Homemade Maple Caramel Corn

By Amanda Paa – Updated December 19, 2021
4.72 from 25 votes
Delicious caramel corn made with maple syrup instead of cane sugar or corn syrup! It's sweet and salty, the perfect snacking combination. With just 6 ingredients, this easy recipe is a family favorite. You can add peanuts or walnuts if you'd like for a little toasty crunch, too.
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maple caramel corn in a ceramic bowl

Caramel Corn with Maple Syrup

I particularly love this recipe because you’ll need just six ingredients, it’s easy to make, and has just the right amount of of buttery, salty, sweetness. This maple caramel corn has all the nostalgia of your favorite ooey-gooey treat without using corn syrup or white sugar!

The maple syrup adds such incredible flavor, and peanuts or walnuts bring a toasty, savory crunch. And even a healthy does of good fats. Nuts take well to the low temperature, slow baking alongside the popcorn which really brings out their true flavor. But totally option to add nuts!

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Yes, you’ll need a candy thermometer to make this caramel corn, but it has a lot of forgiveness, trust me. Just look for an amber color and a 225ish degree F temperature and you’re golden. Literally. ☺️

pouring caramel over popcorn in a dutch oven
maple caramel corn on a sheet pan

Ensuring Your Caramel Corn Isn’t Grainy or Chewy

This recipe is nearly foolproof. I’ve both cooked caramel too far and undercooked it, and because of the maple syrup, it doesn’t crystalize like cane sugar and still turns out!. The addition of baking soda also helps to break up the molecules.

Storing Maple Caramel Corn:

This caramel corn will stay fresh for up to 3 weeks if stored properly, in a sealed container. You can use anything from a metal tin, glass jar, to a ziploc bag. I love gifting it in jars with festive ribbon tied around the top.

Thoughts on Gifting

My love language is acts of service, likely why I love to cook for people so darn much. Seeing them enjoy something that I created with my own two hands, that will nourish them from the inside out. I seek to please by serving, expressing my love by doing. It fills me with so much joy.

Probably the reason I’ve made four batches of this homemade maple caramel corn to give to friends, and what I’ll be bringing along to a few holiday celebrations. It’s a nice addition to my favorite peppermint crinkle cookies and cheese plates.

Last night I stood in a local store, struggling to come up with gifts for several people, last minute per usual. I’m not good at gift giving, especially when forced. Why do we do this? Gifting. To each other as adults, once a year. Spending hundreds of dollars even when you try to keep things modest.

I just believe there are so many other ways to show love and appreciation as adults. Like time together. Meals together. Experiences together. And giving to organizations that need the support much more than I need a bottle of wine or new shirt.

But. That’s me. And what I force myself to read every year around this time is the love language of gifts, and remember that this is why we spend money and energy during this time of year, finding things for others. It is how they absorb love, and that is so important to remember.

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

caramel corn on parchment paper

More Holiday Snack Recipes:

healthy caramel corn in grey bowl

Healthier Caramel Corn with Maple Syrup

Delicious homemade caramel corn made with maple syrup instead of corn syrup. The maple adds such a wonderful flavor to the fresh popcorn!
4.72 from 25 votes
Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :1 hour
Total Time :1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • scant 1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts or walnuts (optional)

Instructions 

  • In a dutch oven, heat coconut oil until hot. (Test by putting one kernel in, and should bubble around the edges.) Add popcorn and swirl to coat. 
  • Cover and cook, shaking pot, until all popcorn is popped. While doing this, occasionally let a little peep of air out so that popcorn doesn't steam. You can also use an air popper to make the popcorn if you'd like!
  • Set aside, and remove any unpopped kernels. Add nuts, if using.
  • In a high sided saucepan, add maple syrup and butter. Boil until mixture reaches 225 degrees F on a thermometer. Remove and add salt, cinnamon, and baking soda, stirring. Quickly pour mixture on popcorn and stir to fully coat. 
  • Bake at 245 degrees F for 40 minutes, stirring once in the middle of baking, until dry. Store in a covered box or ziploc bag.

Did you make this?

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December 22, 2017

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25 comments

  1. Cheryl Foerster

    5 stars
    Love this recipe!

  2. Lisa

    I have a large bag of store bought popcorn already popped and salted. Could I use that? If so how many cups of actual popped corn would i use for the recipe?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Lisa! I haven’t tested this was storebought popcorn, this recipe makes approximately 13 to 14 cups of popped popcorn.

  3. Vanessa

    5 stars
    Please, more recipes like this sans white sugar- this looks incredible! Merry Christmas!!

  4. Holly

    We’re having a snow day and want to get our Christmas movies going with some of this popcorn. How critical is the coconut oil vs. canola oil?

    • Amanda Paa

      Canola oil works great to pop the popcorn as well!

  5. Sara

    Can I make this with puff corn (think butter flavored Cheetos without the cheese)?

    • Amanda Paa

      Love puff corn! I haven’t tested this recipe with it, but let me know if you do.

  6. Mari

    5 stars
    I have made traditional caramel corn with mixed nuts for many years and this was perfect. It is so hard to stay out of! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      so glad you like it!

  7. Sabrina

    5 stars
    Really good and super simple to make!

  8. Vanessa

    5 stars
    So simple and so delicious. Perfect, addictive snack to curl up on the couch with around the holidays.

    • Amanda Paa

      so glad you liked the maple caramel corn! i just made some too. :)

  9. Sarah

    Would this work if I used sugar free low calorie syrup?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Sarah! Sugar free low calorie syrup has different ingredients therefore chemical properties than pure maple syrup, so it will not react the same in this recipe.

  10. pk

    Made this for Halloween, it was delicious! Getting ready to make some more as a Christmas gift. Thanks for the recipe and it’s so easy.

  11. Mama Binger

    I made this tonight ! Its brilliant…and an easy to do recipe. Not too sweet or sticky. I used cashews instead as that is what I had on hand.
    Thank you for the recipe…I will share it.

    • amandapaa

      Wonderful! I’m so glad you liked the recipes. I’ll try it next time with cashews too, that sounds amazing!

  12. Becky Costello

    Thanks for this recipe! The Hubby & I are preparing to make a couple batches of this….both for ourselves & as gifts. I also LoVe the idea of using Walnuts. Yummy~~~Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas Season!!

    • amandapaa

      Yes, everyone I’ve given this to you has loved it!

  13. Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    Gift giving isn’t my love language either! I really struggled with gifting this holiday season. Sometimes I’m all over it but this year I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. My love languages include quality time and words of affirmation. Thankfully Robert isn’t a gift giver either, so we actually rarely do gifts for each other. We figured buying a house this year was enough. ha! Happy Holidays to you! xoxo

  14. Laura

    This looks great! Can I substitute more coconut oil for the butter, or use a little coconut milk? We are dairy free, due to allergies. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    • amandapaa

      Hi Laura! I haven’t made the caramel without butter, so I’m not sure it would work. I would google vegan caramel corn and I bet you could find something that’s tried and true for dairy-free!

      • Laura

        Will do! Thanks Amanda!

  15. Sarah | Well and Full

    I love the love languages way of looking at relationships… it really helped me and my boyfriend to understand each other. Receiving gifts is actually one of mine, but it’s not this rampant materialism, like you said. Done properly, a gift is a symbol of how you’ve thought of someone, considered their desires and needs, and spent time choosing the something for them. Rarely does it have to be elaborate or expensive… just thoughtful :) Happy Holidays, Amanda!