even then, I’d check every 5-7 minutes and stir often. Good luck!
I’ve had a caramel corn recipe I’ve used for years and it has a microwave version. Get a large paper bag (like from the grocery store) – Put popcorn in it and pour caramel over, fold down the top and shake, shake, shake. Micro on High for 90sec, shake again, repeat two more times. Pour out onto wax or parchment paper into a single layer (careful, it’s hot). Let cool to room temp. – You may need to play with how much popcorn you put in the bag, I usually put about 4qts.
Delicious!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I got to try to this. I love butter toffee.
One in our house can’t eat peanuts but can eat almonds s0…roasted and salted some up and used those instead…fabulous recipe – as always!
bdubz – great substitution on the nuts. I’m glad you loved this!
Very aptly named series: “Sugar Rush!” The picture & the recipe look great. I think I’ll try this on everyone this weekend on movie night.
And while we’re at it, I have to say, Mel, that I love your blog. Your choices, your recipes, your tips.. they’re all great. I’ve tried several of your recipes (Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls, Soft Wrap Bread, Sugar Cookies & Sugar Cookie Frosting, to name a few) and they all turned out great. I loved making them, and everybody loved eating them. Now, I follow your recipes blindly. I know that if you’ve posted them here, then they’re definitely worth a try. Thank you for a great site 🙂
For a super quick rendition that’s a bit similar, melt 1 C brown sugar and 1 stick of butter together in the microwave. Then pour it on hot popcorn.
Yummy and absolutely terrible for you!
Oh my that looks amazing! I love sweet popcorn. Toffee sounds excellent!
of course he’s not ashamed–he should be proud! i, for one, am fiercely jealous. 🙂
omgosh…def dreammmy and so pretty in those cellophane bag w ribbon! i love reading about recipes that ppl have been making for years and years…thats when i bookmark it straight away! 😀
This looks SO good, I have to make it!! Any ideas on how to roast your own peanuts? The peanuts here are plain, packaged straight from the ground.
Kensi – I’m not sure of the exact answer to that one, but if it were me, I’d toast them in the oven at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes until they are golden brown. That probably isn’t officially “roasting” but it will still bring out their delicious flavor.
this looks so delicious! i love popcorn but toffee plus peanuts definitely step it up
MMM this looks so good I think its going to have to be on my to make list for xmas treats this year thanks so much for sharing.
Do you think this “keeps”? I’m sending a package to a friend in Afghanistan and I think he would love it… if it will survive the trip
Tanya – yes, I think this would keep very well and would be perfect to send overseas. The only recommendation I would give is to package it carefully (bubble wrap, maybe?) so that it doesn’t get demolished and end up in toffee crumbs.
Yet another fabulous hostess gift for the holiday season! Now I don’t have to take the same gift to each party…thanks, Melanie!
Oh- your little men are the cutest! 🙂
This looks wonderful and it’s not hard to tell your two little ones think it’s great. Have a good day. Blessings…Mary
I can totally see how your husband ate so much of this – I’m sure I could finish it off even faster! This looks delicious!
would this work with buttered microwave popcorn?
Brandy – no, you definitely want to use natural popcorn for this. I think the microwaved popcorn’s flavor would interfere with the flavors of the toffee and peanuts.
Yum that does look addicting! Just incase that’s not enough of a sugar rush here’s how I make mine (I know you’re always looking for more recipes) after baking the toffee popcorn I add a few cups of mini marshmallows and then pour melted white chocolate over until it’s coated. Drizzle with semisweet chocolate and cinnamon & sugar….you should try it 🙂
Thank you 🙂 I already popped my popcorn, getting ready to finish it up 🙂 Carmen
Yummy, I Have to make some, do you think light corn syrup would work? I dont have any dark, Carmen
Carmen – yes, you could probably make this work with light corn syrup but it will be missing a little depth. The great trade would be to use dark brown sugar if you are using light corn syrup. But either way, it will most likely still turn out toffee-like and delicious – just a little lighter in color and flavor.
That looks so good! It would be cute to pack it into wide mouth mason jars with a bow around the lid for a gift. I am definitely trying this–diet-what diet???
Man that looks good. I must try this.
Thanks for posting!!! I plan on making this and then drizzling it with white and dark chocolate! YUM!
Yvette and Keersten – you are both full of great ideas…don’t mind if I steal them, do you?? 🙂
Those little bags would make such cute gifts! Mel, I can’t possibly make all my recipes, plus all of yours that I want to make…what’s a girl to do??
Wow! As good as this looks, I don’t think I should make it….cause I’d eat the whole thing. 🙂
That looks amazing. Love the little gift bags too. I will definitely be trying this one soon! Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you for posting this! I was looking on your blog the other day to see if you had a crunchy caramel popcorn recipe. I’m excited to try this one.
I have been using the exact recipe for years and it is fantastic! Just don’t make the mistake of thinking they are rice crispy treats and reaching your hand in there to help stir 🙂
Sounds fantastic, I absolutely love butter toffee popcorn (the Target brand isn’t too bad). I’ll have to give this a try.
I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for years! The caramel popcorn I’ve made in the past have been so so, but this looks perfect! Your recipes have never let me down, so I can’t wait to make this and share with my family.